Ego as judge

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

How often have you or someone you know said, “he thinks that just because…?” These types of expressions seem ubiquitous in our communications. Let’s think about this for a moment. When we do this, we are assuming we know the thoughts and motivations of others. Essentially, we think we can read someone’s mind, but we are actually projecting our own thoughts onto another.

 

This is the work of our pesky egos. Generally, these types of assumptions are part of a judgment or criticism. There are two problems here: we are being judge and jury with no input from the defendant and we are repeating our guilty verdict to another as though it is truth.

Why does ego do this? It’s because ego likes to be right. In order for ego to be right, it has to make the other wrong. This is the nature of the polarity thinking so characteristic of ego. Ego shares its judgments with others in order to marshall support for itself. This is the essence of gossip. It is like a toxic cloud released into the environment, be it an office, school or neighborhood. It creates division, ill will and negativity. Taken to its extreme, it is the bullying in schools that has led to student suicides. We all agree this is wrong, yet adults do it all the time. Children overhear mom in conversations where someone is being judged so they think it’s okay.

Let’s go back for a moment to the mind reading. If you have ever been in a heated discussion with a significant other and he or she said, “Oh yeah, well you think….” My guess is the person was wrong about your thoughts and you did not like it one bit. How do you defend yourself when someone assumes to know your mind better that you do? You can disagree with their assessment, saying you do not think that, and the reply is “Oh yes you do.” This is completely negating and it is a battle, not a communication.

When ego gets into judgment, it only creates negativity, conflict, distance, resentment, distrust and drama. It is not healthy for our bodies or our relationships. How do we change the patterns so we put only good energy into the world rather than the toxic kind?

It really has nothing to do with other people and what they do. It has to do with an inner commitment about the kind of person we want to be. It is about making conscious choices rather than defaulting to an unevolved ego.

If we check in with our higher wisdom, which we all have, we know which behaviours are negative or unkind. We all learned this as children when we watched Bambi and Thumper said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Our conscious choice as adults is to stop judging and criticizing others and to not talk negatively about people, particularly behind their backs. It requires courage to stop others who are doing this as well. Significantly, when we do this we raise the consciousness of those around us. Some of us – many in fact – must begin to regularly choose the high road if we are ever to evolve beyond the conflict mentality that characterizes so much of our world.

We all belong to the same tribe and every tribe needs some wise ones.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For more of Gwen’s articles and information about her books, Self Care CDs and the new Creating Healthy Relationships series, visitwww.gwen.ca. See display ad this issue.

What kind of self-image do you have?

by Marilyn Atkinson

 

The experience of attending to one’s ‘self-image’ has been around since humans started to talk to each other about their personal experiences. What is interesting is that so few untrained people ever notice their visualizations of self. Even fewer think about the effectiveness of their own self-image. It usually remains as part of the hidden code, the ‘program’ that organizes the trajectory of their self-development.

Ask yourself carefully, “What kind of self-image do I currently have?” When asked this question, many people notice that their self-image is largely linked to self-feeling. People mainly associate into ideas about themselves that they have taken on previously. They identify with and feel their self-evaluation, as if real.

Have you thought about what you do? A person who has the belief that something is wrong with his or her body may immediately feel an inner sense of disappointment or failure connected to body image. For instance, the person may believe he or she is too fat or too thin or has a big nose or bad teeth. This becomes a frame for ongoing self-criticism and evaluatory inner conversation. The person inwardly takes the position of an external judge criticizing “the big nose.”

Now ask yourself this: on a scale from one to 10, with one being low and 10 being totally satisfied, how satisfied are you with the image you currently hold?

To be effective with our mental maps, we need to build a dissociated self-image. In other words, we need to see an image of our valued self in action so we can follow a visual movie that shows the self being and doing what we value. Dissociated viewing may be described like the view from a movie camera. You see yourself in your ‘inner recall and projection system.’ We need to see ourselves from an outsider’s viewpoint so we can see our face, body and walk, detailing the qualities we value. Dissociated viewing assists us to learn quickly and easily in any important area of our life, but especially our values.

Take a small moment now just to see your face and full body in an event in which you became inspired. See the qualities you showed in physical and facial movement, perhaps inner wisdom, warm radiance, strong leadership and/or light hearted humour. Watch the You in the moment when you are revealing these qualities in eyes, gesture, body, walk, laughter. Now, really appreciate that one inwardly. Sense the growing value of your life.

Marilyn Atkinson is the president of Erickson Coaching International. 604-879-5600 www.erickson.edu

photo © Zen2000

The perfect relationship

by Devrah Lavall

A very wise meditation master once said, “The greatest suffering in the human form is that we are not seen as already perfect and divine.”

I’ve recently spoken with many people, all from very different cultures, who feel that they can no longer bear the conflict and pressure in their relationships. Such complaints are reflected in our divorce rates, which are unprecedented, and they beg the question “What is the real purpose of relationships?” Many people are coming to recognize that relationships based on externals such as sex or power or just not wanting to be alone, are like houses built on shifting sand. They won’t hold up when the waves and the storms come. The delirium of romance can be intoxicating, but once the honeymoon stage has passed, unless we deepen our connection to the real essence of Union, we will only flit to other partners, never experiencing the deep rewards arising from relationships based on true love.

The turmoil of personal relationships is exacerbated by stress arising from the acceleration of time and the proliferation of technology and is reflected in the violence and wars in the world, and in the destruction of our planet. The Hindu scriptures speak about this age as Kali Yuga – the dark age of man or the age of quarrel and confusion. At such a time, all of our ego tendencies are amplified, which is problematic on one hand, but also poses a unique opportunity for our souls to evolve more rapidly than they would otherwise. Just as coal, when subjected to intense heat and pressure, can become a diamond, the human being, subjected to the intensity of Kali Yuga, can become one with the God Self, which is the true source of relationships.

Our soul work starts with the ones we love, the ones who know our deepest secrets and our worst fears. These close relationships are the primary stepping stones to learning how to love unconditionally. But bringing love and compassion to one another in these dark times is more easily said than done. Our insecurities, disappointments or expectations that the other person is responsible for our happiness can get in the way. No wonder we want to run from or push away the relationships that most strongly reflect our darkness.

Just as Kali Yuga is an opportunity for the individual soul to evolve, it is also an opportunity for our relationships to evolve as we learn to embrace one another and to have compassion for the human foibles we all share. Those who have been in long-term relationships know the rage, hatred and disconnection that can arise as we mirror each other’s deepest pain. How can we bridge such separation? How can we become one with those we love? How can we transcend the endless conflicts about finances, domestic routines and intimacy issues, never mind the cultural, religious and political disagreements that create even more reasons for us to push one another out of our hearts? Communicating our feelings about these things may not necessarily help if they are not shared in an openhearted way, or if the other is not ready to hear what we have to say.

Perhaps we can take our cue from the 13th century mystical poet, Jalaluddin Rumi, who said, “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” This applies to our hearts as well as our physical surroundings. It expresses the “perfect” relationship to others and to life itself. When we can be the soul of the relationship we are in, when we can remember that this person whom we might be upset with just wants to be seen through the eyes of love, we can change the lens through which we are looking. Instead of seeing only the problems and accompanying flaws in the other, we can see their inherent innocence and divinity.

We can often shift out of our dissatisfactions in relationships when we focus on what we are grateful for rather than on what is lacking. When we focus on our complaints, we will reinforce others’ shortcomings, but when we focus on love, gratitude and forgiveness, we empower the other. This applies not only to our personal relationships but to our world as well.

Another practice that helps transcend blame and hatred in relationships is to ask ourselves this question: “What part of me is he or she expressing right now?” This is an effective way to own the deficiencies we so often project onto others. None of us is free from darkness. This contemplation can help us develop compassion and love for the other because it reminds us of our own foibles.

Where there is love there is no ego. When we make our love stronger than our greed, we will be able to protect each other as well as our Earth. When we make our love stronger than our judgements, we will listen to and understand the unique beauty and intelligence in others. When we make our love stronger than our pride, we will see God in everyone, even our enemies. When we make our love stronger than our criticism, we won’t sweat the small stuff. When we make our love stronger than our doubt, we will never feel alone. We will have a constant relationship with the Perfect One, who knows our every thought, word and deed and is closer than our own breath. Every day, we will see the whole world and each person in it as a part of us and we will experience the sheer joy of being in the most perfect relationship of all.

Devrah Laval is author of The Magic Doorway Into the Divine. She is a spiritual counsellor and has facilitated groups and workshops for over 25 years. www.themagicdoorway.com