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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Observing the Ego

The ego is an illusion and can change from one form to another in a fraction of a second wthout realizing it. I was talking to a yoga student after class not long ago about how people tend to put labels on things. I mentioned to her that I watched Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey on their live telecast and how Tolle brought up a good suggestion on how to talk to children about the subject of staying in the moment.

Tolle gave an example of how one might talk to a child about an oak tree. He said rather than simply telling the child "It is an oak tree," say something like, "It is called an oak tree," and then help the child look at the tree in an apprciative way by observing how the sun shines through the branches into the leaves, the coolness of the shade it provides, the texture of the bark, and so on. By doing this rather than just putting a label on the tree and letting it go at that, the child can learn to observe and appreciate things for what they truly are.

As I was talking to her, I felt realy in the moment, no ego, no biases. I had no reason to feel better or worse than anybody else - I was just talking to her about the telecast. And then, for some reason, I said, "But there really are radicals out there who want to do us harm." And then she said, "Don't you know you just labeled them?" It was truly a humbling experience to realize that I went from being non-biased to being biased with an ego in a matter of a second without realizing it.

For the next day be on the lookout for your own ego. While talking to someone or writing a message to someone, reflect on what you are saying. Can you observe yourself talking or writing as though you are the witness? How many times do you use the words "I", "me" or "my"; and when you do, is it for the purpose of making yourself look better than someone else? When you speak about someone else do you have a tendency to make them look better or worse than yourself? This is what is meant by observing the ego. Be on the lookout for biases in your self. Be on the lookout for the ego.

Next we will see what can happen when the ego gets out of control.

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