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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The self and ego are intertwined - part 2

In the last post I talked about how the ego can be projected outwardly and harm others.  But the ego can also be projected inwardly and do harm not only to the one with the ego but to other people as well.  A very good friend of mine who I went through grade school and high school with, killed himself.  He left behind a wife and two children.  He was in graduate school working on his Ph.D..  He had all of his course work done and was trying to finish up his dissertation - the worst part of getting a doctorate. His manuscript for the dissertation had been turned down several times by his committee and he was very distraught. His goal was to get his doctorate come hell or high water. His wife found him slumped over his desk at home one evening with a suicide note.  He had shot himself in the head. He couldn't take it any longer and didn't see life worth living. He was so attached to achieving his Ph.D. that he completely lost sight of everything that really meant the world to him - his family and friends.  It was a tragedy for everyone concerned.

We can see the ego in our selves and how it can harm if we take the time to observe. For example, if you are in a relationship and one of your values is intimacy but your partner's value is acceptance, you could do great harm to yourself as well as your partner if you aren't aware of your thoughts and actions.  The desire to share personal feelings may be so strong in you you lose sight of your actions and your partner's desire for being left alone for the time being.  The desire for intimate sharing could well up in you like a pressure cooker to the point where you could become very ill.  High blood pressure, anxiety, depression, head ache, joint pain, sore back could all be symptoms of lack of fulfilling your desire; in this case the desire for sharing personal feelings.

The ability to observe your thoughts is an important part of awareness.  It is sometimes called mindfulness - mindful of one's own thoughts. Being able to observe your thoughts as though you are an observer watching thoughts occur from your own head is an invaluable tool.  The ability to observe your own thoughts gives you distance from those thoughts and the realization that you are not the thoughts.  In fact, it is quite amazing, sometimes, the way thoughts appear and disappear as though they are coming and going without any effort. It is also interesting to observe how they can produce emotions and reactions. When you can observe your thoughts you have won half the battle of surviving your negative thoughts. The other half is the ability to see how those negative thoughts create emotions and reactions.

On the next post I'll talk about those negative thoughts, emotions and reactions. 

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