Have you been in a discussion about the ego, or read something online, and felt a compulsion to leave the situation? Or felt some discomfort or fear while reading about or discussing the concept? The ego, as previously explained here, is tricky and likes to creep into our consciousness from behind the scenes. This subtle discomfort is one of those ways. Underneath the unpleasant feeling is a layer desire to protect the ego’s unhealthy self. Since the ego is the antithesis of our spirits, it doesn’t want us to pursue a path of mindfulness and awaken our inner healers. It would rather coerce us into toxic spirituality or cause us to reject mindfulness all together.
Even with the extensive studies publicized on the benefits of mindfulness, only a small sector of our world actively practices it. Almost everyone will acknowledge that meditation and self-care are good for your health, but only a small percentage of those people will pursue it. Theoretically, it’s an easy practice to pick up, it only takes a few minutes a day. Yet those few minutes might seem to be more daunting that we’d expect.
Why? Is the ego really capable of causing such an intense resistance to mindfulness?
Yes, it is. Our egos make excuses not to pursue mindfulness so that we can’t heal, because when we heal, we destroy our egos. So the ego passionately plots against our pursuit of mindfulness.
It tells us we don’t have enough time to practice, we are incapable of finding a modality that works for us, it’s too “woo-woo” to be acceptable, or that you won’t be seen as “normal” if you practice mindfulness or meditation. These are all excuses founded in logic, since spending too much time or an unhealthy investment in a spiritual path can lead to these negative outcomes or hinderances. But, using them as an excuse to negate an entire practice of mindfulness is only the ego talking; the ego lies to us and gives these concerns more credit than they are due.
The ego will always put up resistance to healing, it’s stubborn and doesn’t want to lose its grip over you. Fortunately, all spiritual work, even the smallest acts of compassion and mindfulness, will slowly chip away at your ego. The resistance will lessen and the ability to pursue a regular routine of mindfulness will increase. It’s those first few weeks that are the hardest.
Joy cannot exist in the ego’s consciousness, it can only exist when we move beyond the ego and into spirit, making mindfulness essential to pursue. In summary, the ego is all that is not our genuine self, so it fears us finding out our true self/our spirit. The ego will not survive the light of our true self. A dedicated embark on a journey of mindfulness and spirituality will awaken your truest self while simultaneously exposing the ego; it’s natural the ego wants to resist this path.
Let’s debunk some of the myths the ego throws at us. If we can see the ego, we can then act to change it.
Letting go of your ego through a path of mindfulness doesn’t make you wishy-washy, woo-woo or emotionless. I remember first starting my spiritual path and being cautioned by my mother that I shouldn’t become too involved, since I’d lose what makes me fun as a person if I did. Have you ever heard or feared something similar? Instead, dedicating yourself to spirituality increases your authenticity and connection to life! You will be able to better engage, feel, and express your truest self with the world.
The ego is also infamous for telling us we don’t have time for all sorts of healthy things. Sometimes it’s time to brush our teeth with our children, reach out to a friend, complete a homework assignment, exercise, or start a regular mindfulness practice. With the latter, the ego is once again deluding us. Time management is important, but our spirits know this just as much as our egos! Mindfulness can take as little as three to five minutes a day (like with this meditation here). When your ego claims you don’t have time for this small bit, it’s only working to serve itself and its own survival. This claim doesn’t benefit you in any way.
During a difficult time in October of last year, I was busy in college and desperately needing to process the challenges in my personal life. I knew mindfulness would help me through it, but finding the hour or two a day that I needed to fully invest in healing intimidated me (or rather, intimidated my ego). It’s more than what your average person will need, but I knew this time was required to keep me centered during this tough time. I pushed through the resistance, trusting that it would serve me and I could still finish the tasks I needed to, and gave myself two hours of self-care and mindfulness work. As a result, the tasks I had to complete took me a third of the time I expected. I was not only more relaxed and focused, but I was more productive. Spending time on mindfulness tends to free up time in your schedule, surprisingly! It’s the complete opposite of what the ego tries to trick us into believing.
Finding the “right” modality that works for us is often something the ego causes us to struggle with, too. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of spiritual practices advertised. How do we find the right one? The ego wants us to stop trying to seek and to instead play a passive role, telling us that through “surrender” (a false one in this case), the right modality will come to us, but doing no work will only lead to no outcome. Sometimes, it also preaches the opposite: that we need to pay exorbitant amounts of money for transcendent experiences (I talk some more about this idea here).
It’s true that trusting the right modality to come when it’s meant to in our lives is important, but we need to combine this trust with actively seeking different forms of mindfulness and meditation. It’s rare that a person’s path will stay the same for their entire life—we flow with the world around us, and this often includes adapting our mindfulness practice to new healing modalities we discover. Knowing and finding the modalities that best serve us takes some work, sometimes the ego tells us that it’s too much and isn’t worth the rewards. Even though the benefits might not happen immediately, mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality are incredibly powerful, so it’s worth working past this pesky egoic voice.
The idea of fostering a culture of trying various practices and investing in the ones that resonate the most was the foundation of my Monday Mindfulness blog series. I recognized how hard it was to start my own dedicated practice, because there was no structure nor an easily accessible flow of interesting practices to try. The articles you really enjoy and find to be powerful are the ones you can continue pursuing and adapt into your regular practice.
Even the exercises that don’t seem to deeply affect us are still working behind the scenes to heal us. Our intention to heal, expose our egos, and become more spiritually aligned is the foundation of all healing. Actively trying to accomplish this is all we need to actually heal. There’s no “right” way to be a spiritual person, so your ego telling you that you haven’t found the “right” modality is simply it attempting to quantify your expansive healing path. The ego can’t even comprehend the extent of our healing that happens behind the scenes; believing that it can quantify your healing is like believing a fourth grade student can calculate the projection of a spaceship.
After having these myths exposed to you, it’s important to now hold yourself accountable for the actions of your ego. You and only you are capable of overcoming your ego, figuring out the path that works best for you, and acting on it. Using the tools and resources around you are beneficial, but it’s ultimately up to you to let the external aid impact your internal landscape. Start to call your ego out on some of the major patterns which distract you from mindfulness, like its resistance, myths, and deceptions. Eventually, it won’t be able to hide from you anymore.