Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Just "Be" -- More about finding the goodness that is already within you.

I'm looking at the sunset photo I took recently. I'm proud of the photo, I want to share it. Is this my ego? Do I want to impress you with my photographic skill, or look-what-beautiful-setting-I-live-in? Or do I want to really share the photo, just put it there and when you look at it, it will bring some positive thoughts and feelings up for you? Let me be honest; it’s probably a bit of both, hopefully less ego and more sharing.

What is my ego? I think of it as the words and ideas I've cobbled together to represent "me." It's not really me; "me" is far more than that. And not just is “me” far more than my ego, “you” too. "You" are far more than the words and ideas, the "me" and "mine" phrases and thoughts that we use to define ourselves. I can never hope to know you completely. Nobody can define something, a person of huge complexity, a person with unending potential, through words and images and ideas. It's like recipes; Two people use the same recipe and produce two different dishes, similar, but noticeably different. The recipe can describe the procedure and ingredients, but it can never convey the finer details of temperature and texture. And if this applies to apple dumplings, how much more does it not apply to a man or a woman. We don't even know ourselves. The best we can do is say, "I'm a dentist," or "I'm a South African," and then the listener ads his entire stereo type for "dentist" and "South African." Does he know me? Have I described myself? No, I've spoken words invented by my ego to differentiate me from others.

How un-spiritual! I spend hours, probably years, refining and tuning my ego self, shall we say false self, just to differentiate me from others, be more than or better than. There was a time I did not want to be an Afrikaans speaker. Why? -- Because I was so bombarded with negative stereotypes associated with Afrikaans speakers. Now I'm tweetalig! My ego is less prominent, but still there. When will I just be?

We’re not even honest when we manufacture the concepts and ideas that form our ego. We leave out the stuff we don’t want others to know, we exaggerate the stuff we think is cool in order to appear more cool. And guess what, I don’t even have a clue how to be half of my potential. I’m not bragging about how much unused potential I have, I’m being honest about my inability to use it because I’ve created my own limiting ego that stands between me and just being that which I can be.

It reminds me of the words of Eckhart Tolle I used in the previous post: "...more subtle and rarified form of self-enhancement, of desire for more and a strengthening of one's conceptual identity, one's self-image. You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge." My ego is a creation, the result of my attemtps at "self-enhancement," assimilating stuff around me and about me that I use to be more than, better than. It is not easy to just be.

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