Avoiding the affects of the ego is similar to avoiding the wrong foods. The more you are aware of it and able to avoid it, the greater its presence will become…Practice noticing the perspective of fear before the action or reaction, and practice changing it to one of love. – Journey From Ego
Do you believe you get what you ask for? I do. That’s why I recommend, when making a request of the universe, or of your angels, or of whatever God you pray to, that you be specific in your request. I do not recommend asking for patience, for example. Rather I’d suggest requesting patience in a particular situation, or with a particular person in a specific situation, on this day, at this time and at this place, etc. In my opinion one cannot be too specific with a request such as one for the attitude of patience. Lack of specificity in this respect lands me in a traffic jam, or on hold with Century Link for who knows how long.
I am well aware of this rule, and yet… I wanted to write a blog post, and boy was I blocked. So on my drive to work a few days ago I threw up a request to whom ever was listening. Please give me something to work with here. How’s that for non-specific?
Without going into detail let me say that the very same day I reacted to a situation in a manner that I instantly regretted. I was up close and personal with my ego in less time than it takes a heart to beat. I did not take a breath as is recommended in order to avoid these ego-traps. I did not pause. I reacted. BLAM! I upset someone. I apologized – several times in fact – but I couldn’t undo what I’d done.
A friend told me recently that the intent behind an action is more important than the action itself. I believe she was referring to something that Pema Chodron had said, and since Pema Chodron knows what she’s talking about I did my best to hold myself in that thought. I most definitely had not set out to intentionally trigger another person’s defenses, but the truth is I spent days feeling awful about my knee-jerk reaction. My heart hurt, my gut hurt.
As pausing in retrospect is better than not pausing at all, I did so several times. I sat down and took time to breath, to ground myself, to let the hurt drift through and away from me. I sat in that moment of instantaneous response to the situation I’d been in. What I learned was that what concerned me most was not my action, but the manner in which my action had upset the other person involved. Did I really believe my response was so very wrong? Actually, no. I will own that I over reacted, but that didn’t make my action wrong. I believe my response to the given situation was the right one. Should I have paused? Yep.
As a child I was not allowed to express anger, while the adults around me engaged in excessive angry discourse. I was disciplined for it and frightened by it. I became an adult who is fairly skilled at avoiding conflict, but that only goes just so far. I became an adult who is nearly as frightened by the anger and upset of others as I was when I was five. Those old tapes don’t just run out, they rewind and play all through our lives.
As an adult I have a choice. I can continue to run the old tapes, discipline myself for my perceived bad behavior, or I can practice compassion for the small child within while I stand firm in my convictions and my truth. I can listen to the voice of my ego telling me stories about what I did wrong, how embarrassing my behavior was, how I should have handled myself. Or I can hold myself in love and listen to my heart. My heart tells me that I’m human, far from perfect, but essentially a giving, loving person who intends to do the right thing. I am here to practice. I’m not what my ego insists. I am my soul, a holy point of light, as are each of you.