To step lightly…change your self-image


Gyalwang Drupka

It is the nature of the ego to take, and the nature of the spirit to share — Buddhist proverb
What exactly is this thing called ‘ego’? Well, in my mind it is just that, a constructed ‘thing’ that we easily confuse with who we truly are. Our ego is our self-image, it’s all the labels with which we describe ourselves, all the experiences that create our emotional triggers. It’s the lens or the filter through which we see the world, and for some reason, often we think it’s set in stone, when, like all things in life, it’s ever-changing and certainly needn’t be something that we feel bound or controlled by.

Mind Constructs: Over time this construct that is our ego, builds up layers of resistance to change, and makes us self-conscious. From our earliest experiences during childhood, and then throughout life, our ego tells us who we are and what we should expect from ourselves. It begins with how your parents described you as a child; say you were labelled shy and quiet.You might then play that role well into childhood, before realising you are quite chatty really. Perhaps you were a ‘good’ child, instilling an anxiety that one day, eventually, you would disappoint. Or you were a ‘nightmare’, naughty and rebellious, so that you began to wonder if you would ever be ‘good’.Of course,every child is so much more than one thing, but such labels tend to have great sticking powers, and as you grow from a child into an adult, your ego grabs on to them as strong identifiers. You might then have a tendency to be stuck in the past with this rigid view of yourself and the world, finding it difficult to just go for things in life. Or you might find yourself often rushing headlong into the future, running away from the past so fast that you can’t just be where you are.

When we let our ego take control, then our attachments to possessions and people, even to burning emotions, become ever stronger chains that prevent us from living our life with freedom and simplicity. Our ego clings to the causes of suffering. It prevents us from allowing our natural wisdom to function in its own beautiful way. We cover it up with layer upon layer of fabrications in our minds. So we need to cut through the ego; it needs to be taken and thrown away.

Little Things Matter: This can get confusing because while everything in the world and in life is connected and interdependent, it should not be a controlling connection. As soon as we add the word ‘my’, then the connection becomes exaggerated. We exaggerate something or someone’s attractiveness because they are ‘mine’, or we might exaggerate the unattractive qualities, often in ourselves — ‘I’m just not funny’ or ‘I’m boring’. Little things that go unnoticed by others become huge defects in our own minds, become reasons not to let go and realise today is a beautiful day.

Source: The Sangai Express /Times of India



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