The ego is a really powerful opponent, something like an 8th Dan degree black belt in jiu jitsu. The ego loves to win. Dexterous, sly, cunning and clever. It loves to make you scared about who you’re not, and pushes you to be someone you can and will never be. It likes to compare you to other, always looking down or up to people, convincingly separating you from other people so it can survive in isolation.
Every day is a fight in the cage. Most days, you don’t even notice it’s a fight. You submit before the match begins. Then something happens — you make an ass of yourself at work, somebody with more money than you moves in next door, or you turn someone off who you were trying to impress. These are opportunities to examine the level at which you operate. Are you operating from your heart, from unlimited friendliness and no fear, or from a place at which you must win and triumph at all costs?
EGO = Edging God Out
Next something bothers you, examine what’s really at stake. Is it your reputation? The things you have? If it’s any of that then you’re probably making space for the ego to do some damage.
I’m not perfect either. Right now I’m looking for a job in San Francisco. Word in Silicon Valley is that a guy like me is too old (I’m 40) and the feedback I’m getting from employers is that I don’t have enough experience. My ego is getting hurt — I don’t stack up to other people, younger people with less experience or older ones with some quantifiable success on their resume.
Lucky me, though: I have this dharma, this practice, of mediation, this ittybliss. It’s a sliver of light shining onto to dark place where the ego lurks. It’s helping me understand the difference between not being good enough to the ego (you could even say the collective ego of all egos combined), and it’s also helping me observe the ego from a small distance. It’s in the fighting cage just heaving and snarling and foaming at the most to take me down and I’m just standing across the way waving and smiling and saying, Hi ego! I’m not going fight today. I’ll just watch you if that’s okay.