So how was everybody's week? I'm being serious here, I want to hear the stories ; )
There were so many ego moments this week, obviously. I'll focus on ones related to this blog and yoga/meditation, just for fun.
Writing the post in itself was an excellent exercise in observing the ego. My normal routine that I'm starting to settle into is to have a little prayer in my heart over the weekend about what I should write, and an idea will start to form, and then I'll just let the words come when I'm sitting at the keyboard. It's nice. I like it. Read: It's starting to work its way into my ego story. So when nothing came all weekend and I had no idea what to write about as I sat staring at the screen, I listened when my brain called out, EGO! even though I thought, that sounds dumb... And then I wrote this halting, rough post that made no sense to me. I didn't like any of it except the quotes I put in, and I hesitated to publish it. Then I realized the irony of hiding something I'd felt prompted to write due to worrying about it not being awesome enough when that something was about the ego. So I published.
Within ten minutes, I was contacted by a few people I had no idea were reading the blog, all saying a variation of the same thing: "This is an answer to my prayers." I felt so incredibly humbled; it was an immediate illustration of how zeroing the ego to listen to what God's telling you to do will always bless you and others. I felt so grateful for that experience, and I felt that lovely blissed-out feeling that comes when you're on track.
That lasted about two minutes. Then ego got busy congratulating me on being such an elevated zen master of awesomeness, which luckily didn't last too absurdly long, because God quickly reminded me that BY FAR the blog post with the most clicks and shares is the one that is comprised entirely of the words of my bishop. In other words, the most enlightened thing I've published so far has been somebody else's insight. And by the end of the day, I think maybe 15 people had read the Ego post. My own ego got a little schooled, and my divinity was grateful for the reminder of why I'm doing this in the first place.
The next night, I went to class, which was a special one for the new moon. My teacher informed us that the month of Av (Hebrew calendar), which was just beginning, is the month of Leo, the only one ruled by the Sun, making it the month of the Ego (really, it is--so it's a fabulous time to be doing some serious work confronting the beast!). And I thought, HEY! That's why I felt like I should write about it! So cool! and more of that blissed-out feeling followed. Amazingly, I fell for the exact same trap again within a few minutes, patting myself on the back for my incredible in-tune-ness. Spiritual ego is the absolute worst.
Luckily again, I was about to be plunged into some yoga and meditation, which is a surefire cure for any case of runaway ego, and I had a beautiful experience. God chastises us in the most direct but gentle ways, always with the intent of drawing us in closer. Because what occurs during meditation can be so personal and so powerful, I often refrain from sharing specifics, but one of my takeaways from the evening was that God wants me to share light, but the only way I can do that is if I make Christ so much bigger in my life. He has to be central to everything because all light comes from him, and if he isn't my center, things like ego will block that light, and my offerings will be meager, indeed.
There were so many more very cool insights I received concerning my own ego as the week progressed, but this seems a fitting place to end. Making Christ our center is such a simple, arduous task; paradox is the stuff of great theology. As we peel away the layers of our shadow selves, though, in spite of the difficulties involved, we let that inherent light of Christ inside us shine through. We change ourselves and everyone around us.
Something you hear in yoga fairly often is that listening to Soul, or that pure you that is unencumbered by ego and that is perfectly tuned in to God, will always lead you in the best path, even when that path is through fire. This is one way we make Christ our center, by listening and doing and clinging to him for the sustenance required to do those things he asks. If you haven't done so in a while, take the plunge. Make time to be still with yourself and with God, and be willing to listen. Let yourself be filled with light, and spread that light to others--and when the continued search for light leads you through fire, embrace it:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Sat nam (or, Truth is my Identity, and I recognize that it is Yours, as well, and I call upon that Identity in each of us). Be well and slay the shadow self!
Exploring the spiritual side of things. Brevity is not my forte.