Sleeping With Your Ego

Don’t be blind to your ego. It can play havoc with you. 

4/20/2018 9:39:44 PM
written By : Debashis Chatterjee Print

Yours truly finds the phenomenon called the ego enchanting.

Like many of you, one finds it fascinating when a television guru speaks about dismissing the ego in his discourse. Then, he loses his own cool when asked this inconvenient question: have you gone beyond your own ego? It is amusing to see how the ego grasps even those highly conscious spiritual seekers. On the surface, the egos of people appear to be different. But deep down we share the same nature of the ego. The ego comes out on the surface in many ways. The ego is our deep sleep state. It is a manifestation of our primary ignorance.

The ego is defined in the spiritual literature as ahamkara— the shifting shape (akara) of aham (the one Self). The core of the ego is the same for everyone, only appearances differ. In a certain man, the ego may show up as a glaring mop of false hair piled on top of a bald head. In another woman, it may present itself like a subdued seed of vanity that will blossom in time as she grows in the spotlight of fame and fortune! The only way to enjoy the ego and its shifting shapes is to remain an impartial and vigilant spectator of its many incarnations. A good way to bust the ego is to ask the question: what does my life want from me rather than what do I want from life? Reflection rather than reaction is the key!

The CEO of a company was a true devotee of his ego. He would take time off to get his ego massaged by his subordinates five times a day! He took pride in his rather acute sense of humour. It was expected that those who reported to him had to hold their stomachs and roll over in uncontrolled fits of laughter whenever he spoke his one-liners. His only weakness, he owned up, was that he had a wife selection problem! He was already into his third marriage and father of several children.

Like the CEO, many professionals go to sleep with their egos without ever realising that they are doing so. It can play havoc with you if you allow it to sleep inside you. You can decode the real nature of the ego by being alert and vigilant. Here are the three shapes that the ego assumes for all of us:

The Arc of Ambition

An ambitious ego comes with a high maintenance cost. It requires constant refuelling. In a certain US university that boasts of several Nobel laureates one asked a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry: ‘Sir, after Nobel what?’ The doyen of chemistry replied with studied humility, “I hope that the university administration will now give me my own parking slot as is the custom with other Nobel laureates.” Rest assured, the arc of ambition extends even beyond Nobel prize.

The Curve of Competition

The competitive ego sees everything through the lens of contrast. This ego survives on a constant stream of comparison with others in the world out there.

For example, a data entry operator pops out of his boss’ cabin with the news of his promotion. On the way out he meets his rival and colleague. The colleague announces that he too has got his well-deserved promotion. The data guy flies into a rage and mutters under his breath: in this company even cats and dogs get promoted!

The Faculty of Fault-Finding

The ego thrives on finding faults of others. Show him Julia Roberts’ profile or Preity Zinta’s face and he will show you how deep dimples spoil the beauty of a face!

This CEO of our story had once employed a professional detective agency to figure out whether the woman he was dating had any significant character flaw. The agency carried out a thorough investigation and submitted a comprehensive report after 15 days. The report ended with this concluding statement: In brief, our investigating agency could not find any major fault of the lady in question but for this: she is rumoured to be engaged with a CEO of questionable character and dubious distinction!

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