Remember the training wheels on your bicycle? They helped you get over the rough patches until you learned the skills of bike riding. The ego is like that. Until you get over the rough spots of learning to live from compassion, you need your ego. It gets you through situations that would otherwise be overwhelming. Like the training wheels on your bike, the ego keeps you from running amok.
But ultimately the answer is no, you don’t need the ego. In the enlightened space there is no need for it, in fact, there it is a burden. Think of it this way, “I” is a protected space. Consider the isolating effect of beliefs like, “I am inadequate,” or “I am not good enough.” They isolate you from life, from other people.
And, so long as you feel that you need that protection, that isolation is necessary. Without it you would likely be overwhelmed by forces you are simply not prepared to cope with. You would go into shock. These mental structures separate you from me. And so long as you have fears, you are going need those protective walls.
Now of course there is a price for that isolation. Intimacy is nurturing. It recharges our batteries as it were. It can provide support, confidence and love when we are feeling down or need a boost. Others can reflect back our thoughts and give us feedback, suggest alternatives. They can provide cooler heads when we are about to lose ours. But most importantly, other people provide the interplay so necessary for our own growth and development. That’s lot to give up in order to feel safe.
The same thing is true for feelings of superiority. “Southern girls don’t do that,” or “Goodness child, look at your hair, what will people think,” or, “We don’t behave like that in public.” You get the point.
“We” is inclusive. It lowers the boundaries between us and enhances the flow of information and feelings. If I feel safe in the “we” space, I can let down my boundaries. I allow you to see me, warts and all. I no longer have to go around feeling like I am always under attack or that I must defend my every decision or action. It is a far more enjoyable life experience.
So, how do you get to the “we” space? The answer lies with your inner one who believes she is inadequate, unworthy, shameful – whatever. She holds those beliefs because that’s what her early life experiences led her to believe. They’re not true, they cannot be, but those beliefs can be so deeply imbedded that they seem intractable.
Well they are not. You can change this. It takes some work, and you have to want it, but you can learn to give her the love she has always needed. You can show her that she is not who she believes she is. I don’t want to oversimplify the process, but it can be done. You may need some outside help, I certainly did, but with effort and the willingness to challenge what you believe, you can turn “I” into “We.”
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