Does your life seem like it’s always under control? Are things always just working out the way you wanted or hoped for? Do people always respond to you in the manner you expect or deserve?
Well I can tell you that it simply does not work out this way for me on any regular basis!
I am learning to see that I easily live in a constant state of expectation. Some are great, and some are minuscule, but all are expectations. From expecting a stranger to say thank you for holding a door open, to thinking my children should be acting or living in a different way.
This sense of righteousness and wisdom are all clearly based on ego. Even small misunderstandings in communication can give rise to frustration and anger. Again, these thoughts are developed by ego. Thinking that somehow I am smart, and the other person is just not bright enough to get my meaning.
So how do we let go of the ego, or extinguish it?
I know that some might say that there is a valid reason for we human beings to have ego, and that it helps with our survival, I would disagree. I see the ego as complete ignorance (avijja). With our illusion of self, we only develop clinging, aversion, attachment, and a myriad of dogmas.
The only “purpose” of ego is to fuel samsara. Around and around we go like hamsters on a wheel. And while for some this may seem like simply the way life is, I personally see it as shackles from liberation.
I only speak of all of this based on personal experience, and my own trial and error. Tested over and over again in typical life situations. Finding that each time that I drop the ego, the suffering is absent. I no longer own whatever is happening, the desire and discomfort either lessen or dissolve. I am not master of the universe, not even master of my domain. Life is what happens while we are not paying attention. And the moment we make it personal, I feel that we are no longer paying attention. We are not present or mindful, merely animal keepers for the monkeys in our mind.
While I have not yet escaped from samsara, I do see that my path is clear. Be present, be mindful, accepting and always with compassion. A great compassion (mahakaruna), that must begin with me.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”