Updated: Apr 17
And how connecting to your heart centre keeps the ego at bay
In Patanjali's yoga sutra he describes the ego (asmita) as one of the cause of all suffering besides ignorance (avidya), atttachment (raga), aversion (dvesha) and fear of dying (abhinivesha).
Asmita in our days is definitely killing ones dreams. With the constant worry of not being good enough or feeling too proud as the other side of the coin. Among many other things, it keeps people from moving forward and achieve dear hearts dreams.
One day, after many years of being on a yoga journey, I had a realisation. As long as I don't overcome and most of all - recognise - how much I live from my ego I will never find peace in my life. I will never get what I really want.
I understood that the ego is such a bitch to be around with (sorry my language). Each time I beat myself up for something, each time I feel a victim, each time I don't look at another perspective, my ego wins. Ever so often I have to let it win, but then I have hopefully learned"something". Despite of going back to making the same mistakes, I make them from a place of new understanding.
Each time I recognise that it's just my ego acting out, the light in my heart becomes just a little stronger.
What is ego?
Asmita (I-am-ness) is the identification of ourselves with our ego. We create a self-image of ourselves that we believe is us, but it is not. This self-image can contain both external (I am poor) and internal (I am a bad person) false projections. We become trapped within the projections we have created of our life. It takes hostage of our opinions and believes.
Start from somewhere
Learning to recognise the ego is not as easy done as said, but starting somewhere small is the way to go.
For example, catch yourself complaining about something. Maybe it's the weather, or a co-worker, the way you look, or anything else which you regular comment on. Then make a decision for the next 21 days "I will not complain about this one particular thing".
And I promise that you will complain. But after making this decision you will be aware that you do. That will make you stop for a moment and re-evaluate your action. Awareness is the outcome.
"The ego thinks of what it wants and has not. This is its constant preoccupation. The soul is aware of what it is given and lives in endless gratitude."
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II: CWM, Vol. 14, p. 257
Learn to feel gratitude
Another way of overcoming the constant domination of the ego is the learning how to feel grateful, and here I emphasise "feeling" because just saying or thinking gratitude is not enough, since being grateful is quite trendy these days.
True gratitude must be felt. So when you come into a situation where you are, cheated, lied to, resented or not respected, go into your heart centre. Feel a beautiful feeling of gratitude. To make it simple start by feeling grateful for the every day things, a warm meal, a roof over your head or someone you share your life with, anything which you can "truly" be grateful for.
And when that situation comes where you want to just get angry, irritated or you lose control, tab your heart centre with your right middle finger (on your sternum at the level of the armpits) and imagine a white light while feeling gratitude. The light will push out the ego. Learn to focus.
Be wrong ever so often
Instead of trying to be right, admit to be wrong. Humility is the one and only quality to conquer your ego mind. Are you in denial when you do something wrong or always blaming others? Observe yourself, do what Patanjali calls Svadyaya (self-study), be a constant guard of your mind.
"Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. – Author Unknown
Everything is under control
After studying yoga for many years I felt I got this! And that is exactly when the ego shows up with a new face.
I thought I'm such a good person because I meditate every day - I was wrong. I thought I have everything under control since I practice yoga asana and live a healthy life - I was wrong. I thought my relationships are not working because other people don't do the same "good" work as I do - I was wrong.
All this is just ego on a different level.
A life lived from the heart
Instead of living from the head, lets take a closer look at the heart, (the heart I'm talking about is not the physical one, but the energetic one - the heart you feel unconditional love from) because the ego identifies only with the mind and the emotions, it can not take control over your heart. That's why YOU need to take control over your heart.
If you want to learn how to live from your heart find a Purna Yoga studio which teaches Heartfull™ Meditation or join our excellent Purna Yoga Teacher Trainings.
I'd love to hear how you perceive your ego, comment below!