Where do our feelings originate? They arise from something called Ego. Ego is the part of us that dictates how our life is unfolding. Ego forms our perceived identity. When we look around the room and say to ourselves that the chair is not me, and that person over there is not me, that’s ego. Ego is operating when identify as a particular religion or formulate ideas about our identity based on our race, gender, age, or profession. We hear the voice of ego every time we experience anger or fear. Ego can also work in the other direction. Ego can make you feel smart, wise and even happy. While there is nothing wrong with these feelings, they too can be used by the ego to keep us vain, superior to others and separate from others. Ego strives to perpetuate its own existence and feels threatened when something or someone wants to infringe upon it.
Ego has subtle a way of not embracing life, all the while it will convince you that it does. In short ego is an internal mechanism that could potentially direct us straight to personal hell. Since life is always changing, ego attempts to keep up by tweaking your thoughts and behaviors to preserve its created identity intact and will do cart wheels to keep up with the ever changing demands. As much as this sounds untenable and undesirable we can’t live or function without ego. We need ego to function in the world. Ego allows us to drive our car, take care of our physical body, allows us to know when someone is speaking to us. The difficulty with ego arises when we IDENTIFY as the ego. Living from the ego creates an endless cycle of struggle and emotional pain. The reason is that ego has insatiable appetite for wanting everything, including ourselves, to look the way we want life to appear.
The good news is that there is a way out of the ego’s grasp on our lives. In his book entitled, The Surrender Experiment, by Michael A. Singer, writes the following:
“The flow of life had served as sandpaper that, to a great extent, freed me of myself. Unable to unbind myself from the incessant pull of my psyche, in an act of sheer desperation, I had thrown myself into the arms of life. From that point forward, all I did was my very best to serve what was in front of me and let go of what it stirred up inside of me. Joy and pain, success and failure, praise and blame- they had all pulled at what was so deeply rooted within me. The more I let go, the freer I became. It was not my responsibility to find what was binding me; that was life’s job. My responsibility was to willingly let go of whatever was brought up within me.”
This brings me back to my topic, obtaining spiritual enlightenment by going to the gym? Imagine trying to build muscle without lifting weights. Life provides the weights (in the form of emotional pain and suffering) which hopefully prompts the desire to become free of the pain. The process of finding and letting go of emotions is one that requires repetition and practice. As releasing becomes second nature, the more ‘strength’ you have to stay rooted in truth of who you are, and less tempted to respond to life from ego. Life will take on a new and completely different energy and vibration. What are you waiting for?