â€œHow do you know that your ego is not getting ahead of you?â€ â€“ my friend asked me recently. Good question. I thought about it and realized that I examine my ego quite frequently, on everyday basis. I am just not calling it ego anymore, and it does not necessarily have a shameful and regretful connotation.
When we were children, we were taught what was good and what was bad, and there was not much in between on this scale of black and white. If we keep judging ourselves and others with this primitive binary scale of zeros and ones, likes and dislikes, love and hatred, saint and evil, weâ€™ll end up in a living hell. None of the important lifeÂ questions can be resolved by applying the same answer to all people and situations. Same with the ego – itâ€™s not all good or bad, there is much more to be learned about our egos.
The ego does not only show up when we do something terrible. We could be sensing it even if we just think something judgmental or express ourselves in a non-optimal manner.Â That’s not a peaceful existence, but is there a solution?Â Yes, there is.
In ZEN method for executive leaders training I took recently, it became so clear why the usual ways of dealing with negative feedback of ego do not work. Our teacher Johwa Choi explained why the type of meditation majority of people are practicing these daysÂ may be good for stress relief and relaxation, but not forÂ someone seeking answers to who they truly are, someone seeking for authentic change beyond the physical and energy phenomena.
I wonâ€™t do justice to what we learned over two days of this one-of-a-kind intensive weekend training in this short blog, but I will say this. If we perceive our ego as enemy, we donâ€™t get to know it well enough, and we can never become whole. It isnâ€™t an option to live ego-less unless we die or become saints. Then our teacher advises usÂ getting to knowÂ who we are intimately, including ego’s clever mechanisms of self-preservation.Â One of the fastest ways to see and experience this intricate relationship between thoughts, emotions, consciousness, the ego and the truest self is viaÂ aÂ powerful method called ZEN method â€“ Zero Enhanced Nothingness. I wish Gilbert Chesterton knew of this method when he wrote: â€œOne may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.â€
Through meditation one can and should develop a better sense of who he or she is.Â GraduallyÂ the screen lightens up with aÂ wider spectrum of colors – different hues and shades of ego and truest self are coming to life. These colors may be dark and depressing at times, but switching to a brighter scale becomes easier and faster with practice. To me this is where true freedom can be found â€“ a place of brilliant brightness with the ego playing under its embracing rays.