“You are not your mind”
– Eckhart Tolle –
Last night Darren and I watched How to Train Your Dragon and it got me thinking. . . . What a fantastic metaphor for our relationship with our egos.
Before we sat down to watch the film we went out for a little walk along the water in Manly and sat and enjoyed a bit of Cloud Meditation. And then we came back home to make the most delicious meal. Courtesy of a wonderful recipe from Mr Jamie Oliver for BBQ organic leg of lamb basted with olive oil, honey, lemon, rosemary and thyme. We coupled this with roast potatoes (in yummy duck fat), parsnips, pumpkin and freshly steamed broccoli and carrots. And to top the whole thing off, we drizzled home-made gravy and some mint sauce over the lot.
We then snuggled down to watch How To Train Your Dragon, which is a really fantastic Sunday night feel-good film. The most beautiful images to fill your head with before settling down for a nice sleep and waking up ready and raring to go on Monday.
So, how does the film link to your ego?
Well, at the beginning of the film, the Vikings are fighting the dragons, and the dragons are destroying their village. And this is very much how the ego can be.
If you imagine that the dragon represents our ego and the village represents our true self.
Our ego wants us to be safe, so it will protect us at all costs, even when we’re wanting to do something a little risky or out of the ordinary. If the ego feels threatened it will do whatever it takes to protect us. Again, if the dragons feel threatened they breathe fire over anything to protect themselves.
For example, this time last year when I was planning to set up my own business my ego was being pretty tricky. Every time I put energy into setting it up, working on it, furthering it, my ego would create a drama or make it all sound too difficult and too hard. Breathing fire over everything.
The conversations that I had with the voice in my head (my ego) went in constant circles. And I had to do a lot of work on my psychology to turn the volume down on that voice, because it isn’t real. My true self wanted to set up my business. But my ego kept destroying my ideas and breathing fire and flames over everything. The more I fought my ego, the more it fought back.
The good news is that I have learned to understand my ego and work with it, rather than against it. I set up my business, and it is still going strong today.
The question is, how did I win in that instance? How did I stop my ego from breathing fire over everything that mattered to me?
I have learnt to tame my ego, and to this day I am still training it.
First and foremost, we will never be able to completely eradicate our ego. Even though it is not our true self, the voice in our heads will always remain. What is important though, is our relationship with it, and our ability to observe it and be kind to it, rather than a) believing it to be the truth (because it isn’t) or b) fighting it (because we won’t win). The easier we find it to turn the volume down, the easier our lives become. The more you stroke the dragon, the less likely it is to breathe flames over you.
When we understand that the voice in our heads (the ego) is not who we truly are, we are able to start to observe it, and understand that the only reason it is fighting with us, doubting us, challenging us is because it wants us to be safe.
The key is to actually learn to love and embrace our ego, give it a good stroke and then let it go, knowing and understanding that it means well, but that it is not real. Just the same as dragons.
For example, I am just about to launch a new website for my business. It has been 12 months coming and will hopefully be launched in time to celebrate Thought Cloud’s first birthday in the middle of June.
However, I have been having a battle with my ego for about the last 6 months. My true self has been saying, I need a website, I would like to launch a website, it’s important to have one so that people can find me online, to show people what I do. And my ego has been petrified of this, saying things like ‘what if your website is rubbish?, what if no one wants to work with you? what if you change what you do and confuse people?’ The list is endless. . . so rather than biting the bullet and putting my website out there, I have been having a little internal battle for the last 6 months.
And this happens to us all, a lot. It could be whether you should start online dating, or whether you should go to the gym today, or eat that chocolate bar or apply for that new job? There is the part of you that really wants to do something and then there is the voice in your head that argues with you until you actually end up doing nothing.
So, my advice would be, decide that you wish to start to train the little voice in your head (your ego). Decide that rather than letting it breathe fire over everything you’re trying to do or create, start to feed it a healthy diet of love and strokes and it will start to be kinder to you.
And finally I wanted to share with you a fantastic strategy for helping to keep your ego under control that I learnt from the fantastic Mr Kerwin Rae from a course of his that I attended last week. Start to follow these steps the next time you’re wanting to do something and your ego steps in and starts to make things more difficult than they need to be.
How to train your ego
1. I can hear you (we want to acknowledge that this voice is something separate from ourselves)
2. I know what you’re trying to do (the voice is trying to keep us comfortable, but in order to achieve something we truly desire and would love, we need to step outside of our comfort zone)
3. You are not me (As Eckhart Tolle states at the beginning of ‘The Power of Now’ – You are not your mind)
4. I’m not going to play this game anymore (It’s important to make clear to the little voice that we’re in control)
5. Thank You (by thanking the voice, it is then much easier to let is go and disappear)
And the less you take yourself seriously, the easier this will become.
Sending you lots of love, light and hugs,
Kat x x x
Inspiration for this post