Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ego: Shall We, Again, Rehash this Topic?

Ego has been on my mind as of late.  Not just presented as arrogance or aloofness, but what happens when the ego presents itself in the form of a title?  What happens when the ego presents itself in the form of laziness?  What happens when it presents itself in a form other than what many of us have been trained to pinpoint?  What happens when it is pointed out in that alternate form?  Do you really think declaring shenanigans is going to change things?  Of course not!  The ego is a wily being, just waiting to jump in and 'save the day'.

I often look at myself and how I handle situations.  I often wonder if I allow my own ego to get in the way.  I look at people I know, people I used to know, and sometimes, people I don't know and I recognize certain things.  I recognize those who may need help in one way or another.  I recognize that some of those people don't know they need help.  I recognize that some of those people don't want help.  This is a frustrating thing.  How can I help those who don't want it or think they don't need it?  The short answer is, I can't.  At this point, my own ego gets in the way.  

Instead of doing the sensible thing and simply being, gathering information for when that person does want help, I get impatient.  This is a function of ego and I know it.  I know better and yet I do it anyway.  I feel quite fortunate that I have surrounded myself with those more experienced than I am, so that they can point this out to me.  I don't necessarily like it, but once it is pointed out, my own feelings are then narrowed to a specific source and they tend to make more sense to me.  The light bulb comes on and, suddenly, I can navigate these feelings from a different place. 

What happens when we are presented with someone who believes him- or herself to be 'greater' because of a title that has been bestowed upon him or her?  What if this title only means something in ones group or local community?  A good example of this would be the title of Elder within a regional community.  Elder status is not something that is given by the other Elders within the community (though in certain places, the Elders would have people believe this).  It is a status bestowed by the people in the community, whether a person wants the status or not.  Yes, it helps when the Elders accept the will of the community in regards to said person, but they can not foist Elder status of a person upon the members of the community if said members do not want it.  This is as much a function of the ego as is holding Elder status back from a deserving individual (and ignoring the will of the community).

What about the public shunning of individuals, or leaving them out of group activities, or making a commitment to a person and then reneging on that commitment without so much as a word to the individual?  All of these things have the potential to cause grievous harm, if the individual allows it.  These are all functions of the ego.  Of course, on occasion, the person shunned moves past his or her own ego and sees the shunning for what it is: The will of the gods for them to move on to greater things. Then, *poof* the actions of those who are doing the shunning seem silly and childish and another illusion has been dispelled. 

Another thing the ego does, especially while in a position of leadership, is strokes the ego of those it sees as 'beneath' it, so they do not see themselves as being used.  Have you, dearest reader, ever watched someone turn into a slave?  I have, many times, unfortunately.  People want to be seen as important, worthy, more than they are and they allow themselves to be manipulated right into slavery.  They allow those whom they perceive to be wiser or more than they are to stroke their egos with feelings of importance, saying things like, "You are special." or "The gods have great plans for you." (And many other manipulative placation's.)  

I have always felt myself quite fortunate that I have never had delusions of grandeur.  I do not want to lead vast hordes of people.  I do not want people hanging on my every word because I am 'somebody.'  Yes, I still have issues with wanting to prove myself to others, but not to the point of changing my own will to match that of another person's or allowing them to plant certain suggestions.  I have long figured that if I make a difference in the life of one individual who goes out and does the same, then I have accomplished a great purpose in this life.  If, by writing these simple thoughts down and leaving them on the internet for anyone to read, one person is moved, changed, or even questions anything they have been told, I have accomplished something greater than myself and doing the work is what is most important, not who delivers it or how it is delivered. (And, it is certainly not important for me to jump up and down or do the "Look at me" dance...)

This world has enough 'somebodies' in it.  There are more than enough important people out there who want to stroke each others egos and tell each other they are doing the good work.  They want to tell each other how important they are to the masses and how the masses need them to keep doing the work.  There are more than enough people out there with title and status.  Jesus wanted neither title nor status.  While he is not my god, I do believe he is a good example.  Buddha did not want title or status.  While he is also not my god, he is also a good example.  Both did the work they believed they were sent here to do.  They did what they did and many lives were changed for it.

I walk a path of service: Service to my gods and service to my community.  Let no man's words or deeds hinder that service.  Let no man's will or desire transcend the will of the gods.  So mote it be.

Brightest blessings, friends!!


  1. Well written...and thought out.
    The greatest secret of the ego is that one must learn to not only control it, but to sooth it. Tricky bit that, but possible by simply adjusting ones perception about things or people so that one can 'accept' things (people) as they are and decide to remain focused on one's self instead of that which one's ego has targeted. And when the ego of one's self is the issue, one must learn (and apply) humbleness; that is not to say humility, but reverence to those around them as not only equals, but as a part of one's own Spirit.
    Ego is the greatest influence in our ability to co-operate, communicate and experience. It manipulates our own emotions, and affects those around us according to how we perceive them. We cannot hope to 'control' the ego's of others; however we can control our own by refusing it (the ego) to control us through our own emotions. No, that does not mean we must become unfeeling, rather it means we must ALWAYS be considerate in the feelings of others as to not address their ego directly nor our own in either agreements and disagreements. In other words; agree to disagree, complement achievements rather than envy them, be authentic in compassion and or sympathy, help when possible through suggestion rather than directly (as in doing it for them) and always allow the 'benefit of the doubt' when unsure. And always stand to your principles and beliefs while at the same time constantly applying them and evaluating them so that you can accept change and or adjustment rather than proclaim 'right and or wrong' and judgement.
    Servitude is service given freely and without expectation of reward. That is honor, and ego should never reside there. Will there be discourse and ego issues? Yes, as you said, we are human and that is a part of our human entity. However we can practice patience, offer honest communications with consideration of those we either agree with or disagree with, allow tolerance and acceptance to that which we cannot 'control' nor change directly and never loose our way along our path.
    May you find shade to rest in, may peace favor your sword, and may you find along your path....yourself.

  2. This could have easily been written by me as many of the experiences described were my own. I was publicly shunned. I was cut out of activities, and those involved made absolutely sure I knew I was cut out. I had commitments made then suddenly reneged without a word. I had promises made publicly then privately revoked. I even had requests ignored, both to help and for help.
    There is an issue you can add. That is when an elder makes a point of verbally knocking a person down in front of others. By that I mean saying things that are disparaging and explaining to the others who are listening exactly why their belief/action/self has little to no worth and then even asking the others to add in why they should denigrate this person. The first time this happened to me I was stunned. Then I thought I was being oversensitive and just accepted it. I let it go too many times and I admit, my self-esteem was going down. After all, my elder was telling me over & over that all my beliefs and practice were ridiculous and valueless, and telling my peers the same thing! They believed it and it strongly showed in our interactions.
    This was not my own bruised ego seeing the situation this way. It took several people who cared for me very much to keep pointing it out before I finally accepted these things as true because I simply didn't want to accept them. But it comes a time when you can no longer ignore that which is glaringly obvious to all around. I never knew what was the cause of this, but I can say that when I attempted to pull myself away from the situation their only concern was for the things I did for them. Not a word of kindness. Not a word of concern. Not even a question of why I felt the need to leave. Only a demand that I come back when they needed me to do something for them. That is when I realized, it had become a one-way relationship.
    I left this situation a while ago so I can see it much clearer now. I see how as you mentioned, those beneath have their own egos stroked by the words of "you are special" and so on to the point that they blindly do anything, even risking their health & well-being as well as that of their loved ones. It saddens me when an elder would use a position of power for their own benefit and their ego. To become an Elder is to accept that it is your place to live in servitude to the Gods and to the people around you. It is a path of helping people to improve themselves & their lives. If an individual uses that position to harm others on any way, including emotional harm, then the community needs to reconsider that person's status as Elder, at least until they can deal with their own ego issues and be able to be the person the community needs.
    Thank you for this post. It is something the community needs to be aware of. I'm glad I got away from this a while ago & I am much happier now with my current group. But there are so many out there who are like I once was and not seeing or accepting what was going on. I do hope this post finds some of those people so that they too can recognize the situation and leave for a better path and group of people.
    Many Blessings to you!!!

  3. You know, Shadar, I have come to wonder, when my own ego begins to whine, if it's not best to treat it like a fussy toddler and just let it fuss for a while until it exhausts itself and goes to sleep. (Or whatever the ego equivalent of a nap is...) I'm not required to speak the thoughts of my ego to anyone, and often, I will snark to a friend (if I simply can't hold it in) and tell her that I know this is my ego and I'm being a bitch, but I figure if I allow my ego to have its say internally, then it is going to tell me EXACTLY what the issue is. If it doesn't work, I will go to those wiser than I am and say, "Ok, here's my issue..." Then we root around until we get it all dragged out into the light. Then I have the needed perception shift and things become crystal clear (usually) and I feel like an asshole for a bit. This seems to be my new process, for the moment. 1. Ego snark. 2. Ego whine 3. Drag it out into the light 4. Feel like an ass for a bit and move on. :) I'm working getting rid of steps 1 & 2 and moving on to step three so there isn't a step four. It's a process.

    Starflower I know many who have had some of your same experiences, then, myself included. If you have had leaders (I'll NOT call them Elders because they do not deserve that title) verbally abusing you it makes me sad for you and for those who will cross their paths in the future. One of the issues with leaders who abuse is that there are no (if any) checks and balances within most groups. They simply aren't set up that way. Most are set up so that HP and HPS have the final say, period. There is no Council of Elders to hold the leaders in check. The only consequences come when the whole body of the group ceases to exist (or stops coming) and then it becomes a revolving door of people, some who are urged to stay and others who are abused and urged to leave.

    I agree with you completely as to what the appropriate actions of Elders are, servitude to the Gods, whether on a small scale or a large one. Thank you for sharing your experience, wisdom, and your kind words.