Updated: May 21
If you desire peace of mind, you need to stop the control the ego has on your life. You need to live in the interplay of the soul and the ego.
If you are reading this blog I am going to assume that you have a need and a desire to welcome more peace in your life. This is true for me now, and has been true for me for many years. Peace of mind has become my definition of success. Don't get me wrong, I still welcome and enjoy making money. I simply value the currency of peace above all else.
Over the years I have researched, practiced and experienced many different tools, techniques and teachings on how to increase peace of mind. The most powerful transformation I have experienced is in understanding and being aware of my ego in action.
In a recent blog How to Return to Love (Even When you Don't Want to), I addressed the concept of returning to an energy of love. It is not always easy to respond with love and kindness. When our egos are hurt, the usual reaction is inflamed. We typically react instead of responding. Reaction happens when the ego is in control. There is no peace of mind in a state of reaction.
The concept of the ego is one that has been taught in many different ways by many different teachers. Personally, I subscribe to the definition of the ego as defined by Matt Khan.
"the activity that happens when the personality becomes inflamed and our perspective of life becomes exaggerated, then we see things the way we think they are".
We typically think of ego as superior, however the ego can be equally superior and inferior. At any given moment, we can lean more towards one or the other.
Matt Khan describes 4 types of Ego:
Righteous Inflammation - when you need other people to be wrong so you can be right.
Victimized Inflammation - blaming someone or something.
Entitled Inflammation - when you think everything belongs to you at the expense of others.
Needy Inflammation - "It's never enough", nothing and no one can satisfy you.
Understanding the ego allows us to have compassion for ourselves. It also allows us to stop going to war with the ego. So many teachers talk about the ego as something you want to get rid of, something to hate. My question is "how can we ever be at peace when we are at war with ourselves?". I don't choose to believe that I need to launch a war on my ego.
I find that a compassionate view of the inter play of the ego and the soul provides a greater ability to experience more peace of mind. Now, that begs the question "what is the definition of the soul?"
Once again, you can find many different definitions of the soul. I connect with Oprah Winfrey's definition that she has highlighted on her show Super Soul Sunday.
When you respond to a situation from a soul perceptive, you do so with kindness and love, even if the other person does not deserve it. In fact, when you are fully in your soul expression you do not judge others or yourself. Now, I understand that it is a lot to ask of a human being to act from a soul level when faced with human conflict.
You will only be motivated to act more from the soul level if you are in search of peace of mind. This is also the motivation that you will need to return to the energy of love. It won't always be easy, many times it takes work to return to love, to return to your soul and act from that place.
I believe that it is in the interplay of the soul and the ego that we can find more peace. Here are 5 easy steps I use on a regular basis to help me increase my peace of mind.
Step 1 - Be Aware
You can't change something that is outside of your awareness. The first step in regaining peace is to be aware of what has robbed you of the peace in the first place. Please do yourself a favour and don't become an awareness special investigation detective (ASID)...I mean don't dig down and try to find an explanation for what you are seeing or feeling. Just be aware if you are in your ego or in your soul.
Step 2 - Accept What is
Whatever arises, accept that. If you feel a sudden burst of anger, fear, sadness, disappointment or whatever arises, allow for these feelings to be present. At first, you may only be able to allow the unwanted emotions for a few seconds. That is perfect. Even a few seconds will lead you to allow more and more. The more you allow what is, the more peace you begin to welcome back in your inner world. Remember the ego thrives in an environment of threat and war. In acceptance, there is no war, there is only peace.
Step 3 - Judge Less
It is in the judgment of self and others that we most often lose peace of mind. When you make a judgement of another person, or you try to justify how you are better than someone, you are starting an internal war. Your mind cannot find peace as long as it is busy trying defend you. It is the job of your ego to defend you and ensure your survival. Judgement is of the ego, as the soul holds no judgments of anyone or anything.
Step 4 - Let It Go
When you are fully immersed in the ego, you will react. Most often you will say or do things that don't align with your soul. Instead of going back to the familiar place of judging yourself, let it go. You are human, it is part of the deal. You will go back and forth from reacting with the ego to responding with the soul.
Step 5 - Do Better Next Time
Your best course of action when you have just reacted with ego is simply to do better next time. Once you are aware, you accept what is, you judge less and you let it go, then all you need next is to do better next time. Release yourself from the expectation that better means perfect. Better just means you are more and more aware, and you return to your soul faster and faster.
How do you recognize when you are acting from ego or soul? What do you do to return to a soul expression? Share your insights in the comment section below.
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Wishing you love, joy and peace,