All the negative aspects we have been discussing about in our conscious and subconscious layers like compulsive thinking, negative thoughts and feelings, cravings, addictions, expectations, aggressiveness, obsession, possessiveness, selfishness, pride, vanity, anger, envy, attachment, desire, impatience, frustration, depression and so on and so forth are generated by our ego. In fact, many of the reactions that we think are natural and permitted under the circumstances are actually states of egoistic thinking. Let us take a simple example. When things go wrong repeatedly, if we think, “I am never free from problems” or “Why am I the one who is always targeted by problems?” or “I will always be beset by problems’” or “These problems will simply eat me alive” etc., we are experiencing self pity. Even this state of self pity is generated by our ego.
Along with the feeling of self pity, another behaviour pattern that most of us think of as justified is righteous anger. When people talk harshly to us for no reason, we feel that we have a right to retort with anger and our mind continues to churn out furious thoughts for a long time even after the interaction is over. When somebody advices us to calm down, we say, “When that person is so rude to me for no fault of mine, why should I put up with it? I have every right to be angry with him.” The price that we are paying for this ‘right to be angry’ is our peace, contentment and bliss. By feeling that we are completely justified in generating such emotions, we are falling straight into the trap set by our ego. So, we should pass all our ‘standard’ behavioural responses under the scanner of our discrimination and ask ourselves which of them are generated by the ego and how we can change them. However, this is not as easy as it seems because the tentacles of our ego are devious, deceptive, subtle and all pervasive. They have invaded every nook and corner of our lives. That is why when we begin to battle with it, we feel that our ego has a hundred heads and a thousand arms and though we keep uprooting them one by one, they grow back just as fast.
Now let us look at what happens if everything is going well with our lives and all our desires are fulfilled effortlessly. When we experience this state, without our own knowledge we tend to become arrogant. We feel very complacent and forget that we are experiencing the fruits of our good karma which are always temporary. We forget the principle of cosmic co-operation. We forget that we require divine grace to make everything happen in our lives.