Methods to control ego

When self-interest or ego prevails in our mind, we begin to compete with everyone for everything, no matter what the cost

Published: 02nd July 2013 08:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd July 2013 08:11 AM   |  A+A-

Ego is your sense of “I”, it will always be present in any consciousness (being) and it’s not a problem by itself, however the ‘ego-force’ is at the root-cause of resistance to your ‘life-force’, and thus is responsible for all the psychological suffering created by this resistance - by psychological suffering, I mean emotional and mental suffering.

A strong personality exhibits tolerance and endurance. It has the power to vanquish and punish an opponent, but chooses to forgive and forget instead. When we are egoistical, on the other hand, we demonstrate our weakness by answering a pebble with cannon. We lose our composure the moment our feelings are even slightly bruised. We have a hard time forgetting the injuries we have received from others, but an even harder time remembering how much we have injured others.

All problems — at home, work, in politics, everywhere - are caused by colliding egos. These problems are not overcome by one ego dominating others, but by a person of strong will and clear vision coming forward and overshadowing the trivial egos of those who are quarrelling. Egoism implies that we think we are important than others, and that what we believe, is the truth.

Ego means our point of view is more important than that of others, more important than even truth. So we are trapped within our point of view. Not only are we arrogant about our point of view, we believe in our infallibility. Arrogance and stubbornness create stress. When self-interest or ego prevails in our mind, we begin to compete with everyone for everything, no matter what the cost. We do not see beyond our self-gratification.

Are you somebody who possesses the tendency to govern your life and actions through humility or are you somebody who tends to govern your life and actions through pride and arrogance? Do you know how to keep your ego in check? Keeping your ego in check and making sure you do not express arrogance or too much pride can help you go a long way in life.

You will learn how to manage your ego to increase your chances of enjoying success in your career and personal life. One way you can manage your ego is to maintain a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance. For example, if you know you are very good at something or you know you can beat someone else at something, you should not become arrogant.

A strong ego is as much of an obstacle in spiritual practice as it is in worldly matters. The stronger the ego, the bigger the hurdle it will create. However, the solution is not to kill or weaken the ego but to do our best to purify, transform, and guide it properly.

We can do this by employing both our intelligence and power of discrimination. When we meditate, practice contemplation, pray, study the scriptures, serve others, and seek the company of the wise we make our ego pure and less confined, and this in turn inspires us to move one step forward.

Thus, the ego becomes the tool for purifying and expanding itself, and in this way the petty ego is gradually transformed into an expanded, more purified ego. This transformation must end with the ego dissolving and becoming one with the pure Self and experiencing its union and Universal Consciousness. As the ego of a dedicated seeker merges with the Infinite, all confusion disappears, the veil of duality lifts, and the purified ego sees the whole universe in itself and itself in the whole universe.

Another way to manage your ego is to stay humble and express a sense of humility. You can become and stay humble by continuing to give everything you do your all and always convince yourself you still have something to prove to yourself and the rest of the world even though you have already achieved success in particular areas of your career or life.

You can maintain and display humility by never being too proud to admit your mistakes. If you own up to your mistakes, you will have easier time learning from your mistakes and you will probably gain respect and admiration. Keep your ego in check to improve your attitude. If you do not portray yourself as being flawless or act high and mighty, you will increase your ability to show the type of attitude that is likely to impress other people.

 This article is an ‘Ashirvachana’ given by late Sri Balagangadaranatha Mahaswamiji, 71st Pontiff of Sri Adichunchanagiri Mahasamstana Math

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