My ego is a giant faker, she's a diehard and a rager. She's squirming as I write this.
I'm trying to kill her (now she's really squirming, while also asserting that I'll never be able to accomplish a lasting ego death in this lifetime) Yep, this fierce ego is trixy, and she won't go quietly.
This month I'm asking...
Who is this "I"?
(... and What is Real?)
These are questions curious humans have been asking since the beginning of time.
This month in class (and online- hi there!) I'm inviting us to sit with our assumptions of who we really are.
Throughout yoga practice, daily interactions and digital doings, Iet's observe THE EGO (it asked me to give it capitals, after all that talk of killing ;)
In Sanskrit ego is known as "Ahmkara" it is the mind's perception of "I AM".
We're gliding in to Winter in the Southern Hemisphere, which is a particularly potent time for inwardly focusing our attention, doing less, meditating on our essential nature and contemplating what parts of us are ready to die off / be released, for good?
In rumbling about in the basement of the Self we may come face to face with our weakness, our pain, our addictions, this can be really confronting and also immensely freeing!
Meditation and yoga are great practices for noticing the ego's tendencies, and you know what? In my humble opinion, so is social media and parenting for showing me how my ego likes to play me.
Since having children, I didn't realise how much my life was previously all about me! I struggle DAILY with my egos desires, the need to control; the fierce grip on wanting to be right (how many arguments I could avoid if I just let this one go!); wanting reward/recognition for my efforts (especially those domestic jobs, that are never really done before they are again, undone) aaaannnnd the list goes on!
To practice true karma yoga, the yoga of self-less service, whether it's parenting or doing our bit volunteering to help those less fortunate, the ego must get out of the way. This work is most authentic when we expect no rewards, or particular outcomes form our efforts, we do the work, because it's the path we have chosen, "results" are never guaranteed!
From Swami Vishnu Devananda,
"That which we must strive hardest to control is Ahmkara, the ego. The ego is a quality of mind which considers itself to be separate from others. It is the ego that creates the illusion that people are entities separate for the rest of reality. The world when seen as separate from the individual becomes adversary and an object for exploitation rather than a harmonious whole. Then various objects are needed to satisfy the ego's voracious appetite."
And so begins the consumer treadmill, and the futile search for lasting happiness outside ourselves.
I look forward to sharing much more on this topic in class and interacting with you on social media (if we are connected there) to deepen our witnessing of the ego and it's games over this next month. Oh and there is SUCH richness to be reflected back to us through this later medium which of course you know is designed purely to give our ego that dopamine kick it craves and keep us 'hooked' in the compulsive checking and mindless scrolling. (As an aside I've taken a break from screens after dark as we descend towards Winter Solstice, I'm not sure how long it will last, I'm taking it one day at a time, and instead I'm being soooooo deeply nourished by reading books, going to bed really early and practicing yoga and meditation.)
What might you be able to enjoy if you made a commitment to having no screens after dark? Or no screens until after breakfast? Think about that and let me know if you decide to try it!
And since I got such a great response from last month's "Earth Warrior" Playlist, I'm sharing this month's playlist Who is this "I"?
I hope you enjoy these tunes (which are all free from English lyrics) at home, as they create a trance-like sonic landscape for diving in to contemplation of Self and your divine, eternal nature. I especially love Jane Winther's version of the chant "Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu" on this playlist.