Today our society seems content with feeding the lowest part of our psyche, what is generally termed as “the ego”. The ego is the part of your psyche that constantly seeks out gratification as well as praise and acceptance from others. The ego is the voice in your head which constantly fills your waking moments, and even dreams, with a constant dialog that you are not good enough, a victim, or that you are somehow superior to someone else. Succumbing to the ego, and fulfilling its voracious needs, can become a type of vice that will stunt your spiritual growth and development. Many people need to “feed” their ego just like a drug addict, shopping addict, sex addict, or any other addict needs to feed their addiction first and foremost (these addictions are all caused by the ego to begin with).
The ego, if left unchecked, is the antithesis of spiritual development, and must therefore be properly channeled in order to develop yourself spiritually. A properly channeled ego is present in a spiritually developed (awakened) person, because a spiritually developed person is not concerned with public praise, gratification, and power. A spiritually developed person is not concerned with the desires of the ego, because the things that the ego feeds off of are only temporary. When you die your earthly possessions will eventually turn to dust, your legacy will most likely be forgotten by future generations, and the addictions which consumed your life will be meaningless.
Finding your true self is a difficult undertaking to accomplish, because you have to tame your ego. This is difficult because many people build their ego up around themselves like a wall, which protects them from the world, and also allows them to be accepted by the world. The stripping away of the ego reveals many of the pains and insecurities that have long been buried by the ego. This means that you may bring up old memories and feelings that you have long repressed. However, by working through your mental garbage that the ego has created, you will begin to tame your thoughts and discover who you truly are. Also, by stripping the ego away you will become more tuned in with the world around you, which will allow you to begin living in the now.
By overcoming the ego and becoming self-actualized you will truly discover who “you” are. By becoming self-actualized you will become comfortable in your own skin, which makes you truly powerful because you will no longer seek out the praise of others in order to make yourself feel good. By becoming self-actualized, you will no longer be at the mercy of what others think about you, because you will love yourself no matter what others may think. You will also be able to put your desires, worries, thoughts, etc. into perspective. During this process you will find that many of the activities and worries that used to consume your life have lost importance. You will find that slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life such as family and friends, have much more meaning, and things like television, work, gossip, and material possessions have less importance. The simple act of slowing down and living in the now is reflected in one form of Buddhist meditation, where concentration is put on the simple act of breathing, which can be used to remind us that every breath that we take is a gift from God, and is something that should not be taken for granted, or wasted.
Practical Tip: The act of becoming self-realized can be accomplished by relatively simple daily tasks such as a short prayer of thankfulness, a moment of reflection, a quiet meditation (such as a breath meditation), or an act of kindness to another living being. Doing these simple acts everyday will help to change how you think about the world. Also, during the day, if you have a negative thought ask yourself, “why do I feel this way?”. During the day, if someone makes you angry, ask yourself, “why am I angry?”. in the end, you cannot effect how other people act, you can only effect how you react. Instead of becoming angry with someone, or worrying what others think, love everyone around you in the same way that God loves you. God created every living being, which means that every living being is a child of God.
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