Saturday, January 3, 2015

The ego of Pride

What is this word that we all use to define pride? This is an element of what makes up our many egos and which can manifest at any point, depending on what situation each of us might end up being in throughout our daily experiences within this life.

How we react to situations that cause our pride to suddenly appear, will depend on a number of factors. We may end up responding to a person a certain way, very automatically, or we may even take a physical action, and again that action will be automatic if we are not fully conscious of the fact that we have had pride appear and that we are reacting or acting based upon that emotion.

Pride is one of many elements that make up the whole of the ego.

Today I was shopping for vegetables at a market. The stalls there are very close together, and what I did was grab some mushrooms and some corn and continue on along the edge of the stall, searching for other vegetables. I finished finding what I wanted and handed everything over so that the price could be calculated. The female worker looked at some of the items I gave her, very strangely, with a frown and the expression of confusion. She eventually said to me that those items were not from her shop.

Image Credit: Sonny Abesamis

How did I feel about that, about the fact that I had done something 'wrong' and made a mistake. Was my pride hurt? How did I react to that situation? Did I realise that my reaction could easily be based upon this element of my ego surfacing and taking over?

I did notice pride come up for me, but only very briefly. I was very aware of how I felt and my response was from consciousness, as I smiled back at her and said sorry. I asked if I should take them back, which I did. I found the same items from her stall and decided to get everything there, so I paid and continued on with my day.

As humans, we can feel very strongly about making a mistake, about not being 'perfect', and looking badly in front of others. We can worry so much about what people think of us. This is of course natural, and very human. But we don't have to, just like with any egoic element, we can learn to identify it, acknowledge it and still respond from our true self, not automatically based upon an ego. The more we do this, the less and less an ego will influence and impact us, and the more we can develop the quality of our consciousness, which in turn improves and enhances our spirituality.

About six years ago, I have a memory of another situation I was involved in where my pride really jumped out, and where I did not have control of what I did in response to it. I was living in Australia then and I decided to take a holiday over in New Zealand. I shipped my motorbike over there with me, on a boat, so that I could travel around with it. While I was riding over a very windy hill in New Zealand, a hill I had never ridden over, I took a corner too wide and ended up going off the road. I blacked out seconds after hitting the side of a steep bank, which angled up, not down, and which was covered in sharp rocks. When I woke up my bike was laying on its side and I had a lot of pain in the area of my left ankle and my rib cage, around the center of my chest.

What did I do? Based on my pride, I instantly made the decision to try and pick my bike up, so that no one would notice I had an accident. I wanted to make it look like everything was normal, that I was just stopping by the side of the road, even though there was an obvious path of destruction with bits of my bike scattered around the place. I got beside it, while feeling a lot of pain in my ankle, and pushed it up. I had trouble pushing it up as my chest also had a lot of pain. While doing so, I think I made the broken / fractured rib worse, which I didn't realise I had at the time. I got the bike upright, put the stand down and found that the left side handlebar was broken right off. There was no going anywhere on that bike until it was repaired. I remember someone stopping and asking if I needed help, I told them 'No, I'm fine'. Was I completely crazy? Why didn't I accept help? Because of my pride. They didn't give up, and eventually I did decide to accept some help, when I was thinking more clearly. They drove me to a medical center where I was treated. My ankle was not fractured or broken, but they did put it in a cast. Still to this day, I get pain there on rare occasion and its usually around the time of a full moon or eclipse. It took over a month for the pain to go away from my chest, but nothing could be done for that except for me to wait until it healed. For the first few weeks, every time I took a breath I felt some pain because of that rib injury.

While I was of course in shock as well at the time, as you can see, that situation could have went a bit differently if I was not reacting from my ego of pride. It was a great learning experience for me and I actually had a dream the night before about having the accident, I just didn't realise it was a premonition at the time. I did feel very strongly that I was meant to have that accident, and I later learnt it had ties to a traumatic situation in my past.

If a person decided to go off into a life of solitude, to perhaps meditate in a cave for six months or a few years, they would be missing out on the chance of going through experiences, such as I have mentioned above, so that they can learn about the ego and have the opportunity to enhance their consciousness in that way. But, they may have already worked on this part of them selves in multiple lives, and they may now feel it is time to do exactly what they are doing. We don't have to do everything perfect or to try and fit everything into this life, which we think we may need to, as most of you have had many lives to obtain experiences from, before this one

There is no one way or one path of growth, there are many ways, but having the choice and understanding your options is always beneficial. For more information around ego and techniques for identifying it, see my article 'Identifying ego and expanding your consciousness' from the 21st of November last year.

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