'Ego' My oldest friend vs Mindfulness
We all believe that when we were born, we were born without any self ego. Then as we grew up this 'ego' named friend came with us. It would stay with us when we were happy, when we got good grades but we needed it the most in our failures .It would really defend us from all the negativity and criticism. It was one of the oldest and best friend which the world gifted us.
It would be interesting to know how ego has developed as we grew up. Ego has subconsciously being used by one and all at times to discipline us and some times to encourage us to overcome our limitations . "Why are you crying like a girl, boys don't cry"or" "You are now 10 years old you should not behave like a child".Many times our teachers have told us you you need to do better than the other class or batch or this class is the worst class. So we have learnt to live with this ego which helped us to overcome many of our difficulties and challenges as we grew up. We never realized how much we let it rule our lives.
Mindfulness is being aware of what is happening now. Another way to describe it is to consciously bring our attention to the present moment. Our friend ego also has a major role to play when we strive to be mindful.
Let's see how.... Arjuna used to meditate everyday for 30 mins. Yesterday he had a terrible fight with his wife and he was very upset. He got up in the morning and tried to meditate but he was too disturbed. He had recently gone for MBSR retreat and he decided to be mindful about his negative emotions. But he was finding it extremely hard as he was worried how his wife will react when he comes back home? Whether she will forgive him for coming late and forgetting her birthday.
Throughout the day Arjuna was surprised how hard he was finding it to calm down and focus on his work. He felt whatever he learnt in the last 2 months was not working . He tried to be aware of the raging mind but he was not able to focus his attention. May be he had not learnt it properly. He was extremely disappointed and depressed and this simply added on to his problems.
This is one of the situation people come across during the practice of mindfulness. There are moments we feel that we are "failing" or unhappy that we are unable to be mindful. This is being very hard on our self and being judgmental about our practice.
The only thing active when we judge ourself specially when we are emotionally disturbed or under stress is the "Ego" which makes us Judgemental about the success or failure of our practice. Everyone who practices mindfulness have had difficulty in getting back the 'rhythm' and it is quite normal.We all strive to be in rhythm most the times in the day but being out of rhythm is also a part of being mindful
Mindfulness is about being at ease with all the positive and negative emotions.Accepting that there are many situations and events not in our control and they are bound to create enough turmoil in our mind. This will make our mind go out of rhythm. It is the nature of the mind to wander and be mindless.
Say for instance in a fit of rage, We may have said something nasty to a friend. Rather than being angry or upset about why we said those words and failed to be mindful of the aggression,it is more important to be compassionate to our mind which had to go through this turmoil.Of course the next thing would be to correct what we did wrong. But if we judge our self, which is the normal tendency it will make it more difficult for us to realize our mistake and be mindful about the raging emotions in our mind.
We need to be more compassionate to our self and our mind which has to go through this every day.Mindfulness without self-compassion is incomplete.This will make it easier for us to get our focus back and be mindful with our dear friend "Ego".