Being unaware is the opposite of being mindful.

So it’s a great idea to look at the success killing strategies that people use expecting success but actually bring disaster. The actual execution of each might be different but the underlying strategy is the same and they all come from the ego.

We have war, poverty, a nutrient deprived food system, corporate greed, murder and gun killings which ultimately come from one source. Our ego.

It’s also amazing that most people misinterpret what the ego is. Most think is the Freudian ID of the sub-conscious. Actually it’s not. The Tao Te Ching written 2600 years ago nicely described the positive and negative forces in the universe. The same force that causes things to wither and eventually die. The ego being the representative of the negative or destructive force. That same force exists in us and we often hear it as a commenting or negative voice in our head. It has been called many things over the centuries such as Mara, Shiva, the devil and the ego. Buddha spoke of it 2500 years ago, Freud 100 years ago. The real question seems to be, when are we going to wake up and listen?

It operates through us in consciousness and can influence us to do all sorts of things we don’t really want to do. To achieve that, it has five basic strategies that I’m sure you will recognize. Each of these acts on us in a personal sense as well as a corporate and governmental level.

Projection

Whenever something goes wrong the ego always says “its them.” “It’s the colored folk” who are the cause of problems in our country or the immigrants. Perhaps it’s your intimate partner who always annoys you or the kids who drive you crazy. The ego always pushes the cause away from itself onto others. It always uses “facts” to justify its position. Just ask Hitler and Nazi Germany they were all totally convinced their position on the Jews was right. Same as the cigarette and sugar companies now. All you need to do is speak with their spin doctors and they will tell you who is to blame for people dying. It’s not them!

Its also represented in our system of government by the oppositional structure of it where it’s never the ruling parties problem it’s the opposition or in reverse. Its never the opposition its always the government that caused the problem. This system wastes so much of the good that could be accomplished though bi-partisan government its not funny anymore. The shame is no one does anything about it and just accepts things as they are.

Separation

It’s destructive by nature so conflict is its menu. It will always seek to separate. They are different from me. They follow soccer I follow football. They are white I am black. She doesn’t understand me and he never listens to me. You can see its extreme when some take a gun to fix “them” because they did something to me and they are different to me and don’t understand me. You may not use a gun to solve you grievances but if you’re honest you can recognize when it generates anger in you.

Attachment

The ego loves attaching itself to something. It might be alcohol or working too hard. Watching TV, video games, porn. drugs, sex or shopping. Really it doesn’t matter. However it will find something to fixate on and keep doing it at the cost of something else in your life. Work too hard, you marriage suffers. Spend too much time on video games, your friendships suffer. Spend too much shopping, your bank account suffers. Then the ego will beat you up about what a bad person you are for having done it as well. With attachment it wins both ways.

Denial

Perhaps the best and most effective strategy the ego uses is denial and yes, its not a river in Egypt.

There is no problem! You see denial’s cousin is apathy and it reins in our world. We all know there are huge problems but the ego says “Hey what can you do, you’re just one person?” So we deny problems exist in us or in the world.  The ego denies that we all have a gift. A gift that we are meant to bring out to the world. A gift that lights up our life when we live it.

The only way to find that is to realize the ego will deny we need to improve. That we are ok and we don’t need to shift or grow or take a personal inventory and readjust what we do. That’s how the ego holds most people on this planet in apathy and ignorance.

The solution

Separate from that voice which says all these things. The voice that uses each of these strategies. When you can see clearly and take a personal inventory of how these apply to you, then you will become free. First you must free yourself from the ego’s influence and then you can free others.

Be mindful, practice meditation to see clarity and guidance not just to relax or gain health benefits. These will lead you closer to becoming free and finding both your gift to the world and your voice to express it. Peace and blessings.

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