Monday, 14 May 2012

Conversations with Self - ego desires vs soul needs

At times I feel quite weary and need time-out from present life experience! On occasion, I've reached a meditative state where I ask questions and begin to write whatever seems to flow from my mind in response. When I read back over the transcript, I'm usually surprised at what 'I've' written. I've often thought this 'response' comes from somewhere else, deeper within, perhaps from a spiritual connection.

This is once such piece, from my 2012 personal journal...


Is it okay to pursue my desires and wants or are they all just coming from my ego?

Wants and desires are natural because the ego naturally exists and creates them. However that does not necessarily mean they are beneficial. You can spend your life seeking to satisfy your desires but they are all merely distractions and once they have been attained or fulfilled, more will arise.

Distractions from what though? What is it I’m distracting myself from and why? I don’t see the point in sitting around abstaining from pursuing the things I want whilst everybody else seems to be enjoying life.

Not everybody is enjoying life - that is a wild generalisation. People might seem to be enjoying life because their ego desires are being satisfied at the time and their ego’s are therefore happy. And they could very well continue to pursue more and more of what the ego wants; it becomes everlasting.

You know what I mean! I just want to feel happy again, to be enjoying life again!

Then enjoy it, choose to be happy. Your ego wants to feel happy again, it wants to feel fulfilled. Your ego is very strong, it has a powerful hold over you. It will keep you searching for external things to satisfy itself.  When you realise this and stop searching, the ego panics. It will tell you of new things to seek and urge you to pursue them in order to find happiness again, but its happiness.

But I feel like I need new things, precisely! It seems like everything’s become stifling and boring and repetitive.

The ego tells you that new things are necessary to feel happy again. However this is not what you need. It is what your ego wants. What you need is to learn to be happy without all of these external stimulants and attachments, or at least this is what you have decided to learn. You can in fact choose to be happy right now if you wish. 

I get that but there’s a difference between acting happy and feeling happy.

Then do not act happy; just be. Just acting happy is senseless.

But that’s what I feel like I’m doing, pretending to be happy without all these things I want!

You have to learn to be happy without ego desires and attachments, which will take time. This cannot be rushed. 

But how do I do that?

Sit with your ego, watch its desires manifest, feel it tempt you and encourage you to pursue these things for happiness then do nothing. Just observe. At first it will feel difficult, it will seem much easier to just pursue and fulfil the desires leading to instant feelings of happiness. But then you are back in the cycle. After a time your ego desires will weaken when it realises they are not going to be fulfilled, when it realises you are not going to obey it any longer. 

Sounds like that will take ages! 

Time is irrelevant and just your perspective. 

But what I mean is that it seems like I’m just wasting life away then, sitting around doing nothing but observing my ego trying to get me to do all of these things!  

You can still do things but they will not be about seeking a source of happiness or fulfilling ego desires. You will learn to be happy at any time you choose regardless of the circumstances in your life. You could win a large sum of money, go a world-wide adventure, have an intense romance – and your ego will be ecstatic, but you will remain detached and realise that even without all of those things you could still be inherently happy. You could end up jobless, homeless, ill or with one friend and your ego would panic and cry out for you to change all of these circumstances to find happiness again yet you will already be able to choose happiness within despite these perceived misfortunes. Ultimately you learn not to get caught up in the highs and lows of life. Then external events and objects do not govern your true happiness, they relate only to your ego’s happiness, which will never be satisfied as long as you live. 

My ego right now is telling me that I need to find my passion and ambition to create again. Surely life is about creating. If I just detach from everything then how do I find the will to create? 

Do not confuse detachment with apathy. Apathy kills the soul; you resign from living and in essence do not live. Detachment means that external circumstances or people do not influence your inner contentment, your sense of joy. Therefore you are free to create what you will but without this influencing your state of happiness. When your ego wants to create something, it is always with the condition that you (it) will feel proud when it has been achieved or you will seek praise, admiration, recognition, awards and so on. The lesson is to learn to create things without an attachment to recognition for your efforts or specific outcomes; the joy is in the creating, the process. Your ego immediately says, what is the point of exerting energy to create something if you do not receive recognition or praise? This is the ego’s trap. It only wants to create when it can be gratified by the outcome of the end product. You must learn to create for the joy of creating and not for the result. If you can remain in the flow of creating and feel content, you find real happiness.