Identity and Stillness

I’m back! I really must apologize for my unannounced absence. I am adamant about my belief that this blog should never be a job, so when I begin to grow thin with the time I have available to work on it, if I do not feel inspired, I refuse to force the words. But I’m back, and if you’re still around, please know that your support through this time means everything to me.

ice-crack

Breaking the ice is a mind game. (Photo credit: adstream)

Where do I begin after so long? As is with anything, after such a time of absence, a form of mental barrier is created. Breaking the ice of writing on this blog has become more than just an issue of inspiration or time, but of defeating a psychological obstacle. Imagine how you feel when trying to return to a barely–started project.

It’s not all bad, though. There are things I have discovered during my time away. For example, despite my efforts, I had come to identify with this blog. It became fuel for my ego – that I was successfully writing every day, and above all else, receiving significant traffic and praise. I don’t like that I was that way, but it was what it was.

finger print

Still stuck on my false ideas, I didn’t know who I was. How do you define such a thing as identity? (Photo credit: Cahaya Dalam Kegelapan)

As I struggled more and more each day to write, (Every single piece requires complete focus for up to several hours of time that I may not have) my ego was confronted with an issue – how was I going to keep my identity? I mention the ego, because it is the key factor in this entire equation – and it’s important to remember that one’s ego and identity aren’t really as healthy or important to one’s existence as one may think. It’s an amazing thing, how stepping back just a little changes your entire perspective – for the first time, I may have experienced what many adults seem to experience later on in life, when the vital question is finally asked – who the hell am I really? Without this blog to define me, was I becoming less meaningful/valuable as a person?

Unfortunately, I did what most people do: instead of dis-identifying with the things around me, I dove straight into them with the hopes that somehow I would feel better. By some great misconception, I had the idea that a damaged ego is a bad thing, and that it needed tending, it needed care. What’s worse, it wasn’t as though I was consciously thinking it, it was that society had ingrained that way of thinking as a truth within me. And if I think in that way, who doesn’t? We’re all so brain-washed by our own selves that we treat the ego like a broken arm. Yikes.

Stillness

Stillness. (Photo credit: david.ian.roberts)

Because of the way society is set up, particularly in the 21st century, the “real world” is literally run by the material. And with the right perspective, one would see that it is that material-based mindset that dictates far too much of our lives. And in many ways, it really is. Like I’ve written about before, there is always someone who’s more experienced, better, smarter, faster. This is a tough world we live in. But what we so easily forget is that these things that we use to fuel feelings of self-importance, these things that we use to judge others on intelligence or competence of any kind, don’t matter at all. We must remind ourselves that the truly important things in life, whatever they may be for you, are immeasurable – still, contentment, happiness, love – their importance is not diminished but forgotten in the huffing and puffing that has become life. I lost contact with one of those things, and in doing so, I learned something truly powerful:

Identity and inner-stillness cannot co-exist.

So that’s it from me today. I hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, although I’d like to add that true appreciation and thankfulness is a year-around thing.

–mrprose 🙂

Friday Question: How Do You Deal With Your Ego?

Good Morning,

It’s Friday again, and as has become tradition, I will be posing a question for anyone to answer. But before I do that, I would just like to thank everyone that has commented and participated in responding on any of my pieces. Often, it is many of your astute opinions that have led me to broaden and expand my own personal perspective on things. More than that, I realize that I am connecting with people that are thinking critically and openly as well, and so I would just like to show my appreciation by thanking all that have shown their support. Thank you.

So it’s right to it then, I suppose: question time. How do you keep your ego in check?

This time, I’m targeting a more direct question to all of your readers. I see the ego as an obstacle that we all have to face if we want to live anything more than a shallow life. So I’m wondering how people overcome or at the very least deal with such a thing. How exactly do you move beyond the material desires that tease and tantalize us? The want for a certain image, to have certain things, to be a certain way.

I’ve come to see the ego as an invisible enemy of human beings, an obstacle we created for ourselves. We each have a different ego, but a similarity we all share is that we want. It is that desire that we all have, and I want to know how you handle your’s? What do you do when the ego gets a little too big?

Thanks again everyone, and I’m looking forward to some great conversations.

–mrprose

If It’s For Your Ego, It’s Not For Your Soul

Hello all,

This was, despite a relaxing weekend, very stressful for me. I’m sad and regretful that I let things turn out the way that they did, but it was my fault all along.

I realize how dependent I am on success. It’s what keeps me going, and when, for whatever reason, I am unable to continue being successful, everything comes crashing down.

‘Success’ is such a vague word and has a different meaning for every person. For me, it takes the form of many different things. From overcoming a fear, to writing a strong, 500-700 word post on this very blog. And yes, that means that if I do not complete that everyday, I do end up feeling deflated, sometimes even disappointed in myself. These things, in my mind, equal more views, more prestige, more success. Let’s be brutally honest here, sometimes that how I look at things, and I am just like you/everyone else in the world. Except those darned monks in the Himalayas.

This means that much of my feeling of success is driven by ego. In fact, almost all of it is. Because it’s about getting the attention, getting the gold star. Yes, I talk about the importance of humility, but although I am working on it, actually applying such things into one’s life is very challenging, and requires vast amounts of patience and courage.

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

How will your ego serve you? (Photo credit: epSos.de)

The ego, though, hides the value in such things and turns your focus towards ‘success’. Make more money, be more attractive, win win win. It gets in the way, and if you feed it enough, controls your life. That kind of thinking can only lead to a shallow life in the material.

It’s all about the motive. If you’re doing things for your own personal growth as a person, for the pleasure of doing them, or from the good will of your heart, then it’s not ego driven, or at least less so. It all depends on what the “personal growth” is. Again, is it for something from others or just for yourself. It’s when you do things solely to get the approval of others, or to fuel the fire that is your ego, that’s when it’s time to look again at priorities.

With that in mind, I think there are two things that should hold our focus, as people. One, you will never be successful all the time, and it’s pointless to try so hard for the wrong reasons. Life was never, is not, and never will be about ‘winning’. There is no such thing.

And finally, to remember why you are doing things. Am I writing this blog for the love of writing, for my curiosity to discover, or for the number of views and followers I get? Is it to impress that girl/boy/friend/family member/neighbor/anyone else? Is it to make more money?

If it’s for your ego, then it’s not for your soul. It’s as simple as that.

–mrprose

You’re The Hero of Your Own Life

Hello again, welcome to a rather fine Tuesday afternoon.

I suppose there’s no point dawdling – what are my thinkings of the day?

English: , from the title sequence of the Supe...

You’re The Hero of Your Own Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone suggested to me something several weeks ago that at first I thought was silly, but now realize how powerful a thing it is. As conveniently said in the title: you are the hero of your own life. Simple as that.

Now the first thing I thought when I saw that was how egotistical a view that is. Self-centered. Selfish. Something someone that never thinks about anyone else would say. And I realized that it’s all down to the context, because that statement doesn’t have to mean that at all.

Like I’ve written about before, society seems to stress selfless-ness as an attribute, even though behind the scenes there are horrible amounts of corruption and selfishness. I’m suppose all that matters is if you’re caught or not.

But this isn’t a selfish thing – it’s a necessary thing. Recognizing who you are and what you’ve done is crucial in remembering what the important things in life are for you. I can’t express how many times I’ve lost myself because I’ve ignored who I was and what I valued, and instead focused all my energy on others. The best way I’ve can think to describe the it is that it feels like your a rag doll that being tossed and thrown around helplessly.

I always say that life is about growing yourself. Becoming a better person. Working on the things you’re not good at. None of that requires butting into other people’s business. I speak about humility and humbleness and not letting your ego or your pride lead you to do things you’d later regret. But looking at yourself as being the “hero” of your own life is hugely important because I believe you honor who you are and who’s life you’re living (your  own). Modesty is overrated in that way. Seeing and accepting something like that grounds you as a person. You’ll feel more stability.

This is not something meant to swell one’s ego and enforce arrogance. I see it as something that you can remember to appreciate yourself and guide you when things get tough. You can help guide others, but not until you’ve helped yourself.

You’re the hero of your own life… don’t shy away from that!

–mrprose

Our Inevitable Teacher

One of the bitter feelings in life that we can’t ignore,

As a perfectionist, an intellectual, and an individualist, I always want to say and do the most powerful thing I can. I always want to be and appear to be the best I can be. The principle of imperfection is clear in my mind, but when it comes down to it, I can’t seem to accept it about myself. And I’m not alone.

Now, failure doesn’t just come during random events. The basic definition of failure seems to revolve around a ‘lack of success’ or ‘the embodiment of a lack of success’. It all goes down to expectations.

If I know I’ll be terrible at something and set my standards low, or don’t care to succeed at something, I cannot fail, because I am not worried about success and thus will not feel a lack of success afterwards. So a sense of failure only comes when you want something badly, and try hard to succeed, and do not/cannot meet your own standards. Just when you go for it, and shoot for the stars, you get a mental slap in the face. That stings. As if someone knew that you would be best brought down just when your hopes were at their highest.

Today I felt failure. I believe myself to be a great public speaker, because of past successes that today I was unable to re-create, but on my chance to shine today, I felt as if I botched the opportunity.  And although others may not have felt what I felt, and may have thought my speech ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it is only my own opinions and feelings that matter in the end. I didn’t meet my own demands.

The thing I think we all do is we see ourselves succeed and we want more success. And then more. And then more. Until eventually, as a human being, you cannot achieve what you want. Then it all comes crashing down.

But what we, or at least I, don’t understand, is that people are not made from their failures. Nor are they their successes. Those two things can and do shape a person, but what truly makes a person is the soul that they have deep within them. It’s ridiculous to think that one can avoid botching a chance or not succeeding to the fullest of their capability all the time. Yet we expect these things as if we’re supercomputers, capable of repeated performance. But that’s not what it’s like to be human – every time will be different.  Not only is being a human going to make it impossible to consistently fulfill demands, but I believe that we live life to learn about humility and humbleness. After all, aren’t we but a speck in a gigantic universe that we cannot even fully comprehend?

It’s because the ego and the pride that one holds latches onto material successes to generate a sense of false confidence. But true confidence comes from a place that does not rely on others’ judgments. Think about any and every great leader in history. Though they are portrayed as ‘larger than life’, they too, as everyone does, have/had their difficulties and mistakes on their journeys. But they have also found an inner confidence that conceals many of these mistakes to the public’s eyes, and turns them from a failure to a way of learning something new for the future. In essence, half of a success.

We all fall down and make mistakes. Might as well accept that. Use that knowledge as a tool to propel ever forward.

–mrprose