How Nature Helps Us to Dissolve Ego Without Fighting It

How do you dissolve Ego without fighting it?

What you resist persists.

All attempts to fight ego will ultimately strengthen it.

What you focus on gets energized. Ego cannot be suppressed; it can only be transcended.

How do you dissolve Ego without fighting it?

It dissolves by itself when we no longer need it for our sense of self. It gets bigger every time we feel we need it for the survival of our Self.

It melts away when we encounter a loving Presence and lose ourselves in Wonder.

This year, I felt it most acutely at Lake Tahoe – the place we go to for a short break from the stifling heat of summer in Houston.

June and July were oppressively hot and humid this year. As the muck intensified, I was yearning for vacation. When I am tired or feel stuck in the rat race of life, Ego shows its ugly head.

It’s hard not to think about yourself when you feel you lack something.

I tend to get irritated, impatient, frustrated, demanding, anxious, and perfectionistic. I may look calm, but I churn inside.

What are the signs of true humility?

C.S. Lewis said:

True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

But how do you think of yourself less without thinking less of yourself?

How do you diminish yourself without demeaning yourself?

How do you hush your Ego down without putting a gag in its mouth?

How do you harness your Ego without resisting it?

Can you just talk it into quieting down without making it into your enemy?

It turns out that the art of humility – thinking of yourself less – cannot be achieved through willpower. But it comes naturally when we are smitten by Wonder.

The Greek for “beauty” — kalos — has the same root as the verb “to call” — kaleo. Beauty calls. Kalos kaleo. The true function of Beauty is to call – to call us out of ourselves by the magnetic pull of Wonder.

As I stood by the quaint jewel of the Sierra Nevada, Echo Lake, I was smitten by its turquoise-to-azure waters set against the backdrop of gorgeous snow-topped mountains with their granite arms outstretched far and wide around the Desolation Wilderness in the most exquisite embrace.

I felt dwarfed, quieted, struck dumb, and ecstatic all at the same time.

I couldn’t think about myself at that moment – and I didn’t need to.  

I forgot myself entirely – I was one with the Whole.

I was diminished but not belittled. And I felt great.

All the irritation, impatience, frustration, anxiety, and perfectionism were gone. I was pulled out of myself, soaking in the ecstasy of the moment.

The Greek word for “ecstasy” (ekstasis) literally means “to stand outside of or transcend oneself.”

How do you dissolve Ego without fighting it?

The human ego cannot be destroyed by force, but it can be transcended in an encounter with Wonder. We dissolve ego without fighting it. Wonder pulls us out of ourselves, but we feel all the more ecstatic for it.

We lose ourselves but feel we have found ourselves. Because we have found our true selves.

We don’t think less of ourselves – we think of ourselves less. In fact, we don’t think about ourselves at all.

Our Ego dies, but it’s a sweet death.

When nothing threatens our Self, it lets go of its Ego part and finds Itself.

How do I humble someone’s Ego without crushing their spirit?

Just the other day I was sitting with my son at a café, talking about the tennis game he had lost for his school team. He was down on himself – especially for losing his temper at the end and hitting himself hard when he got frustrated.

Looking into his eyes, I saw him struggling with his Ego. His Ego wanted him to win at all costs. It was crying out: “Unless you win, you are nobody!”

I looked into his eyes and said: “When you focus on winning, you have already lost. If you focus on enjoying the game, you have won even before the game is over. When I see you playing for fun, you fly. It looks more like a dance as if you are following some music only you can hear.”

His eyes widened, goosebumps running up and down his arms. He looked like he wanted more.

“I love your serves,” I said. “They are elegant and swift like a bullet. You are very quick at the net. When you forget yourself at the court, you find your best game.”

He smiled and said: “You know, that’s what my coach said when I asked him about my fear of losing. He said: ‘Those who keep winning never think about winning.”

I smiled. We finished our cheesecake and went for a walk in the park. He was no longer upset. His crushed Ego calmed down and was no longer crying for validation. It died a sweet death as he contemplated the Wonder of playing his favorite sport to the tune of the Music only he could hear.

Sometimes our Ego needs to be crushed, shattered, diminished, but only until we are ready to let go of our false perceptions of who we are. As important as this shattering is, it is not yet the end of Ego.

It dies a sweet death only when we open our eyes and see Wonder all around us.

If we are caught up by Wonder, we hear the Music of the Spheres – whether we are playing our favorite sport, painting a picture, enjoying a scenic view, or looking into the eyes of another human being.

The call of Beauty is too strong for Ego to survive. We go out of ourselves and find who we are, which is true ecstasy.    

How do I revive my sense of Wonder?

  1. Become aware of things that keep you in the rut – the things that make you feel like you are in a “Groundhog’s day”.
  2. Identify what things usually make you feel alive. Find your own personal source of Wonder (travel, activities, meeting with certain people, art, sports?)
  3. Imagine yourself doing those things for at least 10 minutes a day (look at the pictures of a beautiful place, think of the people you want to talk to, visualize your book ready and published).
  4. Try different things and watch your feelings – what draws you in? What creates that sense of childlike delight? What puts you in the state of flow?

When you have a list of things that you think will fill you with Wonder do them one at a time, whether you feel like it or not. Chances are Wonder is waiting for you just around the corner, or at the end of that road, or during that event, or webinar, or trip.

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