2012 has been a year of realisation and self-development, of recognising my faults and of making many mistakes.
I have been reading and learning about the ego, and discovering that many of us let our ego (or our sense of identity) dictate our lives. We have strong opinions: we are ‘for’ or ‘against’ this or that, and we love or hate this or that, thereby creating a strong sense of self. We defend our opinions, no matter how trivial because these opinions give us that sense of identity. The fear of losing this identity often makes us defensive, aggressive and need to be correct.
These ego patterns often rule my life and my relationships with other people. When I feel insecure, or my partner doesn’t have opinions which meet my approval, my ego’s response is to attack, or to manipulate to try to persuade the other person to change their behaviour or opinion. The ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality to get what it wants.
Creating an identity of oneself as a victim, or as a depressed or hard-done-by person, is another ego pattern that many of us are guilty of. And we don’t want to change these negative thought-patterns because this would threaten the very core of who we think we are. We live in constant states of drama, jealousy or sadness and we identify this pain as a part of our identity. Because of this, if we want to try to completely change these destructive patterns and re-tune the way that we think, it can be very difficult. It involves the courage to question and then destroy who we think we are.
So, what lessons have I learnt in 2012? I have learnt that I need to try to change these ego-patterns. I have also realised that I often try to fight egotistical people with my own egotism, which makes me just as bad. I have learnt that I often try to change a person to meet my expectations, when I should accept the person how he or she is. I have also cut down my alcohol intake, and on the rare occasion that I do get drunk, I tend to act foolishly and identify too much with the ego mindset patterns that I have talked about. And I have learnt that I should not judge people I meet by physical appearance/attractiveness because beauty is so much deeper than this. It is a very shallow way of seeing others.
Realising all this is one step, but it’s a different story trying to implement changes in order to grow as a person. I constantly make mistakes, but with each mistake I am aware of my faults and I learn. Last year I discovered a link between feeling truly happy and living in the nature. So now I try to be fully conscious of the present moment and I take time to observe the deep green shades of the trees, the sounds of the birds, or the many insects in the grass…I try to see my surroundings (whereas most of my life has been spent looking but not truly seeing the wonders around me). This has a calming, meditative effect , and as I observe the ‘now’, I try to free myself from thinking. I do, however, wonder how I will do this when I am thrown back into the chaos of city life.
At midnight at the start of 2013, I looked up at the moon and really grasped how beautiful life is, how we are all brothers and sisters on this planet and not rivals, despite what the capitalist system teaches us. We can all support and encourage each other to be as happy as possible. Looking at the moon, I realised that my life could mostly be simple, and that actually the reality usually is simple, but that my mind often distorts the truth and creates unnecessary problems.
There is a Crimethinc quote which states:
Let tolerance, humility, accessibility and sensitivity be the qualities we nurture in ourselves, not self-righteousness or pride.
I think my biggest personal challenge in 2013 will be to try to implement tolerance and humility whilst fighting for human and animal rights.
In my last blog post I stated that I was feeling aimless. In hindsight, the lessons that I have learnt this year make my travels anything but aimless.
The ideas in this blog post are hugely shaped by Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power Of Now (and I may well have subconsciously plagiarised one or two sentences!)…I am also greatly influenced by my beautiful friend Sara, who is younger than me but who will always be wiser. I am still influenced by my friend Olivia, who was my first friend who had the courage to question her sense of self and to make brave changes. This blog post signifies the beginning of a long mental/spiritual journey.