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Reflections On The Ego

Updated: Apr 29

I had a wonderful weekend in El Palmar, Spain. It is probably my favourite beach in Andalusia. I love going there whenever I come to Seville, to disconnect from the city buzz and spend time in the sea. Seville is not crazy busy compared to other cities I've lived in, but I find it increasingly difficult to be in that environment. I much prefer the tranquillity and soothing sounds of nature. It is funny, I've always preferred the great outdoors, yet I used to think that I would find it challenging to leave the convenience of the city completely behind. Now I long for the peacefulness and the invigorating energy that only nature can provide.



El Palmar, Spain

The week leading up to my weekend adventure of sea, sand & sun was emotionally taxing. Now that I write about it, perhaps I am experiencing emotional turmoil stemming from the vipassana course. I figured that things would keep coming up to the surface one way or another after the actual 10 days ended. I have practised the vipassana technique about 5 or 6 times in the past month (as in one full hour per day, which is still half of the daily recommendation of one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening), something I wish to increase over time, but for now I am doing my best to integrate the practice in my daily life as gently and realistically as I can without being too hard on myself. Every time I have done it, I felt so relaxed afterward. It is just a question of making space daily for it, a slight adjustment to my lifestyle. Like I said: step by step.


Two weeks ago, I started to notice I was experiencing feelings of unworthiness, of not being enough, not deserving, etc – the good stuff, you know :D. I believe this to be a fairly common theme in most people. Of course, there are factors such as upbringing, social and economic conditions... that affect our self-esteem, our sense of belonging and how we perceive our place in this world.



El Palmar, Spain

Deep down I have always felt very confident in my abilities and capacities, and I think that it is the image I project outwards (from what people have told me). I definitely believe in myself and my own power, but this does not mean I have not been affected by childhood traumas and other events that tend to leave a mark on the soul. Equally, I have interactions and situations in my daily life that sometimes make me question myself (it is a healthy process) and/or generate emotions that can lead to feeling unworthy or sad or doubtful about my abilities and the list goes on :D.

I think that for a long time I tried to push away those thoughts and feelings or even dismiss them as negative and useless – and, to a certain extent, they are, but only if one decides to attend to those thoughts and feelings only and not move on to the insights that can come from them. I realised a few years ago that they form a part of my process of discerning and accepting everything I am: the darkness and the light, the shadow and the sun, and everything in between.



El Palmar, Spain

My meditation practice has enabled me to view the "negative" and the "positive" thoughts and feelings as the two sides of the same coin really, and to see the value in both of them without giving them too much importance. A conversation with a very dear friend this weekend resulted in a very enlightening process of self-study, contemplation and reflection into the workings of my ego self. In our conversation (which was done over voice messages, and therefore allowed me the time to observe and reflect on my behaviour), my friend made a couple of comments which caught my attention because of how they were worded and the subtext behind them. Now, as I told my friend, I know those comments were made from a place of love and kindness, and I was not offended by them. Rather, I was curious about the emotional response that one of these comments brought to the surface. As I mentioned to my friend, a part of me (my ego) was emotionally touched/affected by the way it was said, and, initially, there was a desire to go on the defensive (the ego usually tends to operate from a place of feeling threatened). What ensued was a soothing feeling of calmness and serenity coming from the part of me who knows the essence of who I am and does not feel the need to quantify or justify itself.



El Palmar

It was extremely freeing to be able to get to that place of deeply knowing without entertaining the part of me who always wants to organise and quantify things; because I believe that is what the ego does: always wanting to quantify things or put a number to situations and experiences in order to give them value or for them to matter. The part of me who is free of that (judgement) and anchored in the knowledge of my heart and soul is always peaceful and content with the experiences and situations for what they are: another stepping stone in the journey. As I said to my friend, of course I think that having goals and objectives is healthy and something that naturally comes with the human experience. I think it becomes unhealthy when it blinds us to seeing and appreciating what we already have, when the objective becomes the forefront and prevents us from enjoying fully (and seeing the value and beauty in) the path leading us there. I am very thankful to my friend for her friendship and for giving me this opportunity to reflect on my own patterns and behaviours that are often driven by the ego first, as well as by our tendency to live life through the gaze of others. It was a beautiful learning experience for both of us. I am also very grateful to be surrounded by people who are willing and open to have those conversations.



Self-portrait


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