The Universe knows what it is we want, and it sends us messages all the time. The problem is we ignore them because our Ego and public opinion keep us stuck in limbo.
Because of that, we put ourselves in jeopardy of missing our soul’s purpose for being here.
The truth is, you don’t need permission from anyone, let alone your Ego, to follow your heart and do the things that bring you joy.
This especially rings true for black/melanated people everywhere.
We have a unique experience in this existence which means we have a unique purpose for being here. No other group of people faces the challenges that we face or have been gifted at the level that we are gifted.
So how do we solve our problems? We turn within and do the inner work necessary to elevate. In each of us is where the solutions lie and in abundance.
And in finding the answers, we must also find the courage to carry out the missions we’re charged with. Doing so means overcoming the Ego.
As within so without, as above so below.
What is the Ego, and Where did it come from?
Ego: The Wounded Part of You
We are so dynamic and our experiences so diverse that how we present ourselves is different from person to person. And for the Ego, it’s no different.
For one person, pride is how the Ego manifests; maybe they’ve experienced abandonment and neglect in their life, so now they put on a brave face. They may pretend like they need nothing and nobody, but if you dig just a little bit deeper, you will see that they just want to be loved and accepted.
They hide behind facades because they’re afraid of being hurt again. And anyone who tries to help or gets too close ultimately gets turned down and pushed away. And so, the cycle of abandonment continues.
For another person, it may show up as perfectionism. Maybe when they were young, they never received the love and recognition they needed And now carry around a feeling of unworthiness.
To be recognized, they compensate by overachieving and out-performing everyone around them. Everything they do revolves around being successful because if they fail, they again feel worthless and inferior.
These two examples of Ego are very different, but they have one thing in common. Fear. It always comes back to fear with the Ego because fear is its driving force.
For the prideful person, it was fear of being rejected, and for the perfectionist, it was fear of not being good enough. Fear can cause us to push away the very thing that we desire, and it will cause us to chase after things that don’t really matter.
In essence, the Ego is a defense mechanism created out of necessity by the wounded part of us. And since it was born from negative experiences, it will flood your mind with a sea of pessimism if you let it.
It usually will not look at the possibility of the good because that’s too risky and could result in you being hurt or disappointed.
Another objective of the Ego is to keep things the way they are. It must maintain the status quo. This is why fear and resistance will set in whenever you try to think or dream of a different life.
It will reject anything that doesn’t fit within the limited scope of who you are at this moment. It does all of this to protect you. The problem is that the protection can feel like a prison. We weren’t meant to play it safe. We were meant to thrive and live life to the fullest.
Survival Mode and the Ego
Contrary to popular belief, the Ego is a survival mechanism personified and is born out of survival mode. In Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, he simplifies what Survival Mode is by using the metaphor of grazing deer and ravenous coyotes.
Here we have the deer peacefully grazing without a worry in the world. Then enters a pack of hungry coyotes. The deer instantly snaps into survival mode because its body releases stress response chemicals that activate it. From there, a chase ensues.
If the deer can evade the predator (in this case, it does), and after the threat subsides, it quickly goes back to a state of ease. It acts as if the threat never existed.
Humans, on the other hand, not so much. Unlike deer, we have been endowed with a higher state of consciousness. We have the ability or disability, as Dr. Dispenza puts it, to keep ourselves in Survival Mode much longer than necessary through thought alone.
We do this by remembering a negative experience repeatedly. It literally becomes part of us, and we begin anticipating future negative circumstances through remembrance of it.
Negative experiences include but aren’t limited to:
- Lack in the form of money or resources.
- Being hurt or abused physically and emotionally.
- Any negative encounters and interactions with other people.
To my earlier point, as black/melanated people, we’ve all had at least one of these experiences. But not all of us have found a way to get past them. Therefore, in our individual lives, and as a collective, we have been creating more of the same.
When we relive negative situations, we anticipate and then create future negative events. Because we get stuck in a cycle of living the same situations over and over again, we miss out on all of the goodness of the present moment and simultaneously lose opportunities to create better lives.
This by no means is saying that our experiences are trivial, and we can just push them aside because it doesn’t work that way. What it is saying is that we must acknowledge the source of our problems and what has caused us to be stuck in survival mode.
Then we have to work diligently on ourselves to change the thinking that has kept us living so far below our true potential.
Identifying The Many Faces of Ego: Know Thyself Know, Thy Enemy
Thanks to TV shows and movies, most people think Ego is solely comprised of pride, bravado, and vanity.
And that’s almost right, but Ego shows up as more than the overcompensating tough-guy type. And it goes beyond self-absorbed women who care only about fashion and money. No, the Ego has many faces.
- scarcity mindset
- false modesty
Harmful effects stress has on your temple
Not only does the Ego affect the mind, but the long-term effects of stress on the body are damaging as well. The effects include but are not limited to:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Depression and anxiety
- Gastrointestinal problems
Break Free from the Illusion of the Ego
Now that we understand what the Ego is and where it comes from, how do we get free from it? The not-so-great news is that the Ego is a part of you and understanding how it operates is part of your journey.
The better news is that, the more you get good at detecting the Ego’s elusive voice or voices, the easier it will be to override and ignore it.
And the best news is that once you get to the place where it no longer runs your life, then you’ll have reached a level of self-mastery; the sky is the limit! Here are a few steps that you can start doing right now to get in control of the Ego.
People usually shy away from meditation for two reasons; one is because they don’t want to be alone with themselves long enough to hear what they don’t want to hear.
And two, they think it involves strenuously sitting still for an hour and thinking no thoughts at all. First of all, getting acquainted with your inner dialogue is the number one way to detect the Ego’s voice.
We must understand that true Self-love is completely embracing yourself, including the parts that you consider unloveable. Those broken parts of you can only be healed with care and attention. So be vulnerable with yourself, explore the dark places, and shine a light.
Lastly, some forms of meditation indeed require you to quiet the mind totally, but not all. In fact, the natural course of meditation usually ends with you being in a quiet trance. But you don’t have to start that way, especially if the goal is to focus on how you’re feeling. So relax and don’t overthink it.
Try not to think of meditation as meditation. Instead, think of it in the following terms:
- You’re getting acquainted with yourself. Imagine meeting yourself for the first time, and you’re very open and eager to hear what you have to say. Without judgment, just listen to your thoughts and be honest about what you hear.
- Or Imagine you are helping a dear friend (you )who has some things to get off her chest. Again listen eagerly, openly, and without judgment. Be honest about what you hear and accept what you hear.
An added benefit of using these two methods is that they take you out of the seat of ego/mind and put you into the seat of Spirit/Observer. From there, you can see yourself in a more loving and kind light.
The next step after becoming acquainted with yourself is to take an inventory of your thoughts. Why is this important? To answer that, let’s use the example of going to the doctor.
A patient goes in, sits down, and explains to the doctor what’s going on with him. The doctor then records all of the patient’s symptoms to properly treat him and simultaneously track the progress and improvement of the symptoms and treatment.
The same principle applies when it comes to you and journaling. How can you become aware of your negative thought patterns and replace them if you don’t take note of them? So go ahead write down the good, the bad, and the ugly. And don’t worry, no eyes but your eyes has to ever see it.
3. Dissolve the Illusion
Now that you have gotten acquainted with yourself and recorded what you’ve been feeling, the next step in the process is to activate the power of the Conscious Observer. Here’s how. Whenever you hear a negative thought:
- Don’t approve or disapprove.
- Don’t judge it.
- Don’t judge yourself.
- Try not to resist it in any way.
- Just let it flow and observe it.
Taking it a step further, every time you hear a negative thought say to yourself, “my mind is telling me (fill in the blank).” Or my Ego is saying (fill in the blank).
Doing this exercise regularly will help you detach yourself from the Ego and the negative thought patterns of your mind. You are not your thoughts; you are the One who hears them.
At first, thinking in this way won’t be easy because it’s new. You’ve been thinking the Ego’s way for a long time, and these thoughts have lots of momentum built up. It will take effort to interrupt that momentum.
Secondly, every negative thought has an accompanying emotion, and learning not to react to these emotions will take time, patience, and consistency on your part. The good news is as you continue to be consistent, you’ll break old patterns of thought and make room for new ones to develop. Take comfort in knowing that you didn’t create the Ego overnight, and you aren’t expected to change overnight. But change will come. It’s a process.
4. Use your imagination
After you become aware of the thoughts that no longer serve you, what should you do next? You should replace them with thoughts that do serve you, of course. Doing this will require you to know exactly what you want and who you want to be. This will require you to take time to really get in touch with the real you. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Making vision boards.
- Watching videos and reading books about what interests you.
- Understand that life wants to express itself through you fully.
- Allow yourself to want what you want and feel it. You deserve it!
The goal of visualization is to marry the feeling of what we want with the vision of what it looks like. In other words, you have to imagine what it feels like to already have what you want while simultaneously visualizing it.
Often, we may not know what it looks like or how it feels, and this is where the imagination comes into play. Yes, the imagination. And no, it’s not just for kids. It may seem silly or far-fetched but using your imagination is the only way to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. So step one is:
if you consistently visualize your goals and dreams, before long, you’ll find that it’s not so hard to see yourself in a new light. There won’t be so much resistance when it comes time to take the necessary steps towards your goals. You’ll start becoming aware of opportunities, and it won’t be so hard to act on them. Why? Because you will have already seen yourself doing it through your mind’s eye.
If you need help starting the process of visualization, here are some steps that may help you:
- Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted.
- Get into a comfortable position, preferably sitting, so you don’t fall asleep.
- Relax by taking a series of deep breaths (3-5)
- Think about a happy memory or something that makes you smile—the birth of a child, your wedding day, etc.
- After you feel good, gently shift your mind to your dreams with as much detail as possible for as long as you can.
- Repeat daily
As a man thinketh, so shall he be.
There is a Universal Truth found in the bible that explains our plight and the solution very clearly. It says that if my people called by my name will humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn away from their harmful ways, I will hear them, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
This passage doesn’t refer to an entity that is separated from us and lives in the sky. No, it refers to the god in us who we have turned away from.
With faith, turn inward and tune into that still small voice that leads you. Then watch your life and the lives connected to yours be healed, enriched, and amplified!
Categories: Black Spirituality