In Ashtanga yoga, the word ego is mentioned often. I remember hearing the word “ego” so many times while during my month up on the mountain for my yoga teacher training. Today, while I was teaching class, I had a moment where I felt my “ego” take over and made me feel as if I needed to prove myself as an instructor. It was an interesting reaction, and after a little meditation on my this experience, and a glass of wine, I began to think, what exactly is “ego”. More importantly, what does it mean to me?
When I googled it ( because that is now a verb, right?), I found definitions such as "a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance”. That makes sense, ego is how someone see’s themselves in their society and ways in which they are contributing to their society. Self esteem, confidence, self worth, self respect, those all pop into mind when I think of the word “ego”. And, I feel there is so much more to it.
I just read a letter out of Baba Hari Dass’s, Everyday Peace, Letters for Life, and he wrote “ Our mind is so busy in this process of giving and taking that we have no time to think Who am I? So we don’t understand ourselves and remain in ignorance, which is attachment, ego, anger, hate, jealousy and fear.” In this context, he referencing “ego” as a state of being that is not conducive for a life of peace. And I agree fully.
Ego, for me, is an attachment to our “best” self. The self that makes more money, the self that is liked by all, the self that has 6 pack abs, the self that rolls out of bed and immediately looks fabulous. The self is our image of a picture “perfect” person in our society. But who says that our “best” self, is actually our BEST self, follow me? The ego creates a desire to be a specific person, act a specific way, make a specific amount of money, live in a specific kind house. In turn, ego creates desire and desire, when not achieved, inevitably leads to anger, sadness and self loathing.
So how do we detach ourselves from our ego and why would we want to? Well, for me, life is purely about finding peace and happiness within your own soul. And our ego, will steer us off this peaceful journey. If we attach ourselves to being the “best” self, then it will take us so much longer to find our BEST self, which is peace, love and happiness.
Don’t allow your attachment to “ego” to rule your existence. There are so many people who love you for exactly the person you truly are, your BEST self. Once we accept our BEST self, and detach our selves from our ego, we will find peace.