There is an interesting mention made in the Sri Sai Satcharita about the grinding of wheat. It refers to a grinding stone where the lower part is one’s Karma (Fate, destiny) and the upper is Bhakti (path to achieving salvation), with the handle of the device being Jnana (knowledge). The rotation of the upper stone grinds the ego as well as impulses, desires and sins.
I pondered about the aspect of ego.
It struck me that our entire approach to life revolves around our ego, and our actions and words reflect this state. Every single action or observation invokes the ego, however subtly.
Ego binds and limits, which leads us to refer to ‘I’ and ‘my’, which in turn confines ourselves to the finite. It cares only for its own existence.
If someone smiles at us, our ego is touched; if someone ignores us, the ego gets touched, too. It is like an open wound. And, one is quick to blame anything on anyone else except ourselves.
Ego brings with it a lot of competition, power plays, control, judgment, criticism, testing, even abuse. It also comes to the surface out of fear – that we are at the mercy of the world – when, in fact, we can be the creators of our own destinies.
The ego always tries to grab what it can from the world, in the belief that it lacks, and only what is out there can fill the gaping hole inside.
Breaking this pattern is difficult, since this ego has a million tricks to keep us engaged. We tell ourselves that all our experiences, problems issues etc, are a consequence of what someone else does or does not do. We become defensive, we counter-attack.
It is ego that gives us a sense of incompleteness.
If one delves into the past, many memories come to the surface. It could be scolding from parents and teachers, unkind words that we might have been subjected to, failures of any kind, rejection, etc. These are forgotten incidents, yet they somehow fester. And, such wounds can be opened very easily through other events, as the ego rears its head.
The irony is that we permit this to happen. Sadly, it is this very same ego that prevents us from acknowledging and correcting.
One way out is to try not to react, not to reject, whatever happens. To be accepting.
Ego is not about self respect. It is a lot more. It is very basic and fundamental.
It is a battle that has to be fought and won from within.