I've been learning a lot the last couple of weeks, specifically in regards to the ego.
It started for me a few weeks ago during a team meeting at work. I had major reservations about what another team member had done and felt the only way I could express it would be construed as negative. Yet, given other realizations I've had of late I realized it was important I express myself as purely as possible. So I did and it caused the expected disharmony I thought it might. But interestingly I discovered the harmony was surface level as even our team lead had the same concerns I did, yet didn't express them until I had done so. On the whole I was very happy with myself for having spoken my truth. But in the course of doing so I believed I stepped over a line in one area that I shouldn't have upon further reflection. In the grand scheme of things what I had done wasn't hugely important, but to me it felt to be a major infraction.
I thought long and hard over the weekend after the incident about the events. Like I said, I thought I could just as well not say anything back to the person about what I felt I had done and life would continue on. But it gnawed at me, that wasn't the kind of person I wanted to be. Means very little to pay lip service to ideals, you have to live them. So, not the Monday but the Tuesday after I apologized for the specific action I took: slightly accusing of him something that wasn't entirely true. The apology was very specific as I felt I was right to bring my concerns to the team, it was only in the execution of that I felt I got a bit drunk with power, or full of myself.
The decision to apologize wasn't as easy as that paragraph made it sound though. I asked myself constantly why do so if I could get away with not doing so. No one expected me to do it, so why do it. It was in those questions that I began to become aware of, what we term the ego. It was more of an attachment to myself as being right, as if my very identity were part and parcel with my actions. In this light apologizing, consciously recognizing to another my actions were wrong or misguided, was seen as the last thing I wanted to do. It felt a death of sorts, a death of myself, a death of my identity; death of my ego. But it was an interesting questioning process, to become aware of this. That's when I began to see as separate what I once felt was one. Namely who I am and my actions. I don't cease to be by changing how I feel, think, or act.
But probably the greatest realization I think I've had to date in my entire life was how much attachment to myself as being right retards my growth. The strong maintenance of this idea is like fighting with every fiber of my being to make as little progress as possible. In certain areas of my life I readily accept and welcome mistakes and recognize how doing so enables great progress; but, sadly, these seem to be the exception than the rule. More often that which I invest a lot of energy in I tend to not want to face the idea that the direction I've been going in is wrong, that it's best to undo my previous efforts. But it is a liberating realization that, simply, I am. I am not my actions, I simply am. At any point I can change my expressions and still be me.
There is a flow to life I've been realizing. I use the term flow deliberately to evoke images of water flowing. When it flows without impediment there's an ease to things. When there's a blockage, a cessation of the ease, it is no accident. It's not necessarily the case the previous direction is still valid though, a bend of the flow might require altered actions even if we insist upon the previous direction; after all, it was valid once why is it not so now. Heh.