If you’ve read Eckhart Tolle, or probably even just heard of him, then you know that we are not our minds. Our minds, without direction, are mere automatic responses to the processing of external information as related to the ego. The ego is not who we are as spiritual beings in either the physical or non-physical form.
And yet, ego drives so many of our decisions. As the wise Dr. Dyer’s said, ego stands for Edging God Out. Think of the times we were emotionally defensive because we felt wronged, harmed, or devalued. I shake my head in shame knowing my repeated, resounding guilt. Being red-headed and naturally hot-tempered is not an acceptable excuse!
With practice and intention though, I am getting better at communicating. Thanks to Don Miguel Ruiz (author of The Four Agreements which is an easy, must read!) and Brene Brown (PHD author of Rising Strong and famed Ted Talk Virtuoso), here’s what I know:
- Don’t Take Things Personally
- Don’t Assume
- Don’t Jump Ahead
Don’t Take Things Personally: We are not as important as our ego thinks we are. Our ego thinks we are the center of the Universe; everything happening around me is because of me. But when we interact with others, their ego thinks that everything happening around them is because of them, not me. WAIT – there’s a giant, insurmountable conflict here! We are NEVER as top-of-mind when dealing with others as our ego tries to convince us we are. It’s impossible. Ruiz states, “Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.” Tame the ego. Do not take things personally.
Don’t Assume: Don’t act on information you don’t have. People miss and misread signs all the time. It is always best to know what you don’t know, and ask questions for the important pieces that are missing. Ruiz states “It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering.” This is especially true in close relationships. We assume our loved ones know what we want or need because they know us so well, but this only sets us up for disappointment. Don’t put pressure on other people to figure you out. Ask for what you need. Do not assume.
Don’t Jump Ahead: As curious beings, we humans in our physical form like to have answers. They are comforting. Our natural, ego-centric state prefers to know the outcome versus sitting in the uncomfortable seat of uncertainty. But when we anticipate, we assume. And as we know assumptions easily lead to faulty conclusions. Moreover, however we are feeling at the time greatly affects how our interpretations of situations and events. So instead of jumping ahead, we need to be present and sit in the uncomfortableness of the unknowing. Don’t think you know what comes next. Wait. Be patient. Be present. And let the story unfold. When you jump ahead, you assume. When you jump ahead, you can change the outcome of what could have beautifully been. Do not jump ahead.
The less we lead with our ego, the more we lead with grace, humility and presence.