We are talking about the Ally Dragons as I spoke about in a previousAyahuasca experience article. The Dragon we are talking about is the Dragon of the Ego. It seems that its sole mission is to torment us and drag us down. It can be so subtle that we don’t even recognize that it has by the neck and is scorching us with deadly fire. I think on some level we are all familiar with this little foe. What do we do about it is the question. Other than chopping our own head off, how do we manage to gain back our sanity?
Here are 9 suggestions below as an alternative to beheading. Even practicing one of these diligently will make a difference. The trick is to take your focus away from the advice of the ego and manage to give it a mission. Then, you can put it to work for you instead of against you.
1. Stop Being Defensive
When we feel the need to explain ourselves or prove our point, we are completely acting out of ego. It is closing off and demanding that our way is the right way. There is no room for growth or understanding. It is putting up a wall between you and the other individual. It is very difficult to just stop and not defend ourselves.
I remember getting so angry when I heard stories about Gandhi. I thought he should be defending himself, but there was so much I couldn’t see yet. When we are seated in contentment and peace, there is never anything to defend. All we have to do is Be. That is what Gandhi, Christ, Buddha, and so many of the great Teachers have tried to teach us by example. I urge you to just try this for a day. It may not feel easy, but it is very effective at putting ego in its place.
2. Be Consistent
Ever notice how difficult it is to stick with something? Let’s use exercise as an example. You decide to start working out and after two weeks, you find every excuse not to go the that class or the gym. It is easy to start but consistency can be difficult. The truth is, you will never get good at anything if you do not master consistency.
The ego is really good at giving excuses and justifications but does not produce success. Set a goal to be consisitent with something for 30 days. You only have to put in 1% on the difficult days, but you have to do something every day for 30 days. It truly is rewarding to see the results of consistent action.
We have to get out of ourselves to give to others. It is a way of surrender and abundance. If we have enough to give to others, we must be abundant. If we have enough love to give to others, we must be full of love. We can look around right now and find ways to give. I was staying at a friends house and everyone had gone to bed. I curled up on the couch with my little blanket and noticed how cold it was. The next thing I knew my friend was covering me with a bigger blanket. The little act of service or giving meant so much to me.
We never know how much a little action can do for another. We can always give in some way. Often our ego talks us out of it telling us we have nothing to give. If we give what we can, we feel like we are enough. It is truly a fulfilling. try it right now. Look around you and see what you can give to another person right now. Make this your new habit. This is also a nice trick to give the ego a job to do. Put it in charge of the finding. Then, practice it.
The experience of yoga can blow your mind. If you have never tried it, your ego will convince you it is a waste of time, not a real workout, not for you, only for flexible people, crazy and so forth. After you have experienced it, you will know. It nourishes the body making it stronger, more supple, agile, open and increases balance. We often underestimate flexibility and balance until we break a hip.
It nourishes the mind by quieting the thoughts, opening our genius mind, and increasing happiness. It nourishes our soul by aligning body and mind so we can see what is beyond. It allows us to tap into Cosmic Consciousness and see reality from a broader perspective which can disintegrate limiting thoughts, beliefs, and programs. Try it 2 or 3 times a week. You will notice the difference in your life.
The first time I practiced silence was in 1997 and it was more profound than I imagined. I combined water fasting and silence for 3 days. It doesn’t seem long, but it will surprise you how time slows down when you are not eating. When we are not talking we realize how many wasted words there are all around us. We get to a place of discerning what really needs to be said and what doesn’t.
We begin to notice chatter and gossip as unnecessary. We stop settling for focusing on negative chatter within ourselves. We begin to allow flow with less judgment. Then, we sink even deeper into inner observing of who we are. We begin to receive revelations and insight. We decipher voice of ego and voice of inner truth. The experience can unfold in unlimited ways. I would highly suggest trying this for 3 or more days. It is even better to practice silence in nature. You will hear so much.
Fasting is the ultimate test. It brings you face to face with the Dragon you’ve been trying to avoid. All that you have been running from will present itself. It is the fast track to facing your shadow, healing addictive habits, and unhealthy habits. There is no more escape and you get to see what you are made of. After a fast, you will know that you are made of strength. It leaves you with not only better health but a feeling of true accomplishment.
You have faced your fears and overcome them. You will not be the same after a good fast. It also can leave you feeling more peace and calm. Your mind chatter subsides as the release continues. You gain control over the mind instead of the mind controlling you. It is an empowering feeling. You can start with short fasts. I highly recommend the Master Cleanse. It gives the body just enough to sustain it while still allowing a powerful cleanse.
7. Give Up Competing
Many think competition is healthy and gives you and edge. It gets adrenaline going and brings the fight or flight out in us. Yes, it might feel good, but there are many things that make us feel good that do not set us up for health, wealth and happiness. When we are in the mindset of competition, our focus is on being the best. This automatically sets others to be below you. This is all EGO. This might be controversial with some. If you are one of them. Why are you reading this? Do you want to slay the Dragon or not? It is easy to take this to a level of doing whatever it takes, which includes knocking others down to get to the top. It is ultimately a place of lack.
There is no abundance in thinking there is only one spot at the top. Striving to be the best we can be is healthy to an extent, as long as we do not get caught in beating ourselves up for being less than our expectations.
The ego loves to convince us that we are not good enough, every chance it gets. We have to become aware of it when it happens. Competition will ultimately get you nowhere. Just let that go.
Meditation is the art of stilling the mind. It pushes the mute button on the ego chatter. It is a beautiful moment when we sink into complete peace and stillness. A whole new world opens. That is when we can really start tapping into our potential. When we start the practice of meditation we do not instantly still the mind. It can happen very quickly but often times it takes a little more practice.
We would not expect to walk into a gym for the first time in our life and instantly be able to run for an hour, do a 45 minute crossfit class, or be perfect in a hot yoga class. It would take consistent practice. Then, we would start tasting the potential with a healthy fit body. Meditation is an excellent way to consciously gain power over the mind.
This is a big one. This alone can neutralize the ego. When we stop running and allow we open up in ways that can be very surprising. I am mainly talking about allowing what is happening inside of us. So often, we feel a certain way during the day but judge it as bad. This is another way the ego gets us. We decide that we don’t have time to feel this, we have to get the kids breakfast. Then, we stuff it down and go on with our day.
When we continue this process for years we end up with a volcano of emotions deep inside us. Then, one day out of the blue it erupts. Normally it is over something menial. We have a complete meltdown while driving our kids to school. They don’t understand, you are beating yourself up for completely overreacting and your husband is just staring at you in horror. This does not help.
The funny thing is if we just allow that feeling when it first comes up, it moves very quickly. Then, we don’t have to have a huge eruption later on. It can be very simple and we can avoid a lot of drama. The ego loves drama though because then you beat yourself up. That is not to say it is wrong to overreact. We may have repressed emotions from childhood stored in our body and it is good to just feel it fully. Being present with our feelings and allowing them is a way of slaying the Dragon of the ego. You can find simple techniques for doing thishere. In the moment, it might not always feel that way.