This post is a follow-up to Hope's Wisdom Dialogues Episode Called "How the Ego Controls our Minds", written by Gail Florence.
Humans are beings who are most conscious of their decisions, beliefs and feelings. The human mind has a capacity for a person to choose among many possibilities. However, how much is the human aware of his freedom of choice? In this blog, it delves into some insight on what goes on in a person’s mind. It shares about the ego and the spirit that guide humans throughout their lives. Read more to find out the difference of these two special voices within us.
First, we look into the ego. In a spiritual context, the ego is a voice that seems so natural to us because we always listen to it. Hope Johnson describes it as the voice controlling our mind, choices and beliefs. We are even unconscious that we are always following the musings and conniving of the ego.
To make an analogy, Hope Johnson shares a story where one of her friends talked about a guy who stole from her. This friend decided to go around and warn everyone about it. There’s a belief in the friend that if the guy gets away with stealing, he’s going to continue doing it. The ego works this way too. It convinces us that our assumptions are real. It is “teaching your mind that you are a separate self and you’re vulnerable to someone stealing from you”, (Johnson, 2019).
The ego convinces us to believe in illusions...
The ego, a voice which has grown into us, convinces us to believe in illusions. Illusions such as we will receive punishment when we make a mistake, we are inadequate so we need to gain and gain, we are … so we feel guilty. Once we allow the ego to determine our actions, we feel anxious, fearful, and little. Because of it being a part of us our entire lives, we choose the illusions offered to us no matter if we feel scared about them. We do this because we believe they are normal. Many people choose the same decisions, ambitions and vulnerabilities, we are hesitant to unbelieve the ego.
Hope Johnson continuous to explain that the ego seems real in the moment. So, we are convinced. She adds, “You're choosing to use illusions to make you into something you're not because you're afraid. You think that you're guilty for having separated yourself from reality. And in thinking this, you believe that you deserve punishment. So this world is a substitute for that. You are running away from this punishment, which is what you think and believe is a punishment by death, a certain death,” (Johnson, 2019).
Understand too, the ego is protective. It wants to preserve the thoughts it projects. Because it appears that way, Hope Johnson adds, “…you follow the ego’s guidance. Otherwise you're not going to do it right. You're just going to lose in the world. It looks like you have to go that way,” (Johnson, 2019). What happens then, we don’t discern the truth anymore because we cling to the protection or defense that the ego projects.
For example, when we eat because of stress, the ego will convince us that it is all right to consume a bunch of fatty and sugary treats. It will tell us, “I will protect you from the emotional pain you are going thru by allowing you to eat all the ice cream”. We do get a momentary joy or relief but, once the ice cream is gone, is the pain gone too? Unless we resolve what pains us, we know, deep in our hearts, the pain is just lurking within us. The reality is, ache is our real feeling, but the ego convinces us that we can escape it thru consuming ‘happy’ food. The question now is, are we enjoying ice cream as it is while we use it as a defense? Is there are true relishing of the sweetness, fruit or cookie tidbits, and creaminess constituting the ice cream? Are we honoring the ice cream as it is or are we using it simply as a tool to make us escape from a trapped feeling?
The influence of our decisions and beliefs...
Why do we need to hear the ego at this moment? It is for us to realize that it may be the voice that has been influencing our decisions and beliefs throughout our lives. So, how do we unlisten from the ego? We listen to the spirit voice. Just like the ego, it is a guidance. What makes it different and way better than the ego is, it is a guidance that comforts. Hope Johnson describes, “…the Spirit's guidance, it's like a still small voice, like a still small voice and it feels like a comfort that doesn't have anything to do with the world though. It's like this tiny voice telling you, ‘You’re beyond the world, you’re beyond the world’”,(Johnson, 2019).
The spirit voice gives us a relief after listening to all the constricting thoughts created by the ego. It is a calm that feels nothing happened or is happening. People believe this comfort is an, “idea that they're going to get what they want in the world. That's not the kind of comfort because it always has an opposite to it. … The comfort the spirit is offering you is that you are beyond the worlds. You are beyond the world and whatever occurs in the world, does not ever touch you,” (Johnson, 2019).
Lean to the spirit's guidance
Once we lean to the spirit’s guidance, “everything is a benefit,” (Johnson, 2019). We start to see that even undesirable circumstances in our lives are teaching us something. Rather than seeing them as mistakes, we start to see them as opportunities for learning. When we flow through those moments of learning, we laugh at those we believe were mistakes. It is a laughter that allows situations to let them be. We are not controlling them anymore but just allowing them to flow.
When we listen to the spirit’s guidance, we are surrendering our want to control or hold on, our fears, anxieties, and reasons of our sadness and anger. We simply allow for the natural to just flow through.
“And that's where the fun comes in. That's where the fun of it all comes in when you recognize that you don't have freewill like that. You have freedom of choice, freedom of choice, but not free will. And you recognize that. That's where the fun comes in because this illusion what's occurring on the surface can play out any way. You're still always free to be yourself. You're still always free to make that choice that serves you and everyone else at the same time who's actually you and is undoing that self – belief and as that self-belief is getting undone, you get to have all of the fun. …things get more and more joyful for you because there's not this fear of, ‘What's going to happen to me?’”, (Johnson, 2019).
How does the spirit voice start to grow on us? When we are willing to listen to it, that’s where it starts. Recognize and accept your spirit voice for how long you want until it is your natural. If you have obeyed your ego your entire life, now is the moment for the spirit to sweep it away. Gift yourself the calm and peace that your mind wants to return to. Remember that it is up to us to accept the truth that nothing happened. Hope Johnson encourages us that it only takes a willingness, even a little, to start believing it instead.