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The ego in disguise

If you seriously analyze every worry that arises in you, you will see that ninety nine percent of your worries are baseless. But the problem is that the ego is not willing to accept that. The ego has invested too much in worry. Worry can’t be discarded just like that! Just try telling someone that his or her worries are not worth anything. They will get very offended. You would expect that a person would feel happy if you tell him his worries are not true. But it won’t be so! He will feel offended. The ego feels offended whenever its worries are not acknowledged with due respect.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu* says beautifully, ‘When a living entity forgets the constitutional nature of his relationship with god, he is at once overwhelmed with external energy. This is the cause of his false ego, his identification with his body-mind system!’

Ego comes into play only when you lose your connection with Existence. The ego is what sustains the worry. The worry is created out of ignorance, but sustained by ego. Worry becomes an axis around which the ego revolves. If worry is taken away, the ego suffers. The worry of work and the worry of responsibility are classic examples of this.

Understand that the idea of hard work itself is a myth. Hard work is really just worry plus a little work, that’s all. Real hard work never causes

worry. It simply rises and falls like a wave, with great dynamism and intensity. It will never dilute itself with worry.

An eight year old girl was very intelligent and somehow sensed that her mother would like a  gift. She decided to buy her mother a birthday gift. The mother was very happy. She thought, ‘At least my daughter appreciates my efforts. No one else does.’

 The girl gave her mother the gift and told her, ‘This is for you because you work so hard and no one appreciates it.’ The mother replied, ‘But dear, your father also works hard. Don’t forget that.’

The girl said, ‘Yes, but he doesn’t make a fuss about it.’

The fuss is the worry. If you watch some people, they simply magnify their situation to prove that they have the greatest worries on planet earth! If you try to contradict them, they feel very hurt.

Even worrying about what others will say about us is a problem of the ego. The ego is constantly worried that its self-image might be spoiled by someone. It is because of the ego that we feel we want to be somebody special all the time. We spend considerable time just worrying about our self-image. Understand that the greatest blessing is being a nobody and yet being blissful. That is the greatest specialty. It is said that the most extraordinary thing about an enlightened being is that he thinks he is ordinary! So, understand that enlightenment itself is a journey to relax into yourself. You are someone special all the time, only when you drop worry and ego.


 * Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – A mystic from Bengal, India steeped in devotion to Krishna. His followers are known as Gaudiya Vaishnavas.

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