Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tools Of The Ego

Page 86, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth says the following:

"A shy person who is afraid of the attention of others is not free of ego, but has an ambivalent ego that both wants and fears attention from others. The fear is that the attention may take the form of disapproval or criticism, that is to say, something that diminishes the sense of self rather than enhances it. So the shy person's fear of attention is greater than his or her need for attention. Shyness often goes with a self-concept that is predominantly negative, the belief of being inadequate. Any conceptual sense of self---seeing myself as this or that---is ego, whether predominantly positive (I am the greatest) or negative (I am no good). Behind every positive self-concept is the hidden fear of not being good enough. Behind every negative self-concept is the hidden desire of being the greatest or better than others. Behind the confident ego's feeling of and continuing need for superiority is the unconscious fear of inferiority. Conversely, the shy, inadequate ego that feels inferior has a strong hidden desire for superiority. Many people fluctuate between feelings of inferiority and superiority, depending on situations or the people they come in contact with. All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that's the ego in you."

I am reading so much from this book that resonates in me.

"Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that's the ego in you."

How often in your day do you feel one or the other of these two? The majority of my judgments about myself and other people probably come in the form of feelings of inferiority or superiority. This book is giving me so many awarenesses of the tools that ego uses to stay in control.

I can relate so much to the feelings of ambivalence of a shy person. Believe it or not, I was extremely shy until I was in my late 20's. My husband helped to tease me out of most of my shyness. He helped me to come out of my protective shell.

I remember spending most of my free time at school in the library with my head stuck in a book so that I could hide from people. I didn't know how to talk to any of the kids at school. I was so afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. I was afraid of drawing attention to myself and at the same time, I craved the attention. I was starved for attention at the same time that I was terrified by it. I remember wearing make-up to school one day. I probably put it on in the bathroom at school so my dad wouldn't see it and tell me to wash it off. One of my teachers commented on how beautiful it made my eyes. I was in heaven and hell at the same time. I was pleased at the compliment from my teacher and I was terrified by that same attention and didn't know how to react to it. I didn't know how to handle the ambivalence. I went home and washed my face and didn't wear make-up again until I was in college.

I didn't know that I was pretty until one day, I overheard someone talking about me. I was 19 years old when I heard this friend ask another friend, "Doesn't she know that she is pretty?" I had no clue. I was so shy and withdrawn. I wore neutral colors and did my best to be invisible to others. I doubt that most of my classmates would recognise me as the author of this blog. Today, I am quite vocal about my beliefs and feelings. I doubt anyone that I went to school with would imagine me as a writer.


Evan said...

Thanks Patricia,

I hadn't bothered with Tolle's stuff much. But this is genuinely insightful.

Thanks for pointing me to it.

Patricia Singleton said...

Evan, I am not up to date with the class either. I have downloaded and printed out each of the classes. I wasn't hooked until the 3rd chapter. It has some really good insights.

Anonymous said...

"How often in your day do you feel one or the other of these two? The majority of my judgments about myself and other people probably come in the form of feelings of inferiority or superiority."

So true. Well, the same is definitely true for me, too.

A brilliantly simple question.

Patricia Singleton said...

Slade, thanks for your words of praise. Dear friend, you opinion means the world to me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,

Figuring out shyness.

When I read about your school days it naturally brought me to my own. I had a quite opposite experience in high school. I knew almost everyone in a class of over 400 by name. I was involved in as many activities as time allowed. As I look back on it, I wonder if trying to meet everyone was a way out of the shyness. If you had asked anyone, I don't think shy would have been their description of me.

Yet, in my own way I created something else that I am still unsure from where it stemmed. I know there was detachment mixed with involvement with people. Maybe only a mirror of the family I grew up in. What now seems like an obvious masquerade in their case.

Strange to have lived for as long as I've lived and not know whether I live from shyness or not.

Thanks for the food for thought.

Patricia Singleton said...

Barbara, you are welcome. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I started listing to the audio book of this book. There are loads of points to ponder upon.


Patricia Singleton said...

Shamelle, after getting beyond the first chapter, I was hooked on the book. I started reading it before Oprah's Web Class started. With the class, I have re-read each of the chapters to keep up with the class. The second read is better than the first for me.

Anonymous said...

Patricia - thank you for this post. It was an inspiration in writing my own post and link it to yours.

It helped me put into words some of the things I've been challenged with that I've been facing in reading this book and working through the chapters.

It sounds good when you're reading it and then a situation pops up and you realize that's what he's talking about. Then, you get to apply it - which is where some of the challenge happens for me.

It's interesting to me to read how others are learning and responding to this book.

I look forward to your posts and enjoy your authenticity. You pour your heart out and are genuine. Thank you.

Patricia Singleton said...

Pat, thank you for the generousness of your words. I enjoyed reading your article too. I am not rushing through the information in the book or in the class. It is too valuable. It takes time for me to absorb it.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Sister ,
I just finished reading your Blog on Shyness and I did alot of thinking about it .
I don't know alot about ego's but I know about shyness .
I was shy most of my life but not anymore because now I'm not afraid.
To be popular you called alot of attention to yourself . To be shy no one saw you and you were invisiable . I always tried to be invisiable so no one could hurt me but sometimes I was seen . Now I'm not afraid anymore and my Shyness is almost completly gone . I love you .

Patricia Singleton said...

Joann, you know that I love you too. I am glad that you are finally online and can read my blog articles. I look forward to more comments from you.

Patricia Singleton said...

My sister Joann asked me to change the first line of her comment to read, "Is it shyness or is it fear?"

My answer to that is, "Yes, to me, shyness does come from fear. Fear of disapproval, fear of being noticed, fear of not being noticed, fear of being hurt, fear of dying from the hurt. Fear comes with many faces. Shyness is just one."

Thanks Joann for helping me to add to the above discussion.
Your sister Patricia

Anonymous said...

Becoming non-reactive is a challenge for most people who gravitate to behaviours that mirror superiority or inferiority. As you realize you invite people into your life of certain mindsets, you are actually taking steps to work through these sides in yourself. Anyone can evolve to develop inner peace. This serenity permits you to stop reacting to people who attempt to "press your buttons." Just when you believe you have mastered this, someone will enter yoru life to humble you and raise the bar. Learning never ends.

Patricia Singleton said...

Liara, each person comes into your life to mirror and teach a lesson that needs learning. Being a Saggitarian, I am really drawn to seek more knowledge. Looking at others, I learn so much about myself. We all do if we are willing to take our blinders off and be honest with ourselves.

Anonymous said...

What can seem remarkable about a book relates to your state of awareness. To re-read the book after you have elevated your state of awareness permits you to expand your perspective and get something new out of it.

Patricia Singleton said...

Liara, that is exactly why I have read some of my favorite books 2 or 3 times and I get something different each time that I read them. Awareness gives you a different perspective from the first time that you read something.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book too.

Another way to know that we are viewing life from the ego perspective is to identify with the personality aspect of ourselves. Consider that each person is wearing only a costume or is acting out a part. When we foget that this is only a drama in a play then we have cemented ourselve into the role and the role or the ego begins to feed off of us so that it can survive its point of view. The ego doesn't like to change or to shift frequencies. When we realize its a game, we can shift frequencies or personalites and try on different costumes with a smile knowing we can be anyone we want to be. If we identify with the body, we can get trapped in the body. If we identify with spirit, we can become anything.

Patricia Singleton said...

Natural Moments, I like the points that you make about the ego and the spirit. I just visited your blog and subscribed to it earlier tonight. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.