The ego loves to complain and feel resentful. It loves to feel superior. What it cannot abide is indifference. It has come to my realisation in recent years that most troubles between humans come from our inability to control our own egocentric behaviour and our reactions to it in others. Ego is a necessary part of our being, but we know little about how it works. Most of the time our choices are made unconsciously, feeding egos in unintentional ways. (read: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle) But we can grow beyond that unconsciousness and become aware of our ego’s nature, and produce positive outcomes from it, regardless of circumstances.
Newsworthy events this week have shown both sides of the ego. Early in the week, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch passed away at the age of 103. A TV interview with her was run as a tribute, recorded in 2008, when she would have been just shy of 100. She was the epitome of selflessness, almost to the point of disbelief. Certainly I can only aspire to such existence. Her wizened, wrinkled face was imbued with radiance and exuded love.
Yesterday, the Morcombe family showed us what courage and love is, while shouldering the pain of their beautiful boy who was killed, tragically, nine years ago. As I listened to the father at the memorial service, tell the assembled thousands not to be sad for Daniel’s passing but to celebrate his life and dedicate his memory to helping other children avoid a similar fate, tears streamed down my face. The Morcombes and their supportive community represented the human race at its best, even in the face of an evil act.
At the opposite end of the ego spectrum was a series of events still unfolding this morning. A few days ago, two misguided Aussie radio personalities made a prank call to the hospital where Duchess Kate had been hospitalised with severe morning sickness. Wasn’t it enough that this couple had their early pregnancy disrupted with unfortunate sickness and hospitalisation? Did these media personalities need to feed their egocentric selves and inject their prank just to make a name or garner rating points? Whether or not the death of the nurse involved is connected to the prank, the stunt would have caused her and her family great discomfort in what turned out to be her last days. And the vitriol released in social media only serves to feed the dark side of this unconscious behaviour. It does nothing to enlighten the world.
All of these events follow closely on the heels of the ugly, egocentricities of our political leaders who seem, continually, to raise the benchmark for bad public behaviour.
It is sickening to see how low our human race can go, at times. And yet, there is positivity all around us, if we choose to focus on it. Let’s reign in our egos. Be indifferent to the egocentric behaviours in others, do not feed that energy. Deny its power and turn away. Be aware of your own motives and aspire to constructive intention with every action. It will ensure a much happier life for our loved ones, the world, and us. Stunts and evil deeds may feed egos but they are not what feed our souls.