Because life is made up of opposing forces, or what the Chinese refer to as Yin and Yang, it may be broken down into an endless series of spectrums. Each spectrum has one opposing force on one end and the other opposing force on the other end. This makes us look at life from a “this or that” perspective, which is myopic or short-sighted. Instead of looking at the big picture, we focus on the spectrum which makes us the most uncomfortable or brings us the most pleasure at that time. By “softening” our attention and learning to focus on the big picture, we can move along a spectrum and between spectrums with relative ease. This is a far more irritating way of stating, don’t get stuck on the little things. Learn to be grateful and focus on the positive. It is a decision, and within your control to make.
By now, I’m beginning to lose those of you who are stuck and already believing the opposite of what I’ve suggested. I urge you to read on to the end. This is an exercise in perspective and how we get off-course with, even minor, blips in our way of sensing and processing that which goes on around us.
Think of life as a constant stream of data that comes through our filters or senses. We hear, smell, see, taste and feel the World around us and make judgments and decisions based on how this information “makes” us feel and think. This is based on history, what we’ve been told/taught and our current state of mind. As you can imagine, there are hundreds, if not thousands of variables that set-up these three conditions, but I’ll make a simple point about it. What you have experienced, what you have been told and your current condition, at any point in time, is both right and wrong, ALWAYS! If you want to be a better person; more understanding, more compassionate, more intelligent, more reasonable, less judgmental, less reactive, and so on, decide right now, that you are always right and always wrong.
This does not mean that facts aren’t facts. Yes, 2+2=4…and saying so, makes you right, but just as much about life; our experience, is about belief, not facts. This has gotten us into a world of trouble where relationships are concerned. People are becoming so obstinate with their beliefs that they are viewing them as facts and making others who don’t side with them enemies. This fractured state is completely avoided by the rational person who understands the premise of this article. Fear makes us uncomfortable and discomfort makes us look for ways to control that which leads to our current unpleasant state. You have a decision to make and what derails you from making the right one, not just for you, but for everyone? EGO.
Ego is that part of us that is ruled by fear; that which we think is us, but in truth is really protecting us from being crushed by our insecurities, failings, etc. As the World gets “smaller,” and we are subject to more information, more negativity, more anger/fear and more pressure, we feel more afraid, smaller, and the ego gets bigger and bigger…and we, in turn, get “dumber.” Logic and reason are less available to us. We make decisions that we’d “never make” and this is how Governments become so corrupt, Social atrocities occur, and so on.
The diminishment of ego is crucial to our success. There are a great many who say that we have to have more God in the World. I’d say the opposite. This is going to anger a great many of you but, take a long breath and hear me out. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, but due to ego, our belief makes an enemy out of anyone who doesn’t believe what we believe. Want proof? Religion is responsible for more blood-shed on this Planet than anything else and it’s not even close. This is why the following words uttered by a great Teacher are so important: Your relationship with God is your own and is not to be worn like a colorful scarf to be admired by others (paraphrase).
How do we do this? Take quiet time each day; no screens, no assault on the nervous system. I don’t care what you call it; meditation, a walk in the woods, sitting in your room and being present, etc. Then commit to cleaning up your diet. Diet has been proven to affect behavior. Coffee is a classic example of ramping people up. A small cup (which almost no one drinks, anymore) can help move one’s bowels and increase focus. The 4+ cups that people actually drink which all the added sugar create a much different response. And to prove the negative effect, suggest to those people that they come off of it for a few months to re-set their system. They act just like an addict! And that’s just scratching the surface!
Other variables that help us diminish ego and become better versions of ourselves: Awareness and intention, hydration, exercise/oxygenation, treatment of fungus/yeast, parasites and other pathogenic conditions, restoring probiotics and healing the digestive system, and finding purpose in giving to others (volunteering, work that makes you feel good, kindness towards strangers, etc). It also helps to apologize, admit we’re wrong, open our minds to the opinions of others (you don’t have to accept them, but listening helps)…we all just want to be heard and feel respected and connected.
Getting shut out hurts and makes us feel alone…again, what charges up to rescue us? The Ego! Make better decisions and worry about yourself and less about what others are thinking, believing and doing. It’s difficult, at times, but a very helpful way of getting back into balance. Every single one of us needs help, so if you’re tired of feeling hopeless, angry, stuck…reach out and find the right person/people to work with.
Paul Gerst L.Ac. is an Acupuncturist and Natural Health Practitioner of 21 years who, along with Cindy Meeske LICSW, owns The Balanced Path Wellness Center in Medway, MA. Specializing in treating Depression, Anxiety, PTSD/Trauma, Digestive Disease and Chronic Pain. For Acupuncture and Natural Healthcare Services, call Paul at 774-283-2726. For Psychotherapy and Reiki call Cindy Meeske at 774-573-1644.