Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Free of Ego, Free of Regret

I have had it in my mind's eye over the past week something that was a supplemental resolution of mine for 2008. I wrote it in my journal almost a year ago. Somehow, over the months, I let it drift back into the recesses of my brain to sit unused. But I have revisited it recently, and somehow my understanding of it has changed. Something has "clicked" for me.
It is three simple words:

Free of Ego

I do not say "Free from Ego" because our egos are intrinsically a part of us. I don't wish to be free from my id, as if separated from my it. But "Free of Ego" implies a freedom from the constraints of the Ego as aggressor, competitor, and negative entity that guides us through our daily actions.

Free of Regret is something I have added to this mantra more recently as I have come to terms with the fact that I am a "Ruminator." I allow negative events and associations to drift into my psyche in the present moment, where they continue to fester like a boil on my memory. Even reminiscing and talking about these events with other people is, I have learned, no more constructive than dwelling on them internally. I wish to free myself of the Regret that at any moment can surface and change the course of my thought patterns and my day.

When I was in grad school, one of my fellow classmates accused me of cheating. I knew in my heart that I had not cheated, but he was a good friend and someone I had come to trust and confide in over the years. Realizing that he did not fully trust me in return for some reason (and I believe this was more about his personality than mine) was very hard to deal with or forgive. We made our amends, but to this day I know there is a tiny part of the situation that I have not exonerated. I may never completely forgive him for something I truly thought was poorly handled and downright wrong.

Being Free of Ego, Free of Regret means that in this moment, here and now, I will not allow myself to ruminate on this experience. I count to 3 and vow that after 3 seconds I move onto more positive, constructive thought patterns.

Other negative reminiscences such as this come up from time to time in my daily thoughts: disagreements I've had with a family member whose core beliefs are much different than mine, or things left unsaid that I wish I had said to win my case (there it is, the big EGO!). I'm sure we all have experienced similar things. When I am under the influence of Ego the Aggressor, I am allowing myself to think that I need to prove this person wrong, as if I am most definitely right and she is definitely wrong. With all the subjectivities in our great world that make it so multidimensional and fascinating, why would I make something so paltry as being "right" my main goal?

When I am Free of Ego, I speak with my own forthrightness and character, but I do not allow the aggressive ego to turn the situation into something negative: a competition or a bad experience. There is something to be learned in every circumstance. Only if the ego is quiet and calm can we see what is to be learned.

What is present in the space made available by being Free of Ego, Free of Regret?
Gratitude, Peace, Poised Self-Confidence, Joy, and Love.
This Thanksgiving, I will ruminate on these things, not the others.

This photo I took of our beloved Highland Lake this fall brings me much solace and gratitude.

How do you free yourself from Ego and Regret?

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