Dedicated to the AT in my life.
That’s me standing in an ancient mosque against an old, tall wall that has weathered the test of time. The walls were so tall that I couldn’t fit all of it in the photograph. The photograph was taken to indicate the size of the door against the gargantuan size of the walls, and for a good measure, I threw myself in to make it more pronounced. I look tiny in the whole setup– infinitesimally tiny.
I am but a speck in the whole cosmos, aren’t I? Carl Sagan said, “You are worth about 3 dollars worth in chemicals,” and this quote took me back to a conversation with my guru. (He’d frown and convulse if he read the attribution of the term guru to him since he doesn’t attribute any importance to himself.) He is a sentient being.
To explain the subject of this post, I need to go back into an earlier conversation that he and I shared. We were discussing a matter that was of importance to the two of us. In sharing what I had to say, I also knew he would share his perspectives on what was under discussion. So even before he could say anything at all, I said to him, “Please don’t give me advice on this matter. It is what it is.” He, of course, said nothing in return and only offered to listen–a skill and an art that he’s perfected. I hope to someday inherit that gift from him.
On a later day, after the conversation had transpired, he asked me, “Where do you think that came from? When you said, “Don’t give me advice.” After some thought, I realized I hadn’t the faintest idea where that statement came from.
So he asked me to consider the possibility of the ego. A possibility that perhaps my reaction stemmed from nurturing an ego that wanted to guard itself against something. I sat down with the question (I seem to like sitting down with questions) and began measuring my ego. Is it the size of a mustard seed or the size of an egg or the size of a soccer ball or a size I can’t imagine? The answers began emerging (JK has an interesting read about asking questions and seeking answers) about the size of my ego.
I have situational ego; my ego alters. It could be small if a store manager doesn’t heed my call for help; medium-sized if my parents offend me in some fashion, and of cosmic proportions when I’m questioned about something. Each time I react, the ego steps in, takes over and I become that much more distant from myself.
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm.”
In this case, size does matter. The bigger the ego, the further I stand from knowing myself.
Because the ego has a story all its own. It wants to tell everyone else ‘its’ story. You remain behind a scaffold watching yourself .
If I need to find my story, one that is authentic, then I need to step away from an ego-driven story. Here’s where for once the size does not matter. Whether big or small, in ridding myself of the ego, I rid myself of the need to be pretentious or phony. In accepting a spirit-driven goal, rather than an ego-driven one, I know I find life to be fulfilling.
Just in using “I,” I see the next set of conversations brewing between AT and I. Who is this “I”? he will ask. My response, “I am coming, guru ji!”