17 May 2018 The Ego Knows Itself Through Efforting
Every Spring my Mentor and Deep Coaching Institute founder, Roxanne Howe-Murphy, offers a Deep Living retreat at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA. For the past several years these spiritual retreats have been an anchor in my life providing profound insights about myself and my relationship to the world around me. This work has enabled me to step into deeper presence and be a clearer vessel for working with my coaching clients and other change-makers in my world.
This year I was especially struck by the concept and experience of how the ego knows itself through efforting while resisting what it cannot control. In juxtaposing two very different orientations to life, Roxanne provided a lens to see how our habitual egoic patterns take us away from presence and into reaction and suffering. There is an alternate possibility: Surrendering.
If we’re honest with ourselves, the thought of surrendering evokes a visceral response of resistance. Our ego says, “surrender is weak!”, “surrendering equates to not moving forward, to being passive and lazy.” We live in a world where unconscious value systems around “no pain no gain” and “making things happen” are rewarded. And thus we’ve become accustomed to striving to make things happen, striving to get happiness and avoid pain. Any other possibility is quickly dismissed by our ego structure as dangerous and often validated by our superego (inner critic) that there’s something wrong with us.
In surrendering, we’re not becoming a couch potato or waving a white flag. Instead, we’re allowing the flow of life. We’re acknowledging our evolutionary nature and realizing that most of what we think we can control is really an illusion.
Life has a mysterious way of unfolding moment by moment – and we’re a participant in that unfolding! Our choice is to say “YES” and trust the unfoldment, to be fully present to what’s really happening, to show up for each moment in the creative way it’s meant to be met. Or we can say “NO” and let our egoic tendencies dominate our response.
It’s a simple yes or no. Simple but not easy! After all we’re grappling with many years of conditioning validated by collective norms that reinforce our ego’s agenda. This is a sacred journey that requires deep commitment and intentional practice. And a community of kindred spirits to support the “Trust Walk.”
by Ipek Serifsoy