I went to an intense yoga class with my teacher two days ago. Everyone felt it; I know this because he said toward the end: “Seven more minutes of class, guys.” And everyone laughed. Because damn, we were all wondering.
In the beginning of class, he shared with us something that resonated with him via one of his teachers, Erich Schiffmann:
In every moment, you’re either connecting to Source or reiterating the ignorance of the ego.
It danced over my skin when he said it.
Throughout class, I thought about it. I thought about how much I was seeing the appearance of ego in my own life lately, and in particular my relationship.
I had been making everything about me. I pointed out to my partner that even the simplest thing he was saying—she’s really really smart, for example—was triggering me. Wasn’t I really smart, too? Yes. Do I want to crawl into a shame hole for even admitting to thinking this way? Yes.
Why was this coming up when it usually wasn’t an issue?
I watched it happen again yesterday. I watched my ego get gnarly, want to come out and fight, when my partner said a simple thing about a great conversation he had with a friend of his—a friend I really adore.
What the hell, Amy?
This all escalated into a crazy furious ball of anger that I needed to dance and breathe my way out of—luckily, I could do this without involving my partner.
And then I sat. And I listened. I listened to my ego.
I did that thing we’re not supposed to do—give it credence. I stopped trying to push its head down and suffocate it, telling it it had no value, telling it what it was saying meant nothing.
But I’m human. And I have an ego. And it was trying to tell me something.
It was trying to tell me that I was feeling this way because I wasn’t deeply connecting with my partner. We had been trying to, on a day-to-day surface level, to maintain our connection—even though we know we have to make real space and drop in with each other, and that takes time, time we weren’t creating for it.
Through trying to remain constantly “connected” through texts and calls and check-ins, we had been sacrificing our deeper, soul-level connection—the connection that we’ve felt in each other since we met.
Of course, we ended up having an amazing conversation. We have an intense connection; we wouldn’t be very human if we could just accept that.
This morning, he emailed me telling me he had a great conversation with a woman I admire. And I felt truly happy for him, excited to hear about it—and then I wondered at that with a smile.
Ego was calm. Ego was not upset. Ego let me feel a happiness for his happiness, even though it had nothing to do with me. I was at peace. And this felt powerful to me.
In the self-improvement world, we’re usually taught to ignore the ego. But maybe, every now and then, it needs to be heard so it can teach us something.
Maybe it can lead us to Source, if we let it.
Photo credit: Ludovic Florent