Ego Awareness in Mindfulness?
Hope 2014 has started off well for you. Sorry for the long silence.
I have been devoting most of my attention to help launch a live virtual workshop in Mindful Leadership for Janice Marturano. Janice, a kindred spirit, left General Mills as its Deputy General Counsel to dedicate her life to helping people and founded the Institute for Mindful Leadership. On February 12, we will be launching her first live online workshop on our Mindful Virtual Academy. Hope some of you can get to participate in it.
At the same time, “The Mindful Revolution” was featured on the cover of TIME magazine and has attracted a bunch of interesting attention to the field of Mindfulness. The author Kate Pickert did a great job describing this fairly broad space, which tends to mean different things to different folks. As a society, I don’t believe anyone of us would dare to defend our current state of affairs where we are so stressed out, extremely busy and trying to do too many things in the hope of a better life. At the same time, too many of us have no idea what to do about it other than resort to self-help, therapy or self-medication with drugs and alcohol. While we know that this strategy is not sustainable, most are unaware as to where to turn for healthy solutions. Getting to the bottom of understanding who you truly are and what’s really driving you is key to a better and more balanced life, however, it’s not a journey that everyone would like to embark on.
While there were many people who liked the idea of a mainstream magazine addressing a topic that is yet to become mainstream, I was surprised to read one particular article titled TIME’s Beautiful, White, Blonde ‘Mindfulness Revolution’ which picked on the TIME article in ways that made me feel sad. As a proponent of sharing ways and means with which one can improve the quality of their life, I was disappointed that the critique missed the core message of Kate’s intent. I shared this article with several folks and got some interesting responses that I would like to share with you.
First, a woman’s perspective from the South,
“I have to say as a white female blonde, I take offense to the article. At one point, many years ago I was told by someone I was too BLONDE to present marketing results at an investor meeting for a bank client of mine. This came from a female leader in the bank. Judging anyone is wrong in my book. And surely judgement is not a part of being mindful. The religion or the practice.”
Another, from a male perspective from the Midwest,
“Lots of ego and attachment to Buddhism in that piece. Maybe one day we’ll all be awake and enlightened enough to practice a Buddhist technique.”
What really troubled me was the question, “Shouldn’t we be thrilled that the intent of the article was to help more people, not whether it was 100% perfect?” I am a strong believer that we can find fault with anything in life, if we are focused on that goal. Instead, we need to pay more attention to the positive side that’s a part of almost all things. This attitude to find the good in people’s intentions that can help the larger community is essential for our progress as a society and it’s time is here, NOW!!! In fact, it’s been here for a while and we need to wake up and address it right away.
During the past few years, I have always wondered about the role of our ego in living a mindful life. My blog was originally titled EgoAwareness.Me to bring attention to that aspect and later changed to MindfulChoices.org to parlay the benefits of living in a state of awareness of our fear, greed and ego.
While the ego is nothing to be vilified, we do need to keep tabs on it to make sure that the identity that we try to project to the outside world does not become synonymous with who we really are. That’s when we have truly conned ourselves. Getting carried away by our mind proves to be very unhealthy in the long run. Being aware and acknowledging our ego for its role in motivating us to aspire to greater heights and accomplish feats that we otherwise may not have achieved is important. At the same time, it is also important to be aware of the intention behind every endeavor because in the end, our peace of mind comes down to being at peace with our intentions, not our results.
“Use your mind, don’t let your mind use you.”
Peace and be well,