I feel like so many of my “aha” moments lately have been around ego, and today was a BIG one. Not to get you too excited, but just hang on here for a sec:
I was reading this morning in the New Testament and in Jesus the Christ by James Talmage. When I read the scriptures I always try to see them as being DIRECTLY applicable to me as a lesson. Today was about ego in fasting and sacrifice and service.
More specifically: “In the matter of alms-giving the Master warned against, and inferentially denounced, ostentation and hypocritical display.” And also. “ To give to the needy is praiseworthy; but to give for the purpose of winning the praise of men is rank hypocrisy.” Mark 12:41
or in other words, hmm, Annie, let's see how you also have a butt ton of 'rank hypocrisy!' or "ego" wrapped around giving and service. Oh goody! Because anytime the scriptures say "the praise of men" I know that also means my ego doing something just so it can feel valid and praiseworthy as well.
Look, ego thought patterns (habitual thoughts based on your mind's subconscious beliefs) and resulting emotions and actions are always about YOU and YOUR IMAGE and feeling safe. All of it. All of the beliefs with EGO is I AM NOT ENOUGH AS I AM. Which makes you separate from God. And hey, once you are operate from that space, well, nothing will ever be enough. If you try and fill that space with anything OTHER than God, then good luck Charlie. No amount of money, fame, security, good looks, obedient perfect scholarship children or perfect church attendance and service will fill that gap...ever.
Ego (PRIDE) is totally wrapped around our spirituality, sacrifice, service and religious observance, because most people are "being" spiritual, and "sacrificing" and "serving" all to fill that gap. To finally feel whole and worthy. And IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Once you live and make choices consciously and in presence, you see things spiritually and do things spiritually because you know who you are. You sacrifice and serve because you know there will always be enough for you and others. You sacrifice and serve because you know that is helping yourself. You take care of yourself because you know that is taking care of others. See the connection?
When the manna came from Heaven, anyone who tried to plan ahead and get more than they needed so “they” could feel safe or have enough (ego)? Well guess what? They always ended up with less than those that took for only their immediate needs. Because when you take and keep out of lack, you will always be in lack. But when you take what only you need and trust there is more coming, and more than enough is coming, and it's never coming from you, you will always freely give whenever asked and prompted.
How about the tithes they paid publicly in the synagogue? The publicans paid generously and loudly for all to see but they also gave only from their abundance. But a widow quietly walked up and donated her two mites, all that she had. ALL THAT SHE HAD, WITHOUT MAKING IT ABOUT HER. (I'm sorry for yelling but sheesh, this is important).
She gave her all to God because she knew only God could help her and lift her.
How many times have you said, "I'll help out and give more once I have more?" Hellooooo! Same thing, you are only willing to give from 'your' abundance. You are not ready to give ALL THAT YOU HAVE because you don't know how "you" will get more. When you are operating from ego you will never be enough, there will never be enough, and then, oh baby, then when you do anything of service, deep down it will be to make "you" feel better, safe, secure or look better, safe and secure. And fyi, if your "lack" is 'bout you and you publicly complain about it so everyone can see and know your crappy lack, then guess what? When you hit the lottery you will give and help out and it will be loud and public so everyone can see it and know it and it will be about you.
Ew. Double Ew.
“for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
How many times have you told yourself that ONCE you have more sleep, a better schedule, more money, more patience, a more comfortable situation, marble countertops, THEN you will host things at your house, THEN you will be patient with yourself, your kids and others, THEN you will wear nice clothes and do your hair and oh, you know, be a respectable human being? MILLIONS.
When we commit and live a life of ONLY giving from safety and abundance, we live a life that is shallow and selfish and hollow and pointless.
We are meant to live and THRIVE by giving all we have, yes, even from sometimes what our brain says is "nothing" like the widow's mites. When we operate in consciousness we are giving it all in the name of our creator, giving because we are held in the heart of an abundant and endlessly loving Universe. Giving because who we are as people is totally NOTHING, but who we are as connected to everything is EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING! There’s a big difference there y’all.
Can you see it? Can you see the places in your life where you aren’t giving your all because YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH YET or you think YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH YET?
This is a big problem because 1. With that belief you never will be enough, and 2. If you do have a type A personality and become abundant from ego striving and suffering you will give but ONLY SO PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE AMAZING BECAUSE DEEP DOWN YOU STILL BELIEVE YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.
The second point about ego in spiritualism I'm trying to hack out here was about the praying out loud and complaining out loud about fasting so all could see how righteous they were. They disfigured their faces and wore crappy clothes so people could see how miserable they were when fasting. But what is fasting? It’s sacrificing and dedicating yourself to God. Another name for that?SERVICE. SERVICE. SERVICE.
When we serve from an unconscious, ego based mind, we do it for the world, that’s unconsciousness. That’s egoic spiritualism.
Let’s step back a second and look at how we serve from ego, in TONS of ways, to show to the WORLD that we are GOOD and RIGHTEOUS people and are just SUFFERING SO MUCH TO HELP OUT EVERYONE ELSE.
How about the dad/mom that is just so tired from working so hard to provide/serve their family. This is such an easy trap. "I can't do these things for others because I'm tired because I do so much" and if anyone is ungrateful, "well let me tell you how much I do for you". OOF.
How about the ohsopopular covid hotmess syndrome- just like the fasting hypocrites in the Bible- with the messy hair and unkempt clothes and sad faces and the OUTWARD complaining so everyone knows how much they are suffering for all the GOOD they are doing for God???? Are you SEEING THIS IN YOURSELF? (Did that hurt? That one hurt, that one was a like a gut punch, oooooh, and throw in a squinched up face hurt.)
“That they might appear haggard and faint, this class of hypocrites disfigured their faces, went with unkempt hair, gazed about with sad countenances. Of these also the Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” Believers were admonished to fast secretly, with no outward display, and to fast unto God, who could see in secret and would heed their sacrifice and prayer.”
When we consciously serve, pray, and contribute as a perfect and limitless Child of God, we do it secretly, with no outward display, and we are totes m'goats comfy that it's only between us and God.
The root of all suffering is disconnection from WHO YOU ARE. Only EGO believes in duality, in separation. EGO has created millions or horcruxes for you and tells you to spend your entire life searching and finding them so you can be whole again when the secret is YOU ARE WHOLE ALREADY. But when you are unconscious, you think you are a piece of crap (or you are your accomplishments) so you think piece of crap thoughts (or I'm amazing thoughts because of hollow accomplishments) and do piece of crap things when you are unhappy and see others as pieces of crap (if they aren't accomplished). Which in a way is ONENESS but just instead you believe everyone is ONE big pile of doo doo.
The truth is, it's the opposite that is is true: we live in an abundant universe with an abundant and giving creator. EVERYTHING you need and desire is already here, you just have to give your all and ask for it and THEN SHOW UP FOR IT. It can’t be up to “you” achieving it. You just throw in all that you have, and work hard everyday doing your very best to serve all that is. Yes, even when you feel like nothing.
When you stop living in the grip of the ego, you wake up and instead of asking for everything you need from God in the morning you ask
“What does God need to create through me today?”
And then you make your bed and shower and wear clean, nice clothes and do your hair and smile because you KNOW God KNOWS how much you are giving for Him, so you don’t need to suffer outwardly so others can see “just how much you do” and “how little sleep you get” because you are sacrificing everything to "serve".
If God knows, and you know, then who the poop cares if other people know? ONLY EGO wants others to know. And those are the small, and sometimes not so tiny, thought patterns that you are addicted to that you need to watch and lovingly find and stop reacting to, because living in EGO is living in suffering.
And yet, there is an end to this suffering and fake sacrifice and hollow, selfish service. And bonus! It has been pointed towards by many spiritual leaders and scriptures, and it is, in a nutshell, simply becoming aware of your EGO, and seeing how often it is operating in you and forgiving yourself and trying again.
You can do this right now, today! I promise!
Just start watching. Start asking yourself, “Why am I doing this? “ or “if no one saw or knew I was doing it would I still do it?” Or “if everyone in the world was doing this and helping, would I still do this, or am I doing this to be special?” And next level, watch your thoughts around your actions and other people's actions. How often are you judgmental and critical? EGO. How often are you forgiving and open and accepting of flaws and mistakes?
And also, when you start watching your ego, try not to judge mmkay? Because that is only, cough cough…your ego judging you. Kinda trippy right?
Because your spiritual Higher self, your child of god self? It doesn’t judge itself because it knows it’s not separate from anything, including God. Your Higher self doesn’t judge itself because that would be judging God and others. And it doesn’t judge God or others because that would be judging itself. Are you catching what I’m dropping here?
Love one another, do unto others as you would have them do to you, as a perfect and limitless child of God. Man, how different would the world look?
When you need help, real help, when you need compassion, real compassion, when you need forgiveness, real forgiveness, do you want it from someone at your doorstep who is dirty and tired and haggard and complaining or perfect and fake and hollow and then says “LOOOOK! I am helping you because I am JUST SUCH A GOOD PERSON, can you SEE WHAT A GOOD PERSON I AM? PLEASE TELL ME I AM A GOOD PERSON FOR SERVING YOU AND FEELING SORRY FOR YOU!”
We all know what that feels like. It feels like waiting in line outside on a hot, humid day with tired and hungry kids and your butt sweat is dripping down your thighs from your back and then someone says you have to walk 5 miles to get into air conditioning but you are wearing a skirt and the chafing has already begun. NOT FUN PEOPLE. NOT COMFORTABLE, NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN TELL ANYONE HOW GROSS IT FEELS and..EWWWWWWW.
Everyone knows what it feels like when someone is serving you to feel better about themselves. See aforementioned gross private chafing afeelings you are too ashamed to share.
And that’s ok, we don’t judge them for unconsciousness. 'Forgive them for they know not what they do'. And also, we don’t judge them because that would be judging ourselves. When we have become conscious and have forgiven ourselves for unconscious behaviors and actions, then we freely forgive others for it as well. And we keep showing up and serving, everyday, in the way that we are called to do, because we know we are MORE THAN ENOUGH because of we are, and everyone else is, a perfect child of GOD.
Phew...thank you for attending my TED TALK.
me laughing at how many times I thought I wasn't serving from ego because I wasn't dressed up or fancy but looked like old oatmeal because my brain thought that was "righteous" haha.