When Practice Feeds the Ego

Jai Bhagwan!

I am not a fan of changing from Standard to Daylight Savings and back again.  Usually, however, it is the change to Daylight Savings that causes me problems.  Here in the US, we returned to Standard Time early Sunday morning.  Since Sunday, I have felt more and more tired and each morning as my alarm sounds at 03:40 so I can begin my morning sadhana, the little voice that says, “Stay in bed this morning.” has been just a little louder.  Each morning, the little voice is brushed aside, sadhana begins and this morning was no different, at first.  That little voice was quite loud as I moved into the first round of warm-up breathing and during the second half of that first round, that little voice fairly screamed, “GO TO BED!”  “No,” came the firm reply, “I am remarkable and being remarkable, I will push through this and continue!”

At that moment, awareness of the situation fully hit:  Mind—I’m tired—was arguing with Ego—I am remarkable!  Knowing that neither Mind nor Ego can be fully trusted, awareness turned inward again and listened to what the body had to say.  I have never felt such bone tiredness, such weeping exhaustion.  In short order, I returned to bed and Ego berated me the entire time, “Quitter.  You’ll never manage to get up early enough for sadhana tomorrow if you give up today.”

The Mind loves to spin tales, to dream the days away and, for me, to sink into laziness.  It is the mind which whispers, “Sleep a little longer” when morning comes.  I know the voice of the Mind and, at times, I allow it to carry me on flights of fancy.  The voice of Ego is also well known to me and it is the more dangerous of the two.  The Mind would take the easy path at every opportunity but Ego wants to make things as difficult as possible to claim victory over the obstacles, to be able to say, “See!  See what I can do!”  Before long, I would begin believing that I am indeed remarkable and that, as a result, others should look to me as the Source, the One, Infallable and down that path lies a ruin that few who have been led there have escaped.  To paraphrase Epictetus, “If you do not wish to be prone to arrogance, do not feed the ego; give it nothing which may tend to its increase.”

Perhaps I am remarkable.  Perhaps I have gained knowledge, experience or understanding that is of value.  Perhaps I have skill in passing that knowledge, experience and understanding to others.  Am I the source of that knowledge or of even the skill in teaching?  No.  I am and nothing more.