We are all familiar with that
curious need from within to at times shoot
ourselves in the foot.
Most of us are completely unconscious of
the actual moments wherein we take that
crucial step towards self destruction, but
some of us, sadly, are fully conscious in
these times. We know without a shadow of
a doubt that taking the road to the left
is the positive, healthy and more balanced
direction for our lives and yet, amazingly,
we somehow choose the destructive road to
I dont mean in anyway to confuse
analogies here. Im not speaking of
the proverbial Road less traveled.
Although the road less traveled is, more
often than not, the more positive, healthy
and balanced road, Im speaking more
directly about those moments in which it
is our decision to remain behind when all
the messengers appear and all the trumpets
are blasting the resounding message: It
is time to move on!
Ponder, for a moment, the wife who after
countless beatings from her abusive spouse,
still chooses to stay. Day after day she
views the open door and dreams of leaving.
Smiles, a secure job, friends and a bright
future fill her daytime dreams. But night
after night, those dreams are smashed and
broken with the pain of harsh words, cruel
treatment and occasional blows to the face.
Advice from her family and friends is not
lost on her. She knows they are right when
they advise her to leave. But day after
day, she makes a conscious decision to stay.
Why? Why do people choose self destruction?
Perhaps the above example, although frequent,
doesnt quite hit him home. A more
common example may be in the dead man walking
scenario. This is the man (or woman) who
is completely bored or unfulfilled in his
job, but cannot find the courage to change
vocations simply because the thought of
a reduction in pay, the insecurity of starting
over, or the uncertainty of being unemployed
is more frightening than the possibility
of true satisfaction and contentment. He
makes excuses about his financial situation
and the financial security of his family
to justify his inability to take positive
action in his life. He further reinforces
and actually materializes this excuse by
buying a bigger house, a better car or simply
piling on more debt in any imaginable way.
To his peers he is a success, but inside
he knows he is a coward. Escapes begin to
pour into his life to chase away the demons
of cowardice. He uses conventional escapes
like alcohol and television, but these are
all considered normal and therefore, nobody
in his family worries over his slow decay.
Soon these escapes simply do not calm the
voices and disgust he feels within himself,
so it is not long before another woman comes
into the picture. Or, in a more positive,
but equally cowardice course of action,
the man seeks professional help and begins
using anti-depressants to again cover his
inability to live a positive balanced life.
These two examples go far in their course,
but the starting point is always a choice
of self destruction. Its rare that
it happens in one definitive moment, except
for in the movies. More commonly, self destruction
is a slow steady decline into the abyss
of total identification with the Ego and
its reinforced hopes, fears and insecurities.
But the common person knows nothing of
the dangers of believing in his Ego, if
he even is aware of Ego itself. But if we
are to understand the need for self destruction,
then we must be able to see clearly this
Ego that is the underlying and overriding
center of most of our lives.
For most English speakers, the Ego can
be seen clearly as I, the thinker.
What I likes is Ego. (Be careful with the
grammar here, Im not speaking slang.
Try to follow the logic of the wording as
it is.) What I (the thinker) wants can be
seen as the invisible arms of Ego. Everything
you think is Ego stating its agenda
clearly. Thinking is simply the reinforcement
of Egos hold on the body. Lets
go into another example which may shed some
light on this more easily than simply defining
Egos characteristics logically.
Many people look upon smokers with disbelief.
They cannot understand why a smoker actually
chooses to smoke. Why? What could a person
possibly find pleasurable about inhaling
smoke? And to make the equation even more
strange, why would a person actually do
this knowing full well that smoking increases
the rate of aging, causes cancer, costs
a lot of money and also stinks? What makes
the smoker smoke is Ego.
When the nicotine enters the smokers
body, a feeling of relaxation comes over
the smoker. The body gets attached to this
feeling that nicotine produces within the
body, and the Ego (which is the voice of
the body) says, I like that feeling.
The smoker then, believing the voice of
his body as trustworthy and of good intentions
will continue to smoke regardless of his
knowledge of the countless ill effects that
are caused by smoking. He doesnt understand
that his mind has been influenced by the
drug, so that when his mind says, I
like smoking, it is actually the drug
nicotine talking and not the rational human
being that may have gone through sixteen
years of education and have an IQ much higher
than the average non-smoker.
But were not all smokers, so lets
talk about something that we are all familiar
with: hunger. For many of us, the feeling
of an empty stomach produces a slight anxiety
within our body. Perhaps it a bi-product
of millions of years of having to hunt for
food, but for whatever reasons the mind
may use to justify this anxiety, slight
nervousness and a sense of anxiety when
we go without food for long periods of time
The foundation of Ego is survival. It doesnt
care for the hows and whys of a situation,
all personal belief systems and social norms
are thrown to the side when Ego is threatened.
There can be no doubt about that. Simply
look at some survival stories and youll
quickly see that people become nothing less
than animals when faced with possible death.
When anxiety occurs in the body, it is a
sign of insecure conditions which awakens
Egos (Your thoughts) attention fully.
This is what psychologists call the fight
or flight time. For most of us, if we go
a few extra hours without eating, we feel
very little change within our overall thoughts
and emotions, but were most likely
aware of the fact that we should start planning
to eat soon. If those thoughts do not soon
lead us to eat, the Ego will start increasing
the thoughts intensity: it is now more serious
and we really should get something to eat.
If those thoughts still go unanswered and
the body still has not been given its
wish, the desire for food will be increased
further, thus increasing the intensity of
the thoughts and over time the person will
slowly become more and more animal. What
happens is very simple: the desire to eat
becomes stronger than the desire to adhere
to social norms or personal belief systems.
But this is in the extreme. If you choose
to go a day without eating youre certainly
not going to turn into a werewolf at night
and start feasting on your friends and family.
But you will be able to watch how your thoughts
(Ego) and emotions change once your body
starts getting into unknown territory.
So we see now that the bodys voice
is Ego and following the bodys voice
at all times does not always produce the
healthiest or positive results we might
wish for in cultivating a balanced life.
But we still havent really delved
deep enough into the inner process of Ego
to see why people can build entire lives
filled with addiction, depression and fear,
and not garnish enough power to have any
real chance to choose a different path.
But for now, my Ego is saying Im
and I should
probably get some sleep. : )