Recognising Egoic Behaviour

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Recognising egoic behaviour in yourself and others makes the ego far easier to deal with. What used to feel like terrible situations can now be transcended.

When you know what to look for, it is easier to make the distinction between ego and the true self, whether it is within you or someone else. This seeing makes egoic situations far easier to deal with.

Egoic Behaviour

Some examples of egoic behaviour to look out for in yourself and others include:

  • wanting to be right and prove someone else wrong.
  • caring about what others think of you.
  • being identified with thoughts and emotions
  • reliving the past in your mind.
  • acting out a "future" scenario in your mind.
  • being offended or feeling hurt if someone criticises or insults you, or feeling the need to defend yourself in conversation or argument.
  • feeling good about yourself after someone praises you.
  • feeling very possessive of anything - e.g. a possession, person or a belief system i.e. this is MINE
  • feeling separate from everything and everyone.
  • telling yourself a story about what is happening or what your life is like.
  • full of "what if's".
  • trying to reach a future point for fulfilment, ignoring the present moment.
  • resisting what is.
  • trying to "be someone"

….there are many more that you will notice for yourself.

Within Yourself

The key is this: if these egoic behaviours are present in you, that is fine. Just noticing takes away their power. You can not push the behaviour away, fight or resist it. This just makes it stronger.

You can drop the behaviour as if you are letting go of a hot coal that is causing you harm. Or if you can not simply let it go, the way to dissolve it is to observe the behaviour within you and do nothing more - everything else is handled by itself from there.

By seeing what you are not - an egoic pattern - you then automatically see what you are - the awareness behind it, silently observing.

Just watch what happens within you in an effortless manner. This instantly removes power from any ego within you that is acting out at that moment. Allow itself to play out, to act out, to call for your attention. Just watch. Remain as you are.

I once heard a great spiritual teacher - Mooji- describe this watching amongst the midst of the ego as "holding your ground". This is not in a resistive manner, to stand up against the ego, but rather to simply remain as the watcher, completely surrendered to this egoic reaction within you, however painful it may be. 

You simply watch, and remain as you are. This, by implication, means that you are also not afraid of what the ego may do, so you have no need to resist it and feed it further. Just by watching, you realise what you are.

Recognising egoic behaviour requires no judgement or analysis, a simple watching suffices to set you free.

Within Others

When you are in a state of alert awareness, alert presence, it is easier to notice the ego in others than when you are lost in your own mind. Feeling your own spaciousness, you can see the essence of the other person as the consciousness that you are. Then any egoic behaviour on top of this is not taken so seriously.

You are not as easily sucked in to an egoic drama when you can see the distinction between essence and ego. Of course egoic traits are the same in everyone, but some have stronger traits than others.

Let the other be. Remain present, accepting the moment as it is. When someone is in the midst of strong egoic reaction, just allowing them to create drama from themselves often lets them move out of it quicker than trying to make them be something else.

Even trying to help, trying to talk things over in a non-argumentative way can feed whatever problem they think they have. Of course in a state of presence you say what needs to be said or do what needs to be done, but no more than that. You do not give their unconscious behaviour any reality or strength when you allow them to be as they are.

Often when people come to you with a problem that they are upset about, it seems part of them just wants the problem to be given a reality, given strength, justified through another person's reaction. This is also the case when someone is showing negativity towards you or some situation.

Experiment for yourself with this practice of non-reaction.  Sometimes the ego you are dealing with becomes confused or angry that you are not giving their conceptual drama a reality, other times people realise for themselves that what they think is so bad, actually is not. Or it can be a combination of these two.

Egoic behaviour is referred to in spirituality as "unconsciousness" - no awareness of what they are doing, there is no observer of the mind. It means being completely possessed by an entity that is not them, and they do not even know they are possessed. 

Knowing this will help you become less reactive to the ego in others. When you can see that they do not know what they are doing, and it is not even them doing it, you will be less affected by the actions of others. This may be an instant realisation for you or it may take time.

You can not fight the ego and win. Your strength lies in pure awareness, which implies acceptance and nonresistance. Use this when dealing with ego in yourself as well as others. Know that anything that needs to be done will arise out of the vast intelligence that lies within your awareness, rather than the insane mechanics of the ego.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3