After exercise class one day I had the pleasure of visiting the home of one of my friends and fellow exercisers, Laura. She’d recently done extensive remodeling which I’d wanted to see. It would help me decide whether or not to use her contractor. What I saw of his handiwork proved to be favorable…if we can afford his price, that is. We’ll see. More importantly for me, however, was the conversation Laura and I had as I was about to leave.
Laura’s a writer. Though I’ve not read anything she’s written, I’d imagine her to be an author of depth and compassion. When she speaks of her travels and experiences everyone is apt to listen. She may be soft-spoken but her words are those of one who invests in living what she believes.
One thing struck me as personally significant in what Laura said that day. She spoke of 2 inner voices residing within us…that of the ego…and that of the soul. The first is loud, clamoring to be heard…and succeeding most of the time. The second is quiet, struggling for its voice amid the din caused by the ego. I would call it gut instinct.
The ego is in constant search of stroking…of approval. Its appetite is insatiable. Enough is never enough. “Just one more” it asks…”Just tell me you like me…love me…one more time.”
The soul, or gut instinct, tries to intervene on behalf of our own self-preservation…gently reminding that it is we who control our own destiny…not others. But we are never prodded, or goaded, or shoved into acquiescence. If we could only be still for a moment or two, we might hear our softer voice reminding us that we are valuable…we needn’t abandon ourselves in aspiring to be what we think others want.
If only we could be our own best friends…and not our own worst enemies. Ego is good if given boundaries. As my daughter laughingly tells me when I hug her without letup, “Bubble! Bubble!” The ego should be kept in a bubble…with just enough space for it to roam and be appreciated. Meanwhile the soul should be given free reign to exercise its muscle, and strengthen its influence.
The ego and the soul need balance, the former carrying less weight than the latter in my estimation. Harnessing the ego seems to me more difficult than giving free reign to the soul. I compare the ego to Gollum, the creature in “The Hobbit” who covets the precious ring belonging to Bilbo, the book’s hero. The ego is not bad unless it obsesses, leaving the soul with the difficult task of returning us to our core…to who we are…and should remain.
So I’ve resolved, along with losing a few pounds, to listen hard as my soul tries to speak up for me…and keep my ego in check as it strains for the approval of others. Both are inevitable and essential. How they play out their roles is managed by the director…
…me…and you………hugmamma. 😉