Ego Sum, My Ego

by Stephen LaBounty (2004-09-14)

My ego is appropriate. My ego gives me self importance. My ego is the absence of knowledge of who I am. My ego is grasping to a self. My ego allows me to attach to the impermanent. My ego makes my training lazy. My ego binds me to the dark emotions that have, at times, ruled my life. My ego has me search out the "right" persons to combat loneliness. My ego demands I stay preoccupied with the world. My ego blocks my spiritual path by branding it as weak. My ego separates me from forgiveness. My ego makes me fear death.

I see a teacher not the teaching, I know that to be complete in this martial path, I must suffer with my shortcomings, but I look for the way "out" rather than the way "through". Sometimes I say: "The identity I think I am doesn't exist". I often look for the strength of the body first rather than the strength of the spirit and mind. Instead of being grounded, I challenge myself with impossible tasks and await failure to reinforce my perceived lack of skill.

I sometimes dismiss people as having no relevance. A true teacher sees the relevance in all things. I prepare daily for war. In doing so, I never experience true peace. It has been so for 50 years.

For so many years appearance was everything. Like a new suit, what was on the outside, how it looked was the most comfortable. So my physical appearance and outward behavior was everything. Yet, my thoughts behind my actions were of little concern. The reality is we dwell in our minds not in our actions.

The answer to all of this is simple and resides in a simple place. The mat. The dojo. Here is the path, physical and spiritual. Here form is secondary to content and the substance of applied, real movement overcomes the empty performance and "wounds that have never felt a blow". But, not without putting the ego on the shelf. The ego will not let us consult with our true feelings and to be free of fear and doubt, we must reach to a place beyond and much deeper than we have allowed, and let the ego fall silent...