Every time (I swear, every time) Leif and I are outside at night with a clear sky, I tease him by singing Moby’s “We Are All Made of Stars”. I do that because he can’t seem to look at the stars without marveling about the physics of things–how we’re all the same energy, made of the same stuff, all connected. Beyond the physicists, the philosophers and optimists would say that if this is so, then we should love everyone—or at least be loving to everyone.
The concept isn’t really news, it’s just hard for me to wrap my head around.
The idea that we’re all connected makes little to no sense to me. It makes as much sense to my brain as the idea that we can’t see color. I love color–of course I can see it! Literalist? I dunno, but the idea that we’re all one just throws me. How can I possibly love everyone?
Then, I came across some ideas that fleshed things out for me.
Chris Grosso of The Indie Spiritualist explained what gets in the way of me being able to love everyone or make the connection that we’re all connected. The ego—my ego.
“The ego is all about separation, differences, judgments, and opinions. When we’re looking at life through that lens, the things we don’t like about others—appearances, musical tastes, speech, mannerisms, ad infinitum—are all blatantly obvious, thus creating an imaginary boundary that closes them off from us.”
I get that.
He went on to explain that when we let go of being who we think we are, and stop placing labels and judgments on others regarding who we think they are, then who we and they really are is able to shine through.
Even if I can’t seem to understand that we’re all made of the same matter and I’m unsure about loving everybody, I do understand that I can make a difference by letting go of my ego. I noticed right away that it gets in my way of loving—forget loving—it gets in my way of just being polite to people a lot. For example, I have an enormous ego when I’m driving. Road rage much?
I’ve been paying attention to my ego and how it can isolate me from others. For example, I am very quick to label someone I see but don’t know as “this” or “that” and I expect that others do the same to me. I’ve even seen pictures of people I would be meeting at a conference or a meetup and said to myself, “She wouldn’t like me.” What?! My ego gets in the way of potential friendships by sabotaging them before they even begin.
More simply, like Grosso says, if I pay attention to the things I don’t like about others (appearances, musical tastes, speech, mannerisms, etc.), they really are totally magnified! This is why we’re told to focus on the good things we like about people. When we do, those positive things we like will be magnified instead.
To be honest, I probably won’t learn to completely ignore how others are different from me in ways I don’t like. But, being aware of my ego and how it creates boundaries is a great step forward.
Tell me in the comments what you’ve learned about ego lately. I’d love to know your thoughts about it.