My journey of spirituality, in search of inner peace, has always been surrounded by the word Ego. It has been a difficult subject for me to understand, and even more difficult to work on. But as the time goes, the efforts pay off as it becomes more clear to me the different stages in that process.
Stage 1. Understanding the Ego
At the first stage you struggle to understand what it is. You first hear people talk about it, and you kind of understand it, that it applies to a small area in one’s life, behaviors like selfishness or perhaps the feeling of being superior. As time goes by, through books, talking to people, spiritual practises and self-inquiry, you start to see more and more aspects in your life that are run by ego, in every single thought, speech and action. A layer of awareness settles in and you see how your ego has been like a mad dog that has been barking and pissing everywhere in your life.
Stage 2. Taming the Ego
At this stage you feel relieved, that a solution has been presented. If you only tame the mad dog and stop it from pissing on others, then certainly inner peace would come. You have finally understand that what you do to others you do to yourself, that everytime your mad dog takes a piss on someone else, it is getting huge piss stains on itself too.
So you observe your mad dog more and more, watching its every move, you say ‘hush hush’ every time is starts to bark. It is getting calmer gratually, you feel it working, the inner peace is getting close. Your dog is no longer mad.
Stage 3. Integrating the Ego
Still you feel something missing. Your dog is shivering when other dogs are barking, and you see these dogs everywhere. Sometimes the barks trigger your dog so much that you feel that inner peace is actually still pretty far ahead, your dog now has some kind of repressive emotional issue. How do you deal with it? Damn those dog owners for not keep their mad dogs on leash.
Then one day (on Huachuma) it hits you, that how everything you don’t like about these other mad dogs is a reflection about how you feel about your own dog. Inner peace would only comes if you love your dog despite the all barking and pissing, and it would only come if you see though the reason behind all the barking – Fear. Instead of feeling threatened or angered when other dogs bark, you show Compassion instead. By practising compassion on others (as the main teaching in Buddhism), you make peace with that part of yourelf.
Again, what you do to others you do to yourself.
This is where the real spiritual work starts, and the only path that leads to inner peace.