As I lie here on the couch going back and forth between high fever and no fever, I notice my psychological state turn negative. Logical, really. I am not eating much, my body is consumed by pain, and normal life feels very far away. But then I start to remember the power of relativity.
There is something in my own ideology that I hold very highly - that the “ego” is the booby trap waiting around every corner to trap us or slow us down, but in every case, to claw at our happiness. This is very clear to me with writing songs and singing them - the songs come to me and I feel that they need to exist in the world. That said, any kind of nervousness to sing or express myself completely dissipates because the songs are not about me. Not at all. They need to exist and I know that. I am just putting them there.
But these ego booby traps come in so many forms and, I believe, once you are aware of them, they become easier and easier to see and avoid, should that be your desire. The ego, I would say in essence, leads one to see oneself as the center of the world. In these luxury times in which we live, we are taught to pamper and baby ourselves - we are encouraged to do this. We are concerned with how we represent ourselves to others and whether what we do on the weekend is cooler than what our “friends” did on the weekend, whether our holiday was more impressive than another’s…there are thousands of examples and forms.
So, if I did something really “amazing” on the weekend, and then I did that again the following weekend and the following…at what point does it stop being “amazing” and start being my usual Saturday activity? Why is something amazing? Am I defining it based on the immense reward it brings me personally or is it the ego trip I get because when I tell my friends and colleagues, who didn’t do this amazing thing, I got a big ego boost. Yep, seventh week in a row that I did this, and to everyone around me I still appear amazing. I think this approach is definitely missing not just the point, but several points. The draw of feeding the ego is that it comes with these types of rewards - “I am better than everyone". But I find these rewards to be temporary and empty. They go sour quickly. And now that I have for the most part left these rewards behind, I see the emptiness that they generate in the people around me. The irony is that these egomaniacs are completely self-obsessed and yet totally dependent on the world’s opinion of them. Sounds like self-torture to me.
Back to my pain and suffering. Yesterday I was lying with three blankets on top of me, head pounding, legs and lower back aching and just realizing that this was a minor inconvenience. The pain would exist but the pain would also go. I have a memory of being at my Aunt’s house in South Florida back in high school at Christmas time. It was hot and humid and I had a fever. And I was reading a really cool book. And funnily enough, I have a very good memory of this. So who is to say that we need to draw such distinct lines around what is “good” and what is “bad”? Good cannot exist without bad anyway - we need contrast.
So how hungry is your ego and how does that influence your happiness?