Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reflections: Ego vs Truth

There are definitely times when we feel we are correct and that others are wrong. There are times when we feel like we are on the side of truth, and that we are the ones who are being maligned. And there are certainly times when we feel so righteous and correct that we simply reject everybody else's opinion, shunning them in favor of our own superior idea. These times, we are definitely wrong, and it's our egos that's doing the vindicating.

Just recently, I had a tussle with a person very very close to me. It started out as innocent talk, but then one thing led to another and suddenly all my insecurities are brought out and dug up. I say insecurities now because I know better, but during the times when we were arguing, I was certain I was being correct. And probably I was half-correct, or a quarter-correct, but I kept insisting mine and mine alone is the truth. It's ironic that its during these times, just by insisting you are 100% correct, it actually proves you are false. Twenty five to fifty percent is not one hundred percent after all.

After this jarring conversation, I had so much ill feelings inside that it began to well up. So much so that it threw me into so much disarray, I began panicking internally. I had fancied myself correct and righteous all this time, and now, this righteousness is being challenged. I no longer am correct, and yet a part of me still insists that I am, and that I only am. It was during this time that I met mister ego.

Ego and truth are often mistaken for each other. Ego after all, stands for the truth, but the truth it stands for isn't really the truth. Rather, it is the truth projected from our own inability to accept the truth, and as such, we create our own truths. This is what we call an excuse, an alibi. An alibi is our way of pretending we are correct, when in fact we are horribly horribly wrong. And excuses and alibis is mister ego's favorite weapon.

So i sought the truth. And while it may seem a rather short quest, I know that I did eventually find it. I found it when, finally, in a moment of acceptance, I began to write a prayer, asking for this ego to go away. I humbly and whole heartedly asked that my pride be torn away from me, that all these feelings of self-righteousness be stripped away and removed. And He who is the truth guided me. He taught me what truth really is.

This truth simply is Christ.

Now, while it may seem hard to accept at first, we have to look at the life of Christ to see what it means. Christ lived an ego-free life. He wasn't egotistical at all, nor was he even proud or had any sense of self-righteousness. How about the times when He claimed He was the Son of God, and that He alone was the truth, wasn't He being self-righteous then? Absolutely not! But for you to agree with this, you must first come to terms that Jesus is indeed the truth. He is indeed the Son of our loving Father, who died to take up the penalties for our sins, and who rose up again to give us a chance at eternal life with the Father. Only when you do will you realize that Jesus wasn't using His ego, He was using the truth.

Humility, which for me means the absence of ego, doesn't mean ignorant tolerance. True humility isn't accepting everything as it is, and living with what is being thrown at you. This kind of humility only breeds ego, as ego, as I have established, doesn't recognize the truth, but fools itself with it's own truth. No, quite the contrary, true humility acknowledges the truth, and isn't afraid to defend the truth when truth is maligned. However, in this regard, care must be taken, as for one to be truly humble, one must know genuine truth. The beauty of all of this? It goes back to the very beginning.

The truth is Christ. Only in Christ is there true absence of ego. Only in truth can we truly shed our egos.

In Luke 4:41-52, we see the story of the Child Jesus in the temple. He left His parents without them knowing, causing His parents to worry about Him. Call it short sightedness, but because of this worry, when they did eventually found Him after four or so days (they spent a day travelling), the got "mad" at Him and scolded Him. His response is a model for all. Speaking from the truth, He answered. His answer defended the truth, he didn't allow the truth to be maligned. And yet, out of His extreme humility, even after this, He acted in kindness towards His parents. This for me speaks volumes about true humility. Humility that doesn't allow the truth to be maligned, but doesn't live behind masks of excuses or alibis, the same masks that ego wears.

This is what I have realized. I have been living an egotistical life by allowing others to malign the truth. I wasn't living humbly; I was being egotistical by silently claiming my own truths, all while lying outwardly by pretending I was okay. If then, my pursuit is to get rid of ego, then I must also shed this false humility, and adapt a humility that doesn't let the truth be compromised. Yes it would be hard, but if I keep the truth, then I should not be afraid. But if I were to be unafraid, then I must keep the truth, I must keep Christ.