For background on Ego and Beliefs.
When new information is in the air, most people rush to make decisions about it, put it in a category, or be sure that it makes sense in some way. When someone shares an opinion, it’s important to decide whether you agree or disagree. When you meet a new person, it’s important to decide whether you like them or not. Or when you see something controversial happening in the world, you need to determine which side to support.
Of course, this is the ego in action, doing its job to categorize any new information into an established pattern. Until new information is properly filed, we are in limbo and it can be really uncomfortable, as though the future, or your very identity, has suddenly become uncertain. If you don’t notice it, that’s because it’s an automated process that just happens without your conscious effort.
But…notice what happens when you have information that can’t be categorized right away.
When a relationship ends and you didn’t see it coming, you might struggle to understand why. You might spend months looking for answers, comparing it to other patterns you recognize, and looking to your friends for clarity. The time spent in limbo can be excruciating, but that’s because the ego’s need to categorize information is a survival skill. Once you can decide on an explanation, you are free to file it and move forward.
The upside of making a decision is that the ego is comfortable. The downside is that by making a decision too quickly, you may be missing important information; information that might teach you something new, change a belief, or open up a new horizon. By allowing the patterns of the past to dictate how you categorize in the present, you may be setting limits for your future.
Sometimes the best, most enlightened answer is “I don’t know yet,” and that leaves the door open for brand new information to influence your outdated habits. It also leaves an open question on the table…without an answer…without any plan for finding the answer…and that kind of open ended uncertainty can be very uncomfortable for an ego.
The best way to see this in action, and where it limits you, is to postpone decisions that you are used to making right away. This will allow you to see the questions clearly (Do I agree? Do I like him? Is this new situation safe or dangerous?), and it will bring forward the discomfort that has to be addressed before you can move forward in a new direction.
- Try listening to someone’s opinion without deciding your position on it right away. Find more angles to consider. See if you can argue/understand more than one side.
- Try letting a relationship take time to unfold. Don’t flip your life upside down to fit them in, but wait for people to show you who they are, what you can trust, and whether the match is solid.
- Identify a behavior that you usually judge without thinking twice, like greed or dishonesty, and re-consider whether your decision is actually valid in every case. Maybe ask a question or two about what drives it before you jump to conclusions.
Once you can see the question, let it breathe. One question can become more questions, and following their lead can send you into inspiring new directions. And…if it’s uncomfortable, then you have revealed fears that you can clear out for more strength.
My biggest challenge with this has been in waiting for Divine Guidance to deliver answers about my life path. Sometimes I feel the urge to know what’s next, but if the answers aren’t ready, then they aren’t ready. Waiting for them gives me plenty of opportunity to face my ego and work through the fears it presents. As a result, my life path is as close to true purpose as possible and my belief in the Universe becomes stronger with every test.
By committing to that process, I have developed enough strength and patience to say that I actually live in an open question, and I have been able to translate that to every part of my life. Every belief has been challenged, every position I hold is informed from several directions, and when I honestly don’t know enough about something to categorize it, the question just stays open.
Time to transcend! This blog series is intended to challenge you by reaching beyond the status quo. If you are feeling resistance, consider that your ego is coming forward and presenting you with an opportunity to grow. This is where the magic happens! I'm here to help.