Updated: Jan 18, 2020
According to Oprah, one of the most common questions she asks during her show is "What role does the ego play in this situation?" That is the essential question to ask yourself whenever you encounter difficulty.
She says the ego represents the part of ourselves that identifies with our self-image, personality, talents, accomplishments, and perceived weaknesses--everything that encompasses the false self. She goes on to say that the ego draws a line and separates you from everyone else.
"You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge." --Eckhart Tolle
My Grandfather (we call him 'papa') is 83 years old, and his business card says on one side "Love Your Neighbor as Yourself". In his 63 years of marriage and being a father of 5, grandfather of 15, great grandfather of 11, lifelong Christian, and having decades of experience as a CEO, that phrase is his most important pearl of wisdom. I love the simplicity of it.
Eckhart Toole says people find the idea of loving your neighbor as yourself is difficult because loving your neighbor as yourself means that first of all you need to be in love with yourself, the self that you are beyond the form. And then you can love your neighbor as yourself because you recognize the oneness with your neighbor. He says there is yourself and then the essential self and when he meets people and interacts with them, he interacts with them on two levels. One is the form, which is the body and their psychological makeup, and the other is the consciousness that he also is, the pure essence. As a result, it makes it easier to interact with people because the personality (or psychological makeup) is not always that wonderful! And he is able to let that go because you can sense beyond that there is an essence to that human being.
On the flip side of my papa's business card is the Serenity Prayer:
God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time (mindfulness), Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking as He did, this sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right, If I surrender to His will, That I may be reasonably happy in this life, And Supremely happy with him in the next.
I encourage you to marinate on that this week. How can you apply this principle in your life THIS WEEK? How can you love yourself more so that you can love they neighbor?