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Newsletter Dated: 3/31/2006 11:04:02 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina: Without Ego
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Happiness Tip:Without Ego
In reading philosophical teachings and writings, I often wonder why the body and the ego are seen so negatively, as if they somehow are antithetical to spirituality. Although ego, body and mind are not ALL we are, each is part, an expression of the whole self, included in our precious gifts from God, the Universe, Life, Spirit. It would be as sensible to hate or degrade a mathematical problem given me by a teacher for learning purposes. Of course I can be frustrated in my efforts to solve a difficult problem; that is merely an expression of my eagerness to achieve. How much easier on me, however, to enjoy the puzzle, to marvel at my reasoning processes and their growth and development as I draw nearer, bit by bit, to the solution. Even so, frustrated or not, I learn.
There are those of us who love school, and those who hate it. Nevertheless, we are a11 in school. And the ego, the mind and the body are our major learning tools. Through them, we learn the concepts of attachment/detachment, freedom/responsibility, joy/pain, wisdom/ignorance. These concepts, once grasped and mastered, are our prerequisites for the next level of learning in which we are (perhaps) freed of body/ego and introduced to new tools.
If I reject my body, my ego, or my so-called negative emotions, I am rejecting myself. If I reject myself, I am rejecting a holy creation and gift. If I reject or denigrate integral parts of my self, then I am split, dysfunctional, not whole, and not comfortable in my body and with my sense of self.
How much more joyful it is to regard my life as the finest Montessori School of all time, where the sandbox and mudpuddles offer learning experiences equally as rich and essential as do the books of poetry and lofty philosophy.
We couldn’t enjoy the many sensory and sensual experiences of this life
We wouldn’t learn the invaluable lessons of getting obsessive about those experiences, and learning the self-control they teach us.
We would miss out on learning to love and cherish our brief moments on this planet, the fleeting nature of which is reflected back to us by the body’s aging process.
We wouldn’t be able to interact on a cellular level with the air, food, minerals, water, and the other beings, literally becoming one with the planet on a daily basis.
We would miss the powerful lessons we’re learning right now, that if we pollute our environment, we pollute ourselves – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
We would not have the viceral (gut) experiences of the physical components of our emotion – the hormonally driven ecstasy and agony of emotional joy and pain.
We’d miss out on so much of artistic expression – dance, the musical beat that originally was born of heartbeat, sound, light, color, poetry, theater and all the rest of that exuberance.
We’d have no control over our emotions, and be battered around by them, like a ship in a stormy sea with no rudder.
We wouldn’t be able to protect ourselves against others’ emotions and feelings, and every little thing others said and did would cut us to the quick.
We wouldn’t be able to make plans and follow through to reach goals
We couldn’t keep ourselves going in a productive direction when obstacles come along
We’d have no sense of who we are, how we are the same or different from others, and we’d never learn the lessons of shared humanity.
As a psychologist, I seek to help people integrate all the components of ego, body, emotions, mind and spirit until they all work together in a healthy human way. Perfection is not the goal – healthy living is. When your body (with all its human flaws and imperfections) functions well, all its many cells, organs, hormones, fluids, muscles, bones, nerves and sinews cooperate and work together to help you experience and express your life. When your body, mind, spirit, emotions – and yes, your ego -- work together, spirit doesn’t have to work against ego, ego doesn’t have to work against spirit, and there’s no internal fight – no struggle for supremacy, no inner denial or right/wrong battle. Each component does its part, and all work together to help you become the most shining example of who you are. That’s what the old song about “this little light of mine”, and “ET”, and “inner light” or “inner spirit” means – when all of who we are works together, we are free to be the best of who we were born to be.
When I think of my body with all its billion miracles and exquisitely effective methods of expression both conscious and unconscious; with all its components of which I approve and those for which I have enough self-denial to disapprove – I am suddenly reminded to regard my whole self (body, mind, spirit, emotions, and ego ) with the awe, gratitude, and gentleness I deserve. I know I can count on all my component parts to help me through my lessons for when my body, my ego, or my feelings you insist I focus my attention I cannot deny them.
My Ego has a sharply focused viewpoint; boundless pride; a fine-tuned sensitivity to others' egos; and the ability to keep me focused: on my uniqueness (often auto-interpreted as weirdness); my responsibility to me; and my essential human aloneness. It is a precious, irreplaceable tool. When I can manage to see myself, not as a disparate collection of separate parts, but as an amazing, cohesive design of interconnected, finely designed components working smoothly together, I am filled with awe at the miracle of each one of us, myself included. When I stop trying to resist, resent, overpower, deny or ignore parts of myself, and instead seek to help the whole human package be the best I can be, I find myself as peaceful and joyful as I have ever been.
I sense that when the time cones to exchange my body/ego for new tools, I will feel bereaved. Let me not waste a moment of this opportunity to learn with such companions as I may not know again, my ego, my emotions, and my body! (From It Ends with You © 2006 Tina B. Tessina)
If you want more, here are some related articles you can download from my website at http://tinatessina.com/monthly_column.html
Attitude: From Negative to Gratitude
The Colors of You
Emotions as Weather
Getting Out of Your Way
Handling The Green-Eyed Monster
Intuition or Inner Knowing
Letting Go of Anxiety
The Meaning of Life
True Beauty: Honor the God or Goddess in You
Winning The War Within
You Are a Gift
upcoming radio shows, TV, and lectures are all posted on my website at www.tinatessina.com
"Dating Guidelines for Single Parents" excerpted from the UG to Dating Again is now online at News For Parents website http://www.newsforparents.org/expert_dating_single_parents.html
You can find me on the Internet, as the "Dating Doctor" on www.couplescompany.com, "Dr. Romance" on Yahoo!Personals at http://personals.yahoo.com/us/static/content_date (Look for my predictions for romance for 2006!), a designated Marriage Expert for Redbook Institute and I'll also answer your questions at http://www.tinatessina.com.
Through my website, you can get CE credits online based on my books: It Ends With You; How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free and The Real 13th Step To sign up for classes or browse my books, visit www.tinatessina.com.
I welcome your feedback and support, please contact me at email@example.com.
Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: Inner Anarchy
I really enjoyed your recent "Happiness Tips". Wish I would have read them 20 years ago....
Thank you, Laurie, and it’s never too late.
Fantastic advice here (and I think "inner anarchy" is quite an apt description). Thanks for the insight. Melissa
You’re welcome, Melissa – I’m glad it spoke to you.
Hmm. I think misanthropy would be a better word than anarchy, after all using "anarchy" to mean disorder as politicians do is not quite correct. We are creatures that must live in communities and so those who do not accept the constraints of community living are anti-social in the extreme whereas the anarchist advocates (idealistically but totally impractically) a society in which no laws are needed because everybody buys into the spirit of the community. Good article about lack of self control, forget my linguistic nit picking, you offer some refreshing insights and ideas.
You are right linguistically, Ian, and I know you know that I was using literary license to draw a word picture. I’m glad you liked the ideas.
Tina: read your very interesting essay on inner anarchy. Suffer from some of this myself, and try to resolve the conflicts in just the way you suggest. Judith
Good for you, Judith – thanks for writing.
I cannot thank you enough for the books you have written. We are just now going through a sensitive and delicate time with our daughter and one of your books is helping all of us cope and understand. You are keeping us all on the same page and that is something I will forever be grateful for. Laura
Thanks so much, Laura. It always lifts my own spirits to know that my books have helped someone. I wish you all the best.
My partner and I have both brought with us massive amounts of baggage along with us from: 1, past relationships, 2 history of addiction, (in recovery for many years) 3, a history of mild to moderate depression of both of our parts. We have been in and out of counseling, tried church, tried so many different ways, (kicking and screaming the whole way) till he came home with your book. Now it has not been an instant fix but it has opened our eyes to a glimpse of hope that we just might have a chance at a lasting loving future together. I would like to hear from you about how we can go about forming some sort of a community group setting for singles and couples to learn from each other how to overcome so many of the obstacles you speak of in your book, and if you are ever holding any speaking in Massachusetts I would love to attend.. Don
Thank you so much, Don. I’m glad you found the book helpful, and I gave a step-by-step method of beginning a book study group in "The REAL 13th Step" (New Page) ISBN #1-56414-548-4.