Tag Archives: ego

The Silver Gate – The Task

“The Silver Gate requires us to surrender our egos and begin the process of accepting the aging of the body and mind. (…) Our task at this gate is to move beyond the familiar and strengthen our capacity to develop curiosity, trust, and flexibility.” Angeles Arrien

I have been working on this acceptance for years – long before I found this book.  In fact, I have written about it many times on another blog. You can read my thoughts here.

For the purposes of this exercise I’m going to wander down the ego path.

If I acknowledge (which I have done) and rest into (in some ways) my aging, what will I gain and what will I lose? This is looking at it from the ego, isn’t it?

I have gained so much and as I move through this book, I realize that there is always more to come. More joy, more wisdom, more sharing, more ease with life, more alignment in spirit and essence.

And there are things that I might not give up so easily.

I hope that I can stay active throughout my life. I have had periods of illness and restricted activity but have always been able to work my way back. I don’t fast-forward toward the “what ifs” and so I don’t know how it will be to give up my strength and vitality.

I am used to how I look. I still feel attractive and winsome. Oh, I gain a few pounds here, a wrinkle there, and sagging lots of things; but, overall my changes come slowly and almost imperceptibly. I continue to try to look my best – and that idea of my best has changed through the years. I think of beauty differently and value a smile emanating from inner good will as an ageless magnet. Will I ever look myself in the eye and be dissatisfied with who I see there? I hope not ever because of superficial changes that we take on with aging. But who knows?

I love my independence. Although I am happy to volunteer and assist those who need assistance, I don’t really contemplate how it will be when I am the one who needs it. I hope I have the wisdom to ask for and accept help. And I hope there is someone like myself who offers their hand in a friendly way as an equal.

I don’t really worry so much about my mind. Of course, I don’t like forgetfulness. But, I have much experience with loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s. If the only way I can master “presence” is to be unable to remember the past or plan for the future…so be it!

The Student

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Angeles Arríen, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate, Uncategorized

What Matters

My ego loves to ask the question, “Do I matter?”

It doesn’t come right out with it. The question is hidden cleverly in my indignance when I feel slighted. It lurks under my uncertainty when my son doesn’t answer my texts or my grandchildren seem respectful rather than loving as they run through the house on their way…

Last week I wasted many hours feeling self-righteous about the poor manners of my neighbor. Oh, I worked my way out of resentment. But there were a lot of wasted conversations in my head until I made it through.

Even at the end of it all when I had come to peace with the situation – realizing that there are times when it is best to take deep breaths and let it go; I didn’t recognize that subtle question.

It all came down to the fact that she didn’t see me as important enough to have deserved courtesy. I didn’t matter to her.

When I recognize it, I can flip it. I understand that life is about what matters, not whether I matter. My inner compass points my way in life if I listen. Searching for approval may sidetrack me, but it is not my path.

The Student

2 Comments

Filed under Self-Acceptance Project, Self-examination

Living in Community

When Pema Chodron talks about shenpa, she refers to living intimately with others.

Her teachings have made me aware that my irritations are my own issues. My knowledge of this human response keeps me aware of the lessons I would like to learn instead of thinking that I must teach someone else.

“Aha!” she says as she lives with four other women for a month.

This pleasure trip could have become a nightmare if I had mindlessly and habitually closed my heart and opened my mouth. Instead, it has been a wonderful practice. My moments of irritation, self-righteousness, and assumed martyrdom were contained within my thoughts long enough to sift a bit of ego from the mix before pouring out respect and consideration when I finally spoke.

I feel encouraged. Not because I did it perfectly (Not!), but because I was aware of the pitfalls much of the time. I was happy to have remembered Pema’s words when I began to shrink into the seclusion of resentment. It helped me to make my times of isolation short and the joys of sharing more bountiful.

Once again, thank you, Pema.

The Student

Leave a comment

Filed under Pema Chodron, The False Power of Ego