sage advice

A  Saint who was visiting the river Ganges to take a bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting at each other in anger.

The Saint turned to his disciples, smiled and asked, ‘Why do people shout at each other when they are angry?’

The followers thought for a while. Then one of them said, ‘Because we lose our peacefulness, we shout.’

‘But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner,’  replied the saint.

The followers attempted other answers but none satisfied the other followers.

Finally, the Saint explained,

‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance by a great measure. To cover that distance they must shout to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other over that great distance.

What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but speak softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either non-existent or very small…’

The saint continued, ‘When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, they only whisper and they become even closer to each other in their love. Finally, they need not even whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.’

He looked at his followers and said:

‘So, when you argue do not let your hearts become distant. Do not say words that distance each other more, or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return.’


My prayer for all of you this week:
May you love so much and so well that you never need to shout.

Ego v. Spirit – can there be a winner?

A few things have really been bothering me lately.  Far too many of us are living in “ego.”  What I mean by this is when we live in ego, we claim moral authority, we judge, we make pronouncements regarding what ought to be and we are noisy.  When we live in ego, we cannot be still enough to know that spirit is trying its level best to get through.   When we live in ego, we cannot summon enough compassion to pull ourselves out of ego and see things from the level of spirit.  We are surrounded by the white noise of our televisions, our radios, our personal devices and our own voices– our profanities.  When we are noisy we cannot hear the truth of what is.  This is not to say that we don’t need ego in our day-to-day lives because we do.  Ego protects, ego manages and ego even guides in the material well-being of things. But as Suzy Orman says “People first, then things….”

I watched a friend’s relationship unravel because the two involved were not meeting on a level field– one was using anger born in ego to communicate and the other was trying to respond in spirit.  It wasn’t working because the anger blocked any wisdom that could possibly have been felt in the heart.  The one who was responding in spirit found herself being shut out, shut down and no longer a partner in her relationship.  The angry one wanted to blame and couldn’t understand why his position wasn’t the only one that mattered.

Anger has its home in ego.  Its home is “I am right and thus I have might.”  Anger is another word for deep fear, deep sorrow, deep hurt.  All of which can be healed in spirit.  However, in order for healing to take place, anger needs to recede and there must be room for willingness, surrender, acceptance and acknowledgment.

Acknowledgement is extremely important– one can accept that one is wrong but not having the presence of mind to acknowledge that to another belies the acceptance.   Acknowledgement means that in speaking the truth of my spirit, I am “…heading, however haltingly, toward unity.” (Deepak Chopra)

What bothers me is this– in our Western culture, there has been far too much ego-based judgement on what ought to be right, what ought to be good and what ought to be in general.  The fact of the matter is this– every soul, every spirit has something unique to contribute so what ought to be really is an ego-value-based judgement.

So who wins in the battle between Ego v. Spirit?  No one.  The winning happens when ego is set aside and the world is seen through the pure potentiality of spirit.  “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field – I will meet you there.”
(Jalaluddin Rumi)