"Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way." - C. Lowe
The most proximate example is the elected executive of our nation. Stupidity, arrogance, and a huge ego. These things define the man. He's certainly gone a long way. [The long way part may not be entirely true. The man was born on third and brags about hitting a double. He's lost more money than he's made. But that's not what I'm gonna try to get into here. In fact, I didn't mean to get on the train at all, but I'm embarrassed for my country and ... I'm gonna stop this thread.]
The ego is a troublesome companion. It encourages us to injury. It pushes us to pride. It nudges us to insecurity.
Example 1 - I'm in a private yoga lesson. The teacher is an amazing young woman with skills in yoga, earned through a lifetime of practice - not a certificate. She is confident. She's caring. She's good. She ushered me into a deeper practice with patience and persistence over the course of a year. I want to impress her. Not sure why, but I do. So, I'm in a private lesson and in a seated forward fold (For me, one of the most difficult poses.). She places her hands on my back and begins to gently encourage me into a more "full expression" of the pose. It hurts. I don't say anything. It hurts worse. I don't say anything. The pain becomes acute and I, apologetically, say something like, "I gotta stop." My back hurt for a couple of weeks. I allowed my ego to lead me there.
Example 2 - I'm in a hot yoga class in Cambridge, MA. Kim is there with me. Our friend Austin is there too. The room is so fucking hot that I'm sweating profusely before the practice even starts. I keep pace with the instructor, who seems to be trying his damnedest to trip the entire class up like a fast paced sweaty game of simon says. I match pace. I strike the most difficult poses and hold them - a couple beets longer than everyone else. I do this to impress my friend Austin. Not sure why, but I do. I over stretched in the heat and paid the price for several days after.
Example 3 - I post, with pride, the number of days in a row I've been practicing. I post to instagram, facebook, and twitter. I tell friends. I - well, basically, I brag. I brag to anyone who will listen. It's an ego driven thing and, in the end, it doesn't feel good. Am I proud (a healthy proud) of the yoga practice? Yes. Do I need to garner the applause of friends? No.
Ego is that little thing inside that lets one feel superior. Ego is that little thing inside that insists that one feel insecure. I'd love to say by felecia to the ego, but it's there. I feel it and I submit to it daily. Working on it.