Yoga Ego Traps & Asshats {Part 2}

February 3, 2020

In Part 1, I share my personal ego trap on the yoga journey, which is actually a very common experience for most spiritual aspirants, whether you're into Occultism, Catholicism, or slapping on a pair of yoga pants and a mala and feeling superior to others...

 

...the root of the ego trap is the same. And it's rooted in judgment of others.

 

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I was genuinely excited about this new path that was opening up to me — the yoga, Reiki, and Buddhist paradigms gave me newfound peace after years of depression and anxiety.

 

Now, I was partly aware of my overzealous streak at this time. I’d wake up with an awful ‘shame hangover’ after one of my preachy nights, feeling shameful about my rants. 

 

My shame pattern: 

I’d wake up feeling shitty about these bad qualities I possessed, and shove them deep down as quickly as I could, so I didn’t have to feel shitty about how shitty I believed I was.

 

This shame-shoving even had a little move:

I would shake my head swiftly side to side. A brisk ‘no.’ I always did this quickly, when I was by myself. 

 

An unconscious gesture I’d make when caught in the grip of my shame storm. 

 

My repression had a signature, physical aspect: 

I was that good at feeling ashamed of my bad, wrong, terrible self!

 

Immediately after my trip down shame lane, I was back to cruising down the path to enlightenment.

 

My ego loved feeling noble. MMM. How delicious.

 

Screw the dung heap of consumerism, I wanted a little cabin in the woods so I could connect with nature and write poems and grow my own vegetables and feel all kinds of superior!

 

Now here’s the kicker…

That desire for the tiny cabin and the freedom to be creative and the wish to grow my own food is still desire. 

 

At the end of the day, I still wanted something.

 

Even the desire for enlightenment — ostensibly the most noble of wishes — is still desire.

 

And desire, as I was learning from the Buddhists back in 2008, is a complicated knot.

 

I wanted to be good, to be pure and clean, to be holy (or holier than thou).

Want, want, want. Craving little crying baby.

 

Carl Jung famously said, “I’d rather be whole than good.”

 

Another wild realization: my shame move (swiftly shaking my head side to side, as if to physically shake out the bad thoughts in my head) was a subconsciously embodied experience. 

 

Perhaps many of our ticks, our unthinking physical habits, our tiny addictions like reaching for our phone the second we’re bored or lonely, are ways that our subconscious — and its attendant energy, or prana — bubbles up to the surface of physical expression. 

 

Prana has to move or be moved in order to release and transform…

 

which is precisely why yoga practices are so powerful. 

 

Without my analytical mind able to control things, simply moving my body in a mindful, compassionate way began to slowly open up pathways for old energy to work itself out.

 

 

 

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About Melissa

Writing has always been my first love. Finding inner peace has always been my deepest wish. Through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and writing, I fuse these practices to help others connect to their own creative spark and the peace that exists within.

I am the editor of the essay collection Going OM:

Real-Life Stories on and off the Yoga Mat (Viva Editions 2014), featuring a foreword by Cheryl Strayed, and the author of two poetry chapbooks.

 

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