July 24, 2013
This is the second in a series of blog posts on my Taoist spiritual and professional interpretation of the Ego. In my last blog post I proposed that you could view your mind as if it were an energetic pendulum, where the two extremes would represent your Ego out of balance (both Yin and Yang), and the more central position would be Wu Wei, a place of energetic harmony or the ‘sweet-spot’ of effortless-effort.
Moving from Ego to Wu Wei
I believe that Wu Wei is the point at which as a human being you align most closely to what I refer to as your Tao or Spirit Centred Mind. To survive and thrive as a human being you cannot live totally within this spirit centre as this too would be an extreme imbalance. So when you’re operating from a place of Wu Wei you’ve not lost, rejected or eliminated your Ego or Human Centred Mind, rather you’ve harmoniously balanced it against your Spirit Centred Mind.
Wu Wei is essentially the most creative, inspiring, resourceful combination of your Spirit Centred Mind and your Human Centred Mind or Ego. This is Oneness and the wholeness of you and every other entity within the Universe!
Just as the Ego has many varied manifestations and characteristics, your position of Wu Wei balance will be entirely personal to you and should adjust according to each and every life situation you encounter. You cannot hold or fix any point of energy, mind-set or state of being and so, not unlike the river analogy that Taoists often like to use, your authentic Wu Wei mind should be flexible and responsive. It should maintain a balanced flow of energy, adjusting to the point of harmony within each moment.
By mindfully and skilfully flowing in your Wu Wei this will in turn align and connect you to the wider Universal flow of spiritual energy or Qi all around you. This allows for optimum well-being and a deeper spiritual connection, both of which harness your ability to thrive in human form and reach your true potential.
The Ego and your emotions
In my professional experience the main reason for a client’s emotional energy swinging into the Yin or Yang Ego extremes are the intensity of, and their aversion to, the uncomfortable physical feelings they experience. This, coupled with an absence of any form of ‘emotional education’, which would otherwise allow them to manage these feelings authentically and appropriately, means that they are often heavily influenced by their out-of-control Ego mind.
When you’re presented with a challenging or difficult life event, or what I refer to as a learning situation or ‘blessing’, this can often create uncomfortable ‘red warning light’ emotions and feelings within you.
Through a lack of emotional education your overwhelming Human Centred Ego response may be to avoid and protect yourself against these emotional feelings, rather than to sit with them a while, find your balanced Wu Wei centre, and grasp the spiritual opportunity and learning being presented. It’s not unlike hating the first day at school and stubbornly committing to never return… even though this would restrict your learning and development!
Stillness is found at the centre of the tornado.
Imagine that the Human Centred Mind or Ego is like a well-meaning but rather misguided guardian or an overprotective and frightened parent that’s worried and concerned about their child’s well-being and future. Often they believe they know best and so will start to try to subtly influence, manipulate and restrict the child’s life and activities under the loving guise that they have its’ best interests at heart. Such actions have the potential to negatively impact the child’s self-confidence, self-worth and self-love and, most fundamentally, gives them little opportunity to experience and hone their emotional education in preparation for adult life.
Adversity does not test you, it reveals you!
A fundamental characteristic of the Ego is that dislikes any intense emotional feelings. It views them as harmful and damaging and so sets out to protect you by projecting ahead and creatively anticipating scenarios that may trigger emotionally uncomfortable or painful feelings so that you can avoid them at all costs. It’s ironic that, given the power of the mind over your physiological responses, this Ego thinking only serves to make your anticipated feelings very real and present in that moment.
The Ego and its impact on your potential
If you let your Ego mind rule your thinking in this way it’s easy to re-infect your emotional feelings and in turn become overly preoccupied with them rather than calmly and rationally examining the situation (real or imagined), which generated them in the first place. This is also why you may sometimes feel like you’re constantly ‘fighting’ your emotions.
No matter how intelligent a person you are or how much common-sense you may possess, if your Ego is driving your decision making this will always be tainted and compromised by the Ego’s misunderstandings: it’s desire for emotional safety and it’s need for guarantees and assurances of success. You’ll work hard to emotionally protect yourself against each and every potentially difficult or challenging situation that you may or may not encounter. You’ll want achieve the unachievable by emotionally future-proofing your life!
Over time this cyclical process of self-perpetuating and damaging Ego thinking can become both habitual and subconscious. As a spiritual therapist and coach I work every day at Peak House Practice with highly intelligent and professionally successful clients that desperately hold onto this way of thinking even though deep down they know it’s impacting their personal energy, health, relationships and authentic potential.
Never compromise your self-worth to accommodate your Ego feelings.
I believe that it’s your personal responsibility to manage the movement of your energetic pendulum and your Ego mind so that you can navigate a healthier, happier and more balanced Wu Wei approach throughout your life.
You may not be able to control the life events and situations that cross your path, and nor should you want to, but you can control your energetic response to these situations through your beliefs, thoughts, words and actions, so that you remain healthy of mind, body and spirit.
In my next blog post I’ll discuss how to spot when your Ego energy has swung out of balance, so that you can begin to rebalance yourself to a more harmonious Wu Wei…
My Wu Wei is unique to me.
I am strong, flexible, creative & in my Wu Wei.
I connect to Universal energy & abundance through cultivating my Wu Wei.
I see the blessing in all situations.
I do not hide from my emotions, I use them as a signpost to learning & growth.
I choose self-worth over self-comfort.
Multidisciplinary therapist, Chinese medicine practitioner, philosopher, broadcaster and an ordained Taoist, David James Lees enjoys supporting people from all walks of life on their journey to rediscover their authentic self and reach their true potential. He specialises in helping individuals suffering from emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, depression.