by David Truman

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Overcoming ego need not be a lengthy and daunting project. This article will remind you of your real power over ego, and show you that the Life Divine is well within your reach.

People tend to view the ego's power with awe. Well, don't. You can beat that lying trickster with one hand tied behind your back.

We have much more power than we know. And yet, we live as if ego were a clever devil who regularly outsmarts and outplays us. Why would a person think that? Because, if our own ego could outsmart us, that would excuse a multitude of sins. And if our own ego could overpower us, it could seize control of an interaction, a thought, a choice, against our will, and before we could stop it.

It may sometimes seem to happen that way. But, despite any appearances to the contrary, the fact remains:

The only power ego has is the power we give it.

So, for all who tremble before the power of ego and egotism, here is something incredibly important to understand: the ego only wins when someone lets it win. And you know what that means: ego doesn't really win because, as you know, it's not a real victory when your opponent lets you win).

Likewise, a victory for the ego is never really a defeat for us. In fact:

When we give ego the power to "beat us,"
it's our victory: we got the outcome we wanted.

So friends, if ever we set up the ego to be "bigger" or "smarter" than us, it's because we want it to look that way. Why? Most likely, at that time, we aren't willing to accept the moral rectitude that comes with true enlightenment or success in spiritual terms. We want to "fail" at that level of morality so we can be whimsical, or selfish.

It's like this: A man wanted to get out of a certain task he disliked, so he dragged his heels and did a careless job at it until his boss decided to find someone else with "greater aptitude" to do it. Now, you see, that man didn't lose when his work assignment was changed; he won: he got what he wanted. And indeed, he made it happen. Likewise, when we say we've been defeated by the ego, we just found a roundabout way to get exactly what we wanted, that's all.

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets

A mind is a very powerful thing. It's so powerful, that I'm sure you have experienced this: When you set your mind on something, you almost always succeed. For example, the things you've walked away from, where are they now? They are far behind you. And the things you would not tolerate in yourself, where are they? Those things no longer exist. Maybe you spent many years struggling with an addiction, a bad habit. But the day you decided to walk away from it for good, that's exactly what you did.

The point is, it's always been that way: when you've really put your mind on something, it happens. There's a song that expresses this principle:

"Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets."

So, for example, if a sovereign child of God declares that the ego is bigger than he is, his pronouncement counts. It makes it (seem) so. If someone is meditating on the thought, "This is never going to work," she's creating that it won't work. Such is the decree of his or her royal highness! Every royal decree will be manifest. Respect!

You are an all-powerful lord of the universe, a child of God indeed. Everywhere you turn, you create another victory. Every single day, you're manifesting what you've dreamed up, reaping what you've sown. In that respect, you always win.

You always win; the question is, what do you want?

The bold sovereign never ceases to make life-determining declarations. Granted, some of them may seem a bit perverse, but even when they are, we still get what we want. There's no accounting for waste, is there?

Someone may be creating misery, but even then, he's winning: that's what he wants. Perhaps a man doesn't think that being beautifully surrendered and cooperative would be a success, or that being disciplined would be a victory. He feels that these things would be a loss. And you see, he wants to win in the terms he presently values. We all feel the same way. We all want to win, as we define winning. And, like him, we all do win.

So you win -- always. There's no question about that. The only question is, what your victory will be. To what outcome do you apply your mind, O wise one? What do you want? What is your purpose right now? Not just in theory, but in practice. For example, everyone wants love, both in theory and in the depths of their soul. Even so, in practice, a lot of energy goes into fearing love, and even sabotaging it -- and you will create according to the dominant goals of your mind and heart.

Upsides and downsides

Maybe we're winning, but what about the fact that our "victories" can be bittersweet; they all have downsides, side effects that create pain and problems for ourselves and others? Naturally, that raises a question:

Why in the world would I do
something that has downsides?

Well, why would you drive anywhere, given the downside of the cost of gas? Why would you seek an academic degree, given the downside that college requires both tuition and study? The fact is, we make thousands of choices despite their downsides, and generally in full awareness of them.

The bottom line? Life is full of tradeoffs. There isn't one single move on the chessboard that doesn't have upsides and downsides -- no matter whether it's the one God wants you to do, the one ego wants you to do, or anything in between. So you may as well make your choice and accept the inevitable costs of that choice, because you cannot have the upsides of your choice without its downsides. There's no point whining -- unless you want to. But if you want to (despite the downsides of whining), then of course, that's your choice.

If you wish, look at each downside you're complaining about, or suffering from. See why it is indeed a downside of a choice you made. See why each particular downside is practically inevitable, based on your choices.

And while you're looking at the half-empty part, why not look at the half-full part as well? For example, maybe you've lost half your friends, but there's good news with it: you got to think the way you want to think, and you got to live a whimsical life -- doing what you want, when you want. So you can acknowledge that, yes, the cup is half empty. But you can acknowledge, at the same time, that it's half full.

You make your bed and you lie in it. But what if, at some point, you'd like a different set of upsides and downsides than the set you're looking at right now? Then you can change your choice. Any time you like, you can look at your choice, look at your results, and decide to change your position.

The thing is, the Spirit cannot be happy with the ego's choices any more than the ego can be happy with the Spirit's choices. That's inevitable, because Spirit and ego have opposite objectives and values. And furthermore, neither one will let you forget it: the Spirit is never going to shut up any more than the ego will shut up. In that sense, there will always be inner conflict, and inner pressure to review/reconsider your choices -- until you choose conclusively for Spirit and against ego.

Ego shines in the area of accepting darkness

Of course, people aren't always in touch with their inner conflict. That's because ego shines in the area of accepting darkness. The more thoroughly people identify with the ego's choices, the more they hypnotize themselves into thinking that they're satisfied with garbage. Ego has a way of accepting or ignoring the downsides of bad choices, and emphasizing their upsides, thus making them seem to you like a really excellent tradeoff, no matter how miserable it may seem to an objective observer.

Everyone knows someone who has created for themselves a life of the most wretched conditions, and yet they are bristling with arguments in favor of that terrible life. For example, many people are homeless by choice -- or rather, as a result of a set of choices of various kinds. And some of those people will say they're so glad they're homeless. So many less bills to pay, no boss to obey, no schedule to keep. "My time is my own. No one tells me what to do." One hears similar talk from any person who's decided to go for complete ego-identification.

Naturally, when you care about someone, it's painful to hear them talk that way, to see the self-destructive choices they make. But remember: no matter how much people identify with ego, the truth is, we're still in control, and we can still beat the ego -- when we decide we want to.

It's like this: You hired a jailor to lock you up. He did. But later, you complain, "I want to be free, but this jailor won't let me!" To that, the obvious answer is this: "Then fire him! You're his boss!"

You always win -- get used to it!

If you look at your years of experience and consider what happened, you'll now be able to better understand why things happened as they did: consciously or otherwise, you put considerable energy into creating the way things happened. And you'll understand why even what you considered to be a defeat was, in reality, a victory. That's good to know. Now you can be conscious of processes that may have been unconscious before.

It's mighty empowering to the Spirit to recognize the fact that everything you choose, you succeed at; and even your failures are, in reality, your successes. Failure is not a threat for one who always wins. Therefore, have no fear of failure. It never has happened, and never will! Nor are you under pressure to succeed, since success is a given. This brings a very new and interesting meaning to the expression "failure is not an option."

Whether your life reflects the operation of Spirit- or ego-orientation, the "success" of love or ego, the choice is yours. Nobody else made that happen. But that's something for each person to realize on their own. There should be no feeling of threat about this, no rush, no pressure. I don't want people to feel they have to choose one thing over another. Just see the results that you're getting, and decide if you like them. Also, appreciate the ways in which you participated in the creation of those results.

Don't worry too much about the things you aren't presently choosing. They are not far from you -- nothing is. Your will is powerfully at work every day and, at any given moment, what you have is what you want. If you ever really want something else, you'll surely have it. You can't lose.

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