What is Stephen Hatch's unique form of "ego"? Ha - I KNEW that question would spark your interest! My typical stance in life has been that although I know I'm important to The Beloved - that is, to both God and Goddess - and that my contributions to spirituality are needed in a cosmic sense, I've generally thought that I really don't matter much in the world of people. Accordingly, I've always had the sense that I'm an "oddball" in society.
However, over the past six months, I've realized increasingly that this stance has resulted in my hurting quite a few people. When I think I don't matter to others, I am then NOT THERE for them. Recently, I've realized this particularly with my two younger brothers. I grew up as a spiritual adventurer in a conservative, fundamentalist Christian family, and my parents made sure I knew that my perspective did NOT belong in the family. (And, to be honest, I think THEY felt rejected by my "liberal," adventurous stance). I therefore distanced myself from family because it hurt too much to engage constantly with the sense of not belonging.
Unfortunately, in the process I failed to realize that my two brothers, even though they too have remained a bit closer theologically to my parents than I have, actually NEED me to encourage them on their path and to highlight, value and compliment their character strengths. In other words, they need me - especially as the pioneer and eldest sibling in the family - to serve as a loving and positive mirror. I have not done this as I should, and I have also probably made them feel judged for not measuring up to MY standards - which, ironically, is the very thing my parents did to me!
My father passed away several years ago, and my mother - still living - really doesn't know how to make others - including her sons and daughters-in-law - feel good about themselves. I'm realizing therefore that I am needed, and that my life-long detached stance has actually hurt my family. Indeed, thinking I don't matter to others (and thus detaching myself from them) is just as much an embodiment of ego as acting puffed up and thinking I am "God's gift to the world"! For both are an instance of the constriction of the vast and spacious true self into the narrow confines of the small, overly-defended false self. And that is NOT - I am now realizing in a fresh way - how I am called to live!
Photos: Vedauwoo (WY), Rocky Mountain National Park (CO) and the Poudre River (CO), January, 2016
Please visit: http://www.resourcesforspiritualgrowth.com/
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.