How To Know Whether An Action Is Coming From Ego Or From Spirit?
Q: I would like to hear a little more about discernment. What to look for in our hearts to know that we are going in the right direction.
Before I found your website, I found this quote that resonated with me… “Nothing happens until something moves” by Albert Einstein.
I guess my question is… when we have this vague idea of something we would like to do, how do we know that is not the EGO trying to look for something better in the future… or if it is really something from the heart.
It’s been a while that I have this feeling of a simple life.
I feel that I want to get rid of material things I do not need, I feel very “hippie”.
I would like to move to a place with less concrete houses and more nature. This is something that I wrote in my Journal since 2011.
Is this something that is happening in my interior that I want to materialize as a move to a different place… or is it really something from the heart?
M: Our values change with spiritual development and to be drawn to more tranquil environments and nature is common, we just come to value those things more (peace and simplicity) as the stressful lives most people are living is not natural to us. We’re not here to merely “make a living and survive”.
Each and every one of us has different preferences of course – I personally love Los Angeles and California because there you can enjoy both the city life and be close to nature at the same time.
To let go of material things is also a natural process that happens, and for me it was a monthly thing I did every full moon; that was the time I was inclined to always declutter and get rid of stuff.
I just now remember something I read or heard a while ago, that Norwegian children has on an average over 500 toys each! It’s INSANE.
I believe it would be a great idea to teach our children (even if we are not parents, I’m talking about being a role model regardless of if we have kids of our own or not) to give away toys they don’t use anymore to kids who don’t have as much as they.
That would help bringing up more spiritually aware children to this world that doesn’t become hoarders and ego-maniacs who only want to have more and more stuff.
It would help children to stay rooted in the truth of who they are and not lose the sense of themselves as they grow up and the ego develops.
But to your question now!:)
How do we know if we are coming from ego or Spirit/heart?
Truth is, we don’t always know and sometimes we have to plunge into something (or a direction) without being totally sure regarding if it’s coming from ego or if it’s a desire from the heart.
I think it’s important to allow ourselves to “make mistakes” as the ego can keep us waiting for the “perfect moment” for a very long time..
Every outcome and every consequence is just what we need in order to finetune our ability to discern with the heart so there are ultimately no wrong turns in life.
It’s only when we blame or feel regret and guilt that we get stuck in ego-land, that’s how ego keeps us stagnated and it also loves to remind us about our past “failures” so that we don’t make another go on the things that we feel inclined to do but have not succeeded with yet.
It may or may or it may not be the path for us to give it another go, there are no sure answers here as the path we are on is highly individual and unique.
Sometimes the timing wasn’t right and then later it will be.
There are some things to be aware of:
Even though actions that comes from spirit brings peace within, the ego can use a false sense of peace to trick you into being lazy. (Because you stop taking action while dwelling in the false sense of peace that comes from doing nothing).
The ego also has a need to be right, but there’s also the spiritualized ego that lets go of the need to be right but does that in a smug, self-righteous way.
With Spirit we oftentimes don’t know where our actions will lead, while with the ego the actions are a means to an end: “if I do this then I will get that”, “If I do this then I will end up over there”.
If it’s a thought that has lead to the action you’re about to take, then it’s probably from the ego (something you have plotted and planned out in your head) but if it’s an inner knowing, an insight or intuitive feeling, if it just feels right to do (sometimes without knowing why or where it will lead), then it’s from Spirit, your heart.
Ego-action can also have (but not always) an underlying feeling of irritation or frustration, a “if I don’t do this, then that will happen”- there’s a striving/struggling energy to it, while Spirit is more flowing and the steps just seem to unfold as we go, we feel drawn to do things and they feel “right”, not because we get something out of the action (as in an outcome), but the action itself feels right.
This does not mean that there won’t be effort included, but the feel to it is vastly different.
With the heart you just feel “I know this is the right thing for me to do”, even if it means you have to do something difficult and challenging, while the ego usually shuns away from challenges and difficult decisions.
The more aware we become of the differences between the two “voices”, the easier it becomes to discern what voice to listen to, and it’s good to know that the ego can pretend to be spiritual as well; in fact it can have very noble and good intentions, so to learn to see how it does its thing is very revealing and enlightening.
When ego is exposed (shone light on by Truth) it loses its power, and we can hear the heart clearer and clearer and trust it more and more.
(Pic taken from one of my recent walks).
Here are some additional articles that you might like: (All links open in new windows).
mariaerving.com/spiritual-awakening-and-knowing-who-we-are-not/ (Examples of differences between the ego and Spirit).
mariaerving.com/surrender-and-inspired-action/ (One of my older articles, but parts of it can still be relevant, take what resonates and leave the rest as I always say:)
Would you like me to write an article for you? Submit here.