Sunday, May 28, 2006


The ego carries a dual portfolio. On the one hand, it is the minister in charge of the policies and disbursements which make all misery and suffering possible. On the other hand, the ego also serves as head of the agency for internal security whose primary responsibility is to make sure nothing interferes with its other ministerial duties and functions.

A brief glance at the curriculum vitae of the ego shows the latter to be extraordinarily well qualified for both of the aforementioned portfolios. To begin with, the ego has a natural talent for deceit and treachery. This talent is nicely complemented by a capacity for manipulation which would be the envy of any right-thinking Machiavellian.

The ego has been schooled in the craft of creating illusions at a moment's notice. Moreover, the ego won first class honors in the theory and application of the art of misdirection. Indeed, its capacity for feats of legerdemain makes magicians weep with envy.

The ego is astonishingly ambitious. This ambition is well-served by its gift for ruthlessness. Furthermore, the ego's tendency to never be content with what it has ensures a constant source of motivation to fuel its ambition.

The ego is extremely demanding and impatient for results. It is meticulous in the way it attempts to ensure others will acquiesce to the bottom line of the ego.

The ego can calculate angles with more precision than a mathematician. Furthermore, it can set an agenda with more skill than a professional caterer can set a table.

Long hours of practice have been spent by the ego to hone its ability to evade responsibility. In addition, the ego is as good as they come in pointing fingers of blame at others.

The ego has a tenacity of purpose which puts the bite of a Gila monster to shame. What is more, the venom of the ego is far deadlier than the poison of a Gila monster.

So single-minded is the ego in the pursuit of its goals and objectives, it will not permit such qualities as honor, integrity, and decency to stand in its way. It always seeks to get the job done regardless of the costs to others or itself.

The ego is a master of disguise, a chameleon's chameleon. It can blend in with a scene in order to protect itself from probing eyes, while waiting for an opportunity to strike.

The natural inclination of the ego toward suspiciousness of others bodes well for its duties as security officer. The ego trusts no one, and is in a constant state of vigilance lest its interests be threatened. The ego has no sense of loyalty except to itself.

The foregoing speaks to the ego's ability to handle the aforementioned portfolios. However, the present profile would be incomplete if we were to leave out the comments of some of those with whom the ego has worked or interacted on previous occasions.

For example, the ego has variously been described as thoughtless, insensitive and mean-spirited. In addition, the ego is characterized as often being moody, quarrelsome and extremely rebellious.

Many who have had dealings with the ego found it to be stubborn and insincere. Others have found the ego to be dense, ignorant and filled with dark, sinister ideas and feelings.

The ego often has been found to waste a lot of time fantasizing. Moreover, there can be a strong streak of indolence in the ego which sometimes feeds into the fantasies and is sometimes fed by those fantasies.

Many people find working with the ego very difficult and frustrating because it is so self-absorbed. Its narcissistic tendencies just add to this problem.

The ego doesn't take guidance and direction very well. Furthermore, it has a deep-seated hostility toward any kind of authority being exercised over it.

There is a history of episodes of paranoia in the ego, especially when involved in pressure situations. Some clinicians also have noted definite patterns of delusional thinking.

The ego is prone to temper tantrums, as well as explosions of anger, if it doesn't get its own way. Quite frequently, the ego is contemptuous of others.

The tendency of the ego to display strong emotions of envy and jealousy often make the ego very unapproachable. When one adds to this the intense pride of the ego, the mixture is a very volatile one which is not conducive to friendship or a good work atmosphere.

There has been a persistent pattern of abusive relationships in the past of the ego. This abuse expresses itself through verbal, mental, emotional, physical and sexual violence.

The ego is prone to extremely self-destructive behaviors. Bouts of depression, despair, and alienation intensify these self-destructive tendencies.

A large variety of addictions pepper the pages of the ego's case history. In point of fact, the ego suffers from a congenital predisposition to addictions of one sort or another.

The ego appears to have a socio-pathic personality. In other words, there is a strong tendency for the ego to use and exploit people without any sense of remorse. The ideas of morality, ethics and spirituality appear to be foreign to the ego.

There is a strong current of hypocrisy running through the life of the ego. It will profess something on one occasion and, then, turn around and actually do the opposite on some other occasion.

In addition, the ego is pretty poor at keeping promises unless the promise is a means to some further end it has. Needless to say, commitment to others is not high on the list of priorities which the ego has, unless, once again, the commitment is tied to the satisfaction of a need or desire of the ego.

The self-image concept of the ego is highly sensitive and vulnerable to critical comments from others. However, such sensitivity does not prevent the ego from feeling quite free to criticize and judge others.

The ego is incapable of loving others, although it often mistakes infatuation and sexual attraction for the real thing. Due to the emotional distance it maintains with respect to others, the relationships of the ego are usually dysfunctional in one way or another.

The ego tends to be unforgiving. Moreover, the memory of the ego is very selective. Consequently, the ego finds holding a grudge quite easy to do. On the other hand, the ego can be quite unrepentant for what it does, yet expect others to forgive and forget.

When one combines the poor impulse control of the ego with its inherent capacity for aggressiveness, one is not surprised to observe frequent outbursts of rage on the part of the ego. Furthermore, the tendency of the ego to exhibit poor judgement also combines with its lack of impulse control to generate a lot of misery for all concerned.

According to the masters of the Sufi path, there is only one enemy more dangerous than the entanglements of the world and the machinations of satanic influences, and that enemy is our own ego. Everyone has a ego, so we should beware of the dangers which lurk within us.

Of course, most of us will not exhibit all of the foregoing qualities on a continuous basis. Moreover, not all of us necessarily will display the same package of symptoms of the ego disease syndrome. Nevertheless, on any given occasion, each of us has the potential to exhibit any and all of the possibilities outlined in the foregoing pages.

Daily, this disease ravages our world, our countries, our communities, our families and ourselves. None of us will be safe until this terrible disease is brought under control. All other diseases combined do not even begin to compare with the death and destruction which the diseases of the ego inflict on humanity and all of creation.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sufi Reflections Podcast No. 7 - May 26, 2006

This week's edition of Sufi Reflections Podcast includes poetry, music, a story from Mystical Horizons entitled Asceticism, an essay entitled Yaqueen, and a commentary, Part 2 of The Boundary Problem. To download, please click here.

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