In his book, The Shift: Taking your Life from Ambition to Meaning, Wayne Dyer speaks of ego. He says ego stands for:
Ergo, Ego=doing things our way instead of God’s way.
If you think about this, it goes all the way back to the story of Cain and Able.
Cain wanted to do things his way, to take shortcuts and circumvent the laws of the spiritual universe.
EGO says, “I am what I have.”
In other words, if I earn more money and have nicer things, then I am more valuable in this world.
EGO also says, “I am what I do and what I do leads to achievement which leads to the idea that my worth depends on what I have and what I do.”
EGO further says, “I am what others think of me.”
It believes itself to be separate from others and goes to great links to manipulate, control, intimidate, interrogate, and coerce others into behaving the way we need them to so that we feel better.
When we experience a quickening moment, we realize that what we used to believe no longer lines up with the new creation we’ve become.
Things like winning and getting ahead take a backseat to finding inner peace and living with purpose. –Wayne Dyer
We start to gage everything on the basis of, “Is this the path that feels like inner peace in my life? Is this God’s best path forward to me?”
We may suddenly find ourselves not wanting to go places we used to go or do things we used to do or even hang around with people we used to hang around with. We discover that we are existing in a whole new reality as if we are literally vibrating on another plane of existence.
If we make a choice out of ego, it takes us away from finding meaning and purpose. It takes us off God’s best laid path for our lives, our inner callings.
When we experience a quickening, we know in the depth of our beings that there is something more and nothing else, no matter how amazing it may seem, can fill us or give us meaning.
We get to a place where we are guided by something bigger than ourselves. The key is to stay in harmony with the Spirit of God, to walk in the Way. Once we stay there, purpose and meaning start to take over and we no longer chase the blessings. They chase us!
It’s these quickening moments, born again experiences, that transform us into new creations, that help us wake up and become more Christ-like.
Paul says that if anyone is “in Christ’ then he or she is no longer the kind of being they once were but has become a brand-new creation, something that they’ve never been before.
In Christ does not refer to keeping religious laws or adhering to some external standard in order to be deemed worthy of heaven. It is not about what we do.
What kind of being do we become when we undergo this massive internal transformation?
We become the kind of being that Jesus was when he was on this earth and we start to get our memories back, to wake up to who we really are, where we’re really from, why we’re really here and where we’re really going. We start to see this world as transient. How do I know this?
Well, the disciple, John, says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness (confidence and assurance) in the Day of Judgement (justice); because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17
In the study that Dyer quotes, he speaks of the characteristics of a quickening moment.
- It’s vivid, intense. It stays with you forever. You may try to walk away but you can’t unknow the truth once you know it. It will always be inside you, always calling you back. Once you’re born, you can’t be unborn.
- It’s surprising, unexpected, uninvited, and unforeseen. (Like when Walking Deer saw the neon sign in a previous blog post.)
- It requires surrender, letting go of ego and acknowledging that it is the higher, better way.
- It is benevolent; peaceful and blissful, serene.
SHIFTS IN VALUES:
Dyer talks about a study that found that both men and women begin to have a change in values when they experience this shift. He lists the top five values of each before and after.
MEN’S TOP FIVE ‘BEFORE’ VALUES
- Wealth—so often men are taught from youth to believe their worth is found in what they can accumulate, in their possessions, positions, and how much money they make. EGO–I AM WHAT I HAVE.
- Sense of adventure (travel, novelty, experiences, food, excitement)—This is a type of machoism and/or wanderlust, always looking the next great experience, never being satisfied with “enough.” EGO–I AM WHAT I DO.
- Sense of achievement— (accolades, admiration, envy) Many men are led to believe that their worth is tied up with their accomplishments, setting goals, competing and “winning.” EGO–I AM WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME.
- Personal pleasure—Whatever indulges the senses or feeds a sense of triumph to the mind. EGO–I AM WHAT I DO.
- Status/to be Respected/Admired/Envied by other men/Desired—have admiration of other people, affection of women, envy of men. EGO–I AM WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME.
My Note: Notices that spirituality and family are not even on the list! They are somewhere down the line.
MEN’S TOP FIVE ‘AFTER’ VALUES
- Spirituality/relationship with God–(Wow! What a transformation from not in the top five all the way to number 1!)
- Personal peace—not needing to impress anyone or prove anything or teach anyone “a lesson,” a sense of contentment. Now, the true measure of success is about knowing inner peace!
- Family— (again, wow! It wasn’t even in the top five before.) After the shift it’s about spending time with the kids, valuing the wife, making lasting memories with the grandkids. It’s about teaching the children the true meaning of success and planting seeds of spirituality. It’s no longer about man toys and trips. It’s no longer about being seen with attractive women and being the envy of other men. It’s about building a true legacy, not a legacy of getting and gaining and waste.
- God’s Will—Again this wasn’t even on the list before! This one is the total opposite of EGO! Not your will, but mine, God. I ask you to direct my path. It’s not about what I think I need, it’s about your best laid plans for me. That’s what I want—your way only. Show me your ways, Oh, God, that I may walk in them! Talk about a total turn-around! EGO is out the door. Instead of edging God out, they’re inviting him in.
- Honesty—this is not a demand that everyone else hand over their secrets as a means of power and control but rather an honest look at oneself and a humility before God. It means being honest in transactions, not conniving and deceptive in speech, not underhanded in actions—not manipulative.
WOMEN’S TOP FIVE ‘BEFORE’ Values:
- Family—Women are raised to be supporters and are often taught from an early age to deny our own inner instincts in order to please others. While this doesn’t seem like ego, it actually falls under I AM WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME, prompting most women to measure their worth by what others say and think about us.
- Sense of independence—because women are trained to be supporters, we often feel trapped, enslaved, to the needs of others, to husbands, siblings, children, and parents. This feeling of being trapped, of not being able to pacify the ego, this suppressing of personal wants and dreams, often causes hidden seeds of resentment to grow within. EGO–I AM WHAT I DO.
- Career–feeling guilty about having one and feeling guilty about not having one. EGO–I AM WHAT I DO.
- Fitting in—women are judged HARSHLY by other women when they don’t fit in. EGO–I AM WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME.
- Being attractive—Women are told from the time we’re babies that we need to be “pretty” in order to have worth. Sometimes, the message is subtle, sometime blatant, but it’s always there. For some women their entire sense of self-worth is wrapped up in how attractive they are. Magazines, videos, movies, etc. feature women who are “beautiful” and therefore worth more in society. EGO–I AM WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME.
WOMEN’S TOP FIVE ‘AFTER’ VALUES
- Personal growth— She begins to work on her psychological well-being. Maybe she takes courses on things she has always been interested in but never had the confidence to try. She starts to care less and less what other people think.
- Self-esteem—she realizes that she has value beyond how she looks or how clean her house is or how many years she’s worked without missing a day or whether or not she hosted the family reunion this year. This is the time when a woman realizes that she is a an individual, that she is not so and so’s wife or mom or sister or aunt, she is an actual person with an actual set of gifts and God-given ideas.
- Sense of spirituality—It becomes more and more important to her to walk according to God’s purpose and plan for her life whether anyone else approves or not. She carves out moments to spend alone in meditation, contemplation, and rest.
- Right to happiness—Because of her personal growth and her increased bent toward spirituality she now realizes that she has a right to be happy, too. Happiness looks different to different people, but she learns to identify what feels joyful to her and to go in that direction.
- Forgiveness—she lets go of the resentment she has felt against her husband and others who have taken advantage of her generosity throughout the years.