Today, I would like to share a personal practical example that illustrates the internal conflict of the heart and the ego. It made me think of an apt analogy — at least apt to me.
All of my adult life, I have not enjoyed eating by myself in public. I am not a hundred percent sure why. I know that I have strong ego protection, probably because of my childhood with parents affected by alcoholism. Maybe that translates into feeling abandoned and that’s maybe what I feel when I am alone at a restaurant or any public place.
This isn’t something that I face regularly, but it is enough that it bothers me. Yesterday, I got the urge to just get out of the house and run a few errands. I knew when I left that I wanted to get something to eat at someplace that had some good craft beer selections. And I wanted to work on my novel since I was going to be alone — internal conflict!
Ego: Just get some food and take it home. You’ve got some good beer there, and you don’t have to take your laptop out.
Mind: No, I’m hungry and it will be fun.
Ego: “But you would feel stupid eating alone. And everyone will look at you with the book bag and computer. Pretentious.”
Mind: “No, I don’t care, but I don’t know where to go.”
Ego: That’s because you don’t really want to.
I turned towards home after stopping at the second store. But I heard my heart.
Heart: Where are you going? Quick take a right. Get to the highway.
Mind: Okay. I’ll go to Kirkwood. Three choices — Bar Louie, Billy G’s, Kirkwood Brewing, oh, wait, maybe Dewey’s.
Heart: Which one?
Mind: Well, I can sit outside at Louie, G’s, or Kirkwood. Best beer selection at Kirkwood.
Heart: Okay. Go.
Mind: But I’m not sure. I’m going to drive past Louie’s and G’s. Just to be sure.
Ego: That’s because you don’t really want to go. We’ve had a nice 15 minute drive on a beautiful day. Go home and write.
Mind: Maybe. Look at the crowd at Louie’s. G’s just two minutes away.
Ego: Just go home.
Mind: Here. Wow! The patio is full.
I pull through the public parking lot twice — no spots.
Ego: Easy to just go home.
Mind: Just get to public parking by Kirkwood Brewing — one minute.
Ego: Fine. Think about twenty or thirty bucks gone for everything you have at home. And you won’t even work on the novel because you will look stupid carrying in a computer.
Mind: I know. I should have put the computer in the small leather portfolio, not my book bag. I look like I’m going to school.
Ego: Okay, go home.
Mind: I’m parked. Okay, what am I going to do?
I actually got out of the car, opened the back door, and reached in to get my book bag when it struck me.
Mind: This is really stupid. I’m so embarrassed. I’m going home.
I closed the back door and just paused in silence for a second, looking around to make sure no one was watching. Just stood there. Then…
Heart: What in the fuck are you doing? Open that door, get the computer, and get your ass in there. Look at yourself.
I looked at my reflection in the window — long, curly hair, for me.
Heart: You don’t care what anyone says about your hair. Why in the hell do you care about carrying a book bag in an almost deserted restaurant. Are you going to get your ass in there?
“Yes.” I opened the door, reached in quickly, and grabbed the book bag. Two hours later, I had eaten a great veggie wrap, drunk a Scotch ale and an oatmeal stout, and revised two and half chapters of my novel. And made a new friend with the bartender, who will probably be my means to getting my scuba certification and whose sister is now an editorial contact.
Success. My heart won: I won. My ego tried valiantly to protect itself, to keep from the pain and feelings of being alone and feeling abandoned, which I wasn’t.
I don’t go through life thinking in dialog as above. I do become aware of the source of my thoughts, though.
Here is the analogy. My mind is like the hard drive of a computer, where most life data lives and is stored. The ego and the heart are like operating systems, which makes all that data in the hard drive interact with the rest of data out there in the world. Unlike computers, we have the instantaneous choice to use either Microsoft or iOS. I don’t want to assign either system to ego and heart, but that is the way I see them. Choose the heart operating system and true Self is expressed and growth and blessing to others occurs; choose ego operating system and protect a stagnant, mediocre, resigned life — yuck!
t is a process in becoming self-aware and choosing the heart operating system. I value all parts of my being, but I will choose which I allow to integrate all of me to all of you.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!