When it (the soul) breathes through man’s intellect, it is genius;
when it breathes through his will, it is virtue;
when it flows through his will, it is love.
How often in daily life do we lead with “soul”? Chances are not often. With the ego rearing its (often, ugly) head much of the time, our percentage of soul time can be quite low.
It is difficult to get our arms around concepts like ego and soul because both are difficult and some would say, impossible, to define.
Having said that, there is a distinction to be made between two almost opposite types of behavior that come from very different places in our minds and hearts and have very different consequences on our lives: one enriches our life while the other, limits it.
Let’s take a look at some signs of the ego versus soul as they arise in our daily lives.
Signs of the Ego versus the Soul
Signs of the Ego Aspects of Life Signs of the Soul
Self-gratification Action Benefit others
Performance based Self-esteem Values based
Entitlement Attitude Gratitude
Someone to love me Relationships Being loving
Personal comfort Religion Compassion
Suspicion, Stereotyping Other Cultures Common bonds
Arrogance Wisdom Humility
Self-defeating despair Loss Hope, Perspective
Personal gain Meditation Being present
Self-promoting Education Growth-oriented
Win at all costs Athletics/Play To do one’s best
Competition Colleagues Cooperation
Conquer/humiliate Conflict Win-Win
Superior/inferior Other People Welcome as equals
Realize parents’ dreams Parenting Focus – child’s essence
To advance one’s own position Contribution To benefit others
Now look back over the past 24 hours and ask yourself, for each of these areas, which direction has your behavior leaned—toward the ego or toward the soul? How can we move toward soul-directed behavior so that we align ourselves with our deeper values, thereby enhancing the quality of our life as well as others?
Moving Toward a Soul-directed Life
- Identify circumstances that led us to slide towards ego-based behavior. When we are physically or mentally tired, or when we feel particularly insecure or threatened we tend to lapse into ego states.
- Find ways to manage our physical and emotional stress without sliding into ego behaviors. In Alcoholics Anonymous the acronym HALT is used to describe the circumstances under which a person is vulnerable to their disease. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired.
- Deal with oppositional voices that nag us with the thought that there is something basically wrong with us. Know that at the core of our being there is nothing wrong with us. The soul does not need completing; it is perfect as it is.
- Find the most nurturing environment where we can generate soul-driven behaviors. This may be through practices such as yoga, meditation, and prayer; in places in Nature where we quiet our hyperactive body and mind; through dance, art, and music and/or chanting; or through the creation of a sacred space in our home.
- Surround ourselves with people who reinforce our move toward the true inner self and remind us when we are slipping into ego-based behaviors.
If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to my feed and join a growing number of world-wide readers?- Go to top right hand corner of page to email Subscription