Pull the Ego Plug
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Pull the Ego PlugWhy spirit has an open hand.
Heaven is eternal—the earth endures.
Why do heaven and earth last forever?
They do not live for themselves only.
…Serve the needs of others,
And all your own needs will be fulfilled.
Through selfless action, fulfillment is attained.
The opening line of this 7th verse of the Tao Te Ching reminds us that the Tao, the Source of heaven and earth, is eternal. The original nature of life is everlasting and enduring. For us, this durability is supported when we live from our Tao center, rather than from our worldly ego center. Identifying exclusively with the physicality of life—and basing our existence on acquiring and achieving things—disregards our infinite nature.
Lao-tzu says the secret of the ineffable nature of the eternal Tao is that it isn’t identified with possessions or in asking anything of its endless creations. The Tao is a giving machine that never runs out of gifts to offer, yet it asks nothing in return. Because of this natural tendency to live for others, the Tao teaches that it can never die. Giving and immortality then go hand in hand.
The ego is a demanding force that’s never satisfied: It constantly requires that we seek more money, power, acquisitions, glory, and prestige to provide the fuel it thinks it must have. Living a Tao-centered life rather than an ego-centered one removes us from that rat race, as it offers inner peace and satisfying fulfillment.
This is what I believe the wisdom of this verse of the Tao Te Ching is saying for the 21st century:
Make an attempt to reverse ego’s hold on you by practicing the Tao’s teaching to “serve the needs of others, and all your own needs will be fulfilled.”
Generously thinking of and serving others will lead to matching your behaviors with the perpetual rhythm of the Tao—then its power will flow freely, leading to a fulfilling life. Ego wants the opposite, however, as it tells you to think of yourself first and “get yours” before someone else beats you to it. The main problem with listening to ego is that you’re always caught in the trap of striving and never arriving. Thus, you can never feel complete.
As you reach out in thoughts and behaviors, you activate loving energy, which is synonymous with giving. Put others ahead of you in as many ways as possible by affirming: I see the sacred invisible Source of all in its eternal state of giving and asking nothing in return. I vow to be this, too, in my thoughts and behaviors.
When you’re tempted to focus on your personal successes and defeats, shift your attention in that very moment to a less fortunate individual. You’ll feel more connected to life, as well as more satisfied than when you’re dwelling on your own circumstances. Imagine what it would be like if you dismissed ego’s hold on you. Serve others and watch how all that you give returns to you tenfold.
The more you pursue desires, the more they’ll elude you. Try letting life come to you and begin to notice the clues that what you crave is on its way. You’re in a constant state of receiving because of the ceaseless generosity of the eternal Tao. The air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, the sunshine that warms you, the nutrients that keep your body alive, and even the thoughts that fill your mind are all gifts from the eternal Tao. Stay appreciative of all that you receive, knowing that it flows from an all-providing Source. Stop the chase and become a witness—soothe your demanding habits by refusing to continue running after more. By letting go, you let God; and even more significantly, you become more like God and less like the ego, with its lifetime practice of edging God out.