(Pardon the pun. While having waffles for lunch today this blog title came to mind, and well, I just had to.)
Drama vs. Dharma
There are several definitions of the word Darhma, but in this case I am referring specifically to ‘the act of living one’s life according to our own individual nature’, or Authentic Self. The Ego, or false self, is essentially the cause of all of the unnecessary drama in our lives.
If we allow ourselves to be convinced that we are nothing but a reflection of our possessions, job titles or reputation, when any one of those ‘identifiers’ ceases to be, so do we. This is why when a person gets laid off from a job they’ve had for an extended period of time, they can easily fall into a deep depression. Similarly, if someone’s house is burned in a fire or goes into foreclosure, they may feel as though they are worthless.
Our reputation, what others think of us, can also be tarnished (either justly or unjustly) in the blink of an eye. This is all too apparent in the media. The tabloids exemplify the Ego’s addiction to slandering others for profit and personal gain. If you’ve ever had someone accuse you of being someone that you are not, you know how jarring an experience that can be.
Yet it is in such dramatic moments of intense loss or hurt that self reflection can once again lead us to reunite with our Authentic Self, or Dharma…assuming we are strong enough to perform such self reflection. Some sadly accept the judgement of others or resort to self destructive behaviors to dull the pain.
Diagonals vs. Divots
If we stick with the metaphor of the waffle (humor me) as it relates to the Ego and the Authentic Self, think of the divots (the square indentations) as the trappings of the Ego, and the raised diagonal lines as ‘balance beams’ we must walk to reach or remain our Authentic Self. If we think of our lives as the waffle, there are far more chances for us to fall into the many divots of the Ego, than to stay balanced as we walk across the raised diagonal lines towards our true self.
On a large sheet of paper draw a picture of a waffle with squares large enough to write in. Then in each square write an ego trap that you typically find yourself falling into. Some examples: jealousy, competition, anger, self-entitlement, materialism, gossip, etc. Then, on each of the diagonal lines, write aspects of your Authentic Self that, if you choose to practice and master (like an Olympic gymnast who falls of the balance beam and gets right back on) can prevent you from falling into the same Ego traps again and again. Some examples: “I am patient”, “I am understanding”, “I can validate myself”, “I have everything I need”, etc.