…resourcefulness and ego…

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”  – Max DePree

To have a truly secure long-term future means that you must have a secure long-term belief in yourself.  And most people don’t want to believe in themselves … well … not really.  They undermine their intentions and their strengths by speculating about how they can choose comfort over challenge, or how they can avoid a necessary and growthful change… and not notice any loss in their experience. 

Have you ever noticed how comfort zones – once we are in them – have a way of zapping our energy and resourcefulness?  “Mañana man, mañana.”  “Let’s just stay in bed…What’s the rush?” 

Contentment is funny.   It seems so confirming; so perfect.  We convince ourselves that “Hey, this is the way life’s supposed to be.”  And from here, anything that disturbs the comfort of the moment is…well…quite frankly, insulting.  Our egos are involved.  The stroking is so comfortable…so addictive. 

And it doesn’t last. 

Resourcefulness, as we saw in yesterday’s blog  (…resourcefulness and choice…), is not simply the willingness restore mobility through integration, nor is it the ability to place trust where ever we choose.  Resourcefulness a test of complexity and simplicity. 

Complexity expands our horizons by trying to include more.  Like integration, complexity asks us to bigger than our resistance.  The virtue of resourcefulness is that we want to overcome and surpass the resistance that keeps us stuck where we are. We want to be balanced, resilient and supple.

On the other hand, simplicity limits our horizons by continuing to make satisfaction our primary goal.  Simplicity allows us to place trust where we choose because we already feel the draw of attachment. Despite any conflicting signals, that draw of attachment tells us where we must go.  We are lulled into ‘wanting-what-we-want’ because there is so much comfort there. 

And our egos always want to narrow our focus.  Our egos always want to return to the comfort of addictive stroking.   And it really doesn’t matter what we might potentially lose.  Our narrowest, most consistent desire is to go back to some previously-discovered, already-known state of comfort.  Simplicity is simply the way life should be.   

And…that’s not the only desire we can feel.  Thankfully.

Do you sense a pattern here?  Inflation and deflation.  A feeling of importance followed by a creeping sense of contempt.

That’s often how the ego works.  And to compensate, you must cultivate both resourcefulness and awareness.  You must willingly bend the ego’s commitment to inflation (or deflation), through resourcefulness, into something healthy and mobile. 

And that’s not easy.  It requires awareness.   It requires  the mind’s eye view that can spot an inflating pre-occupation, a dependence on comfort and ease, an unreasonable desire to stay with the tried and true.

The ego is never neutral.  Nor can it be made neutral.  It will always occupy some portion of our awareness.  The question is how much?  And can we be resourceful in our relationship with that ego energy?

Max DePree has an interesting idea:  “We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”  Our egos will always conspire to keep us in place.  They want little more than comfort of knowing that we are well taken care of

And our egos cannot run the show.  We cannot be carried away by ego inflation and the grandiosity of anticipating a reward, nor can we be carried away by the ego deflation, and the self-loathing that takes place when we lose sight of our preferential picture. 

Part of us knows better. And while that may not be our only choice (to be better), I’m thinking that our inner ideal really wants us to be bigger than our ego-driven interests.

Thanks for listening!


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