Have you ever contemplated just how much space you occupy in this Universe? When it finally hit me, the thought was both scary and liberating at the same time. It was on a day when I was strolling in the City with a friend and it occurred to us that all the space that our bodies occupy in this world – in the Universe – was less than the volume of a green rubbish bin that was in front of us! It was scary to realize just how small I was. On that day in the midst of the tall buildings in the city, I saw myself as a tiny ant running up and down foraging – like all the others hurrying all around me to complete their errands before darkness fell.
As we just stood there with my friend looking at the green rubbish bin, we started wondering aloud why we often considered ourselves so important! That we thought that God – the Creator of the 6 billion human beings in the world, and all the trillions of stars in our Galaxy, and the trillions of Galaxies known to man – depended on what we do to be happy or unhappy. That if we do ‘good’ and sing praises to Him, he would be thrilled. That if we do ‘bad’ and forget to say just how magnificent He is, He would be angry at us. That as I write about Him and write god instead of God, He will not be pleased with me. And I think for the first time in my life, I was able to understand what the word ‘Ego’ means.
I have always known ego to indicate an inflated sense of importance, but I always associated it with having a lot of money, and machismo. But when I look at it now, I see it very much in myself as a religious and spiritual person. Just like a person would pop up a name of a famous person just to show how important he is, we often do the same as ‘Godly’ people. Have you heard people gossip maliciously about another and then conclude the session by saying, “Let’s pray for him/her”? Or when someone says magnanimously, “God spoke to me and said…..”
I am not saying that there is anything wrong with God speaking to anyone, but it is just that when one uses that claim as mileage to justify lack of reason, or to show off, then the motive is wrong; that’s ego. Incidentally, what many people consider to be the voice of God speaking to them, is the ‘voice in the head’ or the voice of ego.
Anyway, on that day, I felt liberated. Why? Because I was able to see that I do not have to change the world in order to feel purposeful. What do I mean by that? That my primary responsibility is to manage this small space that I have been given. And why is that so important? Because anything else is beyond my control. When I direct loving and generosity and compassion and praise and understand into that space, it quickly fills up and starts to overflow, and I can genuinely give to others. On the other hand, when I attempt to give these things to others with a hope to get back, I often feel cheated since I give what I never had in the first place.
When everywhere you look, people are scrambling for every available piece of land to occupy it is good to realize that I have my prime piece of real estate – right here.