If you are on social media sites, you’ve probably read this story. A seminar speaker asks each person in the audience to grab a balloon and write their name on it with a marker. Then all the balloons are collected and placed in another room, and everyone is asked to find the balloon with their name on it.
Within 5 minutes, the seminar attendants start frantically searching for their name, colliding with and pushing one another. Nobody is able to find their own balloon in the chaos.
Then everyone is asked to randomly grab a balloon and give it to the person whose name is written on it. Within minutes everyone has their own balloon. The speaker explains that this is exactly what happens in our lives, because everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is. His conclusion is that our happiness lies in the happiness of other people, and that this is the purpose of human life.
I’m sure most people read this story and feel that it makes sense, that life is about making others happy. I, however, don’t believe this is totally true. Don’t get me wrong, I think that serving others is the greatest gift you can give yourself, but only if if comes from a place of love—without a sense of separation. Otherwise, there may be a hidden, ego-based motivation from an unspoken attempt to protect an emotional wound.
You can try to make others happy, please everyone, and yet feel miserable, resentful, and left out. To feel joy, you have to tap into what lies beyond the fleeting, ego-based sense that you’re “good” or doing the “right” thing. The speaker in the story above was missing this because our experience of the world reflects the internal dynamic between our sense of self and our sense of otherness. It’s not just what you do but why and how you do things that matters, because the emotional energy behind your beliefs, attitudes, and actions will in time crystallize as your reality.
Ego = Sense of Self + Sense of Otherness
Our sense of otherness is part of who we are, and it’s shaped during early childhood through our interaction with the world. It’s everything that is not perceived as “I”—our parents or caretakers, teachers, friends, family members, and so on. However, because our attention is always on others, the line between the world and ourselves gets blurry and our sense of otherness becomes an integral part of our identity—like a coat we put on and then forget we’re wearing that holds our patterns of perception; it maintains both the illusion of separation and the codependency of childhood.
As a result, it dictates how we relate and respond to the world, how much intimacy we allow, and most importantly, how we believe others perceive us and what they expect from us. It’s those authoritative internal figures and voices always judging, censoring, and bullying our attempts to freely express ourselves. Like kids asking for our parents’ approval, we automatically filter everything through them.
The problem is that these internalized, outdated voices have overpowered your own voice, keeping you in a codependent trap, which is what, in my opinion, the story above reinforces. When you start looking for yourself, breaking free from old codependent patterns, you can focus your internal radar on finding the balloon with not just your name but your soul signature on it—to reclaim the power of your inner voice and eventually surrender the ego to the spiritual forces within.
Grabbing a balloon and giving it to whomever it belongs to may come easily, almost naturally, but it maintains the belief that only through someone else can you love yourself or find happiness—that you need someone else to feel connected, joyful, or complete. Yet happiness is your true nature; tapping into it requires a harmonious relationship between your sense of self and your sense of otherness—a playful dance of acceptance, support, and self-love.
But this can only happen when you become familiar with your emotional terrain, making the unconscious conscious, and give your sense of self a stronger voice than that of your internalized censor and judge—your inner bully. In fact, this is what you’re really here to accomplish: healing the wounds reflecting your own lack of love, by purifying the mind of ego, breaking free from codependency, and letting go of anything that is not your true Self.
When you stop believing the inner bully, you become your best, most loving friend. Once the balance within is restored, other relationships also become supportive partnerships based on equality and creative cooperation. And boy, isn’t the world in urgent need of those? As your original nature, love flows spontaneously when you remove the ego-mind. So contact me today to understand your sense of otherness and restore balance, to create a soul-guided, empowering, and abundant life you LOVE!
© 2014 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.