What started as a technique sample for an upcoming workshop, turned out to be a study in seeing ego’s feeble attempt at hiding from our field of awareness. The large foreboding shape unable to fit its form behind a five-petal flower a top a long thin stem, the only recognizable element in this abstract painting, is a great metaphor for the thoughts, feelings and actions we experience when we defend a behavior we cannot justify.
Although I did not intend to paint about the ego, I clearly witnessed it in a situation that arose a few days later when someone I know and care deeply for, agreed to receive a special gift she did not think she deserved. To prove herself undeserving, the young woman became ill just before the event and was unable to partake in the honor, yet recovered sufficiently sometime later to go to work a full shift.
Because I was the guardian of the gift and had to decide on the award’s fate and communicate it to the donor, I decided to use the painting to help the woman see how the story she told herself about the event, was simply a veiled attempt of ego to prove her deep feelings of unworthiness, and how much this story had caused pain to her and those involved.
Examining the situation through the art, she realized that ego was behind the plot she was using to justify not receiving the award. “By the time I felt better, it was too late to join the event so I decided to go to work…I needed to be there anyway…the person who supposed to cover for me called in”, was followed by a need to defend her “I-am-not-good-enough” script. “The award is rather frivolous…It is a lot of money…I don’t know why you thought I deserved it…”
How much suffering must we undergo? How deep and bloodied are our wounds and how many tears do we have to shed (the red and the blue colors) before we recognize ego for what it is; a mind-based part of our consciousness that is past-referenced and struggling to gain control of our actions, feelings and thoughts by any means, including disguising itself as “unworthy-me”?
Driven by the ego-mind, we are unable to perceive the glitzy façade (gold background) behind our “duty-bound” walls and seek to patch our old and tired story with worm-bored tree bark (the collage rectangles).
By summoning compassion and deep love for ourselves, we have the chance to become free from suffering, and realize that accepting an honor is not ego-driven behavior. We deserve receiving gifts, simply by being born and declining a gift is akin to turning our backs to the divinity from whence the gifts came.
Justifying behavior to fit familial legacy in lieu of transforming it, we negate our Buddha nature, our intrinsic right to happiness, authenticity and well-being, and the chance to become light beacons to help those we love heal.
By the end of our meeting, the woman felt empowered to create something special to express gratefulness to her donor and to those who expected her to show up and receive her award. She did not feel duty-bound. She felt happy to say “thank you”
The art called “Seeing Ego Hide” is a 20” x 16” mixed media on canvas. It is ready for you to purchase and help you discern which actions in your life may appear to be cleverly hiding, when they are actually in plain sight!