17 April 2013 - QA 1

How do I get rid of my ego, which is so strong?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Oh, for heaven’s sake, don’t do that! Don’t try to get rid of your ego.
If you find that your ego is your biggest problem; keep it in your pocket, or in the purse. Let it be.
If your ego is bothering you, allow yourself to be humiliated thoroughly. Will you do that? That is it!
The biggest problem is that you don’t want to be humiliated. Get humiliated, and you will see that the ego disappears.
In life, if anyone anywhere humiliates you, know that it is only a plan to soften you. It is a blessing; you should walk away or through the situation with a smile.

To begin with, you may feel very uncomfortable, but there will be a shift in you, with which you will be so amazed. Then, nobody will ever be able to take the smile, the love and the compassion from within you.

We should never be shy of humiliation, or of being criticized. If criticism comes, take it.
Do you know, many times we hold our hands so tight; this is what I am, this is mine, mine, mine! And the moment someone criticizes us, we withdraw. We are so paranoid about the criticism of others. These are the weakest people, I tell you.
If someone criticizes you, welcome it! If there is something in it, take it. They are taking the risk of losing your friendship, and giving you a comment, or criticism.

You should know that people are there to help you in the world. Don’t see people as enemies. The foolish will look at the world as filled with enemies and hostile people. The wise will look at the world as filled with friends, and think that people are there to help.

From a wise persons’ angle, see that anyone who criticizes you is doing something good to you. They are showing you your mistake, taking the risk of losing their friendship with you.
Otherwise, the common man would just say, ‘Okay, why should we lose the friendship of such and such a person? Just say good things, and bye. There is no need to point out your weaknesses.’
So, whenever someone criticizes you, listen to it. If the criticism has some substance, take it. If it is coming out of jealously, be compassionate towards them. That is their problem; they are working out their own jealously. They are pouring out their frustration on you. And in some sense, you are just helping them to empty their mind of frustration.

If they are saying it out of compassion, out of friendship and love, then you take it in that sense. So, you should be able to give constructive criticism from a happy calm mind, and be able to take criticism from the same mind. This will transform your ego.