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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the path to self-acceptance.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • The ego is the part of you that wants to live.
  • Ego is your identity – everything that makes up you.
  • Ego is the part of you that believes your death is the worst thing that could happen in the universe.
  • Watch your ego as a third party observer that sees what you are doing without judgment.
  • The Watcher – you will know you are in that space because that space carries zero judgment. It just watches.
  • Can you watch the Watcher watch your ego?
  • We don’t have to be attached to our ego.
  • You can occupy your body and mind and not be attached to your ego.
  • Like a hall of mirrors.
  • It is difficult to live there, but interesting to exercise the process of releasing attachment to ego.
  • It isn’t sustainable to distance yourself from the part that wants to live.
  • The hack is to find the times when your ego is flared up and activated fully.
  • You have a much easier time to access your ego at that time because it is fully flared up and you are feeling threatened somehow.
  • See what is happening and put attention to it.
  • Ego flare-up – anytime you get indignant, upset, angry – a powerful emotion that blames something outside of your self or blames yourself.
  • Take a step back. Get present. Breathe. Watch yourself getting indignant.
  • “That guy cut me off! Does that mean I’m not assertive enough?”
  • “Does that make me not masculine enough?”
  • “Will my partner see me as flawed?”
  • Some things may trigger feelings of inadequacy that you already have.
  • Get to a place of curiosity and get out of judgment.
  • Why is this triggering me right now?
  • Watch yourself do whatever you do.
  • No judgment
  • Our ego gets flared up because it sees death as the inevitable result of whatever has triggered it.
  • Ego is an evolutionary emergent that keeps us alive.
  • At one time, we were in hostile territory. We were prey.
  • Nowadays, we don’t have those same threats, but the ego continues its job.
  • Allergies see benign things as a threat.
  • Our bodies feel like they have to be fighting something.
  • So, it sees things that are benign as threatening.
  • “If nobody accepts me, I will die. I will get kicked out of the tribe, and I will die of exposure or predators.”
  • Ego work = calming the ego down and understanding its life is not under threat.
  • Very few people have to fight their way through life anymore.
  • The more your ego believes that life is a game of survival, the more your ego has you in its grip.
  • Use ego as a tool and control it. Stop letting it control you.
  • All of us believe that we are very important and that death is coming for us, eventually.
  • The challenge is not to let that be the guiding force in our lives.
  • Make peace with the understanding that death comes for all of us.
  • Being rooted in the moment – in the present – and not fearing the inevitability of death is a leverage point for calming your ego down.
  • Ego work requires us to face everything that the ego has been trying to avoid.
  • Actively looking at the things that terrify us.
  • Turn toward the anger and sit with it.
  • You are feeling it, so it is your responsibility.
  • It isn’t the fault of whoever triggered you.
  • Shut off the urge to blame outwards and keep it inside.
  • We push the anger out because we don’t think we can handle it.
  • The ego tells us that keeping the anger in may mean death.
  • We have no strategies for handling the anger because we don’t think we can.
  • Keep it inside.
  • Ride the wave.
  • The emotional wave will disperse in about 8 minutes.
  • After the 8 minutes, go into curiosity mode and ask why the response was so intense.
  • Get to a space where you no longer project outwards.
  • Become untriggerable.
  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Hardcover by Ed Catmull
  • Only make rules that apply to everybody
  • You can never have the level of control over your environment to prevent triggering events. So you need to do the inner work to handle it when it comes.
  • The best you can do is to find inside of yourself the things that make you insecure and not allow them to control you.
  • True power is being so rooted in yourself that your ego no longer controls you.
  • The goal is not to eradicate the ego from your life. It has a necessary place.
  • But it shouldn’t own you.
  • The ultimate destination in ego work isn’t transcendence. It is complete and total self-acceptance.
  • Acceptance of all those parts of you and loving yourself in spite of them.

 In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the path to self-acceptance. #podcast #egotranscendence #egowork #selfacceptance

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  • O
    • O
    • December 23, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Hey Megan! Yes, I think that’s definitely a useful exercise. To me, it’s about the intensity of the effect on your ego, more so than the “goodness” or “badness” of the emotion.

    Joel and Antonia talked about when your ego flares up and your emotions hit a 10 because you’re feeling angry or upset, but I think the same holds true when you’re overwhelmed by a positive emotion. For example, further down on this page, I noticed that a person named Jodi left a comment that said, “I know that I have a tendency to be drawn to people and overwhelm them.” Or, it can be something as simple as getting so enthusiastic in a conversation that I start to cut people off and interrupt. Or feeling so good about all of the attention that I’m getting in a group conversation that I start to brag. I get so caught up in the joy or enthusiasm that I’m feeling in the moment that I end up acting in ways that I’ll later regret. (And then there’s another level of awkward, because when that social feedback finally does break through and I realize that I’m being overbearing or rude, I get hit with another massive wave of emotion – this time embarrassment.)

    I think that situations like these ones are a great time to try Joel and Antonia’s exercise of sitting with your emotions and stepping back from yourself.

  • O
    • O
    • December 23, 2017 at 3:33 am

    ‘- I love that you started the podcast off with the story about your kids fighting in the back of the car. It brought back memories of staging all-out violent, emotional, vicious kicking wars with my brother, probably driving my mother crazy. It’s something so visceral that was easy to resonate with.

    - I practice zen meditation, which is all about getting into the watcher’s POV and observing the ego without judgement: exactly as you said. And then taking another step back and watching the watcher, and so forth. It was actually quite exciting to hear you talk about this, because I’ve only ever heard my meditation teacher discuss these concepts and I haven’t seen them come up much elsewhere. It was helpful to hear this information from a different perspective. Like you said, it can be hard to get to that space at first, even with instruction, because it’s not a muscle that (most of us) are used to exercising with intent. I’m lucky because I came into my meditation practice with some natural ability to step back from myself, sort of, but I still feel like I’m stumbling in the dark and partly succeeding by accident. I’m glad to hear that you’re planning on doing more episodes about ego work. I’d love to hear more of what you have to say on this subject.

    - I’m definitely going to watch for when my ego flares up and I get upset or angry with someone, and use that as an opportunity to try to glean some insight into myself. Getting out of judgement and into a place of curiosity sounds difficult! Antonia, thank you for saying that it is so intolerably hard at first that it feels like your body is burning. (It helps to know that the wave generally subsides in 8-10 minutes. I’ve never put a timer on it before.) I feel like people don’t acknowledge how hard it is to sit with intense emotions, and the literal physical pain that they can cause. This resonated with me so hard, right down to the notion that the intensity is rooted in things that I’ve been avoiding thinking about. It did actually make a difference to take a moment to acknowledge that this is so difficult, but it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try.

    - It also helped to hear you talk about how that translates into how we perceive other people and their intentions. This one’s a bit easier for me. When someone explodes at me, instead of thinking that they are terrible people, I try to step back, be curious, and silently ask, “What happened to you in your past that you’re like this now?”

    - It was a great motivator to hear that people who do work on themselves in this area tend to have a certain magnetism to them; people want to be them. I’m not going to lie. I totally want that for myself. It was nice that you ended the podcast on a positive note.

    Thanks again for a very strong episode. I definitely encourage you to keep exploring this area in future podcasts.

  • Tori
    • Tori
    • December 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    First, I would like to say thank you guys for your beautiful work, that is made easily available to the public. I am a 23-year-old ENTJ educator and freelance musician. I teach a middle school student population, some with severe trauma. I am married to a brilliant and kind ENFP, who also suffers from severe PTSD. I have been listening to your podcasts since this summer, and they have significantly helped me develop the strength within myself to live up to my career and marriage.

    My question is, would you say that the ‘ego’ and the ‘watcher’ fit somehow related to the car model? My ego flare-ups are usually self-directed. At times, it feels like negative, egotistical thoughts appear too fast for me to combat. They usually have a theme of not living up to others expectations, being unclear about what I want in this world, or not living my life to its fullest potential. Other times, I am able to view my work, life, and relationship with satisfaction, with a deeper understanding of myself.

    During my ‘watcher’ moments I realize that my ego flare-ups were unproductive, self-deprecating thinking. However, as you discussed, our evolutionary need to survive can be blinding of the realities of our modernized world. I notice that my ego is out of control when I am in question of my authenticity, in my case my 3-year-old function. Do our ego-attacks show themselves in the form of our 3-year-old function? For example, I notice that my wife, an ENFP, is most triggered when reminded of traumatic memories, which could just as well be a symptom of her PTSD. This somehow also connects back to her other functions, especially her Authenticity co-pilot, and truly affects the way her mental functions until she finds herself back in that calm state.

    Perhaps I am reading too hard into the models, but I am looking for some new patterns to learn to gain control and bring myself out of my triggered moments. For me, it is very difficult to regain my perspective when in the middle of an ego-attack. When I do try to work on my 3-year-old process from a calm state of mind, it often just induces more anxiety. At these times, is there anything my other functions can do to rebalance myself? Or do the ego and watcher states encompass all functions?

  • Megan
    • Megan
    • November 11, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Good podcast as usual! My own ego triggers seem to be pretty obvious once I knew what to look for (doing it IN THE MOMENT and finding the reasons behind still need some work…) But I would be curious about what insights could be gained from noticing the moments when the ego is being fed/boosted too…. Do you think this could be a valuable exercise?

  • Michael Puett
    • Michael Puett
    • November 8, 2017 at 1:40 am

    Dear Joel ,

    Maybe you should read the book “ ego is the enemy “ before you let your ego get triggered and shiver at the thought that it is the enemy :)

    After reading “ spiritual warfare by Jed McKenna” I’d argue on the side of ego being enemy ( if your goal is “ seeing what really is “ in the world ) . If your goal is leaving a legacy then you’re right , ego isn’t the enemy . ( so I’d invite you to read spiritual warfare )

    Love to both you and Antonia ,

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