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Ego management: Trying to control the future April 2, 2012

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Ego Management.
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Ego management or controlling our thinking is often difficult when it comes to the past and the future; and probably, controlling our ego in thinking about the future is the toughest.

The future, at least to the ego and our mind, is often filled with “what if’s” and “if only I could…” or less tentatively,  we engage in writing, saying aloud,  or thinking affirmations and make other efforts involving the Law of Attraction which usually are focused on specific outcomes that we desire for the future.

However, there is a big difference on thinking about the future positively, or planning our lives to influence a future with positive possibilities, compared with an attempt by the ego to think that we can actually control the future. We can try but such efforts will more than likely result in disappointment, and possibly psychic harm.

There is an interesting passage in the Tao Te Ching that illustrates this in a few words: “Trying to control the future Is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place. When you handle the master carpenter’s tools, Chances are you’ll hurt your hand.” *

I am not presenting this passage from the Tao from a religious perspective or saying that there is a grand deity controlling our lives and Rather, I am suggesting that if we give in to the ego’s desire to try to over-manage the future we are bound to become frustrated.

There are simply too many variables in the universe in terms of influences and events that can have an effect on our future to think that we can control the future. To appease the ego in its desire to control the future is to give in to delusion.

Planning, goal setting, efforts towards a positive approach to life, and other components of a personal development program, however, are ways to exert influence over our own future without allowing the ego to over-manage our thinking as to what we can realistically control in the future.

To paraphrase a familiar prayer, we need to develop acceptance of the things we cannot change; develop courage to change the things we can; and also develop the wisdom to know the difference between these two sets of circumstances.

* The Tao Te Ching, as interpreted/translated by Stephen Mitchell, published by HarperPerennial, A division of HarperCollins Publishers.

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