“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is.” – Eckhart Tolle
Synchronicity strikes again! Only two days after my Abstaining from Complaining weekend challenge, what shows up in the book I am reading? An entire chapter focused on how complaining feeds the Ego. I was blown away by the timing!
My husband and I are reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. What Tolle has to say about complaining definitely corresponds to how I have experienced it in my life, both in myself and from observing others. Ultimately, it was VERY hard to go a full weekend without complaining. I did not succeed, but at least I was aware each time the urge to complain about something arose. It was incredible how often I grumble about things, and I’m supposedly one of the most positive person people know!
Yesterday, I could not find the words to say to describe my weekend of “no” complaining. It was trying, but definitely a worthwhile endeavor. I felt disappointed that I had failed, but after reading from A New Earth today I felt so much better. I am learning and that’s all that really matters!
One way to think about ego is as a protective heavy shell, such as the kind some animals have, like a big beetle. This protective shell works like armor to cut you off from other people and the outside world. What I mean by shell is a sense of separation: Here’s me and there’s the rest of the universe and other people. The ego likes to emphasize the “otherness” of others.
This sense of separation is an intrinsic part of the ego. The ego loves to strengthen itself by complaining—either in thoughts or words—about other people, the situation you find yourself in, something that is happening right now but “shouldn’t be,” and even about yourself. For example, when you’re in a long line at the supermarket, your mind might start complaining how slow the checkout person is, how he should be doing this or doing that, or he failed to do anything at all—including packing the bag of the person ahead of you correctly.
When this happens, the ego has you in its grip. You don’t have thoughts; the thoughts have you—and if you want to be free, you have to understand that the voice in your head has created them and irritation and upset you feel is the emotional response to that voice Only in this way can you be present to the truer world around you and see the golden shade in a pound of pears on the scanner, or the delight of a child in line who begs to eat them.The trick, of course, is to work to free ourselves from this armor and from this voice that is dictating reality. – Eckhart Tolle
If you want to learn more about how to stop feeding the Ego with complaining take a look at Oprah’s Companion Guide to A New Earth (this link shows most of the text from Chapter 3). Both of these resources are helpful in learning to eliminate the negative behaviors of complaining, fault-finding, and harboring resentment.
I also recommend getting a copy of Tolle’s book. It was given to me by a stranger on a train a few years ago and sadly I am just now reading it, but it is already blowing my mind and I’m only chapter 3! I am so grateful that my wonderful husband agreed to read it with me. Having someone to discuss things with is so helpful!
If any of my lovely readers would like to discuss the book with me, please reach out in the comments section!
Namaste Lovely People,