We may get upset when something bad happens or when someone says or does something that offends us. In such cases, we may tell ourselves that, if this or that hadn’t happened, we would be happy. We may try to control events or we may hide away in isolation—always trying to fight against or to avoid that which we don’t like.
In truth, there is only one reason we are ever upset: total identification with the mind and belief in its stories. This is the ego, and there is a severe price to be paid if we choose not to transcend ego. Each time the ego feels threatened, we are overtaken by a strong, negative force. This is what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body—what might more commonly be called getting mad.
We get mad, we vent, we act out, we say things we don’t mean. Everyone gets hurt and there’s really no point. Eventually, we apologize for going crazy and then we try to clean up the mess we made. But a few days pass and it happens all over again. We don’t know what came over us. Ego did.
On those few occasions when things go well, the ego gets a boost of pride and we can finally smile. But for every up, there is then a down—those days when getting out of bed seems like the biggest chore. All the while, there is this constant worry about the future and regret about the past. This is the normal state of human suffering—a state which is entirely avoidable forever if we only place our faith in love, in the present moment, in life itself, in the eternal oneness of consciousness.
The ego is mad, and you know it because it has always been wrong about everything. Have its strategies ever brought lasting happiness? What reason is there to believe that tomorrow will be any different? We continue not in ego, but in love, tomorrow and each day after that.