Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Get Over Yourself

Get over yourself is about not letting your ego hijack whatever you’re doing, whether that’s mind training and meditation, or writing. It helps to get your ego out of the way and remember who you really are.

The original lojong slogan is: All dharma agrees at one point, which means that all spiritual practices and teachings are ultimately about the same thing: to let go of your ego.

The ego is the main obstacle on the spiritual path, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It’s important to develop a healthy ego and sense of self as you grow up because you need to be able to relate to the world as an individual. The problems start when you hold on to your ego too tightly.

The ego isn’t necessarily a ‘bad guy’, but it does tend to take control because it’s fundamentally insecure. The ego is a defensive structure made of the stories you tell yourself about who you think you are. You want to feel safe and secure in a changing and unpredictable world, so you build a kind of Ego Fort and hide behind the walls of your fear and doubt.

But the more attached you are to your ego and its stories, the harder it is to deal with reality when things ‘go wrong.’ There’s only one way around this problem and that’s to get over yourself. The world doesn’t revolve around you!

Apply this slogan to your writing practice by getting out of your own way and letting the story write itself. When you cling too fiercely to the stories you tell about yourself, it blocks your ability to hear the quieter voice of your true Self, but that’s where your writing voice comes from.

The ego’s voice is usually the loudest. It shouts to get your attention and to make sure you do what’s necessary to make it feel safe. But if every time you sit down to write all you can hear are the voices of doubt going round and round inside your head, you’ll be lucky to write anything at all.

Doubt your doubts. You won’t know whether you can write, or not, if you don’t actually try to write.

So get over yourself and write anyway.

Your writing prompt this weekend: What does your Ego Fort look like. Draw a picture in your slogan journal.

More in the book: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers

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