Meditation and a busted ego


Meditation can look all peaceful, beautiful, and serene from the outside. For me it is more like handing my broken being over to God, again.

Life, or my life anyway, has a way of chewing me up and spitting me out sometimes. The Life steamroller flattens me. (You can substitute your own favorite metaphors here, like hammer, jackhammer, etc.) The sucker gets me with an unexpected gut punch.

Right then I do not need to be told I am a nice guy, or sweet, or good. Right then I need to remember I am not special. Everybody gets the gut punch, and way more often than we want. Life specializes in such sucker punches, and too many of them come as great tragedy.

When the sucker punch busts my ego, I need to know I belong with the rest of the wounded warriors who face what we face each day. And I need to remember we are all in the care of God, no matter what has happened.

Meditation is more like falling down into that discovery again this day.

In the final day of an amazing writer’s workshop I learned that my first publisher was a kind of “vanity house,” a place that publishes books for people who will pay good money just to get our work published. I had believed otherwise, and now I know. Sucker punch to the gut. Busted ego, again.

So right now, while the sting is fresh, this little wound must be brought into God’s good care. Right now it is time to sit in meditation, to bring this busted ego into the center of being. I must sit alongside brokenhearted people: my friend whose eight month-old granddaughter died today, and my friend whose wife died from cancer this month, and my friend whose son’s addiction threatens his life every single day. Our broken hearts belong together.

Today I will sit beside wounded souls who attempted suicide, or lost a child to suicide, or whose son went to prison. I will sit with the lonely friends, and the street friends, and the ones for whom life is just getting better this day. They might be sitting in other places, but my sitting is with them all. My busted ego belongs with these friends. For we are all in God’s good care, and needing to remember this today.

Meditation is for a busted ego, and a broken heart, and a wounded soul. Which means meditation is for us all. Meditation might look all peaceful from the outside. But do not be fooled. On the inside we are handing our broken beings over to God, again.

[If this little story would help a friend, pass it along. It is free].


About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through; and of a blog on, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (, adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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2 Responses to Meditation and a busted ego

  1. Suzanne Gould says:

    Great post William! I have a friend who reminds me that if we could choose our problems from a large pot of all the problems the people we know have, we would usually choose to keep our own problems. We recently found out that Tommy has a kidney stone that is an inch in diameter. He will have surgery to remove it on September 25th. I’m concerned about it, but know it could have been so much worst (thinking about you and Carol). I wish in a way that we learned as children that life is full of these gut punches, it seems like in our case it is the norm. You are such a talented writer, you deserve to be published no matter how it came to pass. God continues to test us, and maybe that’s just what life is. I don’t pretend to know the answer. I do know that from a distance, it certainly appears that you are doing the work of helping the homeless and helpless and that is what God wants us to do. You and Carol continue to amaze me. Xo Suzanne

    • soulcare4u says:

      Thanks so much Suzanne, sending prayers now for Tommy and you. I have heard the pain of such stones is the worst: like a knife slicing into us. May the relief come quickly. See you soon.

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