Four Zen meditation students who were friends decided to spend seven days together, promising to observe complete silence.
Everything went well during the first day, and their meditation was deep, but as night came along and the oil lamps were getting dim, one of them couldn’t help exclaiming to a servant, “Fix those lamps!”
Surprised to hear his friend, a second young man remarked, “We are not supposed to talk!”
To this, a third student added, “You two are stupid. Why are you talking?”
Finally, the fourth one concluded, “You guys have failed. I am the only one who hasn’t talked.”
The ego-mind is continuously active as an ongoing flow of thoughts and desires, and it has a mobile, shape-shifting quality that keeps it in control of your perception. Whenever you think you’ve mastered some aspect of it, another one shows up, cleverly disguised as something seemingly unrelated, like the tempting tentacle of an invisible octopus ready to hook you again.
You cannot conquer the ego-mind with the ego-mind; it will keep you spinning in outdated mental-emotional patterns while creating the illusion that you’re moving somewhere. It has access to all your mental files, so as long as it knows you better than yourself, it will control your behavior, pushing unconscious impulses and dramas to deter you from looking within.
There’s simply no way to stop the flow of thoughts and desires if your attention is always directed outwards. Yes, I know you have to tend to things and people in the world, but if you want to develop emotional and spiritual freedom, at least part of your mind needs to remain inwardly directed.
Ego Dissolves In Self-Awareness
Life is a play or dream of Divine Consciousness that the ego is relentlessly trying to hijack. But your real advantage over it is self-awareness. When you understand that the purpose of life is to turn it into a journey of self-discovery to reclaim your divine nature, you stop identifying with the outside world and instead perceive it as a reflection of you: where you’re at and what you need to heal.
It shows you what you’ve accomplished in terms of spiritual growth and what you still need to develop, nurture, and let go of. Spiritual development can be measured by the degree of inner silence and peace you experience, as opposed to your attachment to pain in any form: dissatisfaction (desire), fear, stress, anger, guilt, or any unresolved emotion you identify with.
Inner silence is the space through which Consciousness flows, but quieting the mind is not easy; sensory perception is constantly pulling your attention outwards, to all sorts of things, situations, and people, thus stimulating the ego-mind and creating an endless loop of entrapment.
Here are three essential tools to help you dissolve ego by redirecting the mind inwards:
- Establish a daily silent meditation practice, even if just for 20 minutes. No matter how many distractions the ego-mind throws at you, stay committed and persistent; in time your effort will pay off tenfold. (see 3 Reasons Why Daily Meditation Is Essential.)
- Bring your awareness to your heart, to stay present in whatever you’re doing. Whenever you catch yourself wandering off, either mentally or emotionally, just bring yourself back to your heart center and consciously tend to your endeavor. (see How To Live Your Life With Presence.)
- Develop detachment by learning to step back from your own life-movie, to avoid identifying with what other people say or do. In other words, learn to act but don’t react to life. (see The Liberating Practice of Moving Into Stillness.)
These are basic steps toward emotional and spiritual freedom, but it’s easy to forget them and get sidetracked without guidance and support. So contact me today to start looking within and master your emotional terrain, to release everything you are not and discover who you really are!
© 2020 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.