Thanksgiving was celebrated here in the US last month, and now Christmas is coming, both of which are times when family and friends gather to enjoy food and activities together. What most people don’t know is that it’s also a great opportunity to recognize outdated patterns of perception.
For one, family is like the gas station for your sense of otherness, since it gets quickly energized with old, familiar dynamics. Also, any group setting triggers similar group dynamics as the ones you experienced growing up. Whether it’s a group of only two, or more, your sense of otherness kicks in to get in the way of your individuation and emotional freedom.
Sometimes it’s obvious, as when you get into an argument, but it can also be very subtle, when triggered by sudden changes or unexpected situations that arouse intense emotions seemingly from out of nowhere, to disconnect you from yourself, from your goals, and from the present.
In my upcoming book I explain in much more detail what the sense of otherness is about, how it operates in your life, and how to diminish it to master your ego (so stay tuned!), but for now let me describe it simply as the aspect of the ego-mind that keeps you emotionally stuck in the past, like an invisible coat you’re unaware of wearing that is weaved with unconscious, codependent patterns of perception and behavior.
Since these patterns were established in relation to others, you tend to unconsciously assume the roles you did as a child, to avoid unpleasant emotions. In reality, these patterns arise from deeply ingrained seeds of perception beyond the conditioning of childhood, so even if you’ve done psychological work, these tendencies make you feel “safe,” especially in stressful situations—until, of course, you stop investing in them.
These are outdated patterns you’re here to heal, to be able to live in the present, so by perceiving your egoic sense of otherness in your reality, you can recognize and put them to sleep. Your life-movie reflects it day in and day out in your interactions and the events around you, but it’s easier to see them in the people you “internalized” while your ego was forming—parents, siblings, close relatives, etc.
Others Simply Reflect Your Sense of Otherness
Clearly, without self-awareness, you just get tangled up in old dynamics fueled by feelings of resentment, smallness, or self-pity. Let me give some guidelines to start recognizing and diminishing them:
- Ask yourself throughout the day, “Where is my attention?” “Is it on others, is it on me in relation to others, or is it anchored in myself?”
- If you’re fixated on others, either admiring, judging, or identifying with their behavior, mentally step back to bring your awareness back to your center.
- If you’re fixated on yourself in relation to others, feeling self-conscious, defensive, or insecure, question why you’re giving your power away and regain your center.
- Focus on your breathing for a few seconds, turning it slow and deep, to re-center by being anchored in the present moment.
- Always keep at least some of your attention with yourself, as you interact in the world, by checking in: “What do I feel?” “What do I want?”
- Make sure your attention doesn’t go back to fixating on others as you observe your emotions and thoughts.
- Explore how many times these or similar feelings and thoughts have come to your mind before. If you see their repetitiousness, you can recognize them as patterns of past energy coloring your perception.
- Detach from the impulse to react in the usual way. Restraining the ego-mind is how you starve your negative patterns of energy until they gradually go to sleep.
In other words, you stop believing your mind, with its familiar fluctuations and patterns, and see it for what it is: a collection of thoughts only you have the power to believe or dismiss. But you have to remain self-aware, because your sense of otherness is relentless at disconnecting you from yourself—by fixating on others.
You can take this even further by remembering that everything in your life-movie is really about you, and discerning the true meaning behind the situations in your reality, at any given time. But you need guidance to learn to do this, since the ego-mind is a trickster with access to all your mental files, so contact me today to get started on your journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom!
© 2021 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.