The last time you got off the chair, do you know why you did it? Did a thought precede you getting up off the chair? Did you get a thought directing you to do something which required you to get up off the chair right there and then? Did you really need to act on that thought?
We rarely question our thoughts and the motivation behind them. They come into our mind and we take them on face value (mostly because we think that’s who we are). But do we need to? Do our thoughts really have our best interest in mind? Why do we get a thought stating to act that is obvious or unnecessary, like brush your teeth or hair now? Having the thought is not needed, we were about to do that anyway or to put it in a different way, we can do that without needing the thought first.
Look slowly around the room where you are now and try not to have any thoughts about the things you’re seeing. Take in everything you see and hear without labeling or judging it. Use all your senses to simply be present with what’s around you. Be neutral like a camera lens which doesn’t judge anything it sees. Do this for a minute or more, then come back and continue reading at the next paragraph.
As you were looking around the room, did you have any thoughts about what you were seeing? Did a thought come in mind labeling things, like I’m looking at a mug? Or judging something, like that mug is really dirty and needs to be cleaned out? Maybe a question formed instead, like I wonder how they made that object? Or why did they name that XYZ? Did you even notice you had these types of thoughts? That’s our egoic mind.
The egoic mind is our conditioning, beliefs, and acts like a filter in our brain sometimes stopping us from experiencing the truth of the moment. It thinks it knows what is best for us but it creates problems, and then attempts to form solutions to the problems that it created in the first place. For instance, let’s say that I have a decent job but my ego tells me that I don’t have a nice car and I need one to especially attract women. My ego states in order to afford a nice car, first I need to get a better paying job. Once I get the better paying job and bought the nice car, now I’m supposed to be able to attract women with the car. But my ego states that women like security, so I should buy a house. And on, and on, the ego goes. The ego is the catalyst of thoughts, feelings, desires, anxiety, problems and actions that I should do all in the disguise that it will make me happy. The happiness never lasts and feels void of any real sustenance.
Thoughts that are believed can trigger various feelings in us, may cause stress, anxiety, and give rise to all forms of desires. Thoughts left unexamined or unnoticed tend to be believed and can cause much suffering.
I want to share that our thoughts, feelings, desires, and any anxiety that arise do not reflect who we truly are. Yes it’s hard to believe, but that’s the truth that the ego is distracting us from finding out. Thoughts do not have to be believed or acted upon. Feelings can be felt without anything more, like being acted upon. Same with desires. Then hopefully that gives way to peace and freedom from any anxiety.
I’ll share a true experience I had after I awakened. At my job there is a security surveillance camera showing the front door entrance. I was viewing it from my desk and saw a young woman squatting down right in front of our door on the side walk. She was smoking a crack pipe. I noticed thoughts rising. They were thoughts like, “how dare she smoke that stuff here”, “go and make her move somewhere else”, “she doesn’t deserve sympathy”. As I observed these thoughts, they seemed to trigger feelings of anger. Along with all this a desire to act and go tell her off and make her move away. The more I simply observed and experienced what was going on with me, the strong the anger and desire to act became. But I did not act, mostly because it didn’t feel good. For the first time in my life, I just stayed being aware of my thoughts and feelings in my body without feeling the need to act (despite the strong pull to do so). Before I could warn the employee that was leaving the office that there was someone on the other side of the door, she had already flung the door open. The young girl’s body went flying forward as the front door hit her. The girl wasn’t hurt. The harsh feelings and thoughts stopped. As I continued to be in the moment with what’s going on with me, my true essence emerged with clarity. The reason I was angry at the girl was because I was concerned with her safety. I did not want her to get hurt by the door. Then I wrote and printed a warning sign and taped it to the front door so it wouldn’t happen again to anyone. That felt like the correct course of action.
That was my first experience of realizing that I did not have to act just because I had a thought, strong feelings and desires. What a concept. If I had listened to my ego, went and shouted at the girl and made her leave, I know that I would not have felt good afterward. The girl would have been made to feel like she’s worth nothing, and I know that I never feel good after hurting another. Our essence is always concerned with the highest good for all. The truth was that I was concerned for the girl’s welfare, yet the way my egoic mind skewed the circumstances to be something completely different was interesting and enlightening. Well, you could say not completely different. The ego would have had me remove the girl (for her own safety) in an unpleasant way, and my essence wanted to warn her and others not to stand by the door. The way the two go about achieving the same thing was like day and night. One way will make you feel good and the other, not so much.
Some time later I was given the following analogy. Imagine that you are standing on a train station platform. As the trains, representing thoughts, go by simply watch them come and go. When you board the train, representing you’re following a train of thought, it could take you on a long fantasy adventure. That adventure is all in your head and for the most part is not real. As you sit there aboard the train completely mesmerised by the adventure, your trance is suddenly interrupted by the sun, representing your essence, shining through the window and gleaming into your eye. That is enough to wake you up. You then realize you’re on the train and you got to get off. You can get off at the next station or jump off. If you stay on the train, it may have unpleasant or dire consequences, like the bridge tracks up ahead aren’t finished. This represents that the thought might make you feel unhappy, or act out something that would not be in your best interest. When you stay on the station platform and become aware of the trains going by, sometimes they may have signs on the side of the train cars. These signs may tell you what that thought was all about, but you can’t read the signs if you’re on the train (lost in thoughts).
Why do we get hooked by a thought or makes us follow a thought? It is because we believe it. I cannot stress this point enough, we get lost in thoughts because we believe there’s some truth to them. With the incident of the girl at work, I was able to stay on the station platform and not ride the train. I was able to watch the trains/thoughts go by. In so doing, I was in the right framework or position to read one of the signs on the train car which revealed it was all about the girls safety. The easiest way is not to get on board the train so that I don’t have to derail my train of thought. If I had bought into that thought and rode the train to the end of the line, my action and outcome would have probably been very unpleasant.
Once we awaken or have the experience of who we truly are, then that solidifies our foundation moving forward. We finally see the ego for what it is. It’s kind of like discovering how a magic trick works. Once we know how the trick works, it’s not as exciting or entertaining any longer, and it simply doesn’t grab our attention or interest as much. It’s the same way with the ego. We now know how the ego’s tricks work and we can’t be fooled any more. The ego may still occasionally grab our attention, but this doesn’t last long. The jig is up! We cannot undo knowing how the magic trick is done. We cannot undo experiencing who we truly are.
Desires that arise coming from the ego never really keep us happy or fulfilled for very long. They tend to feel like commands, have a sense of urgency, and with personal gratification as the goal. Desires that are aligned with our true self have a sense of passion, a deep longing to do something meaningful and it’s usually to help others in some capacity.
That’s why Desires, Anxiety, Feelings, and Thoughts are daft. They’re not real. An illusion. They don’t even get close to reflecting who we truly are!
One way of being more connected so to speak to our true self is utilizing our senses to keep us being in the moment. Be aware of what’s here in this moment by using our sight, hearing, smell, taste, and feelings on our skin and in our body. But in an easy and gentle way. Focusing on these real things will hopefully get us out of our head. Being in our thoughts is not real and takes us out of being in the moment of what’s real. And being in the moment is everything. In this moment is where we’ll find peace, love, and joy.
What is real is subjective. In truth, we cannot ever be disconnected from our true self, essence, or awareness. We cannot really be in the moment, because we are the moment, the now. We are everything and nothing (a paradox). When we have a direct experience of who we truly are, it takes us far beyond faith and belief concepts to knowing.