Listening to that voice in our head can be so enticing. But is it ever really helpful or true?
Recently I got a new pair of glasses, then after just one week the left ear piece broke off the frame. I went back to the place where I bought it and spoke to a nice woman that took them from me, said they will fix it free, and will call me when they’re ready to be picked up.
Soon after I dropped off my broken glasses, my egoic mind went to work with negative thoughts such as:
You didn’t get a receipt.
You didn’t even get the woman’s name that took the glasses.
What an idiot you are.
Then for the next several days following, more repetitive negative thoughts:
They’re not going to call.
If you go to them, you have no proof that you gave your glasses to them.
They should have called by now.
She said she’ll fix it there and not send them out. So, how long does it take to fix, damn it.
I like the plastic nosepiece to be silicone because it helps prevent the glasses sliding down my nose. The problem I’ve had in the past, is that they sometimes scratch the glasses when replacing the nosepiece. About six days later, the lady from the eyeglass place called me to let me know the glasses have been fixed and are ready for pickup. Directly after the call, more negative thoughts:
You forgot to tell the lady you wanted the nosepiece changed to silicone.
They will scratch the lens trying to put it on the new nosepiece.
It’s not going to go smoothly when you pick up the glasses now.
When I picked up the glasses, everything went smoothly. They had a note about my silicone preference on my account, and so they replaced the nosepiece before putting the lenses in the frame to prevent accidental scratching.
If I had bought into all those negative thoughts, I would have suffered. Instead, I just let them come and go. I would not allow myself to be hooked by any of them. In the past (before awakening), I probably would have believed those negative thoughts and I would have been miserable for days.
The outcome might not have come out as good as it did, especially if I believed all those negative thoughts. But no matter what happens, all anyone can really do is accept what is because that’s what’s happening in the moment. Denying or rejecting whatever is happening in the moment causes suffering. Believing the egoic mind’s thoughts causes suffering.
Here’s a real experience of when I unfortunately listened to my ego’s thoughts (after awakening). I went grocery shopping and was checking out. I complained to the cashier about how I could not find any employees in the aisles to help me find things. I then began to pack the groceries the cashier had already rung up, but the cashier stopped me and said he would do that. I let them. When I got home and looked at the grocery receipt, there was a small amount that I did not recognize. It said cashew and I don’t remember buying any cashews (thinking salted/unsalted nuts). My egoic mind went a muck with thoughts like:
The cashier snuck in those cashews, made me pay for them, and they took it for themselves.
That’s why the cashier wanted to bag the groceries, so I won’t notice the cashews being taken away.
He probably did that because I complained about employees not being in the aisles to help.
The cashier doesn’t like me.
I believed those annoying thoughts so much, that I even went the next day and asked the assistant manager what that amount on the receipt was for. They couldn’t really tell me because this grocery chain doesn’t print UPC codes on the receipts. I told him that I don’t know what it is either and so he refunded me the amount in cash. I almost told the assistant manager that I thought the cashier that helped me did it on purpose, but I had no proof so I didn’t say anything. I’m glad now that I didn’t.
During the next month or so, other thoughts entered my mind every time I went to the same grocery store (it’s the closest to my house):
If I see that employee again, don’t go in his checkstand.
I better self checkout so I know what I’m paying for.
Don’t get taken advantage of again.
Then after about a month and half of this, I was at an employee checkstand and when they handed me the receipt, I saw the same cashew charge on the receipt. I asked them what this was and at first they didn’t know as we were looking through the bagged grocery items. Then we realized that it was the cashew milk (liquid) that I tend to buy sometimes. Instantly, I realized that all those negative thoughts, judgements, and opinions about this whole incident was untrue. It was my own fault for believing in those thoughts, and I felt bad that I even got my money back on something that I did actually purchase. There was no bad employee, nobody took advantage of me except perhaps by egoic mind. I suffered and tormented myself all that time over this for nothing. It was all made up in my head, not real and false.
It is so easy to get hooked by the egoic mind’s thoughts, because it only takes you believing in one thought and giving it your attention. Someone cuts us off on the road, or cuts in line at the supermarket, or an unkind word is said, and our ego feels hurt, harmed, or taken advantage of. The ego immediately wants to retaliate against the perpetrator for the supposed wrongdoing they did to us.
The thoughts that come up are to entice us into believing them. They’ll seem like the truth and as if they have a special significance to you. In that whole supermarket illusion, the first thought that could have come to mind wasn’t about the cashier possibly making a mistake because I wouldn’t have believed it. Instead my ego elicited a thought that I would possibly put my attention on and believe, and that was about them intentionally sneaking in another item and taking advantage of me (which of course didn’t happen). I’ve been taken advantage of in the past, and that is all about trust issues. It was easy for me to get lost in believing that lie of a thought, and build a whole drama around that assumption of a lie. I’m sure you have experienced something like that.
The ego’s purpose is to keep up the facade that we’re only human, and to have that human experience means believing the thoughts dictate who we are, what to desire, actions to take, and to create drama. The desires, anxiety, and feelings all stem from thoughts (D.A.F.T.) that we think are true and is who we are. The ego creates drama to try and keep us from questioning our thoughts and experiencing the present moment fully. It’s constantly keeping us busy.
What if there’s another way of being? We can simply notice our thoughts as they cross our minds and let them pass without any attachment to them. It becomes easier to do that when we examine our thoughts and realize how untrue they are, and serve no useful purpose. We can accept what has just happened, did happen, and be at peace with that. That we were not hurt in the slightest, and it was just thoughts by the egoic mind that we do not let have power over us.
- If your thoughts and feelings are not who you are, then who are you?
- Since most humans have about the same thoughts, then what makes you who you are?
- When you observe your thoughts without paying them any real attention, who is the observer (and it is not your physical brain since it cannot observe itself)?
Now that we are aware that there’s a choice, between the ego and being present, what will you choose? We can choose again and again to be fully present in the moment than in our heads full of illusionary thoughts.
If we don’t choose, we will suffer because the default operandi for us is to listen and believe the thoughts in our minds which we think make up or identity. When the suffering gets too much, it will then be the catalyst to awaken to the truth of who you really are. Ask yourself how has your life been like so far when you’ve been listening to your egoic mind? If you feel there’s something missing, disconnected, unhappy, irritated, angry, and that there’s more to this life, then why continue down the same path of listening to your egoic mind? You know where that path leads, down the same old trail of misery, pain, and deception. Wouldn’t you want to try a different way or path to see if it makes a better difference in your life? There is a better way. Place your attention on what’s present in each moment (which is real), and not believe the thoughts that run through your mind (which is not real).
No amount of possessions, money, fame, or love we desperately try and obtain from another can satisfy that deep longing or thirst to connect to our true self. The opportunity to connect to our true self is always present in every moment. When we experience our true self, then and only then, will that thirst be fully quenched. Then nothing is needed, nothing missing, we are home.
Ahhh, what a world it would be if everyone could let thoughts go by without giving them attention, be in the moment, and hence experience the profound peace, stillness, love and grace.