Your ego-awareness with its underlying sense of dissatisfaction has developed over your lifetime aided unconsciously by input from parents, siblings, relations, peers, teachers, colleagues and everything that life throws at you. It’s been a lifetime habit and it isn’t going to go away with one wave of a magic wand. To try to overcome the ego with will power is to try to overcome the ego with the ego. That’s like having a one-armed wrestling match—against yourself!
The solution is something that your ego-self is probably not at all comfortable with: Silence. This is a great mystery. To overcome the powerful influence of your ego—to bring it to rest—you must do nothing, and by ‘nothing’ I mean exactly that. Have no expectations, no plans, make no effort to achieve a particular state of consciousness, hold no beliefs. Simply find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Sit upright with an open body position, legs uncrossed (unless you are on a cushion on the floor); arms unfolded, hands resting in your lap. Simply be comfortable. Don’t assume a particular posture with the idea that it is necessarily ‘spiritual’. Then simply be aware of your breath. Allow your mind to let go of any thoughts that pervade it and turn your awareness on how you feel in the environment you are in. Just notice without comment. I call it ‘knowticing’. Thought will keep trying to take over your mind and when this happens just turn your attention back on to your breath.
The Tao Te Ching says that the mind is like a muddy pool, which if left still for long enough will become clear. The mud sinks to the bottom. We do not become still by trying hard, we become still by doing nothing. If you can be open enough and silent enough and still enough for long enough something wonderful happens. Your ego-self, who you have always thought you are, becomes still and you sense-feel a presence that is at peace with itself and with everything else. This is the True Self that seems to be the very source of your being. Once you become acquainted with this Self, and know how to find it, you begin to recognise it in others. Then you know that this is not your True Self but the True Self of all and everything. In my Christian days I would have called it Christ. If I was a Buddhist I’d probably call it the Buddha-self. If I was a Taoist it would be The Tao. If I was a Hindu it might be the Atman, if a Sufi, The Beloved or The Friend. As I am none of these, I call it ‘Enabling Love.’
Adapted from ‘The God I Left Behind Me’, by Brian Holley
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