Stepping out of Ego
June 9th 2017
How can we catch ourselves when we get caught up in the messy thinking of our ego? This week I share one small tip on how I've begun practicing this. My saving grace - a ball of wool!
This week’s blog topic is all about the ego. And it’s coming off the back of a retreat I’ve been raving about for the last two weeks, the Eckhart Tolle retreat that I went to, a couple of weeks in the Sunshine Coast.
One beautiful thing that happens when you’re in a room full of people that are focusing on one particular topic is that yes, at one level you get information, you get knowledge. That’s great. You can get that from a book. But the second thing that happens is transformation, so it’s when that knowledge actually gets put into practice in your life.
I wanted to share one thing that came out of that whole experience that’s really helped me move out of my ego, catch it, watch it, move out of it, and then step into the dimension that’s beyond the mind. So I’ve got some props today. So I’ve got a ball of wool. This is what happens in my mind. I have to visualise things, so this might help with people that visualise.
When I look at this ball of wool, what it reminds me of is my mind. It reminds me that the mind is full of these layers and layers of thinking patterns, of emotions, of memories, beliefs, attitudes, everything that’s accumulated from the past is all contained in this thing here. So some patterns are beautiful and harmonious and others are a tangled mess, but it is what it is. So telling the mind not to think is like telling your heart not to beat. The mind thinks, that’s what it does. Sometimes it thinks great thoughts, sometimes it thinks very disempowering thoughts.
A tell-tale sign that you’re caught inside the mind patterns are the sense of wanting to be right, wanting to defend, wanting to own… ownership, attachment, feeling superior or inferior to other people, which means you either put yourself in the gutter or you put yourself on a pedestal, but it all comes from identifying with the thoughts that are running through the mind. Most of our thoughts are recycled. They’re from the past and they’re on repeat. So the mind is what it is. It thinks.
Our ego is the identification with the mind. So when we’re inside this ball of wool thinking these thoughts, feeling these feelings, our personality, all the different facets that make us us, it’s all just memories coming from the mind. It’s just old stuff churning. And when you identify with it as who you are, that creates the ego. The ego is the false self. It’s not who you truly are.
So, ball of wool and glass bowl. This glass bowl… Sorry about the light. Hopefully it’s coming up okay on the video. So you place the ball of wool into the glass bowl. This glass bowl, just imagine it’s completely contained, so there’s a lid. This glass bowl, everything inside it represents your inner space, your inner world, everything that’s going on on the inside. So the ball of wool is the mind. It has its space inside your inner world, but it’s not everything that you are. It’s not who you truly are. You are the space around the ball of wool.
So guys, this is actually what goes on in my mind. I imagine this and it helps me step out of the ego. So anytime I’m frustrated or upset or angry or getting caught up into mind patterns, and I suddenly become aware of it, it’s… the awareness is that I am inside this ball of wool trying to find peace and trying to find solutions, whereas if I just stepped out of the ball of wool and into the air, into the space around it, that is where the inner peace lies. It’s not with the thinking patterns and the distortions that we have going on inside our mind. It is actually in the space, the dimension that exists inside us beyond our mind.
The glass bowl represents your… I guess body or your physical being. Inside it, the air inside, everything inside is the inner space, the inner landscape. The ball of wool is your mind. It is what it is. It thinks. The mind thinks. That’s what it does. It can’t stop thinking. But what you can do is you can stop identifying with those thoughts as you. So when you step out of it and you can see the ball of wool from the space around, you can experience a taste of spaciousness… Think about the air. It’s spaciousness. It’s consciousness. To the Buddhists it’s nothingness. To the Hindus it’s everything. It’s the energy that really resides inside yourself that is beyond your thinking, beyond your mind identification.
When that happens you actually connect into the present moment and you can really sense the fullness of your being. When you’re inside the ball of wool, you feel quite constricted, you feel separate from the whole, you feel entangled, you feel like there’s a lot of work to do. I’ve got to do so much work to sort out my mind patterns and to untangle everything. But as soon as you breathe out of it and step into the space around that ball of wool, you can just observe the mind as it is. It’s just thinking, these are just thought patterns, and then there’s no resistance to it. There’s no resistance to what you’re thinking… I shouldn’t have thought that. I should be thinking more loving thoughts. There’s that pattern again.
All that thinking comes from inside the ball of wool. But to shortcut yourself to inner peace, to stillness, to peace of mind, to bliss even, is to recognise that that is just the thought processes of the mind. It is what it is. As soon as you untangle a story or a thought pattern and let it go through whatever means you wish to, the nature of the mind is then to look for another story to identify with. It’s like a never-ending game.
You can’t get to fullness from inside the mind. You can get tastes of it, glimpses of it, but the experience of it is really when you step outside that ball of wool, step out of the mind and into the spaciousness around it.
That little analogy is what helps me catch my ego and observe it because then it’s got a visual component in my brain. That’s how it works. So I’ve got this visual component of the wool, of the bowl, of ah… that stepping outside of that wool. That’s what that feels like, that limitlessness, the ‘I am beyond the body and the mind, I am pure energy and spirit, I am the witness of the thoughts’. It really helps. Practise that.
I hope you found that useful. It certainly has been for me. This practice has become my daily practice. It’s something that I’m really putting energy into to step outside of that identification with the mind. The way I see humanity going as I see each individual moving through their transformation is we’re moving from being caught up in a self-deprecating mind, that is our worst enemy, and that’s what Three Cups Full does, it helps you move out of that into a self-appreciating mind where you appreciate yourself and love yourself and treasure yourself and allow yourself to grow and expand and try new things. So the mind becomes your friend. That’s what Three Cups Full is all about.
And then the next pull that our soul is asking us to move into is living in the space that is beyond the mind, living inside the fullness of our being, our consciousness, the witness of the mind, to be in that space all the time. So those are the three progressions, from self-deprecating to self-appreciating to living beyond the self, living beyond the mind.
This little ball of wool is helping me do that.