By now we all should have practiced the technique of stepping back and becoming the casual observer of our own thoughts. You may have never considered asking this about yourself. Who is doing the thinking?
If you are able to do this, even for a short time then you are ready to read on.
Last month I stated that the person who is sitting back and watching the thought process is the real you. We can now ask two questions –
1. Who are you?
2. Who is doing all the thinking?
You are a soul, experiencing certain aspects of creation through a physical body. The real you is eternal, the real you is the hidden spiritual side, the voice of wisdom that you sometimes hear in moments of clarity. The real you is one with the universe and everything in it. It is the part of you that feels, the part of you that has a dream, the part of you that knows right from wrong and good from bad. Some people call this “your higher self.”
In most of us, to varying degrees, this true nature is blocked and hidden by what’s known as your ego. Your ego is the part of you that does all the thinking, it is responsible for the management of your physical body, including feeding, sheltering and protecting it. Although your ego is a necessity, problems arise when it dominates and controls. This happens because it over identifies with your physical state and believes, it is all there is. The result is that you live under an illusion and forget who you are. Your true spiritual being is blocked from your consciousness. This is your negative ego. Some people call this “your lower self.”
Why are we like this?
We are here to experience the physical, to learn the power of our thoughts and to create with them. We are on a journey back to our source. In order for us to be able to do this we must temporarily forget who we really are.
Your mind through it’s guardian, your ego, latches onto an identity. This identity is formed from our surroundings and experiences since birth. It serves us because we believe that that’s all there is.
Ask someone, “who are you?”
You are likely to get an answer such as,
“I am a writer”
“I am a lawyer”
“I am a basketballer”
“I am a catholic”
People answer with what they do and associate with. Not with who they really are.
The identity that you create and hold onto also encompasses certain traits. These traits are learned responses to stimuli that you have encountered. If the behavior you choose is deemed to be self serving at the time, your ego adds it to it’s repertoire and a habit is in the making.
Your lower self behavior usually serves your subconscious desires and needs. These needs are essentially physical and survival based. They are based on you moving away from fear.
Imagine a shop-a-holic who spends all his/her money. They have to have all the latest clothes no matter how expensive and how many other clothes they have to wear. They do this to the detriment of the other parts of their life, perhaps they run up huge credit card bills as is common.
The fear in this case may be that they would not be accepted, their ego tells them that if they have the latest fashions then they will be accepted. The extent to which this is played out is dependent on how much control their ego has.
Imagine an angry driver who abuses other drivers for driving too slow in front of them. This may be a fear of arriving late for work or an appointment. The anger is their ego enforcing right of way by intimidation and aggression.
Your higher self makes decisions based on movement towards love and this is essentially spiritual in nature. An example of this would be spontaneously giving a present without thought of any reciprocal arrangement. Helping someone from a pure desire just to serve, like in the cliché of helping a little old lady across the road. This would also be taking up the career we love as opposed to the egoic choice of a career for the money. Going to a restaurant you love as opposed to the egoic choice of the restaurant that is fashionable to be seen at.
Think of two people arguing. Who is right and who is wrong. It depends on your perspective.
Two people argue over the weather, the first person says it is cold the second person says it’s not. The temperature is 7 degrees Celsius. Who do you think is right? The first person lives near the equator and enjoys the warm weather and sunshine. The second person comes from one of the poles and is used to subzero temperatures. Right or wrong can only be – when it is compared to something else.
You take up your defensive position because your ego identifies with certain thoughts that you have. These thoughts are part of your identity and your ego has convinced you that this is who you are and therefore you must take a stand. You are not your opinion. There is no right and wrong. Think about what you last argued over. You may have tried to make yourself right and the other person wrong. What is there to defend? Nothing. Why does one of you have to be right and therefore the other wrong?
You are not the identity that your ego has built. If you make some changes in your life, you will still be you. Change your career, car, spouse, the country that you live in, your eating habits, your sexual preferences, your sporting club, go to jail or go to church, go to the movies or sleep all day. You are still you, no matter what you do.
The scenario’s we can discuss are endless, complex and along similar lines. What is important is that you recognise what your fears are and when your ego takes over. Keep practicing the technique of watching your thoughts.
Next Month we will discuss emotions. They are the signposts to freedom. Find out how to play the game.