In this special article I will tell you about one of the deepest and most powerful approaches to internal change that exists.
If practiced correctly, it can transform a person's life and help eliminate most fears, concerns and self-limited beliefs at the root.
I came to this approach only after many years of intensive "internal tinkering" and suddenly several personal growth techniques that I knew at the time became nearly superfluous.
And to say that I had recently returned from America after attending more advanced and expensive courses of Dr. Richard Bandler.
A bug in the mind
This approach tends to eliminate an internal "bug" that almost all people have, often without even being aware of it and that is the basis of most of your worries, sufferings and negative thoughts.
It is the puppeteer who moves the threads of your thoughts and emotions, but does so in a subtle way because his priority is not to make you feel good but to satisfy his shady plans. It is an entity that lives in your mind and manipulates your thoughts and emotions to get what you want.
Now you will ask yourself, "... and who the heck is DannyZ this puppeteer who acts in my mind?!" Ready to find out? I'm talking about ego.
What is ego?
According to some Eastern philosophies, ego (from the Latin I) is an identity formed by thoughts you form about yourself and is the set of labels you use to describe yourself. It is a mental image built by that little voice in your head that continuously judges, complains and criticizes, Tolle's "little me"
How does an ego behave?
During interactions with other people do you usually notice what unites you or what distinguishes you from them? The ego likes to notice the difference, what separates you from others. It is based on the sense of separation from other people and needs conflict and "enemies" to survive.
An ego really likes to release responsibility externally, to complain about people, or about this or that situation.
The normal condition of this false personality is fear and dissatisfaction. The ego is always incomplete and precarious. Other people are typically a threat to it or a means of accomplishing what it wants.
This illusory personality is never truly happy. It continually revisits the past and anticipates the future with concern. It loves to control things and tries to show its superiority by using avoidance as a tool.
If you recognize some or all of the following behaviors in the list below, it is most likely ego is maneuvering your internal threads:
• Trying to look different than you are.
• You need to be right and have satisfaction in showing that the other person is wrong.
• You are afraid of others judging you
• You happen to feel inferior or superior to other people
• Minimizing or envying the success of others.
• During a discussion you identify yourself with your position.
The four ego bugs
The first step to take to counter the influence of this internal puppeteer is to know how to recognize its modus operandi. Here are four main features that can signal its activity.
1. It would like to be "good", skillful and competent.
I remember when I was a kid, I got so excited about watching Bud Spencer movies. It was clear to me that he could have knocked out any villain on the planet with a nice punch.
Then one day, in a movie, I heard him say that no matter how strong there would always be someone stronger than him. But how!!!? Wasn't he the strongest?!!!
There I realized that if there could be a person stronger than the big Bud, somewhere there would be someone better than video games. Remember that no matter how skilful, witty you may be, excelling in this or that activity, there will always be one better in the world than you.
Or it will become soon. In fact, even the great champions of sport do not escape from this fate: motorcycling, athletics, chess...
For example, just think of how Valentino Rossi remained the undisputed MotoGP champion for years and then at some point he found himself dealing with those "breakers" of Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Márquez, etc.
In fact, almost all the top-ranked players after spending some time at the top of the rankings, have almost always had to face the blow of having to deal with new emerging levers ready to snatch the scepter from their hands.
Most of the records are constantly broken.
2. It promises you happiness but will never give it to you
Long-term happiness, under the conditions of the ego, is impossible to achieve. Indeed, its relentless need to be approved, accepted and praised is unbridgeable.
No matter how many awards you get, a simple criticism will be enough to activate ego’s alarm signals.
The more you give it what it wants, the more its thirst increases. Like a bottomless chasm, if fed excessively, it can literally swallow the life of those who "host" it.
ALSO READ: How To Train Your Mind
A large number of people have literally ruined their careers, their relationships and ultimately their lives by being overwhelmed by the ego.
3. It seems to protect you but it actually makes you more vulnerable.
A key concept is in fact this, the ego does not protect you but only itself. Here we are not talking about having a good self-esteem and having a healthy idea of one's skills and value.
It’s the opposite. From the point of view of your ego, your personal value is always questioned, continually precarious and vulnerable to the judgment of other people.
It will always be there to waver every time it notices a person who is more successful than you.
4. The ego is made of words.
The ego is based on language and is nurtured through your internal dialogue. This causes your experience to be extremely impoverished as reality is incredibly larger than a language’s ability to reproduce it.
Imagine having to convey the taste of a strawberry to a person who has never eaten it simply by describing it. Mission impossible.
However, many words you may have in your dictionary, you will never be able to fully describe and express reality as language is only an approximation of this.
As panelists know well, a map is not a territory, a menu is not the meal. Imagine if who you really can be limited by a dozen words.
Precisely because with language it is not possible to transmit the experience of what you are. In a few moments, I will offer you a practical exercise to start experimenting with your true nature.
Who are you really?
One of the most important experiences of most meditative and spiritual practices is to realize that what you are is much larger than that mix of thoughts and labels that you use to define yourself.
In fact, it is an enormous limit to be identified with a mental concept of ourselves and not with what we really are.
Have you ever thought about who you really are? Who is the person who answers your name? Note what emerges in response to these questions. You could answer: my name is Marta, I am a mother, a hairdresser, I am a shy, successful person, a smoker, etc.
However, if you deepen this internal exploration, you will find that everything you think you are leads back to thoughts or images.
The key point is this. Are you really that collection of thoughts, labels and images? If you stopped doing these thoughts would you cease to exist? You will find out soon.
You are what you observe
Were you able to perceive, even if for a few moments, the space between thoughts? When you were in this space, where was the shy person, the employee, the unfortunate in relationships? Who is it that observed the screen of the mind when no thoughts, emotions, labels appeared on it?
That space between thoughts is the pure awareness that lies behind the incessant ruminating of the mind. It is your true essence, free from ego and negative conditioning.
It is the intuitive sense of existence that has accompanied you since you were a child, in which all your thoughts, judgments, and emotions emerge. This field of awareness is not defined by the content it temporarily hosts, just as a TV screen is independent of the images that appear on it.
This internal exploration could be illustrated in this way. In column "A" you find the qualities intrinsic to your true nature, what you are when you do not attribute to yourself any mental label.
He is the neutral observer of all your experiences. In column "B", you find the mental labels, the transient content that emerges in your mind. This column refers to what your awareness is able to observe.
A) He who notices i.e. the subject
B) What is noticed i.e. the content
I am a successful person
I am a failure
I am not good enough.
The counter-test to verify what your true nature is consists in realizing that if you stopped creating all the labels (which you find in column B), not only would you not cease to exist, but your existence would become much more free, serene and happy.
Your ability to observe reality for what it is, without internal filters, would increase dramatically.
In fact, when you remove the mental judgments that you have attached to yourself, not only does your sense of identity not reduce, but it becomes enormously fuller, completer and vaster.
Unfortunately, we are almost never in contact with that uncontaminated space within us. In fact, very often during the day we are identified with the thoughts we make and the roles we play in life. In fact, what happens in some respects is similar to the experience of watching a movie.
A film in the mind.
Do you know when you watch a movie and are completely absorbed in the plot and in the vicissitudes of the character, you feel his fears, you are moved and laugh with him? This is a form of identification similar to that which occurs with your false self.
Except that the screen is in your mind
Also contrary to what happens at the end of the film, when the lights in the room come on and you realize that you were identifying with a character and a fictional story, rarely in everyday life do you realize that you are identifying with the voice in your head and its endless flow of judgments and labels.
How to stop ego’s illusion?
In summary, the way to get in touch with a reality not contaminated by ego is to enter the present moment as soon as you realize that you are identifying with the voice in your head and its endless flow of judgments and labels.
But don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity of this practice, ego is like Wolverine's mutant abilities, it tends to regenerate itself.
In life, you can go from a waiter to a mechanic, make money or lose them all, transform yourself from shy to confident, go to India and change your name but none of this will affect the essential quality of who you are, the conscious and unchanging presence behind it to all experiences, and that what the practice of awareness brings to light.
Identification with a false personality, which many spiritual traditions call ego, is the basis of most of the sufferings that men cause themselves and to other people. Whenever you identify yourself with a role or with a label, you limit and imprison your true nature.
Being able to separate the "conceptualized" version of yourself from what you really are is one of the deepest and most important skills to learn in life. And remember that in every moment, in the present moment you can find the key to free yourself from this illusion.
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In line with the style of IperMind, I did my best to transmit this powerful approach to work in a practical and simple way. In general, these concepts are addressed in books of a spiritual nature, hyper abstract, philosophical and very impractical.
I believe it is also for this reason that "classical" personal growth experts tend to ignore this type of path. I hope you enjoyed the effort.
P.S. Now I've talked enough, now I'd like to know what you think. Were you already aware that you have this internal bug? Were you able to listen to the song and perceive the space between thoughts? Let me know in the comments!