#259 EGO: Best friend & worse enemy Jan. 26th 19

                        Our ego: best friend and worse enemy

Definition:   Our opinion and perception of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.It is our own created self-image with its positive and negative components, which can be true or false.By definition, our ego takes everything personally whether the causes are right or wrong.

Like an iceberg, most of our ego is submerged deep into our subconscious mind and, yet, its poweris such that our day-to-day behaviors such as physical, mental and emotional are almost totally under its control. Ego is like a coin. It has 2 sides. They are entangled and one cannot exist w/o the other one. What is good and what is bad?

What is good about our ego?

It is our best friend. Without it, our survival, our body- mental-emotional functions and our numerous daily functions would be impossible. Without the powerful protective shield of our ego, we would not survive in this demanding/changing world.

There are no points to enumerate all beneficial values of our ego.

What is bad about our ego?

Being over protective and a relentless fighter, our ego is also our worse enemy. This is the other side of the coin.

This second aspect of the ego is more important to deal with than the first one because knowing its negative attributes is the only way to minimize its impacts and to get inner serenity.

Imagine your ego being a silent octopus with multiple sprawling arms:

1) Shield and scaffold to protect our self-entity, 2) Mighty warrior to conquer, to control, to convince, to fight and to win, 3) A mask that we put to act in different roles such as family, and socio-professional,  4) and finally, a very powerful hacker of our own mind.

The power of our ego to hack our mind is extremely efficient. Here are some tricks used by our ego-mind.

1 Its most used and effective tool to hack our mind is by creating emotions whatever positive or negative and to create infinite illusions, delusions and unrealistic expectations. Our ego-driven emotions are the best trick to control us, and our ego-mind loves to control us using emotions as weapon.

Examples: He is a master in creating poor self-image, negative feelings such as anger, fear, resentment, grief, jealousy, worries and many more. All of them are addictive even if we want to get rid-off them.

2 The second effective tool of our ego-mind is to create and maintain a mind-set full of opinions, ideas intolerance, and judgments. We feel “good” about them but at the same time this mind-set is a trap.  This is why Zen cultivates the opposite that is an “Open mind also called “No mind”

3 The third tool to hack us is to transport us into the past and future in which we believe that we exist.

4 The forth weapon of the ego is to create this false notion that we are a permanent, unique, independent, separate and self-sustained entity. All of this is not true. We are all interdependent. These illusions create a feeling of separateness from others, if not loneliness.

5 The fifth weapon of our ego-mind is probably the most important because it is the main source of our endless desires, craving, attachment, hatred and illusion/ delusion called ignorance. All of them are responsible of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

How to overcome our ego?

We cannot because, like the coin, it is impossible to remove one side w/o removing the other one.

The practice of meditation is a wonderful way to explore our ego and try to deal with it efficiently that is in a pragmatic way..

Here are few tricks that you can learn and use to minimize the negative or detrimental ego:Is it my ego thinking or doing this and why?   

1) Are “X” true reality or ego-made fiction?

2)  If it is my ego, is it the good or the bad one?

3)Accept yourself, your self-image and your negative feelings as they are such as anger, grief, worries, etc Improvements are possible as long as the emotional state is under control and acceptance is the key tool to achieve this goal.

4) Stop being offended or feeling that you are a victim or that you are always right or always wrong.

5)Letting go the following: control, being always right or thinking that you are, useless judgments, having more and more of this and that, identifying yourself with your achievements, being too often in past and future where you don’t exist practicing selfish behavior,

6)Accepting that events, people and the world are what they are and not what you want them to be.

7)Be empathic if not compassionate with yourself if you want to achieve the same with others.


#258: The nature of consciousness Jan. 20th 19

The Nature of Consciousness from the perspective of Eastern Philosophy

Just as the Bible and the Koran form the basis of Christian and Muslim beliefs, the Vedas ( literally means Books of Knowledge ) written by several saints and sages going back over 10,000 years ago, form the basis of Hinduism. The knowledge contained in the Vedas is collectively known as Vedanta.

Vedanta acknowledges the fact that all human beings come in this world with different personalities. The common thread which runs through each of these personalities is “Consciousness”. The consciousness can simply be understood as Energy. In fact, it is this energy that enlivens the three factors of the human personality.  These are:  the physical aspect, (body), the emotional or psychological aspect ( mind) and the thinking or rational aspect( intellect). To understand the relationship between the Consciousness, the body, emotions and thought aspect we can consider consciousness as the electrical energy that energizes the circuit of body, emotions and thought which, by themselves, are inert.

Our daily interaction in the world is based on what the mind, through its senses, sees, hears, feels or desires. Because the world around us is constantly changing, our mind is also in a constant state of flux.  This is the source of emotional turbulence. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha recognized this and based his teachings on the control of the mind.

So how can we manage this turbulence? The answer is meditation through mindfulness. One of the ways of doing it is to sit comfortably and observe our breath going in and out. One can substitute anything else as the anchor point of one’s meditation such as total darkness, the sounds of nature etc.  Thus the busy mind has something to do and does not go into its default settings of the past regrets and anxieties of the future. The trick is to be alert to the wanderings of the mind. As soon as you realize that it is wandering, immediately bring it back to the anchor point.

To summarize, the real us is the Consciousness which is pure, stable, eternal and unchanging. It is in a constant state of equanimity and balance. However, through ignorance, we identify ourselves with the Body and Mind (which are both always changing) and thus face the world of change and experience suffering and turbulence. Inner spiritual journey starts with “taming” the mind. We can achieve this by regular meditation.  Over a period of time of regular meditation, we develop this inner tranquility and equanimity which is our real Self. This is what the great spiritual masters have been advocating.

#257 USING OUR 5 SENSES TO “PAUSE” our restless mind Jan 13 19

                                   Using one of our 5 senses to “pause” our restless mind

Description of this short mindfulness on-the-go exercise:

Several times a day, pause, pick one of your 5 senses such as vision, hearing, touch, taste or smell and then, pay attention , at this precise moment, to a selected target. The mind/brain, being very sensitive to our 5 senses, has no other choice but to comply. You are pressing the pause key by shortening the circuits of our restless mind. By doing so, you will discover what you are failing to notice all day long.

Most of the time, the process is reversed because our attention is always dictated by what our mind is thinking. We are, as Zen says, on mind-made auto-pilot or automatic physical and mental behavior.


#256 Mindfulness meditation: how it works & what it does?

                                          Mindfulness Meditation: What it does & how it works?


Meditation: Sitting meditation technique that focus our attention, in a mindful way, on body

posture/sensations, breathing , environment and, after awhile, mental relaxation.

Mindfulness: focusing /paying attention to x, y, z w/o intention, analysis, judgment and decision.

Mindfulness meditation: Is recognized now as a special form of cognitive behavioral therapy in which

cognitive or analytic process is replaced by simple observation, that is reflecting things as they are

and not as we want them to be. It is acting like a like a mirror.

What makes mindfulness meditation different from other types of meditation is the absence of external instruments such as music, video, guidance or mantra. No gimmicks, you are on your own.

How the benefits of mindfulness meditation leading to self-awareness come from?