Try this exercise using an analog watch with a date window on the clock face. For example, suppose the number within the date window (representing the day of the month). is 20. Pull the crown or little knob on the right side of the watch which manually sets the time. Advance the time until the date switches to 21, then keep going until you reach the number 10, the 10th day of the month. Watch the ego mind go crazy. Listen to all of its complaints as it resists this slow process. Why should we use an exercise to purposefully invoke the egoic mind? It’s helpful to watch the little-me egoic thinking mind spin from a safe place of detached observation. Since ego mind is universal and shares common strategies used by all of mankind, the determination of your personal ego’s “flavors” is educational.
This exercise is one way to drill-down one’s focus to the particular “flavor” through which your own conditioned experience of the ego reacts. Its patterns are revealed through the content of its thought patterns. Just as truck tires wear ruts on earthen ground, the ego’s patterns carve ruts in our thinking processes to form concepts through which our ego perceives “the world” .
What type of “ruts” can you identify? Is the content of your egoic resistance primarily that of a victim? “This always happens to me”; “why do I have to be the one who has to do this?” Is it mostly angry? “I’ll be damned if I sit here and do this!” Is it sad? “I’ll never get this, I wish I didn’t have to do this”. Is it anxious? “I just know this is going to break and it’ll be my fault”. Is it frustrated? “You see, this is why I like digital, having to do this the slow way is absolute nonsense!”
Think back over past instances when you’ve experienced a similar egoic reaction (victimization, anger, sadness, anxiety, frustration, etc) when events or situations “didn’t go right”. Can you spot the same “flavor” the egoic mind used during its reaction? Can u find amusement in watching the way the egoic mind flips, flops and spins its tale of woe?
This is one starting point for building recognition of the egoic thinking mind through the use of focused attention. Spiritual awakening moves organically, mysteriously, under its own authority and timing, yet it can be directly experienced in the Present moment as Awareness using the contemplative intellect as a tool of discovery. As attachment to egoic thought lessens, Presence or Being-Awareness expressed as detached observation grows.
You will “catch” egoic reactions in their thought-stage before they express themselves as active behaviors. This is the moment when choice, in physical form, seems possible. One realizes the “choice” to attach to or /engage with the egoic thoughts. One can “choose” to take a ride on the Ego-Train or stay on the platform (in Presence), letting the Ego-Train pass by. When under the hypnotic spell of conditioning, the driver-less Ego-Train is on automatic pilot, and will continue on its conditioned course of travel leaving no room for choice.
What is the Ego-Train? It’s the human mind’s mode of operation, the interplay of a personal me identity, the egoic thinking mind, emotions and conditioned behaviors.
Ego Train: Egoic thought is energized through mental attachment by the little-me-personal-egoic-identity. Attachment feeds the painbody which fires off a corresponding emotional experience. Emotions boil over into action through physical and vocal behaviors.
The watch exercise wasn’t dependent on the outcome of reaching the number 20. The goal was simply to watch the ego spin. Next time a situation or event arises, see if you can place your attention in the safety of detached observation, the still silent space of Awareness. Completely let go of any specific outcome. Let your primary focus be on simply watching the arising egoic reaction. This is one way to observe your personal ego to determine its strategies to gain control over Life, to overlay its perception of “reality” onto physical Reality.
With You as Awakening Unfolds