Pebbles on Water

Purchasing Happiness?

When you get right down to the basics, all we need to do is eat a small amount of food and water every day.  Food and water are the only external “object” we need to acquire to be alive.

Everything else we purchase is in the spirit of attempting to make ourselves more comfortable.  Being comfortable is not a bad thing, in fact being comfortable is a result of being happy (not necessarily the other way around).

When we start placing greater value on those other external object, that’s when we simply start creating unhappiness.  We start believing that we can’t be happy without this or that.

Stop thinking… stop thinking about your next purchase for a moment.  Stop thinking about your next paycheck AND stop thinking about your next bill for a moment.

Close your eyes, and take really deep breaths as if you’re pushing the air into your stomach.  Hold your breath for a few seconds and slowly let it out… and smile.

If you were able to do that without letting your ego creep in with also sorts of random thoughts about the future and the past… or “problems”… then you just experienced life right now.  Even if it was just for a moment.

If you can’t get past your ego chatter (called monkey mind by some)… then you most certainly will not understand what I just said.  You’ll probably have some negative thought/comment about my words.  That was your ego… not you.  If you were able to see that… now you know what I mean.

What is the Ego?

For most people, it dominates every waking moment. It makes us sick, it makes us hurt others. It refuses to allow us serenity. And it is illusive because we think it is ourselves.

So what is this Ego, that I speak of?

Echkart Tolle says it best in his book “The Power of Now”:

As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through continuous thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it here it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind.

To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important. This total reversal of the truth accounts for the fact that in the ego mode the mind is so dysfunctional. It is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it – who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there. It says: ‘One day, when this, that or the other happens, I am going to be okay, happy, at peace.’ – Eckhart Tolle

Wow… that’s a scary insight. Our minds create what is essentially a separate manifestation with a will… an agenda. It wants to feel important so it makes us identify with it. We think we are our ego.

So, to escape this … insanity, we have to constantly self-reflect. We take a step back (or out) and observe our thoughts. It’s very easy to identify what is the ego and what is not when you stop to look.

This calls into question the value of everything in our lives. Everything we buy, every abuse we dish out on ourselves (overeating, debasing, self-defeating attitudes), the way we treat the people around us… why do we do all this?

Unconsciousness is the environment that Ego thrives. We must pay attention. We must look inward.

Ultimately, this all comes down to being consciously aware of the present moment. Be here now… and allow your mind stop for a moment.

Egoic Fear

If you really think about it, fear is simply an emotional response to the thought of not meeting your Ego’s expectation or desire. Fear is a response to nothing real…

Here’s a great quote that puts this in perspective:

All fear is nothing more than the ego’s expectancy of an upcoming contradiction. Most of it is not real. dissipate its power by refusing to buy the emotion. Make fear your friend. Talk to it. Accommodate it as a helper and ally, and most of your fear will change or disappear completely.

- Stuart Wilde, Weight Loss for the Mind

What is the Ego that, at its whim, we deliver to it our well-being?