Why traditional meditation calms the ego and helps reduce anxiety and stress. Learn what the ego is and why over-attachment to the ego is the biggest cause of human suffering and struggle.
So What Is The Ego?
The ego is a combination of our personality, our name, our story. It is our identity, who we think we are. It is basically made up of who you believe you are, what you think your good at or not so good at. What you think is right or wrong. It is also embroiled in the roles and labels you identify with such as mother, father, teacher, CEO, Dr, disabled, victim… And it is our over-identification with the ego; our attachment to these labels, traits, and roles, that causes us the greatest source of anxiety and stress.
The Ego And Separateness
The ego creates separateness, the belief that we are separate from everyone else, that we are separate from the universe. The more we identify with being separate, different, the ego grows. The ego becomes inflated by fear, by a sense of lack. The ego is actually also that which feeds us to fight more for power, status, and success. Your ego convinces you because of your unique personality traits, your unique experiences, your unique physical features. That you are completely different, separate or special from everyone else. And this where the duality of the ego reinforces a false sense of separateness, a feeling of being disconnected from the world and those around you.
Struggles Of The Ego
So the main struggles of the ego are our over-identification with our beliefs. No wonder as humans we find ourselves in a constant state of struggle, striving and suffering. We are in a battle with the duality of who we think we are, we should be and what we should be doing. And who we think others should be and how they should act or be. This entrapment of the ego, over-identification with the ego is what causes us pain. It is what feeds anger, anxiety, depression, stress. The ego in many ways is an innate and biological survival response, that has a purpose to support survival. In one sense, the ego is what motivates us to survive but it is also what keeps us in a state of fear, self-judgment, and self-punishment. And in a state of judgment and even punishment towards others.
Why Traditional Meditation Calms The Ego, Calms Our Fears
More traditional and eastern forms of meditation are very powerful tools at helping calm the ego, calm our fears and anxieties. The act of meditation can loosen our complicated entanglement with the ego. Daily meditation can help reduce the inner conflict we have with the ego. There is little room for egoic fear and stress when you meditate. During the state of meditation, we are in a state of being not doing. We are in a state of presence.
Meditation is a doorway not just to that safe peaceful space within us. But meditation is where we become a witness, an observer to our thoughts, our beliefs. The very act of meditation teaches us to be a witness to our thoughts from a state of non-judgment. The act of meditation is not about stopping your thoughts or completely clearing your mind. Meditation is about but being present, being a witness to those thoughts as you let them come and go.
Why Meditation Calms The Ego And The Monkey Mind
The ego is what feeds the monkey mind. A mind that will grab on to specific thoughts and run with a story, that causes us inner conflict and pain. Mental stress and anxiety are very much products of the ego, of those stories.
But it is often not the fleeting thoughts that are the biggest problem. But the entanglement and story we attach or create from those fleeting thoughts. For example, you may be driving along a motorway when a car cuts out in front of you. And in your thoughts, nearly instigates an accident. When you are in a state of presence, you notice that initial thought about that specific incident and let it go as. But most of us are not going about our everyday life in a state of presence or awareness. Most people today are going about their day in total engagement with the ego, their identity, their story and what they believe is right, wrong and important. So their mind grabs on to that story and catastrophes all sorts of stories of what could have happened. Within seconds you are extremely angry, anxious or stressed. But meditation calms the ego, it calms the mind.
How To Lose The Ego In Meditation
The great news is that meditation can soothe the ego when you bring the act of meditation into your life. The more present, more aware you can become you start to curb the cravings of the ego. When you make meditation a daily practice your thoughts start to slow down. Your racing thoughts from egoic fear start to settle and even when they do start running off, they tend not to run as far into the same script as they use to.
How To Stop Egoic Traps Of Meditation
Now even though the act of meditation, of present awareness, is about helping dissolve the impact the ego has on our way of being. The desire to meditate, the desire of being spiritual or enlightened is paved with egoic traps. Such as any perceived belief that you are more spiritual, more enlightened, more evolved or special because you meditate. Even the act of practicing meditation to achieve something, to gain something such as enlightenment is another common trap. In many modern forms of meditation and guided meditation, many people go into the act of meditation to manifest abundance, get answers, to become a fortune teller. They completely lose the point of meditation and use meditation as a tool to feed the ego, feed their desires.
Why Meditation Can Be A Way Of Being
Although learning how to meditate, as in learning a meditation technique or meditation skill is about setting a specific time to meditate. At its core meditation is ultimately conscious awareness, being fully in the present moment. Technically our life can be a meditation, the more you practice meditation, the more you allocate moments in your day to be consciously present. The art of meditation gently flows into your life.