How to catch your ego red-handed


how to catch your ego red-handedYou’re breathlessly watching a thriller. You’re glad when the hero brings justice and you admit you’d like to play that part. You are not an actor and you don’t have to be. It is time for you to spring to action. It’s time for you to put on the detective clothes for your own life and track down your ego.


Study his profile
Any professional investigation starts with a detailed study. Any detailed study is based on careful research of data. Do you want to discover a criminal? It’s important to know what law he’s broken and when, but it is even more important to see who you’re dealing with.
Who is the ego? What’s his psychological profile? How does he act? You have the best chance to answer all these questions only when you have accepted that the ego exists, that he rules your life and that most of your decisions hang on the scepter of his power.
Don’t think I’m talking about an invisible Al Capone. The ego is, by his structure, a master of disguise and he could play a lot of characters. What does such a criminal look like?
A lot is known about him, but few people can say they have seen him. Extremely few. Why? Because the one you are looking for has very subtle operating methods. He is a very cunning guy. An actor with a bookcase full of Oscars. A perfect speaker. An infallible lawyer and nothing more, nothing less than a professional beggar. Yes, yes, you’ve read it correctly – a beggar. He’s always stretching out his hand for fame, praise, applause, attention, your energy and some debates, if you don’t mind. Dear Sherlock Holmes, allow me to introduce the greatest impostor – your (common) mind!


See where he’s left his fingerprints
You finally know who I’m talking about. But still… the suspect has not yet been charged with anything. What is the fault of the ego? He has stolen your life! It is because of him that you lacked and you still lack your most precious thing – self-knowledge. He’s robbing you of the authentic, lasting happiness that can only find its roots in the depth of your being.
How does he manage that? It’s simple. He’s telling you his story and you believe it… The ego teaches you to possess as much as possible, but your heart feels like offering everything. He always finds something to do, when you could stay still and look after your soul. He is the noisiest tenant. He brags the most, but he also complains the most. He criticizes, but he can’t stand being criticized. He speaks in your name, but, when the situation is tricky, he puts on the mask of the complete innocent. It’s easiest to identify him by the “magic” formula with which he presents things. Any subject revolves around the word “I”. “I” this, “I” that.
The ego strongly believes that he is responsible for all actions. “I saw, I did, I heard.” He knows everything about everything, when in fact all he does is project things that have already happened or that are only imagined over the present ones. A kind of veil of the past and the imaginary over the face of reality. What is his fault from a spiritual viewpoint? He doesn’t let you see your soul.


Use him cleverly
You have a true dilemma to solve. You discover that the ego is the greatest obstacle on the path of evolution. But you know very well that he is the engine of your daily actions. What is to be done? Can you shackle your best friend? It’s true that he steals your time and suggests what you should choose at any moment. But he helped you in school, you became noticed among your friends because of him and it’s also the ego that has secretly nurtured your professional success.
How can you mistreat him? Do you have the heart to do that? He’s done so much for you. Why is he to blame that he can’t give you happiness? He assured you that you would have everything you wanted and he’s trying really hard to honour his commitments. That’s all he can do. And, if we look at things more in depth, he’s not really guilty. The ego has promised you the world, but you don’t have to believe him. The drama appears when you identify with him and give him permission to rule your life. That is the problem.
Your friend may be awesome, but you are much more than that. He’s not necessarily a liar, but he can’t comprise the whole truth. He is just a little cup that wants to offer you the ocean for you to understand. As a great sage says, “He is the shadow seeking to understand the substance it is coming from.” That is impossible. In order to get rid of your ego, don’t rely only on your mind.
Use your mind for what it’s good for, nothing more. When you want to have a meeting with yourself, make it shut up, because the mind is only an instrument. It’s true that it is brilliant. But it remains a mere tool for you. Use it as such and leave it when you don’t need it.
For that purpose, use any means you have at your disposal – the deep awareness of everything that’s going on with you, certain elements of objective art or simply make love with continence according to the tantric model. Anything you feel helps in this direction is very good for you. (If results start to appear immediately, don’t brag about it.)


Pages of the secret files
The mind is not a concrete object that can be touched with your hand. It is a conglomerate of thoughts orbiting a volatile axis – the feeling of “I”. It’s a swarm of bees constantly buzzing around its mother-queen – the ego. The whole effort of the mind has the purpose of serving the feeling of individuality and keeping it alive as much as possible.
The feeling of “I” is not continuous. It comes and goes every moment. During deep sleep, it is absent for a longer while. At that time, you no longer know if you are a company manager or a salesperson and it doesn’t even matter to you anymore. It is only when you wake up that you remember that you have a personality coat and you put it on out of habit. Every day. But precisely because it is not permanent, the ego tries very hard to create the illusion of the continuity of its own existence by means of the memory. The speed with which this phenomenon occurs is so great, that you can identify its mechanism only if you pay a lot of attention to it.
The ego assumes the authorship of everything that comes into contact with him. You can always hear someone bragging, “I’m the one who made dinner for tonight.” His eyes sparkle with satisfaction and he is so proud, he cannot contain himself. But who is it that actually cooked dinner? Does the fire needed for cooking belong to him? What about the water that he boiled? Are the ingredients he used his own creation? Did he invent the table, chairs, dishes and cutlery or the science of making dinner? Who is the owner of the air he breathed while he was cooking? None of these elements belong to him.
He might brag about combining them in a personal, creative way. How does a person say that? “A brilliant idea came to me.” Or “Let me tell you what has crossed my mind.” Well, if the idea came to him, then he hadn’t had it in the beginning, so it was not his. That means that even thoughts are not our creation or property. They come and go according to the resonances we generate for ourselves.
Have you ever wondered what the ego feeds on? Anything. He has no preferences. Criticism, gossip, praise, debates, excuses, lies, knowledge, recognition, imagination, etc. All mental activities feed him. And he’s a good boy – he eats it all. That’s how he gets muscles and vitamins! Every time your mind works, the ego is strengthened and fortified.
Once the buzz of thoughts has stopped, the ego has nothing to cling on anymore and it simply dissolves. That is why all spiritual traditions offer techniques for calming the mind. Their purpose is to help the revelation of what is beyond it – your profound nature.


Put your flashlight on him
When you have decided to go down this road, consider the following secrets revealed by predecessors who were infinitely wiser than us.
Never fight your ego. The mere fact that you pay attention to it only feeds the myth of his existence as a separate entity. Rather, ignore him. Let him do his thing, but don’t get involved in any way. Don’t be for all that or against it. He will die of anger. He’s doing whatever he can to get your attention.
If you want to catch your ego red-handed, you don’t need forceful intervention. He has so many friends in high places in court, that he will be free moments after his arrest. You need to understand the ways in which he acts, to destroy his plans, to find out his tricks and to always be one stept ahead of him. Then, all you will need to do is shine the flashlight of consciousness in his eyes. Only this will reveal the truth about the ego.
The mind helps us know the world and the mysteries of the Universe, but if it is agitated, it prevents us from discovering ourselves. It is the bridge leading us towards self-knowledge, but, as spiritual traditions say, only the heart can cross that bridge.
Get used to always focussing your mind in the middle of your chest. It is there that you will feel closest to yourself. When your thoughts go berserk, redirect your attention to your soul. The answers that you have long been waiting for will come by themselves. The background on which they will appear can only be the state of mind in the heart and heart in the mind. In order to reach such balance, keep practising the centering exercise.
(If you get quick results due to this technique, continue! The ego is an expert of apparent death.)


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