Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ego ramblings about the ego.

Many people, myself included of course, have found liberation in the knowledge of the ego.

The ego is that little voice inside your head that chatters a lot. It congratulates you on your accomplishments, it tells you you look sexy today, or like a loser, it keeps you up at night, it prevents potentially embarrassing situations. It makes you look stupid, it makes you look smart. It is neither inherently good nor bad. 

Realizing the difference between YOU and your mental chatter(ego) changes your life. Before coming upon this revelation(which you could acquire many different ways and with different terminology), you wonder a lot if you're crazy! I still wonder that sometimes, but knowing that the voice that runs rampant in my head is just a small function of my self, rather than my actual self, makes me feel a lot more at peace. I now know that I don't have to believe every little thing that crosses my mind, judge myself for "stupid" thoughts, or take my thoughts to be reality, or let an anxious thought start a whirlwind of nervous tension that starts at my head and spreads throughout my entire body, and day, infecting those around me.

When is the last time you had a song stuck in your head that you don't even like? When is the last time you had a thought that you didn't actually believe or even want in your head?(such as a self deprecating notion, or an unfair snap judgment about someone based on their appearance). And how many times has that led to you judging yourself or getting depressed or worried?

Exposure to a myriad of different things like the average person has day to day is going to affect your mind. You may think you're immune to pop culture, or gossip, or social conditioning, or the people around you rubbing off on you, and if you think you are, I have some disappointing news for you... You're not. 
You are going to think about things you don't want to think about (latest example for me would be Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs). Simply seeing something somewhere online or the television(I try my  best to avoid those but they're everywhere!) is enough to make it pop up again later when you're trying to study for a test or fall asleep. Not mistaking these random, often nonsensical and certainly non-beneficial mental phantoms for YOU, means being more grounded in reality. Calmer, more in control of yourself. You are no longer tossed about by every little ride your brain tries to take you on. You can now let your thoughts pass you by and maybe even laugh a little at the ridiculous ones. You can pick and choose which ones you want to explore more, and which ones can be discarded or forgotten.

I've recently decided to beware of any of my own attempts to "live beyond ego". That is the biggest ego trap I have yet to encounter. Thinking that you have risen above the ego and are immune to its tricky tactics is the most sure fire way to find yourself trapped again, this time without an escape because you think you've already escaped! This mind stuff gets tricky.

 It's an invaluable skill to be able to separate yourself from your inner narrator, or as I've heard it quite accurately described, your raving lunatic. But it is a useful tool we can utilize, so don't go getting an ego about having no ego! ;)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Nature soothes the soul.

Last night I was playing board games with my boyfriend for about 5 hours straight. It was awesome and fun until we tried to start playing one I was unfamiliar with and almost started arguing. The almost was all it took to bring awkwardness into the situation, as we are both extremely sensitive and always seem to reciprocate, mirror, and amplify each other's emotions. We are both also prone to anxiety and had been smoking so my heart started immediately pounding. This doesn't seem like a big deal but in the state of mind I was in, it was, and my body was on high alert, dumping stress hormones into my system. I went outside to smoke the rest of a cigarette I had and saw our hammock over in the yard that I barely ever lay in and decided to give it a shot. I almost didn't but for some reason it felt like the best thing I could possibly do.

When you get in it naturally starts swinging, and I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths. I started noticing how many noises were going on all around me. A symphony of insects in the night air! At least 3 different kinds that I could hear as separate noises, plus some other noises of the neighborhood. My mood slowly shifted and I felt my body and breath calming. I think that relaxation is the most natural thing in the world, and that we often forget how to do it. Becoming absorbed in nature is the best way to calm yourself. You can choose between your senses; smell the plants, feel the wind, look up through the trees, hell, even eat some dirt(it's healthier than McDonalds!) Nature is your friend, nature is YOU, and there are so many things we can learn from the intrinsic order within it.