Me and my ego

I'm not an enlightened being but over the last 15 years or so, I have experienced a gradual change in consciousness. The gaps in between thoughts have become incrementally wider, and I have become a bit more present.

The bulk of this article came to me during meditation, dragging me out of the moment and back into the endless stream of chatter that is the ego. Instead of being in the moment, I'm thinking about writing an article about being in the moment. The way the ego works really is the ego.

In my twenties I had a materialistic view of the world until one day during a conversation I was posed this question: In this moment can you deny that there is a deeper part of you watching your thoughts? I'd been saying something like 'Consciousness resides in the brain and that's all we are'. For a brief moment, all thinking stopped and I experienced the space within. This experience changed my world view and I started devouring books on meditation and spiritual matters.

You are not your thoughts and neither am I. This statement may help you momentarily detach yourself from your thinking self. The problem is that the ego is very clever and will quickly sneak in through a back door. 'Yes, yes, I see now, I am not my thoughts' you say feeling very superior. 'Why can't other people grasp this notion?'

The ego thrives on dividing the world. I'm like this, she's like that, I like such and such and I can't stand that. The more you see what it's up to however the weaker it gets.

The ego is time based, regretting the past and worrying about the future. The only way to transcend it is by inhabiting the present moment. But how can you do that?

You can't think yourself into the moment or plan for it to happen one day.

The best way I've found is through the body. Feel your body. What's happening right now inside you? Practice this kind of body awareness regularly and you will gradually become more and more present. You may find that you are better able to listen to people and you might notice how preoccupied others seem. If you're like me, a delightful feeling of smugness will start to arise and once again you're swept back into your thoughts.

The ego is plain to see when it's loud and boastful but it can manifest in all sorts of different ways. Being painfully shy is just as egotistical as being a big show off. If you're completely identified with your thoughts, you have a clear image of who you are.

But it's not you. What you are is something deeper, beyond words and concepts.

Who am I to be telling you this? Well, I'm not sure. I'm Sam Langley, Tai Chi teacher, Hypnotherapist, Father of 2, Husband, Artist and Musician...but these are just roles and have nothing to do with who I really am. I used to define myself as a musician. That's what I spent all my time doing and that's what I lived for. Then I went off travelling without a guitar and discovered that I was fine without music.

What is silence? What is space? What is stillness? What is consciousness?

These things cannot be grasped and cannot be measured but can be experienced through meditation. Focus on your body, focus on your breathing and you enter the now, the eternal nothingness of the present moment. Talking, thinking and reading won't get you there, although they can point the way.

As I said, I'm not enlightened. Far from it.

If you think you're a fully awakened being, perhaps go on an extended holiday with your parents and see how your spiritual development is coming along.

When you go on this Holiday and find yourself becoming frustrated, argumentative and defensive, I suggest you try the following...

Cease to cherish opinions. See what happens when you let go of your point of view.

Ego's like to butt heads. If you can let go of your big important image of yourself or your tiny poor little wronged self, just momentarily, you might bring a bit more space into your awareness and a bit more peace.

Tai Chi Beginners Course starts May 25th!