A couple of days ago I read a great post on But She’s Crazy called Lost in Thought. The post talks about being stuck in our thoughts, which can have a negative effect on us where depression and anxiety are concerned. I had also written a post last week called Mastering the Mind.
Waking up at 5am (as I often do when it gets so light!) I took out a book called Practising the Power of Now by Eckhard Tolle. I dipped in at random and found myself reading on the very same topic: freeing ourselves from our minds. The more I read on the subject, the more I think how important this concept is in helping ourselves ease out of depression and anxiety.
The True Self
For us to truly be at peace with ourselves we need to live in a state of being our true selves. This state comes to us when we live fully in the present moment and connect to the soul inside us. We give in to the spark of God inside each and every one of us and just be. To me I see it as the feeling I get when I am:
- dancing around the living room to a silly song
- playing with my dog
- watching a butterfly basking in the sun.
- playing the piano
- walking in the countryside
For you it might me the peace you feel when:
- baking cupcakes
- playing sports
- laughing with great friends
When we are depressed or anxious, our ego has taken over our thoughts.
The ego cannot exist when we are living as our true selves. Therefore when we are living with depression and anxiety, we are not living as our true selves.
The ego can also be seen as our small self. It is the part of us that is separate from God. The small self is scared to let God take over our lives by living in the flow that is our natural state of being. It sees this way of being as our annihilation, that we will lose our identity by being engulfed by God.
The ego needs to be accepted and approved by society. It needs to be part of the human collective.
There is perhaps historically good reason for this. Survival as a species depended on us working together. In the early days this would have been to gather food, trade etc. Communities with strong bonds, where each member played his accepted role well, would thrive. If you didn’t fit into this way of living, you were made an outcast and were less likely to survive (for example the so-called “witches” who were hunted and burned in the middle ages).
We are scared that allowing our true selves to flourish will take away our control. We might be rejected by society for the way we want to live our lives. Our friends might leave us. We might be ridiculed. We cling to our reputation. Our mask. The ego has left no room for the true self.
A lot of us would like to live the Right-Brained, or creative way of life, as artists, musicians or writers. Our souls long to create. This is our natural state of being, this is our True Self. We reject these ideas as unrealistic, convincing ourselves we could never support ourselves this way. Or we simply tell ourselves we are not good enough. This is our ego. It does not want to let go. It knows that letting go of our socially acceptable mask will result in its death, that we will no longer be separate from God/spirit.
The Ego Rules By Thought
The ego’s main tool for controlling us is the mind. We have come to regard our thoughts as something that we are. If we think we are a failure, then that’s what we believe we are. We accept what we’ve learned throughout our development. The ego basically brainwashes us! Common scripts it likes to use are:
- you’re not good enough.
- why should you get to live your dreams when others are suffering?
- its selfish to put yourself first.
- life is hard, you wont get anywhere unless you suffer.
- you must fit into society by working in an acceptable role, otherwise you will be rejected.
- you’re always thinking about yourself, you should do more for others.
We actually believe this rubbish that our egos tell us!
Living by the rules of our egos can lead us to anxiety and depression. Here the ego has us firmly in its grasp. The irony is it can end up destroying itself when we become so depressed we consider suicide. The ego thinks it knows it all. It doesn’t.
It is so easy for our brains to become caught up in the scripts of the ego. The ego has convinced us that we are these thoughts. I identify with Rachel the Failure- this is the identity I have come to accept. This identity is held in place by thoughts such as “I’ll never succeed in life” or “I’ve made so many mistakes in life I might as well give up”. I identify with this. It is familiar and safe.
But it is a lie. It is not my true self- that loving soul that came into this body. Rachel the Failure is a product of learning and development in an ego-based society. She is unhappy and depressed.
But Rachel the Failure feels safe with this identity. Any thoughts of success, self-love, self-acceptance, abundance or deserving happiness are completely foreign! Immediately she interprets the unfamiliar as scary, unsafe. The ego wants us to be scared, to ensure its survival. So we become completely attached to our thoughts of illness, inability, failure, inacceptance of ourselves and self-hatred. They are comforting in their familiarity. We become addicted to the thoughts which ensure the survival of our ego identity:
- No I can’t do that, I’d never succeed
- I’m rubbish at that
- I’m so unattractive
- I’ll look stupid, people will laugh at me
But what if we were to detach from these thoughts with mindfulness and activities which allow our souls to take over? Life would become easy, simple. We would no longer be at war with ourselves. I would no longer identify with Rachel the Failure. I would love myself completely as I am, 100%. I would do the things I love. I would be my true self. And if I am my true self, the ego and all its negativity, including depression and anxiety, would be gone.
We can get that control back by:
- become aware of our thoughts and what our ego is feeding us. This puts us in a position of power where we can consciously choose whether or not to believe the messages, and then change them. This can be achieved through Mindfulness, a topic I have covered on Bipolar Management: Meditation and Mindfulness.
- do things we love, that make us feel whole and bring us back to a state where we are at home with ourselves, eg. sport, playing an instrument, designing, inventing, creating, gardening, singing, dancing, walking, running, absolutely anything that brings you back to the current moment.
We are Masters of Our Minds
We have forgotten that we are the masters of our minds. Humans have evolved, up until now, by allowing our minds and egos to control us. We have over-identified with our thoughts for the good of humanity.
However, now we as humans have taken this to the extreme where businesses and large corporations have taken control of western society. They are ego-based and rule by greed. The current economic collapse is perhaps a good example of why the ego should not be in control.
But our souls have evolved too and we are much more accepting in society of minority groups and outsiders in general. Now is the time for us to evolve further and raise the energetic vibrations of the Earth with our loving true selves. Love in all its forms is glorious and we are reminded and encouraged to fill our lives with love. Love for people, art, music, sport, communities, literature, spirituality, writing, dance, science, wildlife, pets, anything that we feel generates love in our soul. This is living as our true selves.
It’s time for us to wake up and remember who we really are.
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net