I recently gave a talk on mindfulness where an audience member asked me: How can you tell the difference between the ego and the higher self? What does it actually feel like?
We all have inner voices that speak to us throughout the day. Sitting in quiet meditation allows the opportunity to witness the inner dialogue taking place within you – and to distinguish between the voice of the ego from that of your higher consciousness.
Coronavirus has eliminated many of the activities we engage in to distract ourselves from ourselves. Every person on this planet is given an unprecedented opportunity to notice their inner dialogue – in other words, to notice the Self.
Start to draw your awareness to the voices inside you. Notice every time you hear voices that are whiny, worried, anxious, frustrated, angry, critical, or judgmental. Those voices are your ego.
Worrying about financial loss or prolonged boredom, criticizing people who are not taking precautions against the virus, blaming other nations for spreading the virus – these are all ego-generated thoughts that reinforce the false belief that you are separate from your external world. In essence, the ego constantly distracts you from addressing the real source of your pain – which is always within YOU.
Your higher consciousness sounds very different! It basically sees the glass half full. It recognizes that you can seize a growth opportunity by allowing destruction – which is beyond your control anyway – to sweep away what needs to go. Your higher self leans into the pain and sees the Coronavirus experience as a vehicle for deep transformation.
Higher consciousness thoughts and beliefs are along these lines: I’m going to use this time to declutter or improve my home, this is a great chance to improve my dynamic with my spouse and children, this situation will allow me to set new priorities, this is a perfect time to start a regular meditation practice, etc.
Can you start to see the difference? The ego wants to perpetuate misery, victimhood and suffering by keeping the focus on your outer world. The ego disempowers you by telling you that happiness is beyond your reach because it’s in the hands of someone or something outside of you. The higher consciousness, on the other hand, encourages you to reach inwards and empowers you to actively leverage pain to experience growth.
Here’s another way to distinguish between ego and higher consciousness. When the ego is overactive, you’ll find yourself in a mindset of waiting; waiting for a vaccine, waiting for businesses and schools to reopen, waiting for sporting events to resume. You’ll be monitoring the news more than you need to. The ego basically distracts you from the present moment and says you can be happy only in the future when the virus disappears. Because the future never exists now, the ego locks you in a state of endless unhappiness.
When your higher consciousness is more active, waiting is not even a thing. Your higher consciousness sees the nonsense in believing that something needs to happen in the future in order to feel happiness now. It knows that you can only be here, now and therefore recognizes the gift of the present moment.
Your ego basically prevents you from healing by creating fake problems that distract you from your real pain. It generates illusions of needing things that you really don’t need. Whenever you encounter loss and destruction, it’s ultimately to help you see that you never actually lose anything – because everything you need and love is within you. Coronavirus is a test of inner abundance: The more you dig into the Self, the more you find what you need.
If you catch yourself in a loop of negative thoughts about the external world, no matter how justified you might feel, remember that all of reality is internal and everything that appears outside of you is actually a part of you. What you say about the outer world is merely a projection of what is within you. Anger, judgment, fear or panic that is directed at the world only reflects the parts of you that need healing. Find those wounds and heal them.
Coronavirus is a collective trigger that serves to remind all of us to return to a state of simplicity and awareness of the Self. By being fully present in your home and fully present in yourself, you join the silent but powerful movement towards planetary healing.