“Living up to an image that you have of yourself or that the other people have of you is unauthentic living” Let’s try this for a moment – If you pick up an object, can you look at it without attaching a word to it? Can you notice your wonder as you look at it? As an analogy, think about Van Gogh painting a chair, beyond looking at the chair. Being more aware of how we use words, makes us challenge our reliance on words.
Unfortunately, once we use a word and subscribe a value to something, we automatically believe the label of what we’re dealing with. As a result, we tend to lose sight of the object’s unimaginable depth and we’re faced with a superficial reality. If we’re too quick to attach a word as a label, we miss out on the miraculousness of life. Words can imprison. We then think about awareness, which is extremely important to overcome in order to ensure our well-being. All in all, the subtle shift is to disconnect from our thoughts, which are always in the foreground and become aware of the background. But, why do we over-identify with our thoughts? Let’s explore some reasons.
- The Mind Made “I”: The word our lives centre around, is “I”. Placing such an emphasis on ego, creates a false sense of identity. Albert Einstein calls this an “optical illusion of consciousness” because our thoughts made and accompanying emotions fabricate them. Therefore, the instant when you’re aware of what you’re thinking, that awareness isn’t a part of your contemplation but rather is a crucial dimension of awakened consciousness.
- The having and the wanting: The ego also gets caught up in the word “my”. The term “my”, is attached to the feelings of ownership. We lose ourselves in unhealthy over-identification with our things. However, studies reveal that most people don’t realize that the things they possess, have nothing to do with who they are until one is on the deathbed. Mr. Tole, a famous psychologist says, “I’m not asking you to give up on things” but instead “be simply aware of it.” He further explains a new consciousness through the statement “I am the awareness that’s aware that there’s attachment.” If we think we have a strong need for “having”, the “wanting” is even more addictive. Since the ego wants to want more than it wants to have. Unfortunately, having is always replaced by more wanting.
- Our old consciousness is linked to how we react to others: How we react to others occurs along a spectrum, from fault-finding and complaining, to physical violence between individuals, groups, and countries. Complaining about others strengthens our ego, and separates us from others. If we can see someone else’s behaviour as stemming from their egos, we can learn not to react. Non-reaction to others is decisive for the Earth because it ultimately allows the collective human ego to dissolve. It’s a strength that brings out the sanity in ourselves and others, which is our most significant protection.
Therefore, we need to be non-reactive to the ego, both our own and someone else’s. We can be compassionate when we realize that we’re all suffering from the same dysfunction. We have an inner and outer purpose. Our inner purpose is our new consciousness and consists of three things: acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Acceptance is knowing that something is required from you to do with equanimity, enjoyment brings aliveness to what you do, and enthusiasm keeps you in the present, and points the way to the future. They say that change begins at home and Psychologist Mr. Tolle asserts that if we change ourselves and our own consciousness, this will, quite literally, change the world.