The first thing to understand is that ego is quite complex and therefore there is a lot to learn. This means that although I will tell you here the basics there are more advanced aspects of ego that might lead you to think that the training is not working. Also some aspects of ego are easier to train than others.
A key aspect of training your ego is that you must do it with the understanding that the goal is to create an ego that you love, and that the primary aim is for you to become a loving person. If you try to avoid this intent then the training will come into problems and you will find yourself unable to make progress. This is one of the secrets of ego – it is there to allow us to become all that we may be – which is a truly loving person, and it will fight against training that is nonloving.
The first task with training your ego is to train ego to be silent. This is often called “Quieting the mind”. Like most of what I am talking about this takes practice at first and appears to be almost impossible to do at first. The idea is to stop ego from making suggestions for things to think about.
Quite simply, you ask ego to be silent, this can be very hard at first and therefore what some people do is they initially choose to focus on something that does not require thought, such as listening to music intently, without allowing your mind to drift into other thoughts. This is something most of us can do for a little while but as a beginner you should practice doing it for longer and longer periods until you can do it for 15 minutes or so.
Once you can listen to music for extended periods of time without thinking about anything else other than listening you will find it a lot easier to simply think of nothing without concentrating on anything.
Once you master this process, what I call “no-thought” then you will be able to more easily work on the thoughts that come to mind as you go about your life, the idea is not to fill your mind with “Ego chatter” but to leave room for more subtle operations of the mind, such as intuition.
Mindfulness is the process of watching your thoughts. A mindful person is aware that thoughts can be incorrect, not true to self and therefore that person watches their thoughts refrains from acting on them until they are right for them.
There is actually more to being mindful than might at first seem, it is a skill that must be learnt. You need to tune into what I call “pre-thought”. Pre-thought is a precursor to the actual thought that is coming into your mind, it is like an intuitive clue that the thought is coming and what it will be and it is in the pre-thought stage that a mindful person finds it is easiest to stop or change the thought that is coming. It takes practice to feel the pre-thought coming, most people are hardly aware that it is there. But if you pay attention you will tune into it relatively easily so long as your mind is not cluttered with other thoughts.
Mindfulness is something that takes time to develop. You should make sure that you practice mindfulness on a daily basis and be aware that the aim is to achieve mindfulness full time, but initially it is exhausting and you need to develop the skill by taking “baby steps” – short periods of mindfulness at first that lead to longer and longer periods of mindfulness.
This leads to the basics of training your ego:
- Inspect with your mind the pre-thought
- Decide if the thought should be allowed, modified or dropped
- Allow only thoughts consistent with your concept of self
Ego will learn from this very quickly, it will stop presenting thoughts that will be dropped and it will increasingly present thought suggestions that are in tune with your instructions.
It should be noted that becoming a mindful individual with an ego that is in tune with self takes time and patience. Do not expect an overnight success but be confident that if you stick with it you will gain mastery over your ego and it will become a friend that you will love.