6. Working with Ego – Full Mindfulness
As you work towards quieting the mind and increasingly study your thought processes you will find that you automatically start to become fully mindful and you will begin to work with ego in the way I am about to suggest.
The Ego presents to you thought options, and it does that in a way that is in accordance with thoughts and actions that you have previously found acceptable. So the more you train ego to reflect positive aspects of the self, the fewer negative thoughts you will get.
For every thought that the ego suggests, there is a pre-thought that is presented and it is at this stage that you get to choose whether or not that thought is acceptable and this is the time to modify or reject that thought.
There is also the case where you are uncertain about the pre-thought and choose to allow the thought in order to see where it leads. Another tool of mindfulness is the knowledge that you can regulate the thought as it comes; you can have the thought present itself slowly, bit by bit, so you can more easily understand it and determine if it is suitable for you. This is another aspect of learning about self; thoughts that you are unsure of can be allowed but contained by choosing to let it flow in a controlled manner.
This allows you to get to know how the pre-thought feels for that type of thought without fully taking that thought on board.
In fact you will see that being mindful is a way of stepping back from your thoughts and taking control of how you respond to them. Some thoughts can be very destructive and without being able to step back from them we can find ourselves overly affected by them and thrown into excessive emotional and intellectual responses.
So the ego presents the pre-thought, you choose to modify it and the ego learns. This is the simple truth of full ego management. It does not mean that all negative thoughts will be removed for as I have said there are other subconscious processes that produce such thoughts, however without mindfulness it is extremely difficult to move to a state of mind where these can be explored and healed.
So full mindfulness is not the total answer to moving towards a totally positive and loving self-image, but it is a fundamental tool that you need in order to progress towards that and in many cases developing full mindfulness will take you a significant part of the way on that journey.
It is worth remembering that much of the work of a mindful person is about reprogramming. That often the thoughts one wishes to modify only come when we find ourselves in specific circumstances and often it is necessary to put ourselves deliberately into that type of situation in order to assess our thoughts and modify them.
Also, ego may take its time learning the “new you”, you may have to re-visit some thought processes a few times in order for the ego to finally get the message, so repetitive lessons are often needed and you should expect to see previously rejected or modified thoughts re-occur. This can be disheartening if you are not expecting it but do not give up; perseverance is definitely the order of the day.
Fortunately, although you will see these re-occurrences, you will also find that each time it is easier to deal with them. It seems that part of the process involves repetition so the ego can deeply learn about the self that you are becoming.
Another aspect of the way ego works is about what label we perceive ourselves as having at the time of the thought. Ego will collect behaviour examples and will tag them with labels. For example, the response suggestions ego draws upon are different when a person moves from being single to being married or part of a couple. This means that those response memories may not have been worked through at all and you can easily find yourself in a place where you feel you have to start all over again
So take care which labels you adopt, and if you adopt a new label, take care to be extra mindful.
Like all aspects of ego management, being fully mindful takes time and perseverance, but the concepts are easy to understand and actually, ego will help you get there by listening to your positive intentions and learning from your decisions regarding your thoughts and feelings.