Like most of us, you likely go through the day with internal chatter running through your mind. But how much importance you give it can make the difference between living a life of joy, or feeling stuck and thwarted. If you give it credence, your internal chatter can be like Superman’s Kryptonite. The limiting beliefs you carry can undermine your best intentions with mesmerizing speed. So to cultivate wisdom in the practice of meditation, let us explore how to defuse these beliefs before they grow.
When painful thoughts thwart your heart’s joy, you can draw upon an age-old key truth on the path to freedom: when you believe life is happening “to” you, you are in your ego. As though under a spell, you are temporarily attached to a passing perception, generated by your ego which only knows to divide. In that moment, you are seeing life through a limited, distorted lens. It is not reality. Beyond it, you are always infinitely loved within a perfect and interconnected whole.
The ego is both attached and tricky. But it has its own Achilles heel. It dissolves when questioned and witnessed. Willingness to grow involves the courage to question the reality of the painful voices that keep you feeling small. Freedom begins when you fully understand that they are not true.
So when a painful thought arises, whether in your meditation or any other time, ask yourself straightforwardly, “Is this thought or perception true?”
For example, should an inner voice say, “I am a failure”, you can retort, “Is it true that I am a failure?” By questioning it, you can see that it is not always the case – therefore it is not an absolute truth. You don’t always fail. You can find one thing that you have done successfully, even if it is breathing! The same would be true for any blanket statement, such as “No one loves me”, “I am ugly”, “I always ruin everything”, and so on.
The ego gets high from inflating momentary perceptions into devastating absolutes like the statements above. This propels you away from the present moment as a way to hide from something you are afraid of touching. Honest articulation of your uncomfortable feelings, or, while meditating, witnessing the fear or resistance that may arise, prevents the ego from fixing on absolutes. Willingness, non-resistance to what is, and humble honesty bring the light of empowering clarity that fuels your personal growth and freedom.
When you notice that your ego is triggered and starting to inflate a situation, ask yourself, “What is so threatening or uncomfortable to my ego in this moment, that I would rather blow it up then just be present for it?”
By asking yourself this question, you send love to that which the ego is masking. You welcome that scared, broken, unloved part of yourself into your heart. You willingly open to this moment that contains within it the potential for permanent release of suffering.
When you question the truth of undermining thoughts, you see that what you once perceived as solid is in fact, just a passing mirage. Through this understanding, you can let them go. If your ego’s voices come up and say otherwise, go back to working the “is this true?” question until you feel totally clear and ready to stop giving them any power.
Take every opportunity you can to rest in the love that already is, and challenge your ego’s tendency to turn life against you. When you no longer believe that illusions are real, the giggle that echoes in the Buddha’s belly grows in yours too.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (I Am Light, Electro Yog, Yoga In The Nightclub), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (Aonani of Avalon, Confessions from Your Awakened Self) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.