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Choose to be your true self

Choose to be your true self

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Most of the issues that bother humans could be seen as some form of imbalance – too much of one thing and not enough of something else. As a healthcare practitioner I often see patients with challenges I could frame simply as too much tension / not enough relaxation; too much distraction / not enough focus; too much sitting / not enough moving; etc. 

To the ego, the critical imbalance (which produces the behaviors above) may seem to be too much debt and not enough money, or too many tasks and not enough time, or too many people behaving in a way I dislike and not enough people behaving in a way I approve of. 

Or, in other words, too much uncertainty and not enough control. If only we had total control over money, health, politics, climate, etc. (the ego believes) we could shape reality into something that would always make us happy. 

Life doesn’t work that way, but we often resist, judge, worry, and complain as if it will gain us more control, and as if control is really what produces happiness. 

If we were to back up and look at this from a spiritual perspective, perhaps the only true imbalance we’d see is too much thinking and not enough Awareness. By Awareness, I mean consciously being in the experience of the Great Awareness that you are. In contrast, most of us live almost entirely in our thoughts, in a self-created world. We’re constantly on the lookout for conflicts (big and small, internal and external) – ways in which we believe reality is different than it should be. And this causes us to suffer. 

 

There are many ways to change how we think, lots of them useful. But the major challenge is that the ego – the aspect of the mind that believes it is you and is determined to protect itself – operates from a fundamental insecurity and will never stop doing its thing. For this reason, I believe that in order to be most effective, psychological approaches must include an emphasis on transcending the ego.

The ego doesn’t like it when we say, “I’m going to transcend you now.” No, no, no. The ego needs to be needed, and will generate perpetual conflict to keep itself in the driver’s seat. 

It’s better to start with a recognition – a remembering – of what you truly are. Slow your breathing. Come into the here and now. Without labeling or judging, notice what you see. Notice what you hear. Notice what you feel. Notice the coming and going of your breath. Notice the pull of gravity on your body. 

Who is the noticer of all this noticing? Where does the ability to notice come from? 

Take your time with this. Don’t try to figure it out mentally.

Can you sense that presence that’s always been here, your whole life? It’s SO familiar, you’ve missed it perhaps, all this time. But it’s more steady and eternal than anything the mind has created. 

This Awareness is you. It feels like home. And the choice to remember and dwell in it – day after day, over and over – creates an internal spaciousness whereby the machinations of the ego become smaller and less influential. 

Then, when we bring Awareness to this primary ego-generated imbalance – there’s too much uncertainty / I need to control reality – we don’t feel insecure and angsty, our anxiety dissipates, our depression lifts. 

It’s a certain kind of work to keep making this choice, but it’s the work you’re here for. There’s nothing more gratifying or honest. Choose with every fiber of your being. 

Love,

Dr. Peter Borten

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