Letting Go of Ego

This article is part of the Claudia Confidentially series.

Dear Claudia,

I’m having trouble "awakening" to the present moment with my meditation and letting go of ego. I am plagued by anxiety and can’t just let go of it, even though I know that it is useless and unnecessary. Do you know why I can’t let go of this anxiety, or what I can do to be more at peace?

Michaela

Dear Michaela,

Many people forget that Eckhart Tolle awakened to his enlightened state the moment he realized he didn’t want to live. He was about to kill himself when he experienced his awakening, and the rest is history.

What this means is that for him to achieve presence with what he was feeling, he had to know what that was.

Often, there are unspoken feelings, sensations, and dynamics that we have not put our finger on. When you don’t yet know exactly what it is you’re feeling, you can’t always achieve presence with it.

Now, anxiety, psychologically speaking, is what’s known as a "secondary emotion." That means we feel it in response to other, more primary emotions. Maybe sexual. Maybe aggressive. We don’t always know what that primary emotion is. That’s why we have anxiety.

I can’t tell you how many times I have helped people to discover their primary thoughts and feelings, only to witness their anxiety vanish.

And that’s when you can achieve presence with what you feel: when you know it.

The way to discover the thoughts and emotions that you are not knowing and experiencing in your conscious awareness is to allow your mind to wander, on a yoga mat, therapist’s office, or on a written page. Eventually ‒ and especially if you can be helped to accept your emotions ‒ you will land on thoughts and feelings that will feel like "aha" moments, things you did not realize or that may even feel like complete revelations. And when that happens, you will feel at peace.

You can’t attain sanity by just trying harder, exercising a positive outlook, letting go, forgiving or meditating. What you need for sanity, when reason fails, are emotional experiences. Not ideas. Experiences.

– Claudia Luiz, PsychD in Where’s My Sanity? Stories That Help

We are here to evolve, and enlightenment is not something you can turn on like a switch in your brain. It is something that requires continued meditation, continued deep knowledge of your "pain body" and continued practice in observing the ego. Don’t get discouraged – I admire you greatly for seeking answers to reconciling what is happening within you to what you recognize outside of yourself.

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