Your mind wants what it wants and there’s no point in changing it. Your mind is completely driven by your ego and fighting your ego is always going to be a losing battle.
Recently, I finished reading The Power of Now and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and I’d like to start this article with something important that stuck with me from the second book.
When your ego is active, instead of fighting your ego, there are three ways you can calm your mind: acceptance, joy, and excitement. I’ll take them one by one.
Acceptance is about accepting the situation as it is, not as you want it to be. Eckhart presents this hypothetical situation where you are in the middle of nowhere, it’s raining like never before, and you have to change the tire of your car. At that moment, there’s no joy or excitement about the situation. But as long as you can accept the situation, you’ll be able to do what needs to be done without thinking why is it happening to you or how bad it is – basically without fighting your ego.
Happiness (or joy) is about enjoying things as they are, not as you want them to be. It’s the layer that comes on top of acceptance and it’s about enjoying the things that come to you, in their raw state, without trying to change them. You get to experience joy because you accept things as they are and you embrace and embody the true nature of the things around you.
Excitement is about the positive feeling that you have when you accept things as they are and are capable to see the beauty of these things. But the excitement is not triggered by any of these things. Real excitement is something that is running through you and it starts from you. It’s pure energy and it’s the third layer of the equation.
For sure, the states of acceptance, joy, and excitement are better explained by Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth and reading the book will help you better understand them. I just wanted to create a short intro so I can share my insights with you.
Another valuable thing I got from these two books is that wanting to get rid of your ego is something that’s set by your ego. You can say ‘My current goal is to get rid of the ego’, which means you’ll have to keep doing something until there’s no ego anymore. But until when? When will your ego disappear?
The thing is, your ego is feeding off things that are connected to either past or future and saying that you’ll eventually get rid of your ego (somewhere in the future) it’s still something that your ego is saying. Your ego wants you to focus on anything but the present moment.
And this brings me back to acceptance, joy, and excitement.
As previously stated, these are three methods to calm your mind so your ego becomes dormant. But if you’re not careful, even here the ego can take control and it can happen by overacceptance, extreme joy, and overexcitement and fighting your ego becomes again a losing battle.
Understand when overacceptance is happening
The difference between acceptance and overacceptance is that when you overaccept things, you don’t only accept things the way they are, you also don’t do anything that’s under your control to make sure that those things are not creating chaos in your life.
Acceptance is about accepting things as they are. But it doesn’t mean you have to say ‘yes’ to everything or to let everything and everyone do whatever they want. When acceptance shifts into overacceptance, you don’t only accept things as they are, you also say ‘yes’ to everything.
That’s not healthy.
When you say ‘yes’ to everything, your ego is in control. There can be plenty of reasons:
- Your ego wants you to say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone so when you’ll need something from everything and everyone and they won’t give it to you, your ego will look for conflicts and drama
- Your ego wants you to say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone so you can superficially avoid conflicts but deep down actually wanting to do things differently and eventually experience inner conflicts
- Your ego wants you to say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone so it can give you the illusion that you can be friends with everyone since you’re not arguing with anyone
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Understand when extreme joy is happening
The difference between joy and extreme joy is that when you experience extreme joy, you don’t only experience joy as it is. Happiness is driven by letting things manifest as they are. Extreme happiness is when you expect things to be in a certain way and things match your expectation. That’s what extreme joy is.
Eckhart Tolle says that your ego is activated both when you get the things you want and are happy about them and when you get the things you want and are not happy about them.
That makes me think about dopamine and its connection to the ego.
Dopamine is activated either when you want something or when you get what you want. Therefore, maybe it’s worth paying attention to your levels of dopamine.
When your dopamine levels are high, it means that your mind is chasing something and has expectations about it. Also, your mind believes that it’s close to getting what it wants or has already gotten it.
When your dopamine is low, it means that your mind is not getting what it wants or is far from getting what it wants.
In both cases, your mind wants something and is your ego that’s controlling it.
Understand when overexcitement is happening
The difference between excitement and overexcitement is that when you experience overexcitement, you start thinking about the future. You’re so excited about something that you want it to last for more than the present moment.
When your mind moves things out of the present moment, your ego is in control.
Your ego wants you to think about the future and imagine a great future because your ego is feeding with time.
When I say that your ego is feeding with time, I don’t mean the time your watch is telling but the time that’s needed to reach a certain state or place. It’s the type of time that moves your attention from the present moment to a moment in the past or future so your ego can take over and control your mind.
How to deal with overacceptance, extreme joy, and overexcitement
Now that you better understand what is happening, the things you can do are really simple.
Actually, there’s one thing that’s needed to be done: observe.
Observe your state and understand when you cross the line and switch your attention from the present moment to the past or future.
As long as you observe what’s going on, you’ll know when you experience overacceptance, extreme joy, or overexcitement and knowing it will help you get back to the present moment, and fighting your ego won’t be needed anymore.
With love and optimism,
What did you learn?
What are some valuable things you learned about fighting your ego?
I would love to know what you think, so share your insights with me using the form below.