We all want to be free, because freedom is our true nature. It’s this inherent quality of the soul that drives you to seek a way out of anything that feels constrictive—pain, limitations, disease, injustice, oppression, and so on. But the ego-mind distorts this natural yearning with the belief that freedom is something external to yourself.
Drawing your attention outwards is how the ego remains in control of your perception, directing your reactions and behavior with unconscious impulses and desires that prevent you from seeing yourself and your reality clearly. Why? Because the ego-mind is the very entrapment your soul wants liberation from!
As I’ll explain in detail in my upcoming book, the ego is hard to pinpoint and defeat because it has shape-shifting and mobile qualities, and it arises from your identification with your body and mind. Some people think of ego as the arrogant, negative aspects of the personality, but it’s much bigger than that.
Your ego is a false, temporary identity; a sense of individuality that disconnects you from your true Self and makes you rely on others for validation, because it cannot exist without the illusion of “others” being separate. So it robs you of the freedom of your divine nature through an internal sense of otherness that colors your self-perception with judgments, guilt, and fears.
There’s a continuous battle between the ego-mind and Divine Consciousness at the core of your soul. Ego hijacks the Self you truly are to create the world and control your perception, which becomes your experience of life. It gives you individualized experiences but also traps you in a sense of deficiency and isolation from which you’re always trying to escape with distractions and fleeting moments of enjoyment or pleasure.
Meditation Is Freedom From the Ego-Mind
The ancient yogis and sages of the East found the way out of such entrapment by redirecting the mind inwards and reaching super-conscious states to transcend the painful, sensory reality of the ego-mind. This is the path to inner peace, love, and freedom, which are the essence of the Self and your authentic nature.
Clearly, reclaiming it demands great discipline and effort to remove the ego-mind blocking your own light with its continuous flow of thoughts, feelings, and desires, and setting you off center by drawing your attention away from the truth. You may not be able to control the mind, but you always have the capacity to change its direction.
Just like it blocks Consciousness by pulling you outwards, you diminish the ego by redirecting your attention inwards. It’s quite a battle, however, so you need tools and much perseverance to be victorious. For this reason, meditation should be an ongoing practice.
Meditation is the complete absorption of the mind in an object of concentration (your breathing, a mantra, an image, etc.) that leads to the mind disappearing and only the absolute reality of Consciousness remaining. This super-conscious state is known as Samadhi, Nirvana, or Satori, and its various levels unfold as you’re able to remain in it for longer periods.
Self-Realization Is Continuous Self-Awareness
Once it becomes steady, it is called enlightenment or Self-realization, because the delusion of duality disappears and there’s only oneness with the Divine. At this final stage, all the mental imprints and seeds of the ego-mind have been roasted in the light of Consciousness, so there are no more thoughts or desires (or karma) disturbing the infinite peace and freedom of the Self.
Without experiencing super-conscious states, even if briefly, you don’t have the taste or mental seeds of true freedom that reduce the ego-mind and yield deeper super-conscious states. This is why it’s crucial to practice meditation to expand these states of no-mind to your day-to-day activities.
This is a process, so accept where you are and go from there. First you must withdraw the external senses to experience deep relaxation, which is what usually happens during a guided meditation (and why most people start there). Then you must develop full concentration on your breathing or a mantra, which leads to silent meditation.
In time, the Self pulls you onto itself and the ego-mind goes completely quiet. At this level, there is no “experience,” since there is no ego to experience anything. It takes years to get there, so do it gradually (in increments of 10-15 minutes or so) but be consistent!
Finally, with self-awareness and continuous effort, you may transfer your meditative states onto daily life and become a witness to the dream of Consciousness. All through this process, however, you must recognize and dismiss the ego-mind trying to distract you.
© 2021 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.