We as humans are caught up in many daily routines and activities. Thus, we fall back into egoic mind trap and games. Thereupon, mindlessly letting our little “ego-self” take the reins and guide our behavior. Centuries have passed with metaphysicians and theologians exploring our minds. They are asking important questions about how we think, as well as, what moves us to action.
Self-Inquiry is as old as man himself. Why is it that we have to question our own minds? The answer is just that we can, and we do. The frontal cortex “executive” function relates to personality expression, decision making, and differentiating among conflicting thoughts. This part of the brain also deals with future consequences of current activities, predicting outcomes, expectations based on actions, and more. In humans, the entire cerebral cortex is much larger in proportion to body size than any other mammal and may provide humans with added cognitive abilities. This can be a blessing and a curse. The egoic mind trap will run with stressful thoughts and feelings.
Walking the Tiger: Live Now Instead of Reliving
Peter Levine in his book, “Waking the Tiger” explains what happens in the human mind when trauma occurs. Unlike other mammals who will release the anxiety immediately by jumping up and running, or by taking action in such a way to remove themselves from harm, the human becomes trapped in the endless ruminating over the event or the episode that took place at a different time and place. Peter’s book helps us learn to move beyond trauma by engaging the bodily process that should have happened, rather than merely reliving what happened.
Trapped in rumination, the egoic mind relives the event as if it is currently happening. The ego rushes in to “make sense” of the situation. Its job is to create a story of what happened and what to do about it. Sometimes this process is very important. The problem is that the ego does not differentiate between events and thoughts that need structure.
The Core Wound
The trap is always related to a core wound. The core wound arises in childhood when we are exposed to a continual concept of pain and hurtfulness. Not being heard, not feeling loved, or never having enough are deep wounds. When an event or conversation in the present triggers this wound, we become trapped in the “egoic rescue” process. The ego says, “What is happening here? Who is to blame? What action is being taken?” The answers to these questions tell you a lot about yourself and how you are operating out of your egoic mind trap. (See a personal account of a life journey)
Freedom From the Egoic Mind Trap is in Awareness
The freedom from this egoic mind trap is in the awareness that it exists. Slowing down enough to take self-inventory each and every day allows us to “catch” ourselves when we resort to the crazy monkey mind and the endless sand pit. Once we see that we are experiencing the trap, we can shift through meditation, journaling, mantra, and breath. We can open the door to what I call the “Golden Claim” which is the opposite of the ego trap. Consistently, I turn my focus to what I can do to appreciate others. I consider the action can I take, and how I can activate appreciation. When we decide not to revel in the hurt, but rather to empower ourselves with the Golden Claim, we begin to fill our lives with the very thing we thought we lacked.