Back in 2004 I undertook a 10-day meditation course known as Vipassana. Yes, ten whole days of meditating and yes, ten whole days of silence. I didn’t really know what I was going to get from this experience but I was interested in finding out.
Put simply, for eleven hours of each day I was guided to notice the physical sensations in my body as I breathed. If my mind trailed off to scenarios about the next 21st I was going to, how I was going to make that Uni assignment deadline or why the hell I’d booked myself into a ten-day meditation course, I learnt to bring my attention back to my breath. Easy? Anyone who has tried meditation knows it’s not always easy. But I persisted.
At the time of embarking on this course I was amidst a long bout of depression. Years of feeling cloudy in my head, sad for no particular reason, emotionally-heavy and mentally stuck. I saw myself as an ugly, socially-awkward, dumb loser who was nothing but a burden to everyone around me. My Mum used to tell me ‘What happened to my happy-go-lucky Bronte without a care in the world?’ Most days, I felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness, failure and fear of letting others down.
Meditation was just what I needed.
The first distinct effect I experienced from meditating was that it heightened my sensory experience. I became acutely aware of the present moment, connecting with the heat of the shower, the smells from the kitchen and the different food textures in my mouth. I began to perceive physical sensations from an outsider’s perspective and I played with this under a cold shower and by remaining seated in an uncomfortable position. It was refreshing to just notice the sensations that came with discomfort without the need to react to it.
The second effect I felt from meditating was a game-changer. As my meditative skills grew, I came to notice my thoughts as if they were under a microscope. Most of us know that the mind churns out copious amounts of thoughts each day and that a great proportion of these thoughts are unhelpful. But until then, I was never fully aware of the magnitude of critical thoughts that my mind was creating. I was shocked at how these thoughts were so sneaky and popped up in situations I expected them and least expected them. With further inquiry, I realised there was no evidence to suggest these thoughts were even true.
Upon completing the course, I continued to meditate on a daily basis in my own familiar surroundings and deepened my awareness of these critical thoughts. As I watched these thoughts arise from day-to-day, I realised they weren’t coming from me. The level of abuse within these thoughts was so great, there was no way anyone would treat themSELVES with such disdain. These horribly fear-based thoughts were coming from a source so far out of alignment of who I really was.
As I began reading spiritual texts I came to resonate with the notion of ‘the ego’, which is that little voice in your head that holds a fear-based intention. Yes, it became crystal clear to me that I had been listening to the ego and its exhaustive list of critical thoughts for years and that had formed my reality. It had fueled my depression throughout my schooling, it had kept me quiet when I had something to say, it led me to uncontrollable sobs on my bed and it made me hide the person I really was. The ego had been dictating my life.
With my strengthened awareness, I took control. Each time I became aware of these abusive thoughts, I said ‘thank you for sharing’ and shifted 100% of my attention elsewhere. To the present moment, to the love my Mum gave me, to the endless support of my friends, to the possibility that someone out there really could love me, just the way I was. I felt so empowered to be in charge of my mind, and hence my day-to-day life.
With further insight into my divine Self, I came to a beautiful realisation. I pondered ‘If the ego is separate from who I am, then who am I?’ With a deepening connection to Spirit and the divine, the answer I was left with was my ‘Self’. My beautiful, love-filled energetic Self. The me I once was, before the fears rolled in. The me I once was, before the ego told me inexplicable lies and the me I once was, before an endless list of horrendous beliefs about who I was were formed.
This brings me to the awareness I hold now. I can choose to ignore the ego’s false thoughts and I can create my own thoughts from my heart with a loving intention. I can break down the ego’s fear-based thoughts and form my own adventurous, loving, nurturing and limitless beliefs. I can connect with the gorgeous, loveable and loving person that I am. I can create deep and lasting friendships wherever I go. I can receive all of the abundance that I want. I can follow my heart and achieve anything I set my mind to!
I haven’t cured myself from the ego. The thoughts are still there and will always be, as it’s part of the human experience. But with regular meditation, I have a greater awareness of when the ego interjects. When I catch the ego scoffing ‘He will laugh at you!’ or ‘She can see through you’ I have the insight to detach, break it down and create a love-filled thought instead.
Does this resonate with you? If so, please share in the comments below. (Interested in my Meditation Course? https://www.brontespicer.com/meditation-classes.html