Most of the time, we are caught up in what can be called the small mind or “ego mind”: the small world of self-concern, of wanting to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want.
This is the cause of our suffering — always running to distraction, procrastinating, caught up in worries and fears, worried about what people think of us, what we’re missing, what someone did to offend us, and so on.
It’s a small world we get trapped in, this worrying about ourselves all the time. And it leads to stress, anger, hurt, worry, fear, anxiety and distraction.
The antidote is Higher Mind— growing bigger than the ego mind we have habitually become stuck in.
What is Higher Mind? It’s opening to something bigger than our self-concern, opening to the freshness of the moment.
Let’s imagine that there’s someone whose family member has said something insulting to them. They immediately get caught up in small mind, thinking about how they don’t deserve to be treated this way, that they’re a good person and that this person is always being inconsiderate. They are worried about themselves, and their world is very small and constricted.
What if instead, this person dropped their self-concern, and opened their awareness to something wider than themselves. The experienced the moment as pure experience, and suddenly everything is open and vast. They relax into this openness. They might notice that this other person, whom they love, is suffering in some way. They send this person compassion, and feel love for the person and this moment.
That’s the difference between small, constricted mind that’s full of suffering, and expanded mind that’s open, fresh, unbounded, and full of love.
Practice 1: Ego-Dropping Meditation
A great place to start is by sitting in meditation and opening your awareness and dropping the boundaries between you and everything else . Here is a meditation.
The idea is that we practice dropping into a relaxed, open awareness, and then start to relax any boundaries we have between ourselves and all that surrounds us. We drop the construct we’ve created that we call ourselves, and then there’ just sensation, just pure experience.
It’s a returning to wholeness. It’s a wonderful practice.