Many teachers declare that the moment you become aware, the moment you wake up “from sleep” you are then awake.
Last night I saw one of my absolute favorite guitarists on the planet, and as I arrived noticed strange, uncomfortable feelings inside. I saw that I wanted to be the guy who was noticed, I longed for better gigs, more attention, and was chomping at the bit to start a conversation with someone about “me and my playing” even though I was an audience member at someone’s gig!
Ahh! Sounds like the ego to me…
Couldn’t I just for once sit and appreciate someone else? Couldn’t I let them be appreciated and enjoy what they were offering? Couldn’t I be thankful that they were just excellent? “What the heck is going on here?” I thought.
On my last European tour – I took stock of my inner feelings when people complimented me after a gig. I asked myself “so this is what I am yearning for so badly?”
So – I internally asked myself “What do I do?”, as I anticipated the first song and chatted with people at the table where I was sitting. Then I got very quiet. I listened more than I spoke to the other concert goers, and noticed the involuntary nature of this little screaming impulse inside. I observed the guts churning.
And then I reflected on everyone else walking through life getting these little surges of anxiety, or a need to “prove”, to “show everyone”, and to “be special” – just like what I was feeling. The impulse of the ego comes in different packages with different scenarios, but this behavior of the human character and psyche just leads to unhappiness and is basically a flawed way of looking from the inside out.
Here was the lesson, special delivery. The Universe brought me right to my weak point, right to the thing I need to learn. Not intellectually, but through a gripping feeling.
When I saw this impulse, this ego wanting love and approval, to be the best, to be noticed, and ultimately to survive – I sat still, breathed slowly, watched and listened – and allowed the feeling to be there. I said “thank you” for the awareness to allow and see the impulse and not “run with the feeling” and think more, more more.