How to deal and transend our inner critic
Sometimes everything comes to a natural stop. The world moves in slow motion and inner peace remains. Thoughts and feelings are not in charge anymore. Life shows itself in its pure simplicity, nothing more to do than to be. However, after an hour, a day, a week something strange happens. You know that it is slipping away. When you are in clearer state you cannot imagine that you can lose yourself again in that bizarre mind-dominated world. Yet it happens. That eternal seeker, inner critic, ego or whatever you want to call is back in control. I am sure you know him (or her). Constantly busy, never satisfied and always looking for more. That’s what I want to talk about, how to deal and transcend our inner critic (our thinking).
Ego’s path to happiness
I just went to the beach, I felt a bit ‘blue’. I then like to write things down. Put it on a piece of paper instead of letting thoughts swirl around in my head. I know that this searching inner critic (ego) is my biggest obstacle to being present and to simply enjoy life. When we are starting our spiritual journey our ego is the main driving force behind it. I remember my teacher Jan Geurtz saying this.
It’s like the ego is saying: “Finally there is a way to achieve happiness and I no longer have to deal with negative shit.”
But after some frustrating and annoying moments, you will learn that it doesn’t work. Now I try to transcend it by seeing through and going beyond the identification of our critical thinking (ego) and let life happen more spontaneously. My inclination, which seems to be quite common, is to use my thoughts to let go of my thoughts. As Einstein already knew, that doesn’t work either.
Beyond the thinking-self
But what do we do then!? Good question! Actually the answer is ‘do(ing) nothing’. I know this feels counter-intuitieve. Especially after all those decades of assuming that effort and striving is the best way forward. Probably it feels even stranger that everything is already as it should be. Now, while I write this and you read this. It doesn’t matter if you feel depressed or anxious or happy or blissed out.
I like the methafor (and the meditation) of the Lake. We are so absorbed by the movement on the surface of the lake (our thoughts and feelings) that we forget all the water below. Calm and peace and completly at rest, not disturbed by the movements on the surface. We can learn to rest and sink into our inherent stillness and peace. Later we find out that everything we experience is made out of our essence, out of water. Then it doesn’t matter anymore if we find ourselves in calm depth of the lake, in the moving currents below the surface or in/on the more changing surface. We are the water, quite or moving, our essence is in both. We are likes fishes swimming in the ocean, looking for water. Not seeing that all there is water. Our essence is so close, closer then close Rupert Spira would say, that we over look it.
All of us, all 7 ½ billion, are already in a perfect open, spacious and loving state. Only we do not see it. It requires a completely different way of looking at oneself and the world. How to do that? Challenge yourself by using the method of self inquiry. Something that has been done in many Eastern traditions (i.e. Buddhism and yoga philosophy) for thousands of years. It leads you to another place, so to speak. Beyond thinking and in experience and presense.
Falling through the world of thought
It is very interesting that many people who, after an extremely disturbing life event, like an intense pain or heavy depression, suddenly break through the normal dualistic way we see the world.Byron Katie, Adyashanti and Eckhart Tolle are examples of this. If you want to read more about duality and non-duality then maybe this blog might help.
Make no effort to hold on
Three or four times I experienced a new sort of calmness. Thoughts were there but just coming and going, it was no longer something I had to do something with or to identify with. This stayed for a few hours or a day and then I went back to my normal state. It was such a relief that Adyashanti said, at the end of this years summer retreat: “Make no effort to hold on to an insight, or an experience, or a feeling, but simply let go and realize what is is always present. The true truth is ever-present and eternal.”
Be interested in the ‘I am’
I never forget the advice of Rupert Spira, on my question how to deal with fear. He answered:
“Start being interested in the ‘I am’, in who you really are. Let fear rest there.”
In short, stabilize yourself in who you are in essence. That will remove the foundation under fear, inner critic and other neuroses. How true! Here a video, now of Rupert Spira, about ‘self acceptance’: