The key to spiritual growth is developing the ability to withstand the powerful pull of our egos that constantly yank us down the rabbit hole when we feel slighted, angered or a whole host of other negative emotions. The problem, as most of us mortal Earthlings know, is that staving off that pull is really hard.
Why? Because our egos are shrewd, alluring and one of the most formidable forces God/nature/The Universe has created. The logical question to ask, then, is what can we do to help prevent ourselves from running headlong into the talons of our voracious egos?
What needs saving
Let’s start by defining what entity actually needs saving. It’s our consciousness. Our awareness. Our true self. That is what accedes so easily to our beckoning egos.
A big problem is that our consciousness is amorphous, unseeable and intangible. That being the case, I say we give it an image that can help us keep it centered and out of the egoic rabbit hole.
Which leads us to the seat of self, a phrase used by many spiritual teachers including my favorite, Mickey Singer. As Mickey puts it:
“Persistently centered consciousness is the seat of Self. In this state, you are always conscious of being conscious. There is never a time when you’re not totally aware.”
I take that to mean it’s as if we’re sitting in a chair, inside our heads, completely centered in the present moment; that is, centered in the seat of self. It’s that image that I’m focusing on in this piece.
Because I find that when my ego gets stirred — by a provocative remark from my wife, for example — it can be difficult in the moment to locate my consciousness and thereby will myself into relaxing and not diving down the egoic rabbit hole. Why is it hard to locate my consciousness? As I said, our consciousness is amorphous and invisible.
Imagining being in the seat of self
So what I’ve been practicing is, when I get poked, I go to the image of me sitting in that seat of self in my head. I then get that person (my consciousness) to immediately relax. Then get him to say,
“No. I’m not leaving this seat. I’m staying here. I’m not getting on that train to my lower self.”
We can use this image for all of our waking moments, not just the challenging ones. It’s a way of staying centered, that feeling of strength and stability, of being moored to the Earth, rather than the opposite, unstable state so many of us experience when we feel like a helpless pinball being randomly shot around by the pinball machine of life. Throughout our day we simply imagine ourselves sitting in that seat, calm, peaceful, strong.
I know this all may sound a little wacky, but my attitude is that we need to throw the kitchen sink at this profoundly important challenge of refusing the ego’s invitations. I’ve been trying imagining myself sitting in the seat of self and it’s been working.
If it makes sense and resonates with you, give it a try.