The Ego-dominated mind plays its games in daily life, and creates the characters and scenarios necessary for the games. The content of such a scenario is determined by the individual’s environment and upbringing, that is, the culture in which we grow up. As a result, entirely different scenarios are created in the various cultures of our Earth.
At the beginning of our spirirual journey, we identify with these scenarios. The scenarios provide us with the sense of a solid identity. The patterns of thoughts fixed in the scenarios are manifested in various mind games during our daily life.
In the course of our journey leading to Consciousness, our objective should not be creating a positive character, and thus a pleasant scenario, but finding the Existence behind every scenario. The first step is examining the scenarios, these conditioned thought-patterns, in the light of Consciousness. Let us first examine some of our most extensive mind games that are rooted deepest.
Ambition is perhaps the comprehensive mind game, providing one of the deepest roots of Ego.
An elementary endeavour of every Ego is growing: to be “more”, larger and powerful. They strive to be higher and higher in the hyerarchic structure of the world, conquering more and more territory. The individual’s ambitions grow and grow, reaching larger and larger areas.
Ambitions are planted in a child by parents and teachers. Parents tend to think of an even yet unborn child as someone who is going to achieve the parents’ own’s unfulfilled ambitions.
With the educational means of reward and punishment, children are conditioned to excel among their peers, to be the best, strongest, most beautiful, etc. When the children meet the parental–and thus the social–expectations, they are rewarded, when not, they are punished. They therefore soon learn to be ambitious.
These ambitions, though based upon the past, always aim at the future. All through our lives we pursue illusionary objectives, spurred by various ambitions. Naturally, it is not impossible to satisfy an ambition, but it is immnediately replaced by a thousand others, as there are so many areas of life where we have not yet reached our ambitions.
That is how we chase senseless goals all through our lives until we die, when we realize that everybody leaves this world empty-handed, even those who lived their whole lives chasing mirages of past and future.
Look into yourself to see what is in you now! See what ambitions are driving you along on the sea of life and in what direction?
Every moment spent awake we face two alternatives. A choice is to be made between the ambitions stretching between past and future or the quiet, simple, pure emptiness of the present moment, full of vibrating life. It is-however-only the latter that brings the Witnessing Presence!
The Mind Game of Becoming Something
This mind game is closely associated with the life-long pursue of ambitions, and reveals the mechanisms of ambitions.
The Ego at all times strives to achieve something. The mind creates a mental image, an ideal about it. An ideal means that you are still not what you are supposed to be.
The Ego projects that idealized image into the future, and reveals the way leading to the goal. That image generates a permanent stress, tension and anxiety in the life of the Wanderer. If the Wanderer achieves the desired goal, or abandons it as unattainable, immediately finds a new one, an even more ambitious, or one that is easier to achieve, and another one, and so it goes until death, or the moment when the Wanderer realizes the futility of the whole process.
We are therefore constantly on the road, straying from one mental image to the next, and identify with these images, and derive our identity from the images.
When we start dealing with spirituality, our mind creates an image that we need to implement if we are determined to be successful. The image means that we need to find Presence, through the way the mind imagines it. The essence of this ideal is to be permanently conscious, to be Present all the time, in all details of our life.
The Ego, is however, aware that for most people it is an impossible venture, so the Wanderer often has a sense of self-accusation and self-depreciation, as the ideal image is impossible to achieve (the Wanderer is not spiritual enough). This state of mind is, eventually, a good foundation for the mind game of guilt.
In the course of our Journey we need to realize that we do not need to become anything, because we are already in possession of the characteristics that we have been looking for so far, pursuing an image projected into the future. All we need to do is shift our focus of alert and conscious attention from the edge (Ego) to our center (witnessing Presence). The mind games impede us in that process!
The “I Want Even More” – Mind Game
From all this it is easy to see that the Ego-dominated mind will never be satisfied, as it longs to achieve more and more in life. The individual wants to be rich, when they are rich, they want power, when they have power, they want fame. When material wealth no longer satisfies them, they begin to seek “spiritual wealth” and so forth. Once an objective has been achieved, a sense of relative satisfaction may follow, but sooner or later anxiety returns and the chase for more and more starts again.
This mind game takes the spiritual Seeker into a psychological time frame, as the goal to be achieved is projected into the future. In this way Now, the Present moment is reduced to a moment necessary for achieving the goal, and the vividness and beauty of it is lost.
The spiritual Seeker is, however, able to suppress the voice of the Ego: “I no longer listen to this nonsense, your pretension! It is not an illusory Self that I want to reach. I want to find my real Self!”
As a witnessing Presence one is able to observe these games of the mind and is also able to overcome and laugh at it! What more does one need than what is offered by the present moment? Once you have learnt how to dissolve in the present moment, and you are able to enjoy it, you will have no problem in disregarding the empty chit-chat of the Ego, the mind!
Thanks to Frank M Wanderer for this article.