For some people it’s skiing off a cliff. For others it would be talking to millions on the radio. Or maybe it’s airplanes. Or being a parent. For some it would be a night alone. Or having to read a book. It could even be as simple as eating in front of other people.
Everyone has their own collection of fears. In fact, that’s not a bad way of describing what our ego is. It’s largely a collection of the things we avoid.
So what can we learn from the radio host that is afraid to have kids or the Mom who’s terrified to spend the night alone in her house? That we are all the same.
The fear that the radio host feels is the same sensation that the Mom feels about her own fear. These are common senses. In fact, it’s really not so much us that’s experiencing the fear but rather fear is being experienced and we create a “me” in our consciousness and that’s the sieve through which that experience funnels into the universe.
Fear is fear no matter the cause. And no, none of those people are crazy for skiing off cliffs or for reading a thick book. The only difference between them and us may be that they simply do not have a word-based ego-argument for why they can’t do whatever it is.
It’s not that we have to grow to believe we can do something —as children do, we can learn to believe anything. The problem is, as we grow and have experiences that we presume will repeat, we learn to limit our imagination.
We think these thoughts —we tell ourselves stories in our consciousness– and then we think we can’t do something when really it’s just a matter that our story has convinced us to believe that something is impossible so we don’t even try.
But those fears are often voluntary. Other people tell different stories than us, which leads them to act differently from us. Which all proves that other stories can be told.
We often have lives that repeat because we have a habit of telling ourselves the same stories every time we do something like ‘climb the ladder’ at the high diving board at the pool. We literally talk ourselves out of leaping by discussing all that could go wrong.
Meanwhile, the only difference between us stuck on the platform and the person who leaps off with excitement, is that they are telling themselves a story about how great the experience will be while we used the power of our imagination to create disaster.
We all have the flexibility to change our minds about anything. We can change any opinion of the world or ourselves at any time. We just shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves or others for being lost in ego.
It takes some time, and the act of repeatedly making the choices, before this change to our thinking process becomes natural. And almost everyone around us is locked in ego and they are all unconsciously modelling unconsciousness, everywhere.
All of that unhealthy influence is why we must be aware and vigilant. We must note when our thinking rolls out of control. We must learn to consistently check in with the ‘temperature’ of our thinking. If it gets too hot or too cold, that can tell us to dial it to something more useful and rewarding.
It really is easier than we tend to think. We just have to be willing to keep doing it until our brain is done rewiring. It doesn’t take long. So we may as well start right now.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.