Imagine a life where every moment is rich with presence and clarity. Yet, for many of us, this seems like a distant dream.
We all strive to be present and fully experience life. However, there’s a catch: our ego constantly pulls us away from the present.
Through my research and experience, I’ve discovered how deeply our ego interferes with our ability to live in the moment.
It’s robbing us of our joy.
You’re reading this because you seek a deeper connection with the present.
By the end of this article, you’ll not only understand how the ego interferes with your ability to live in the moment but also learn practical strategies to overcome this barrier.
In the present moment, in walks the ego.
While I have a close relationship with my soul, I realize how much stronger my relationship is with my ego.
Instead of living in the moment as I’d like to, I regularly have thoughts like: what will I eat today, what will I wear, how’s my health, and how does my hair look?
Then, there’s the mind wandering about ME and the world: what do you think of me, do you agree with me, do you see how this person disrespected me… it’s exhausting!
Well, F#@% that.
The ego’s mantra
It’s me against them. It’s I and me.
I’m just learning about my ego and oh man, what a mess.
My ego wants to assert itself, get revenge, hurt others’ feelings as they’ve hurt mine, and so on.
My ego wants to impress you.
And the ego’s form of self honesty is criticism.
Well, that’s not living in the moment, that’s being busy watching my every move, my every word.
And the world must comply with what I need. ie: I need everyone in my life to agree with me and be easy.
The ego needs constant support. Tell me you agree with me so I’ll be strong and validated.
The soul’s mantra
The soul is able to realize deeply: I want to learn and grow. I need to do this thing. All that happens is necessary for my soul’s evolution.
Your unique soul knows it struggles, but it’s OK with it. It doesn’t have an ego… so it’s not judging itself!
The soul knows that falling down, fumbling, and all out fear is part of life and expects it.
The soul is self-accepting.
The soul is directly connected to a power far greater than you are that runs through you. I call this Soul Power. Eckhart Tolle calls this Presence.
But, not the ego. No way.
The ego judges everything. Every stinking little thing.
Let go of your need to understand
While trying to understand life is what us humans do, it’s WAY overrated. Instead, we need to lean into emotional energy.
Just feel the energy or vibration frequency of your emotions.
And sit with it in the present moment.
And when you notice a story line creeping into your mind, say to yourself: Nope!
The stories will pop into your head… and when they do, bring your attention back to the energy of the emotion. The pure raw energy.
We are thought out! We are thinking ourselves to death!
How do you shrink the ego?
To shrink the ego is three simple words: Awareness of it. Oh, and you have to REALLY want to.
You get to a consciousness that says: I am unwilling to live like this!
Are you aware of the famous line from the Oscar winning movie, Network? “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Well, that’s what you can say to your ego.
As Eckhart Tolle makes a brilliant case for in A New Earth, stop being entangled with it, then it will shrink of it’s on lack of nourishment.
So we have to stop being sucked into what it’s doing… needing to be accepted, approved of, needing to be right, needing to be superior, etc.
No one would want my ego at a party… this dude is horrible!
How do you work with the two?
If everything that happens is part of your soul’s evolution, then where does the obnoxious ego fit in?
As we heal and grow, the ego shrinks.
Here’s what to do to work with the ego and the soul.
Stop thinking the negative stories about YOU!
Your thoughts create emotions. I talk about that in my post: 3 Best Positive Thinking Skills For A High Vibe Life
The biggest problem with the ego is that we tend to tell ourselves negative stories and negative thoughts about ourselves and our lives.
Does this sound familiar?
Something happens that brings up an emotional pain of some kind… like hurt, anger, fear, rejection. So you FEEL this emotional pain. Then usually, you’ll go right to the story about it.
Well, she always does that.
He’s going to say THIS THING I HATE.
Oh man, I bet she will do it again.
If this happens, I will feel devastated FOREVER.
Sadly, the sad negative stories are part of our emotional heritage from living in a world laden with emotional baggage.
Then, we bring in our own emotional baggage!
Between everyone else’s baggage and our baggage, we have a lot of negative stories bouncing around in our heads!
The negative story you’re telling yourself is adding on to the emotion! If you’re hurt, and you think the story of WHY you’re hurt… you’re inflaming the hurt!
What to do with the negative story
When you notice yourself jumping into the negative story… stop the story.
Instead, you can shrink the ego and honor the energy of the emotion.
You can do this:
Notice what you feel.
Now, focus your attention on the ENERGY OF THE EMOTION.
Stay with the energy of it, not the story about it.
How does this help you live in the moment? Well, in the moment you are having a feeling right? Well, allow that.
AND, don’t add to it with a story about it.
The negative story will not help or heal you or the situation! It won’t! However, allowing the emotion to be felt and ultimately released WILL help and heal your mind, body, and soul .
What is the ego?
The ego is the part of the mind that is responsible for our sense of self. It is what makes us feel like we are separate from the world around us and gives us our sense of identity.
According to Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth, “The ego is a conglomeration of recurring thought forms and conditioned, mental emotional patterns that are invested with a sense of I, a sense of self.“
The ego is responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
On page 62 in A New Earth, he writes, “You resent other people’s greed, their dishonesty, their lack of integrity, what they are doing, what they did in the past, what they said, what they failed to do, what they should, or shouldn’t have done. The ego loves it.“
The soul wants to live in the moment
As a soul coach, I’m committed to the deeper aspect of us, the soul.
It’s focusing on the little things, the tiny details that make life rich, full, and wonderful.
All of that.
Plus, the soul likes to live in the moment because in the moment we create our lives.
If we’re stuck in the past or future, it’s hard to create new relationships, new opportunities, new anything! But… the ego keeps us stuck!
Additionally, an advantage of nature, is that it helps you connect with the soul and live in the moment.
Tips for being soulful and savoring the moment
To savor the moment means to really enjoy life and appreciate the present moment, to take the time to experience and appreciate what is happening right now.
It can be something as simple as enjoying a delicious meal, or as profound as spending time with loved ones. Savoring the moment can help us to appreciate the good things in our lives, and to reduce stress and anxiety.
Here are some tips on how to savor living in the moment more:
- Pay attention to your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel?
- Slow down and take your time. Don’t rush through the moment.
- Be grateful. Appreciate the good things in your life, both big and small.
- Be soulful!
Pay attention to your senses.
Mindfulness meditation asks that you focus your attention on the present moment. In Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat Zinn, he teaches mindfulness meditation in very simple language.
So, you can use mindfulness to focus on your senses in the present moment. Notice what you see in front of you, the colors and shapes.
Notice what you smell and what do those smells remind you of?
What can you hear? Is it nature, man, construction, the wind?
Also, write about what you are experiencing through your senses. This can help you to become more aware of your surroundings and to appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
Slow down and don’t rush
Set a timer for 10 minutes and focus on one task at a time during that time.
Or, take a few deep breaths when you start to feel overwhelmed.
When you’re beginning to feel overloaded step away from what you’re doing. And spend time with loved ones who you feel calm with.
My favorite piece of advice for my clients is to do one thing at a time. When you’re doing too much, say to yourself: One thing at a time.
It is important to find what works best for you and to be patient with yourself. Slowing down is a habit and like any habit can be changed.
There are many ways to practice gratitude. Here are a few ideas I recommend:
- Oprah made this one popular, but keep a gratitude journal. Write down three things you’re grateful for each day.
- Start your day with a gratitude practice. Take a few minutes to think about all the things you’re grateful for before you start your day. I have a gratitude prayer I say every morning before my feet hit the floor.
- Notice the simple pleasures in life. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature, the taste of your food, or the warmth of your bed.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that will have a positive impact on your life. When you focus on the things you’re grateful for, it shifts your energy!
Be a soulful person
I’ve written an entire blog post on this very important subject and I highly recommend you read it a few times to help you be a soulful person.
The ability to be present and live in the moment is a lifelong spiritual practice.
So, don’t be discouraged when you want to live in the moment, and you’re not.
The path to get there is having the will and a repeated practice, as with any new way of being in the world.
But, it’s worthwhile, actually, it may be the most important thing we can do with our lives… is the ability to live each moment for whatever it is.