You may have noticed from my previous posts that I’m very intrigued at the moment by how we create suffering for ourselves. Different approaches – mindfulness, buddhism or the work of Eckhart Tolle to name a few – refer to the ego as a source of suffering. And that triggers my curiosity. I’m intrigued. I’m very intrigued.
Could it be as simple as that? That we are made of two big parts – our ego, and our higher self, or otherwise referred as our soul ; and our ego is the one responsible for all the s*** we’re going through in our lives? Excuse my French 😀
So I’m exploring. On a daily basis. On myself, first and foremost. But also I observe in my clients what is actually going on behind the scene.
There are times when I’m totally grounded and at peace. Through practising meditation and mindfulness intensively, I have learnt to distance myself from my mind and my emotions, and find a place of inner peace.
But there are other times when I struggle. I can sit in a lotus position for hours – ok, this is a big cliché, you don’t have to sit in a lotus position to meditate, but I like it! 😉 – anyway, I can meditate for hours, and still not be able to re-centre or ground myself. And as an NLP practitioner, my mind automatically wants to model itself, and asks “What’s different in those two situations? how can I reproduce that state of inner peace?”
In my clients, I observe the stories and the drama they get caught into. And I sometimes witness in awe those rare moments where their higher self comes to the surface. Where I have the privilege the see the transformation before my eyes and observe the best version of themselves come through. And once more, I ask myself “What’s the difference between those two states?”
I’m starting to see a theme emerging out of all those observations. Whenever we are caught into the drama in our lives, when we engage with those negative assumptions and emotions I am curious as to what we actually get from it. In NLP there is something we call a presupposition – a kind of principle or guideline we chose to adopt – and one of them says that behind every behaviour there is something positive that serves us. What we also call both in NLP and CBT a pay off.
So what would be the pay off of engaging in the drama our ego creates? Why is there a separation between our soul and our ego? What is the purpose of the ego? what on earth does it want through putting us through a roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis?!!
So last time I was meditating and struggling with my ego getting in the way, I actually decided to use NLP to tackle my ego. Not very mindfulness-like, I know, but I thought “what if NLP could lead to enlightenment as well?!” No harm in trying. So I used an NLP technique called parts integration to work with my ego. And I explored what was going on there, why I couldn’t let go – and what came up was fear. Fear of pain, of course to start with. But I decided to dig deeper. What was behind the fear of pain? and I realised it was actually a fear of loss. And ultimately a fear of isolation and death. Typical existential themes.
So our ego is actually trying to protect us from those ultimate fears linked to our human condition. Fear of isolation, or loneliness, and fear of death. And I am wondering if every time we hold on to our stories, every time we engage in conflictual interaction with people, if every time we get caught in the drama triangle and other dysfunctional communication patterns – it’s simply to fight our fear of isolation and death.
I’m starting to observe something quite similar in my clients and friends. When they tell me about what’s bothering them, I am curious as to what is the ultimate fear that drives their issue. And I am now wondering if deep inner Peace is simply a total comprehensive absence of fear. So I tried it. I used EFT on myself and dived into the fears. The fear of pain to start with, I faced it head on. And it led me to a fear of loss, and then I faced isolation. Every time asking myself the same question through the process: “So what if I’m in pain/alone, then what happens?” and simply allowed myself to go to that scary place. Somehow it actually reminds me of the work of that wonderful NLP practitioner Brandon Bays ; diving to the deepest darkness of our soul.
Combining that process with EFT is actually very powerful. It helped me to get to places I was too scared to go before, where my mind was cleverly resisting, using all its range of defence mechanisms. But I went there. So if I lose everything, then what happens? Well, then I end up without anything and alone. And if I do, what’s the worst that can happen? I die. But that’s also the end of suffering, loneliness and fear. It’s the nothingness Brandon Bays talks about. And experiencing this whilst being alive is totally liberating. Not conceptualising or thinking about it. Actually experiencing it. And that experience can’t be described, only lived through.
But it made me think of Eckhart Tolle again – and my NLP hat on, I asked myself “How did he get to that state of inner Peace?” and I realised that he had lost everything. He lived in that state of “nothingness” for a while. Could that be it?
And that experience led me to one question I’d like to share with you: when there’s nothing left of you, when you’ve lost everything, and you’re in that place – the nothingness ; what then remains?