But when you read the teachings of the Buddha and delve into your spiritual practice, you learn that the ego-mind is not your true self. That your true self is your unborn Buddha nature, your heart. But the ego-mind is so strong, and the heart is so weak for want of nourishment, that the ego-mind continues to control our reactions, how we experience things.
As your practice deepens and becomes more disciplined, however, you get better at discerning the difference between what the ego-mind is telling you and what your heart is telling you. But the ego-mind’s hold on us is so strong that even then, we often fall into its vortex of fear and anxiety.
That is why, as noted in the previous post, one must be ever vigilant. Regardless how far one has come in one’s practice, you must always test the wisdom of what you’re doing or thinking of doing. Although more of your guidance is coming from your heart, it is probable that much of your guidance is still coming from your ego-mind.
But you cannot just ask whether the guidance is coming from you heart or your mind. Why? The mind is so sly and has so many forms that what you think is coming from your heart or your inner self may really just be your ego-mind in disguise.
And so you must hold up each guidance to a test of dependable clarity to determine whether it is right for you. And if it is not right, reject it, and seek guidance from your heart.
And what is a dependable test of whether guidance is right for you? It’s very simple ... after you've gone through the process of asking yourself what is most important to you, what you value most. (See my post, "What Is Most Important To You?.")
That process will always end with the inner self-truth that peace and happiness is what you value most. So if a guidance brings you peace and happiness, it is right for you. But if it brings you agitation and suffering, it is not right for you. Either the thought/action itself is disruptive and you need to stop, or you are approaching an otherwise skillful desire from an unskillful perspective, from a lack of equanimity, in which case you have to find the way to approach it with equanimity, free of emotion.
Always hold your peace and happiness in the forefront of your mind, knowing that nothing is more important to you. Remember that nothing that your ego-mind presses upon ... and it will press upon you ... is more important. Do not allow yourself to be distracted from this inner self-truth. It is your birthright.