Having the awareness that your ego-mind sabotages your spiritual work is an essential beginning. It’s calling a spade a spade. It’s being aware that your ego-mind is not your ally in your search for peace. That its urgings, regardless how strong, are not in your self-interest. And so you form the intent to stop this self-sabotage.
Beyond that, the prerequisite, as for all similar spiritual questions, is to be aware at the moment your ego-mind arises. Why? Because your emotions are so powerful. Once they take hold of you, once the horse is out of the gate, they are virtually unstoppable till you drop exhausted.
Now no one is aware 24/7. It’s just too much to expect, at least from an unenlightened human being. But one can have the intent to increase the moments during the day when one is aware.
And one does that by purposefully taking moments throughout the day and having “quiet time” amidst everything that’s going on around you. To do this we must first stop. Literally. Stop whatever is going on in your mind and, if possible, whatever activity you’re engaged in.
Once you’ve stopped, there are various techniques you can use to center yourself and bring yourself home to your heart. You can feel your breath going in and out. You can say the words, “Breathing in, I’m aware I’m breathing in. Breathing out, I’m aware I’m breathing out.” You can do a short om-based chant. You can visualize something that takes you home … I often visualize a photo of myself as a smiling toddler, full of joy for no reason whatsoever.
This will create a space in time, even if just a few moments, where you are truly present. Where you are centered and return home to your heart.
Following this practice cannot guarantee that you will be present when you really need to be, when your ego arises. But it certainly increases the chances of your being aware throughout the day.
But being present and aware is only the prerequisite. You must then be steadfast to what is most important to you … your peace and happiness. So that when you become aware the ego-mind is asserting itself through the arising of emotions and perceptions, you will have the will to say “no, I reject your guidance” to your ego-mind. Remembering that those emotions and perceptions cause nothing but frustration and suffering once they take hold of you.
You will then have the freedom of returning home to your heart, of being at peace and happy regardless what life throws at you