I thus developed the practice I've explained of saying "no" to the guidance of my ego-mind and looking instead to my heart, my true Buddha self, for guidance. My ego mind may always be a part of me, but I could not allow it to control me.
I always thought of my ego-mind and Buddha mind as being separate, either at first two separate entities or later two opposite poles on one spectrum as I came to understand that we have only one mind. And so I worked at surrendering my ego-mind to my true Buddha nature, or as I reframed it, turning my will and my life over to the care of my true Buddha nature.
This was to a large extent successful. Through engaging in a variety of practices that I've described in posts, and in particular The Heart's Embrace, I was able to free myself from the control of the emotions and judgments of my ego-mind and be at peace, having returned home to my true Buddha nature.
Yet as I've related previously, I still felt there was a grey cloud hanging over me; I was at peace but experienced little joy. And my ego-mind would sneak up on me with some regularity and cause me and those around me suffering.
It was at that point that a friend said that I talk about the ego-mind as if it weren't mine. I realized then that I needed to embrace my ego-mind as part of The Heart's Embrace. I had embraced specific trauma, my life as it presently is, and the future, que sera sera, but I had not specifically embraced my ego-mind, and as I have written often, it is crucial when doing spiritual exercises to name the specific things you are working on; general measures are not effective.
You could well wonder how, when listing major aspects of my being and experience, I did not include my ego-mind? The answer is that although I knew it was part of me, and always would be part of me, I knew it wasn't my true self. Also, I now realize that all the things I embraced were external things or my reaction to those things. I didn't really embrace myself.
And so, as I related in my post, "Don't Just Say No To Your Mind," what I started doing when my ego-mind (which I now refer to just as "the mind") asserted itself was to still say "no" to it, but embrace it, say this is not how we respond to things, and provide it guidance from my heart. I knew this was going in the right direction, but something was still missing, I felt distanced, it felt forced.
Then one recent morning when I meditated and I spoke these words (silently), I realized that my mind was like a child, it is my inner child, who without any guidance had developed its own way of reacting to life experiences and it was just all wrong; it was thus creating suffering for me. My mind, my inner child, my wounded inner child were all one. No wonder the hold of the mind on us is so strong.
And so I did as I would to my child – say "no," embrace it, saying with loving kindness that this isn't how we respond, and provide it guidance from my heart.
Although the words are the same as I just had stated previously, the feeling, the manner of expression was very different. This time when I embraced my mind it was out of love, love for my inner child, love for myself. And so I have reached a point of unconditional love for my mind. It is my errant inner child who must be directed and guided, but who I love unconditionally.
Wow! Who would have thought?
May you experience peace and happiness.