Last month's blog struck a chord with a lot of people: Mind Attacks: Your Pain-Loving Ego.
In many ways, it was a hard blog to write.
I felt exposed and vulnerable, opening a door to my inner life and sharing some of my darker experiences on this healing path.
In this age of awakening spirituality it's so easy to focus on flowery affirmations, feel-good therapies and perky mindfulness memes.
Yet when you're in the grip of a mind attack - feeling desperately alone - these quick fixes have the strength of a paper wall trying to hold back a torrent of raging thoughts.
Aside from good ol' meditation and conscious breathing, what can you do?
Check out below for my diverse list of go-to's for how to work with yourself and increase your awareness during an egoic mind attack. The earlier you catch yourself, the easier it is.
I'll be really honest with you: sometimes they'll work, and sometimes they won't. (Hey, I did promise fluff-free wellness!)
How to deal with mind attacks & transcend the ego:
Think of these suggestions as a bunch of keys to a door that you're trying to open; if one doesn't work, don't give up, just try another one.
1. Thought Checker: Your mind is a brilliant justifier, acting like a star witness in the prosecution's box. How could you not believe such reasonable or logical arguments? Easy, test your thoughts: If a thought makes you feel like crap (i.e. triggers anxiety, fear, sadness or frustration) then your pain-loving ego's in the driving chair.
2. Mind STOP: The ego is incredibly persuasive and deceptive, flipping through a filing cabinet of fodder to feed your fearful thoughts. Every time your thoughts go off the peaceful path, assertively bring them back. Say aloud or in your head "STOP!" and repeat a mantra that really resonates for you.
3. Self-Enquiry U-Turn: Don't believe the superficial thoughts your head is spinning, continue to ask yourself: What's this really about? Ask again, and again, until you start to get to the core of what is so deeply unsettling you. Blaming someone else for your mood is a sure sign that your outward projections need to do a u-turn, so your focus is back on YOU.
4. Bodymind Gym: Direct your attention on doing something that requires absolute concentration. This draws energy away from your thoughts and brings you back into your body. As great as walking is, it often allows your thoughts to continue to "run." Instead, try a more bodymind-engaging activity, such as: Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, isometrics, climbing a tree or even juggling!
5. Brainwave Beats: Music is a powerful mood influencer. Create a playlist of soothing songs that touch your heart and deepen your breath. Let sound and frequency take you beyond words and mind. This is what I'm listening to at the moment: https://www.sacredacoustics.com
6. Shock Therapy: Immerse yourself in the elements: jump into a cold river, stand in the face of a strong wind, walk barefoot on damp grass, warm your arms and eyelids under the bright sun. Allow the elements to pull you into the present. (Psst... A cold shower is another great substitute!)
7. Hibernate: When you're in the grip of an egoic attack, the chances of you lashing out at yourself and others is pretty high; minimize collateral damage by retreating to your bed and sleeping off your murky mood like a bad hangover.
8. "The Work": If you're truly ready to take complete self-responsibility, then Byron Katie's "The Work" is powerful. The Judge-Your-Neighbour Worksheet is confronting AND brilliant! Check out the free downloads here: https://thework.com
9. Helping Hand: Turn to someone you trust, reach out, and say, "I'm having some really awful thoughts about myself. Can you please help me?" Self-destructive thoughts thrive when allowed to silently fester in the mind. Verbalizing puts your phantom thoughts under a truth microscope. If you don't have a suitable friend, then reach out to a holistic health professional.
10. Ride It Out: There are most probably going to be times when it feels like absolutely nothing works. If that's the case, your best protection is having some part of you - even if it feels incredibly minuscule - who knows that what's happening is an egoic attack. It's temporary, it's not real and it's not true.
Often there's a higher purpose to what we're going through. As painful as it can be, we're being shown our shadow side; our deepest insecurities and fears that are the unseen background programs running our life.
Insights that come through journeying into the dark can break through years of conditioned behaviour and self-imposed limitations.
In this way, your pain-loving ego is not your enemy; instead, it is one of the most POWERFUL driving forces for waking up and healing.
Missed last month's blog? Click here to catch-up. :-)