There are many secrets to happiness that people spend their whole lives looking for. But, the truth is – it can’t be found externally. As the saying goes, “happiness is an inside job”. It can often be felt during a stream of consciousness – while being present with one’s self, aware of one’s thoughts and feelings without judgment. Consciousness, in essence, is a state which cannot be achieved by thinking about it or trying to control oneself; it can only be experienced through present awareness. With practice, consciousness becomes easier and more natural until we realize that we have been living our lives on autopilot this entire time!
In this personal growth guide, learn how to elevate out of the unconscious egoic mind to find deeper happiness and peace within. Discover helpful and practical tips for becoming more present, aware, and less attached to outcomes. Plus, learn how to differentiate between your ego and your higher self.
What is consciousness?
At our core, our higher self is consciousness. In essence, consciousness is a state of being, rather than one of thinking or doing. It is not based on the self-made identity that we have cultivated or been conditioned to believe we are. But rather, it is the true essence of who we are – a connection with Source energy.
The best way I can describe being in a state of consciousness is akin to experiencing a strong WiFi signal. We all use and rely on WiFi, but most of us don’t really understand how it truly works. We just accept that it is a part of life.
Our consciousness is similar – in that it’s energy, an omnipresent force field, so to speak. While we can’t see it or touch it, we know it exists. We also recognize the inherent power of what it provides us – as an integral way to connect with life.
Whenever you can slow down the stream of thoughts racing through your mind, and simply become aware of the present moment (and your deeper self), that is the way to access your consciousness. It’s essentially a form of being, not thinking or doing.
What is the egoic mind?
In order to better understand consciousness, we have to learn about the egoic mind. Most of us have been led to believe that we are our identity. Our name, our gender, our religion, our cultural background, our profession, our education, our likes and dislikes, our haves and have-nots, our possessions, our beliefs or values, and even our judgments of the world around us. This is how most people would perceive their sense of self. But this is only a shallow, limited view of who you are. It’s simply the identity of your egoic mind.
The truth is – the essence of who you are goes far beyond these temporary conditions. For example, when you were born, you weren’t any of these things, but yet, you existed. That state of existence is still a core part of you, beyond all of the definitions you have accumulated or created for yourself.
A good explanation is that of a flower. The identity (or egoic mind) is the appearance, scent, shape, and name of the flower. However, the true essence of the flower (the energy within that helps it naturally grow and evolve) is akin to our consciousness – a vital life force within.
Oftentimes, when people go through a “mid-life crisis”, they end up changing many aspects of their identity. They change jobs, change relationships, relocate, and even take up new hobbies or interests. In truth, they end up dissolving their old identity to create a new one. That’s part of the purpose of the egoic mind – to have an identity. But, keep in mind, this is limited by nature. It’s also temporary.
These are some of the reasons why allowing ourselves to be attached to our egoic mind’s false sense of identity leads to unhappiness.
Why is identification with the egoic mind problematic?
The problem is, when we only see ourselves as our identity, we feel limited (because, in truth, we are). To break free from this mental limitation, we need to release our attachment to this identity (that was formed by our egoic mind), so that we can re-connect with our true self – our conscious Presence.
The biggest problem inherent with the egoic mind is that it creates dysfunction and unhappiness. It is never satiated, only temporarily satisfied. It always seeks more – more wealth, more accomplishments, more praise, more pleasurable experiences. It also is always in a state of comparison – to the past, to the future, and to other people. It either feels superior or inferior to, richer or poorer, smarter or dumber, prettier or uglier, etc. It’s constantly comparing itself to an external source, rather than feeling grounded within itself, just as it is.
I’m not saying that we should live life without dreams, wishes, or goals. However, if we base our entire sense of happiness on the fulfillment of future desires or our egoic mind, then we’ll stay stuck in a never-ending cycle of desire and attachment to outcomes. That’s why the saying goes, “happiness is an inside job” – because it’s not about external validation or acquisitions. Happiness, in truth, is an inner experience.
How to elevate out of the egoic mind into conscious awareness?
As stated in Eckhart Tolle’s new book A New Earth, “Become conscious of being conscious. Say or think “I Am” and add nothing to it. Be aware of the stillness that follows the I Am. Sense your presence, the naked, unveiled, unclothed beingness. It is untouched by young or old, rich or poor, good or bad, or any other attributes. It is the spacious womb of all creation, all form.”
To help you elevate out of the limited egoic mind into limitless consciousness, here are 3 practical tips to help you.
- Be mindful of your thoughts. The egoic mind is like a computer program that keeps running. It’s always churning out thoughts – wants, likes, dislikes, judgments, criticisms, opinions, etc. The moment you become aware of your thoughts, you access your consciousness. This helps you gain control over the thoughts and can even help you learn how to suspend them (so that you can experience the inner bliss and peace that comes with “no-thought”).
- Focus on your breath. When you are consciously aware of your breathing, you are less affected by your ego’s stream of thoughts. Instead, they start to dissipate or run in the background, while your present awareness comes to the foreground. Deep breathing exercises not only connect you with your core self – your inner consciousness, but they also help to slow down the ceaseless pattern of thoughts that run through your mind. This, in turn, helps you feel greater happiness and peace.
- Release attachments to outcome. When you can learn to accept the present moment (without resistance or judgment), you can rise up out of the egoic mind into consciousness. When you are attached to future outcomes, you will stay addicted to the anxiety that comes with uncertainty or lack of control. Even if you get what you think you want, your satisfaction will be short-lived. It’s similar to kids on Christmas morning – they’re excited about their new toys at first, but then, after a few days, the thrill wears off. Now, they’re on to the next desire. So, to stop this never-ending cycle, do your best to release attachments to the outcome. By learning to accept what is, change what you can, and let go of the need to have some future experience, you find greater happiness and enjoyment of the present moment.
To learn more, I encourage you to read books by Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. Both world-renowned new thought leaders offer valuable insights on how to awaken consciousness, experience deeper happiness, and elevate out of the egoic mind.
[Disclosure: Affiliate links included.]