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I open my arms, release the tension in my shoulders and breathe. A small space expands in my chest and I breathe again. Slowly, more deeply, I inhale the quiet air around me. I turn my palms outward – letting go just a little bit, knowing there is more to release. What I hold on to isn’t mine to hold, I don’t need it. It has a grip on me, and it doesn’t serve me at all.

Breathe again, Diane. Why do I think that I must carry worries around on my shoulders? It is pointless, it’s a waste of energy, and since worries don’t really exist, it’s also ridiculous. Vexation, distress, perplexity, disquiet are those tiny little insects of invisible annoyance that buzz around our brains incessantly. They poke at us, get in our faces, and whisper untruths in our ears. They fly so quickly back and forth in our brains we forget where we are, what we are doing in the present moment, and we become blind and deaf to the people around us. Everything becomes obliterated either for the moment or for hours, by those little tiny tortuous unseen bugs from hell.

So how do I get rid of them? Even for a little while? There is a way, a practice, a yogic lesson that works. When I have the presence of mind to remember it, it’s bliss. The mind stops racing around in endless loops, and peace appears. It may be temporary, but one day I pray, pray, pray it will stick permanently. The practice is simple; I step into the witness state, the observer, the one watching all this drama and ask,

“Who is thinking these thoughts?”

A pause. A space. The chatter diminishes. I breathe.

“Who is thinking these thoughts?”

My heart- beat slows a little, less panic, less angst. I am more awake, calm, centered than a moment before. I ask again,

“Who is thinking these thoughts?”

My head lifts a little taller out of my spine, my ribcage expands a little more fully, my jaw unclenches. The answer comes. Ah-ha . . .

“The ego.”

The one thinking these endless thoughts is not me, not my conscious aware God-Self, it’s the little self, the very busy ego. That ego is the nasty little irritation that can build us up or tear us down. That ego is the thing that compares and judges and swears you are better than another person and you deserve all the praise… and that very same ego also condemns you and tells you that you really are worthless and no good.

But that’s not really me, as my soul, my spirit. Ego is not who I am, it’s a trick of the mind, an illusion - It is just the earth-bound gossiping magpie that inhabits my brain most of the time. “I” can try to control it – not be a slave to it. “I” can step back into that Power and Strength that is God, and know that none of that chatter matters. “I” can choose to simply watch it flow by, not pay it any attention, laugh at it, wave my hand at it, blow it away and out into the universe to dissolve into nothingness.

I’m still working on this deep lesson. Sometimes I make progress and sometimes I succumb to the nagging little troll. I strive to be kind, patient and very loving to the girl inside who is working very hard to grow on this path of consciousness. To recognize that her essence, her being is so much more than all the busy words, thoughts, and judgments of the mind. She is full of light, full of quiet wonderment, and bliss is there, all the time, right below the surface.

The marvelous thing is we all have this same beautiful quiet power inside. Our God-Self. The one that knows a kindness is always a good thing. The one that helps, cares, is tender, loving and gentle. I know that I’m in tune with my true Self when that bubble of happiness appears, out of nowhere, and everything just flows. When the mind is quiet and we just are, not doing, just being - that is when we are truly at peace and grounded in joy. It’s what we are all made of – that serenity, that deep stillness, powerful and all encompassing.

Little Ego disappears for a while, and we know, as the absolute truth, that we are unconditionally loved – exactly as we are. There are no conditions for that love, no jobs to do to receive it. It is ours, simply by remembering who we truly are.

I open my arms, release the tension in my shoulders and breathe. A small space expands in my chest and I breathe again. Slowly, more deeply, I inhale the quiet air around me. I turn my palms outward – letting go, letting go, letting go…

Keep practicing, Diane. You’ll get it.

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