Boy, the mind is sticky! Sitting last night, after a long day working at my desk on 'big' project, it was hard not getting caught into thoughts. Planning, elaborating, fantasizing . . . getting lost in my own sense of self- importance. Head was overheating from so much activity, and efforts to land on the breath seemed almost in vain. There was much suffering.
The ordinary, untrained mind has a quality of stickiness. It keeps remembering old hurts and resentments, comparing the past to the present, and hanging on to its dissatisfactions. [or creating future that perpetuates the illusion of control and power!] We believe all the thoughts and projections that fill our minds. A mind like ours seems to have a fence around it and within that enclosure all understanding takes place . . . We should be cautious about the thoughts we think during the day, because they have no true found foundation; they are ego-based projections of our desires and habits. They do not touch upon absolute reality. This doesn't mean that we abandon them right away, but we treat them with caution. They're simply old habits, not commendable in themselves, not conducive to peace and happiness . . . Whatever we use as our personal identity constitutes our prison. Letting go is freedom.
~ from Ayya Khema, in Be an Island ~It's good to notice when the 'I' takes over . . . Only then can we start slow process of disengaging from it.
It is also worthwhile to pay attention to the conditions that put us at greater risk of entrapment. For me, danger lurks whenever I spend too much time in my head, engaged in intellectually rewarding endeavors. I literally need to come down, and ground myself in mundane activities such as doing the dishes, going for a walk, petting the dogs, . . . Talking to my mother who has Alzheimer's is another great way to do away with self-assertions from the ego. The illness leaves no room for fancy thinking. It has become one of my greatest teachers.
What are your danger zones? How do you deal with the 'I' in your life?