These are the three movements of mind that keep our ego alive and continue the cycle of suffering in our lives and relationships. These movements are mostly unconscious and conditioned through our past. Growing up with people that moved these ways in relationship to us often cause us to either act this way as well or act the complete opposite way. We commonly say and hear others say “I’ll never grow up to be like my …” but it is often painfully discovered that we often grow up to behave the exact same way.
Moving towards is the common codependence; needing to always be saturated with someone else or a group to feel alive. It can be hard for others around us if we are too needy. People feel smothered. We cling out of fear and a need for security, but it is an unhealthy response to not feeling safe in the world as independent beings.
Moving away is a defensive tactic in order for us to feel as if we actually do not need anyone else to survive. This on one level is true, but this behavior can undervalue and alienate those that care about us. This is often a way to protect ourselves from being hurt, yet we are hurting those around us and ultimately hurting ourselves. We are creating a situation that is exactly what we didn’t want – pain.
Pushing against is also often a defensive move, yet it is more aggressive; fighting with others rather than just turning away and ignoring them. It can have anger underneath and a sense of entitlement to being who we are, even if it is hurting those around us. This behavior causes others to not want to be real around us, knowing it could cause an explosion of emotion at any moment. People around us may end up walking on egg shells just so they don’t have to experience the aggression that arises. This movement is often covering up a lack of confidence and self esteem since we need to defend our position and keep our ego strong.
In all of these cases, the ego is the underlying problem. Its ultimate goal is survival and it knows it is going to have to strategize to do that. It wants to be in charge of our lives and in all of the decisions we make. It wants to know how people and situations can benefit it and its survival, and if there is no benefit, than what is the point?
The ego has a huge misconception which is causing all of the patterns to occur. It wants to be the driver of our lives and of who we are, yet deep down, it knows it isn’t. If it would realize and accept that it is the passenger than there would be no problem. Yet it is so scared to give away its seeming control. The ironic thing is that we all know life has other plans for us and yet our ego continues to believe that it is writing our destiny. The Self, the one that we are deep within and is watching this all unfold, is sitting back and observing all of this… and may very well be grinning at the absurdity. It is like watching a child drive a toy car and observing them telling the passengers where they are going. As adults, we often smile and notice how adorable that is. The Self is doing just that; sitting back and watching. Yet the pain the ego is causing is unnecessary, which is why it is so painful when we really look at how we do this to ourselves and to those we love.
Spending time watching as the observer is such a powerful experience because we begin to see these movements of mind acted out with a level of detachment. From there we have a decision to make – to continue the movements or to notice them when they happen and STOP. Stopping means seeing the movement starting and consciously stopping it, right then and there in the moment. Not deciding that later we will stop, but now and forever. We can ask ourselves consciously and honestly if we really need to cling, run away or yell.
In the stopping there is a lot of energy, similar to a fire. The movement usually would disperse or dissolve this energy, but stopping in the midst of it causes this energy to build up. This is a good thing – it is a fire that will burn up the pattern. In my experience, when the fire arises and I let it be, it burns like a fever and my body actually gets physically hot. Allowing it to burn is a powerful experience. This sacred fire is known to burn up the movements until there is freedom. By allowing the burn, the ego, which is actually a bundle of patterns that we believe to be who we are, loses some of its grip. When the power of the ego begins to dissolve, who we truly are – Love Itself, can begin to emerge.
At first, noticing the movements of our minds can be very painful, yet ultimately it is very liberating. We no longer have to allow these patterns to rule us, control us and reek havoc on our relationships with the people we love the most. As one pattern is seen and liberated, others will arise. Sometimes the easy ones are seen first, while the more difficult and subtle ones wait until we are ready to see them. It is always easier to stop the pattern before it gets out of control, so the best time to stop the pattern is as soon as the seeing happens. It is easier to stop before we put the needle in our arm, before we aggressively say something hurtful or before we slam the door on someone we care about.
Most of us act out all of these movements at one time or another, yet there is one movement that is often more dominant. Being open to seeing and being open to stopping will allow a clarity about the patterns that are happening unconsciously. It is often a surprise, and actually a painful one, when we realize that “that” was running.
Imagine relationships where instead of these painful patterns, there is openness and space and beingness. Imagine peace as a common experience within ourselves and among those that know us. There is an opportunity to live from our Self, who needs nothing to be fulfilled and knows that no egoic pattern is worth the pain. Life can become more than we can imagine it to be. It is a life of freedom and it is available when we see and consciously stop our movements of mind.