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5 Vital Steps to Starve the Ego and Feed the Soul

5 Vital Steps to Starve the Ego and Feed the Soul

We are so fortunate to be alive and possess the potential to create the life we truly imagine. However, at times it may not feel this way due to the overwhelming stress and suffering that seems to take over our lives. How can our lives be so much different at times and what can we do to tap into our infinite potential and experience peace and stillness in the majority of our lives?

Ultimately, it comes down to whether we choose to live our lives according to the demands and delusions of the ego or make the conscious intention to align ourselves with the infinite soul. Choosing to always be conscious and to live according to the soul provides you with infinite possibilities and the peace, passion and purpose that you deserve as a human being.

Conversely, living unconscious and according to the ego results in stress, unnecessary resistance and much less desirable consequences that you do not deserve. As a unique and awesome human being, you deserve much more than the ego offers you. You have two alternatives to choose from and I’m positive you want what the soul has to offer you. You must simply slow down and journey into your inner being and decide between the two. Soul living offers you complete peace and infinite potential while ego living offers you stress and the ordinary life that you are seeking to transcend.

Honestly, I don’t think any of us choose to live according to the ego. I believe we get conditioned to live this way throughout our lives and never realize there is a more effective alternative.

Ego and the Soul

We are very familiar with both our ego and our soul. We come in contact with them daily. Our ego is that voice within us that demands everything and pulls us along a path that is difficult and filled with obstacles. The ego robs us of the peace that we deserve. Our soul is the deep, profound, and infinitely tranquil place within us that knows nothing but empathy, love, compassion and truth. The soul is who we truly are. Every human being truly desires to live the best they possibly can. However, the ego interrupts this process with endless mind games. It’s time to take back what is ours and quiet the ego.

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    The 5 Vital Steps

    I am going to suggest 5 vital steps you can take to begin living the life you truly desire. These simple actions will help you to slow down and venture into your inner world in order to make some important decisions concerning your continued journey of life. They will give you the peace, passion and purpose you desire.

    1. Connect with the Whole of the Universe

    Look around and take in the absolute perfection and miracle of the universe and contemplate your unique connection with the totality of it. You are part of this exquisite beauty just like all living beings. We are intimately connected with all of the universe at the cellular level.

    Just think, if the sun didn’t exist we would not be here.  If the clouds did not produce rain we would have no food and we would not exist nor would there be flowers or trees and so on. If everything did not exist the way it is now we would have nothing. Thus, we are part of this eternal cycle of existence that works in harmony to create this spectacular universe.

    Nurture this connection with nature and other living beings by getting outside and quieting your mind.  Always make time to enjoy nature and the company of other human beings, as well as animals of course. We all share this miraculous universe. Each part of the living cosmos deserves to be part of the universal puzzle just as much as the next.

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    2. Be Grateful for Everything You Have

    Our soul is content and appreciative of what we have and embraces the gifts that are available to us. I’m sure you have experienced the fact that the ego always craves more and more external gratifications. Our ego is insatiable. The ego’s path for you is to endlessly seek happiness outside of yourself which results in an endless cycle of wanting.

    Living according to the soul means that we always have everything we need and most importantly we are grateful to be alive. In reality, someone always has it worse and the soul has compassion for this fact and realizes how fortunate we are to be living in luxury compared to many others. When we awaken our understanding and compassion we are mindful of those people who may not even know where their next meal is coming from or if they can access clean drinking water.

    Our gratitude list is infinite when we choose to abide in the appreciation of the soul.  Make a gratitude list daily and express your gratitude freely to your loved ones.  You will be amazed how wonderful life is when we live it with a grateful heart.

    3. Embrace Change

    Change is the only constant in life and our soul realizes the impermanence of everything in the universe. Our ego consistently seeks control and tends to resist change and anything that interrupts its existence. Control is the ego’s greatest game and it will fight this illusion to the end. This constant fight only causes more suffering.

    Living according to the soul allows you to live graciously with the flow of life rather than constantly battling it. This, in turn, gives you great peace and equanimity. In your daily life keep in mind that change will consistently take place and approach it with acceptance and flexibility. Changes may surprise you and actually turn out to be incredible gifts.

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    4. Live with a Compassionate Heart

    Our ego often limits our focus and keeps us involved in our head.We are often trapped in our minds worrying, obsessing and creating more problems that just don’t exist. It stops us from actually connecting with nature and other living beings as discussed in #1 of this list.

    Compassion for all living beings stems from our connection to others and the understanding that every human being wants and deserves to eliminate suffering in their life and we need each other to accomplish this. We are just like everyone else and when we begin to realize this we begin to demonstrate compassion for all human beings. This compassion leads to a genuine intention to help others eliminate suffering and experience peace and happiness. When we make the decision to truly care about others outside our circle and help them in any way possible we begin to unleash the power of our soul and manifest incredible things in the universe.

    On a daily basis create an intention to help others in anyway possible. You will be amazed how many opportunities avail themselves. Just connect to this compassionate place within you and simply connect with others by saying good morning, opening the door for them, and listening to people that need to express themselves.

    5. Live Now

    Our egos trap us in the false realities of the past and the future. These DO NOT exist. There is no past and there is no future. This moment directly in front of us is all that exists. Our ego dies when we shine the light of the NOW upon it.

    The ego thrives in the past and future and will go to any length to keep us trapped in this delusion in order to avoid its death. Our infinite soul only knows the presence and is fulfilled in the vast ocean of the Now. Embrace the Now and you will truly know what it is to be genuinely alive  Right Here, Right Now is the most vital moment of our life.

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    The totality of life simply consists of this unique and eternal moment. Throughout your day make it a point to always bring your awareness make to the Now. It takes practice, however being mindful will give you unimaginable gifts in your life and will strengthen your connection to your soul.

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      Transitioning from Ego to Soul

      Going forward and making your transition from ego to the soul is not difficult and I want nothing more for you to experience the ecstasy of being guided by your magnificent Soul. Simply begin practicing the 5 steps I outlined above and you are well on your way to manifesting the life you truly desire.

      We are so fortunate to be human beings with the infinite potential to make a difference here on earth and have the incredible opportunities that we have. We must take advantage of them. Continue to focus and be aware of the ego’s impact in your life and how it manifests itself. Just watch it and become the witness of its behavior. This part of you that becomes the watcher is the pure consciousness of your soul. Tap into this part of you and allow it to spread throughout your entire being.

      Be mindful as much as possible and continue to gently remind yourself to come back to this powerful presence. This is the presence you want to guide you each moment. You will notice at times that your ego will become more demanding and appear stronger. This is okay. It is part of the process. You are not trying to block your ego or throw it away. You are going to make friends with it and gently let it know that you hear its little child-like voice making demands and taking tantrums. However, you have decided to live according to the soul today. This is a daily practice but you will notice that it gets much easier as you continue.

      Go and Do It!

      Now you are ready to experience the eternal journey of your Soul. This is a journey of freedom and unlimited possibility. You will experience the connection to everyone and everything in this Universe. Go forth and bask in the abundance of your soul and change the world in the process.

      If you are interested, try this quiz to find out if you are currently living from your ego or soul.

      More by this author

      Richard Singer

      Author/Psychotherapist

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      Published on May 26, 2020

      7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

      7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

      Problems are, by their very nature, problematic. There are life problems, work problems, creative problems, and relationship problems. When we’re lucky, intuition takes over, and we solve a problem right away. When we’re not so lucky, we get stuck.

      We might spend weeks or even months obsessing over how to write that term paper, get out of debt, or win back the love of our life. But instead of obsessing, let’s look at some effective problem solving techniques that people in the know rely on.

      Ideation Vs Evaluation

      It’s important to first understand and separate two stages of creativity before we look at effective problem solving techniques. Ideation is like brainstorming. It’s the stage of creativity where we’re looking for as many possible solutions as we can think of. There’s no judgment or evaluation of ideas at this stage. More is more.

      After we’ve come up with as many solutions as possible, only then can we move onto the evaluation stage. This is when we analyze each possible solution and think about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s when all those good ideas from ideation rise to the top and the outlandish and impractical ones are abandoned.

      7 Problem Solving Techniques That Work

      Everyone has different ways of solving problems. Some are more creative, some are more organized. Some prefer to work on problems alone, others with a group. Check out the problem solving techniques below and find one that works for you.

      1. Lean on Your Squad

      The first of our seven problem solving techniques is to surround yourself with people you trust. Sometimes problems can be solved alone, but other times, you need some help.

      There’s a concept called emergence that begins to explain why groups may be better for certain kinds of problem solving. Steven Johnson describes emergence as bottom up system organization.[1] My favorite example is an ant colony. Ants don’t have a president or boss telling them what to do. Instead, the complicated organization of the ant colony comes out of each individual ant just fulfilling their biological destiny.

      Group creativity can also take on an emergent quality. When individuals really listen to, support, and add onto each other’s ideas, the sum of that group creativity can be much more than what any individual could have created on their own.

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      Therefore, if you are struggling to solve a problem, you may want to find a group of people with whom you can collaborate, so you can start riffing with them about possible solutions.

      2. Regulate Your Emotions

      The next of the problem solving techniques is to be honest about how you’re feeling. We can’t solve problems as efficiently when we’re stressed out or upset, so starting with some emotional self-awareness goes a long way in helping us problem solve.

      Dr. Daniel Siegel famously tells us to “Name it to tame it.” [2] He’s talking about naming our feelings, which offers us a better chance of regulating ourselves. I have to know that I’m stressed or upset if I want to calm down quickly in order to get back to a more optimal problem-solving state.

      After you know how you’re feeling, you can take steps to regulate that feeling. If you’re feeling stressed out or upset, you can take a walk or try breathing exercises. Mindfulness exercises can also help you regain your sense of presence.

      3. Listen

      One thing that good problem solvers do is listen. They collect all the information they can and process it carefully before even attempting to solve the problem.

      It’s tempting to jump right in and start problem solving before the scope of the problem is clear. But that’s a mistake.

      Smart problem solvers listen carefully in order to get as many points of view and perspectives as possible. This allows them to gain a better understanding of the problem, which gives them a huge advantage in solving that problem.

      4. Don’t Label Ideas as Bad…Yet

      The fourth of the seven problem solving techniques is to gather as many possible solutions as you can. There are no bad ideas…yet.

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      Think back to the two stages of creativity. When we are in the ideation stage, we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas, input, and possible solutions.

      When we evaluate, judge, and criticize during the ideation stage, we inadvertently hamper creativity. One possible outcome of evaluating during ideation is creative suppression.[3]

      When someone responds to someone else’s creative input with judgment or criticism, creative suppression can occur if the person who had the idea shuts down because of that judgment or criticism.

      Imagine you’re at a meeting brainstorming ways to boost your sales numbers. You suggest hiring a new team member, but your colleague rolls their eyes and says that can’t happen since the numbers are already down.

      Now, your colleague may be 100% correct. However, their comment might make you shut down for the rest of the meeting, which means your team won’t be getting any more possible solutions from you.

      If your colleague had waited to evaluate the merits of your idea until after the brainstorming session, your team could have come up with more possible solutions to their current problem.

      During the ideation stage, more is more. We want as many ideas as possible, so reserve the evaluation until there’s no more ideating left to do.

      Another trick for better ideating is to “Yes And” each other’s ideas[4] In improvisation, there’s a principle known as “Yes And.” It means that one improviser should agree with the other’s idea for the scene and then add a new detail onto that reality.

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      For example, if someone says, “I can’t hear over your loud music,” the other person needs to go along with that idea and then add onto it. They might say, “Sorry, I’ll turn it down, but I don’t think everyone else here at the club will appreciate it.”

      Now the scene is getting interesting. We’re in a club, and the DJ is going to turn the music down. Playing “Yes And” with each other made the scene better by filling in details about who and where the improvisers are.

      Yes Anding also works well during ideation sessions. Since we’ve already established that we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas yet, Yes Anding gives us something we can do. We can see the merits of each other’s ideas and try to build on them. This will make all of our possible solutions more fully realized than a simple laundry list.

      5. Approach Problems With Playfulness

      Approaching problem solving too seriously can exacerbate the problem. Sometimes we get too fixated on finding solutions and lose a sense of playfulness and fun.

      It makes sense. When there are deadlines and people counting on us, we can try to force solutions, but stepping back and approaching problems from a more playful perspective can lead to more innovative solutions.

      Think about how children approach problem solving. They don’t have the wealth of wisdom that decades on this planet give. Instead, they play around and try out imaginative and sometimes unpractical approaches.

      That’s great for problem solving. Instead of limiting ourselves to how things have always been done, a sense of play and playfulness can lead us to truly innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.

      6. Let the Unconscious Mind Roam

      This may seem counterintuitive, but another technique to try when you become too fixated on a problem is to take a break to let the unconscious mind take over for a bit.

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      Our conscious brain can only handle a limited amount of information at a time. Plus, it’s energetically exhausting to use our conscious brain for problem solving. Think about a time when you were studying for a test. It’s draining.[5]

      But we’re in luck. There’s another part of our brain that isn’t draining and can integrate tons more information at a time—our unconscious.

      This is why you come up with your best ideas in the shower or on your way to work or while you’re jogging. When you give your conscious brain a break, your unconscious has a chance to sift through mounds of information to arrive at solutions.

      It’s how I write my articles. With my conscious brain, I think about which article I’m going to write. My problem is how to write it, so once I think carefully about the topic, I take a break. Then, the structure, sources, content, and sometimes phrasing happens in fits and starts while I’m not thinking about the article at all. It happens when I’m lying in bed, showering, and walking in the woods.

      The key is to get in the habit of practicing this alternation between conscious and unconscious problem solving and to absolutely not force solutions. Sometimes, you just need to take a little break.

      7. Be Candid

      The last of the problem solving techniques happens during the evaluation stage. If we’re going to land on the best possible solution to our problems, we have to be able to openly and honestly evaluate ideas.

      During the evaluating stage, criticism and feedback need to be delivered honestly and respectfully. If an idea doesn’t work, that needs to be made clear. The goal is that everyone should care about and challenge each other. This creates an environment where people take risks and collaborate because they trust that everyone has their best interest in mind and isn’t going to pull any punches.

      Final Thoughts

      In order to come up with the best solutions for problems, ideation and evaluation have to be two distinct steps in the creative process. Then, you should tap into some of the above techniques to get your ideas organized and your problems solved.

      Hopefully, these seven problem solving techniques will help your problems be less…problematic.

      More Tips for Problem Solving

      Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Steven Johnson: Emergence
      [2] Dr. Dan Siegel: The whole-brain child
      [3] American Psychological Association: Creative mortification
      [4] Play Your Way Sane: And What?: Yes And
      [5] Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

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