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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 October 13, 2020

      How to Unleash the 4 Types of Creativity In You

      How to Unleash the 4 Types of Creativity In You

      Human history has no shortage of brilliant minds: writers, musicians, inventors, entrepreneurs, and more. Not everyone chooses a creative career, but all of us could use the power of creativity to live brighter, more fulfilling, and more successful lives instead of going through the same motions day in, day out.

      Could one become more creative?

      A one-size-fits-all answer is hard to give because there are different types of creativity. Do you want to know the least useful type?

      1. Least Useful Type of Creativity

      It is “Ideation creativity”—the good old coming up with new ideas.

      Surprised?

      There exist techniques for producing more and better ideas: idea buckets, brainstorming games, and first principles thinking. Those are specialized creativity tools used by composers, novelists, and serial entrepreneurs—not so much by the remaining 99% of the population.

      Do you still want this esoteric knowledge? Then go straight to the masters:

      • Josh Waitzkin, a U.S. Junior chess champion and later a World Champion in the martial art Tai Chi Chuan, has written an autobiography.[1]
      • Gianni Rodari, an Italian children’s book author famous for his Adventures of Cipollino, outlined his approach to teaching fantasy in an actual manual on the subject.[2]
      • Twyla Tharp, a celebrated American dancer and choreographer, wrote a book explaining her creative process. We will revisit this book in a moment.[3]

      What Distinguishes Creative People (Aside From Their Ideas)?

      Anyone can have interesting ideas—would it not be nice to build a flying car, create a musical about South American tribes, cold-email the French president, or ask to get hired as the next prime minister?

      Just like yourself, billions of people are also touched by beautiful sunsets and would like to double their respective incomes—but this does not automatically make all of them artists or entrepreneurs.

      Only those who have acted upon their ideas or emotions and produced tangible outcomes can be labeled “creative.” Mozart and Jane Austen became so famous because of their results—the symphonies and novels that they had respectively produced—not because of their ideas.

      Creativity Does Not Require So-Called Inspiration

      A related misconception is that masterpieces are created in “Eureka!” moments—extraordinary bursts of creativity and otherworldly inspiration.

      The exclamation “Eureka!” refers to the apocryphal story about the ancient Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes who was taking a bath and stumbled upon a solution to a difficult problem he had been thinking about.

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      But consider that Mozart composed over 600 musical works in his lifetime including 50 symphonies.[4] He would have needed thousands of “Eureka!” moments to produce such a staggering amount of world-class music, which is about one per week of his short career. This is clearly absurd—extraordinary moments of inspiration are rare by definition.

      Acclaimed choreographer Twyla Tharp believes it was all hard work,[5]

      Nobody worked harder than Mozart. By the time he was twenty-eight years old, his hands were deformed because of all the hours he had spent practicing, performing, and gripping a quill pen to compose. . . . As Mozart himself wrote to a friend, “People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.”

      Creativity can only be manifested during a creative process, whether it is trying a new dish in the kitchen, composing a new symphony, or figuring out how to help your child get into a good college. If you have never played a musical instrument, you are not going to suddenly produce a symphony after doing a creativity exercise.

      This brings us to the most useful but underrated type of creativity:

      2. “Kaizen”: Finding Ways to Improve a Process

      What would be a non-creative approach to any activity? It would be doing the same thing every day in the same way.

      Therefore, a creative approach would be constantly varying what you are doing and the way you are doing it. Sometimes, it means adding complexity, such as experimenting with sophisticated dishes for dinner to keep your family happy.

      Other times, it means reducing complexity. When mass production was still in its infancy, engineers at the Ford Motor Company used a great deal of creativity to speed up the process:[6]

      In the past a worker—and he had to be a skilled worker—had made a flywheel magneto from start to finish. A good employee could make thirty-five or forty a day. Now, however, there was an assembly line for magnetos. It was divided into twenty-nine different operations performed by twenty-nine different men. In the old system it took twenty minutes to make a magneto; now it took thirteen.

      Ironically enough, a few decades later Japanese car manufacturers ended up overcoming the big American ones including the Ford Motor Company itself. The approach that made it possible is often translated as “kaizen” or never-ending incremental, continuous improvement.

      Kaizen type of creativity entails continuous improvements in your process:

      • today you research a new dish to make for dinner,
      • tomorrow you try making it in less time,
      • the next day you try varying the ingredients,
      • the next day you discuss your recipe with others,
      • the next day you take a class on that same recipe,
      • the next day you research the nutritional properties of the ingredients.

      This is the mindset of an aspiring world-class chef and by adopting it, you will become very creative in the kitchen indeed!

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      3. Transformational Type of Creativity: Change Your Life

      You may be arguing that it is all good for Mozart, Jane Austen, or Twyla Tharp to be creative because they were engaged in creative activities full-time.

      How could one find creativity in an uninspiring job? How could one creatively spend leisure after-work time?

      A piece of common advice is to “work on your goals,” but most of us do not have clear goals, let alone a specific life plan telling us exactly how to employ the time at our disposal.

      The time-honored answer is, “if you do not like something about your life, figure out how to change it.” Goals or no goals, this is your life. Take responsibility for it because nobody else will.

      This is where transformational creativity comes into the picture. Transformational creativity is not decorating the wall of your cubicle with cute cat stickers to make the job tolerable; it is taking an evening course so you can move to a more enjoyable line of work.

      Transformational creativity is not throwing random ingredients into a pot hoping for a miracle; it is befriending a gourmet chef who can teach you some serious kitchen magic. Transformational creativity is not trying all ice cream flavors at a local parlor; it is making up your own flavor, or better yet, opening up your own ice cream shop!

      Transformational creativity is taking intelligent steps towards the life that you want and away from the life that you do not want. If Kaizen creativity helps you move forward and keep growing, transformational creativity helps you change course.

      How Can You Unleash Your Transformational Creativity?

      Eliminate the obstacles.

      The first obstacle is not knowing what you want in life. A solution is to set goals anyway.

      Success expert and bestselling author Brian Tracy recommends setting 10 goals for the next year, but you can start from three: one financial goal, one relationship goal, one health goal:

      Your goals may be unrealistic—say, to double your income, go on a date with a celebrity, or complete a marathon, all before the end of the year. This is fine. Eventually, you will learn how to set goals that are motivating and appropriate for you, but you have to start somewhere.

      The second obstacle is not wanting your goals badly enough. The solution is to act as if you did.

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      You may decide to write a novel and yet not feel creative or committed because there is no strong emotion underlying this decision. This is fine. Just keep writing, rain, or shine. Your emotions will catch up with you later.

      Of course, if you can increase your level of motivation, by all means, do it! One aspiring entrepreneur unleashed creativity and eventually achieved great success after moving from cold and wet Chicago to the sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

      Want to know the last type of creativity? It is special in that it offers a shortcut to success. Mozart used it too!

      The fourth and last type is named after Dr. Watson, the colleague of the great detective invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

      4. Dr. Watson’s Type of Creativity

      Sherlock Holmes himself commended his friend and ally Dr. Watson for exhibiting this type of creativity:

      It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt.[7]

      Even if you are not particularly creative yourself, you may be able to do great things by partnering up with someone vastly more experienced and insightful. At the same time, a close association with an accomplished master is one of the best-known ways to cultivate your own creativity—all types of it.

      This association can take various forms:

      • a formal mentorship that you are paying for
      • an unstructured mentorship relationship combined with a friendship or a marriage
      • an Executive Assistant-type job that you are paid for
      • an apprenticeship whereas you work on your mentor’s projects without monetary compensation

      How Can You Convince a Master to Let You Be Their Dr. Watson?

      The single most important quality of Dr. Watson is that he executes on Sherlock Holmes’ ideas, sometimes even risking his own life in the process. It is only through immersing himself in the execution that he can come up with insights which—even if wrong —manage to stimulate Holmes’ powerful imagination.

      A second equally important quality of Dr. Watson is that he accepts the overall approach as well as the daily mode of operation set by Holmes and does not question them, except in extreme circumstances.

      A little humility and an exemplary work ethic go a long way, but you still need to ask for what you want. If you found a potential mentor online and were able to connect with them, how could you phrase your request?

      Here are excerpts from messages sent to a potential mentor by an aspiring mentee that actually worked:

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      • Nothing short of an honor to be connected with you.
      • Is there any way I can work with you, [Dr. such-and-such]? It would be nothing less than an achievement.
      • I wouldn’t need any money. To be associated with you is a dream I hope I can achieve. Is it possible for you to lay down some guidelines for me, which if I follow, I’ll get to work under you?
      • I will follow all the guidelines and directions you provide, if you do. I can be your first apprentice in [city Y or country Z].
      • I will follow all your directions, guidelines. I want to be under your guidance. Please accept my proposal.

      Believe in yourself. Napoleon Hill relates the striking story of Edwin Barnes who wanted to become a business partner of the great inventor Thomas Edison—and he eventually did! He had no money or education; his only advantage was his burning desire combined with persistence.

      The book Think and Grow Rich is an absolute gem informed by conversations with some of the most successful entrepreneurs of the day, including Andrew Carnegie himself, with lessons in creativity sprinkled on every page!

      Parting Words

      The power of creativity to change your life for the better is undeniable.

      Ideation creativity is the most overrated type: unless and until you specifically decide to become an artist, a book author, an inventor, or someone similar, it is irrelevant.

      The most practical type of creativity is Kaizen, finding ways to continuously improve a process. Specific advice can be found in countless books on forming better habits including Leon Ho’s 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect Of Your Life. So long as you have a process that you keep improving from time to time, you are on the right track.

      Transformational creativity can change your life, though it does require courage, ingenuity, and most of all, persistence. Just keep making one little change at a time and your life will unfold like a piece of art. Even if you feel no motivation whatsoever, it is fine. Creativity is a state of mind and can override your emotions.

      Perhaps the most empowering type is Dr. Watson’s creativity, which entails aligning yourself with a master whom you can learn from. Here, the sky is the limit. but you do have to give—sometimes a lot—to be able to benefit as greatly as Dr. Watson did from his association with Sherlock Holmes.

      Pick one type of creativity that you want to develop and discuss it with a friend. And remember the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu:

      The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

      More on Thinking Creatively

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

      Reference

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