Many humans consciously or unconsciously thrive for „more“.
Sometimes „more“ expresses itself in money, status, sex, a healthier body, or a more adventurous life.
Nowadays this thriving is not only fueled by the capitalist system we live in, but also by the self-help and spiritual industry. We get promised that we can learn a magical technique to manifest everything we ever wanted to have in our life.
But is this really helpful? Does it nurture or even heal the underlying urge for needing more? Or does this just creates new distractions? And why do we thrive for „more“ in the first place?
First of all, I want to emphasize that „more“ is not a bad thing per se. Humans thrive to grow and develop and can create beautiful and inspiring things through this. However, the motivation behind the need to grow makes a massive difference. Hence for me having a closer look at the root of this need for „more“ is key.
What is the motivation behind thriving for more
In very simple terms we can do everything out of faith or out of fear. That means that we also can thrive for more out of faith – or fear.
Think about it.
Are you thriving for more out of curiosity, joy and a deeper calling?
Or in order to avoid pain, fill a lack, or numb yourself from an underlying discomfort?
The majority of human beings engage in the second. But what do we try to escape or numb? How about the voice talking inside of our heads? This voice which can be extremely loud, critical and self-destructive. This voice that we can not seem to control.
Does this make sense to you? Do you know which voice I am talking about?
If you know this voice, you already had a big awakening and you can make a decision: Do you want to solve the root cause of it or keep on numbing it for another few years – and through this harm yourself and others?
What is this voice?
Now let’s have a look at what this voice is and where it is actually coming from.
This voice, which sometimes is also called „The Inner Critic” or “Inner Monologue” is the auditive expression of our unreflected ego. In very brief words the ego is the sum of our self-concepts. Those self-concepts are a condensation of what we think about ourselves. In my case, this could for example be about my profession as a psychologist, that I am into certain types of music, that I am a man, that I like to be on time, etc.
When those self-concepts are balanced they can be helpful. But when they are not, they block and blind us. Picture a situation where those self-concepts are questioned or even attacked. Since the nature of the ego is defensiveness, it gets loud and tries to attack whenever it feels threatened. It is almost like a dog that is pushed into a corner.
Let’s use the example of „Being on time“ as a self-concept. When „being on time“ is highly important to me and I run late, this self-concept is attacked. Then my inner critic might tell me: „Georg, you are such an idiot. You are late again. You can’t even stick to your own values …“ Can you relate to this? Can you remember moments in your life when something similar happened?
The defining question is how seriously we take this. If we can laugh about it and let it pass no harm is done. But when we take it very seriously, we beat ourselves up about it and get into a downward spiral. Many people then don’t keep their frustrations to themselves but transfer their pain to others. As they say “Hurt people hurt people.”
Where is this voice coming from?
Now that we know what the voice is, let’s get more specific about where it came from. The voice has its origins in moments when you experienced something that was painful and overwhelming. In order to cope with it, you pushed the pain down.
Through this, you got disconnected from your essence and used to playing roles at the same time. These different roles are sometimes referred to as “personas” or “masks”. Human Beings can get so used to wearing those masks that they completely forget that the masks are artificial and not their true Self.
The suppressed material continues life on its own in the shadows of our psyche. It constantly seeks its way back into our life. As described above all of a sudden you get triggered by something or someone and a wave of loud ego-based thinking buries you under it. It is almost like a bad psychedelic trip. If you reflect more on those situations, you might realize that is not the fault of the external event, but that a part of you triggered your own old scars by utilizing something outside to do so.
The more we get caught up in our thoughts around our own personal stories and our self-concepts, the less we can be present with whatever happens in our lives right now. We ruminate about the past and the future. Even so, some of those self-concepts can be helpful to navigate the outside world, the majority of them are not. The ego can become a prison, trapping us in a cycle of compulsive negative thinking. In these moments it uses our thinking against us.
Michael Singer has a beautiful way of speaking about this. In his course „Living from a place of surrender“ he shares:
„The problem is that the mind creates an alternate reality out of thoughts. It is built of the impressions you stored from past experiences you either liked and tried to keep, or could not handle and pushed away. These stored impressions create the personal mind.Michael Singer
Caught in this fabricated world of thoughts, you are no longer able to see the truth of life because your past personal experiences are prejudicing your mind. Your past likes and dislikes are distorting your perception of the present moment unfolding before you. This further contributes to the building of the personal mind.“
So again you have a choice. You can keep on living a life that is ruled by past impressions, ego and its desires. Or you can start to let go of all this old stuff, raise your level of consciousness and live in freedom. If you are in for the latter, keep on reading.
Letting go of whatever the voice is saying
Since you continue reading you want to let go of the superfluous impressions inside of you. Amazing! Welcome to the road less traveled. Why is it less traveled? Because it is not an easy one. It is a road where you will get confronted with old pain. Since the blocks inside of you were created in moments of pain, releasing them can also be painful and hard. But you can do hard. Every time you release something it’s going to be easier and more graceful. And over time the rollercoaster rides will become smaller and shorter. Michael Singer writes:
„If you’re open, it is going to hit you. And the question is, are you willing to let it take what it’s hitting? And that becomes the basis of what surrender is. So surrender is nothing to be afraid of. It’s not surrendering to somebody else’s will. It’s not surrendering your right to experience life. It is the willingness to surrender a part of your being that you don’t need, that’s holding you down.“Michael Singer
Let’s imagine that you are going along with your day. Sooner or later you encounter a moment where your feeling level drops, where you are angry, sad, jealous, feel guilt, etc.
What are your options in such a case?
1) You can suppress these thoughts and emotions
2) You can act them out
3) You can relax as much as possible, get present as much as possible, breathe and release
1) and 2) will not free you. Pursuing them will just deepen the grooves of the old patterns.
Only 3) will change your life in the long run. As with every learning process, you will apply it at one point and forget it at another. This is completely normal. But when the purpose of your day is a) letting go of your blockages and b)not putting more useless stuff in there, you will evolve deeply over time toward true inner freedom.
When you engage in 3), you are “Witness Consciousness”. You notice that the low energy patterns are going on. But you don’t need to interact – you are just the humble witness. You let the mind and the heart do what they need to do – and relax. You relax your mind, your tummy, your muscles, your anus. You relax to the reality that is happening. Through this you create distance – and the samskaras have room to release. In this room, discomfort can come up – and the energy can release itself.
It is important to stay away from creating more judgemental thinking about what’s going on. If you bother about the low energy patterns, you create more thinking about your thinking. You might beat yourself up for not being present enough. Of course, this is not helpful. In this case, give your best to accept what’s happening and remember that everybody is going through moments like this.
Personal & Transpersonal
The more you let go of your personal thinking and forgive yourself and others, the more you are going to transcend your ego.
Again Michael Singer sums this up beautifully:
„You are not your thoughts, your emotions, or the reflection you see in the mirror—you are the one who is looking.“Michael Singer
This is about realizing deeper and deeper that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. There are many schools of thought exploring this in depth. There is even a field in Psychology that is all about these bigger realms: Transpersonal Psychology. Transpersonal is defined as “the act of going beyond something”. In other words, it is the act of moving beyond the limitations of our ego, sometimes also referred to as the “small self”.
As explained in the “Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology” (1996), Transpersonal Psychology is about expanding our consciousness and reaching our highest potential as human beings. Through this, this field of psychology can help us to connect with our higher selves, or soul, and to access our true power and potential. It can support us to heal from past wounds and traumas and live more fully in the present moment. In this light Transpersonal Psychology integrates spiritual wisdom, for example from eastern teachings, into a spiritually based form of psychology.
Many of these eastern teachings focus on being in the present moment. When we become really present with whatever is in front of us, our brains become quiet. In those moments we unlock the door so that our inner intuition can come to us naturally
I also want to mention that transpersonal means „personal plus“. It’s not about replacing or eliminating the personal. It’s about finding the balance between embracing it and looking beyond it at the same time. When we find this balance we neither try to bypass our ego through the spiritual nor reduce ourselves to the personal.
If all of this resonates with you and you want to go deeper, I recommend immersing yourself in the work of Michael Singer. His books are a great place to start.