Quietening The Super-Ego

I recently wrote about how the super-ego will try to prevent us doing anything risky and will try to keep us in our box. This has a purpose in that it is trying to prevent us getting physically or emotionally hurt; but it can also be very restricting as it doesn’t like us to set goals or do anything the least bit risky.

So how do we quieten the super-ego?

One technique that works very well for me is to utilize The Power Of Now. If you look at what the super-ego is saying to you it will either be:

  • Something about the past. For example, “What did you say / do that for?”, “You failed at that last time.”, “Don’t you see how silly you looked”. All past tense.
  • Something about the future. For example, “You’re going to screw this up”, “You’ll make a fool of yourself”, “You won’t be good enough”. All things to come in the future.

You see it never says things about now, always past or future and in that lies the key.

Eckhart Tolle, in his book The Power Of Now, teaches that you can dissociate yourself from all the past / future stuff by being present entirely in the moment, in the Now.

The techniques Tolle expounds are very much akin to meditation. I don’t want to go too much into this here; sufficient to say that if you become aware of these mental processes that take you out of the Now then you can more and more bring yourself into the Now. You can be present in the moment.

On a practical level I now watch for every time my mental process slips into either berating myself about the past or setting myself up for failing in the future. I now recognize this as the super-ego having a bash at me and I can say to myself, “OK, this is my super-ego. I don’t need this” and allow myself to focus on the moment. The unhelpful mental pictures or thoughts then just fade away into the back-ground. This has had the added bonus that my anxiety levels about being made redundant and going for interviews have reduced considerably.

It sounds simple to do; but it’s not an easy thing to achieve; it takes practice. The first step is to recognize when the super-ego is running your show, then you can start to do something about it.