According to Eckhart Tolle – ego and Awareness cannot coexist. Ego can be defined as a state of complete identification with the voice in the head OR with a particular emotional impulse. Awareness then, can be understood as the instance of being able to recognize we have a choice.

The unconscious mind, or the ego – is the reason for our suffering. There is a startling stat that says about 95% of our thinking is unconscious, that is to say – automatic, or egoic. The ego will always refer to the past and make comparisons. Whether making you more or less than another, the ego actually does not care as long as it has something to reject.

A good rule of thumb in being able to catch ego identification (its sneaky), is that the ego always resists in some way. When it comes to negative or compulsive habits, we must consider two concepts - preoccupation with the past, and judgement. The ego is constantly judging its environment, making comparisons and pointing out what is unwanted.

You might argue that it is fair to judge your environment as a means of navigating away from what is unwanted, uncomfortable, and unpleasant. To an extent yes. What can happen however, is that we become conditioned to think and behave in a way that is predominantly fear based. We are afraid of losing what we love and of having to experience anything even remotely negative. We become unconscious through repetition. That is to say, we become like robots programmed to avoid even the slightest discomfort. We lock into our comfort zones which aren’t even so much comfortable as simply familiar in the sense that they ensure no remembered or new discomfort can disturb us.

At a certain point, this ‘comfort zone’ becomes something of a prison. You find yourself in a constant state of hypervigilance and you don’t even enjoy what you do have for fear of losing it. Anxiety anyone?

So, what is the antidote? Acceptance.

When we are in acceptance of what is, we are witnessing the impulse to resist, avoid, judge, escape, control, hide, numb, or any other form of unconsciousness - without engaging. Awareness is simply Aware.

When we allow ourselves to be in the discomfort, we witness the ego without indulging it. Awareness is automatically achieved when we accept what is.

Moments of a totally neutral mind are fleeting at best and this is okay! You return to your Original State of Awareness not just when the mind is completely empty but when you are able to witness the unconscious mind without becoming it. Ask yourself, who is doing the witnessing?