I keep returning to what Adyashanti calls the dream of the ego.
In short, it’s the thought life should be exactly as I want, always.
Most of us wouldn’t say it out loud, of course, and we may even shy away from thinking it consciously, because it does seem a bit silly. And yet, when I look at it for myself, I find this one behind most or all of my beliefs.
The underlying assumption is that if life is exactly as I want, I’d be happy always. If I go to heaven, if I reach enlightenment, if I have a nice (car, house, spouse, career), if I have 72 virgins after death, if I find Nirvana, if I go to Valhalla, then I’ll be perfectly happy and content, forever.
It may be helpful, to some extent, to inquire into these general thoughts. And I find it even more helpful to investigate this through inquiring into a specific thought in a specific situation. It makes it more real. More finely grained. It helps what I find sink in.
Is it true I would be happy if I get what I want, in this situation?
Is it true I want to get what I want? Is it true it would be the best for me?
Is it true happiness is what I want, over anything else?
Is it true, life should give me what I want?
Why may it be the best for me, others, the world, that I didn’t get what I wanted, in this situation?
This is how it may look applied to a specific situation:
Life should give me better health. Life should give me more money.
My life would be better if I had gone into a relationship with E. (In my early twenties.)
I want life to give me a peaceful living space.
Note: The thoughts making up and underlying the dream of the ego – life should be exactly as I want, always, and if life is exactly as I want, I’d be happy always – are good examples, for me at least, of how I may stop myself from looking at these through embarrassment. As soon as I get close to noticing these thoughts, I tell myself it’s silly, childish, embarrassing to have these thoughts, and I may shy away from acknowledging they are there and taking a closer look at them. Embarrassment – or rather, thoughts creating a sense of embarrassment – is a guardian of the treasure, in this case.
I want life to be exactly as I want it, always.
If I get exactly what I want, if life is exactly as I want, I’d be happy always.