The ego and the soul are the two basic facets of your unconscious mind. Your conscious mind can choose which thoughts feelings and memories you’ll dwell on or react to. You can’t always control what bubbles up from the depths, but you do have a choice when it comes to influence. Once you understand what the ego’s role plays in the self, you’ll find it easier to dismiss it and let go when the ego is attempting to influence your actions. When the ego has full influence over your conscious mind, you are in ego state. Learn to recognize this state. When you find yourself in moments feeling angry, frustrated, outraged, defensive, manipulative, judgmental, self effacing, ashamed, embarrassed, offended, or fearful, it’s important you know that you’re making a choice to feel the way you do. In those moments you’ve chosen to listen to your ego.

The conscious mind doesn’t have to listen to the ego. Every time you let go, feel happiness, laugh, or love, you’re listening to your soul. The soul is open, playful, forgiving, happy, confident, and really is the stuff of pure love. In moments where you find yourself feeling good, in the moment, without a care in the world, you’re in the zen state. When the soul shines bright, and you feel real human connection, you’re in a zen state. This comes easily with release from the clutches of ego.

Some might say you step out of yourself when you enter a zen state. But you’re actually stepping into your true self. The ego is a fabrication. We need the ego’s point of reference to self as this one body, this one being, for our survival only in this current plane of existence. But this one body, this one physical being identified as you, is not the ‘real’ you. You are your soul. We are all souls. And we are way more connected than most people believe.

Understanding yourself in this way is the first step to gaining the ability to enter a zen state anytime anywhere.