Our awareness has two components; one in which we willfully direct and control our attention toward a specific item and the other is an awareness that is always vigilant and weighing whether we are succeeding or failing. The first is perfectly familiar to everyone as how the common person experiences their consciousness, so we can skip past it and speak to the second. This is the awareness that is responsible for how we feel about our general wellbeing at any given moment, in real time of our waking day. It is not in our control. It is like a judge in a court of law, updating our emotional status as to if we are winning our suit or losing it. It is not nuanced in its assessment but reports back to our awareness a positive or a negative verdict that comes to us as particular moods, a sense of happiness or a sense of unease and depression of spirit. It is like that old toy of a bird that tips it’s beak down into water and then tips back up only to repeat the action a short time later as the water evaporates. I could ask you to assess your state of being at any moment as to whether your bird is up or down. You would pause a moment to feel your inner state, and then easily tell me. The two forms of awareness are working together simultaneously so that you may make real time adjustments in your life. These are both ego funtions. Seeking happiness is one way to describe this function. When you are able to find any peace it is because you have accidentally moved out of the this ego space for a moment because this ego reality has no peace, only happiness, a fleeting ego affirmation that is always followed by ego deflation. The bird is always moving; it’s up or down or moving. Peace is the absence of this endless cycle of inflation and deflation.
Our ego mind created our sense of an individual self and the the other not-self and it continues to promote, protect and favor the self over the other. It sees every situation as a trial to win for the self. The ego only likes to win. If the bird is down, this is its way of making us feel very uncomfortable, such that we are motivated to take addition action to win. The ego in this regard is responsible for selfishness, cruelty, aggession, lying, cheating and greed. The more ego driven one is, the less intelligent and a jerk they behave. Any defeat to the ego is a win for the soul and vica versa. This is why the man kinda normal unenlightened state is tense internal struggle and suffers serial happiness and depression. It is a tug of war. Religious people personify this as good vs evil, God and devil, better or worse angels. Combine this dynamic with a very competitive cultural and social status awareness and people make themselves crazy. This endless struggle between ego and soul is relentless unless you experience enlightenment. This is the only way out of the ego paradox. The problem for spiritual seekers is their ego. Enlightenment is neither won or earned. It comes unannounced and without concern for effort, social status or sincerity. This is why I advise to leave the spiritual work to those few fortunate to have had the mystical conversion. The rest of you listen and learn from their cosmic perspective. Knowing how your ego trap works may give you some relief from understanding that this is not your fault but a universal condition of our nature. And the harder you try to beat it, the tighter the trap holds you tight. Everyway you turn is a dead end.