Watching satsangs with Paul Hedderman on ustream and reading the wonderful wealth of communications here on the internet, there is a noticing of something that has previously been unnoticed.
At lightning speed, there is an automatic claiming mechanism for feelings and thoughts that arise. The possessive personal pronoun "my" is inserted into every arising, and this creates the illusion of egoic identity. The feeling of anger arises and it is immediately clutched onto with the possessive identification of the thought "I am angry." It seems too obvious to question that this anger, misery, excitement, whatever, is happening to "me."
Looking closely reveals that the "my" is tacked on after the thought or feeling arises. It's not really "my" thought or feeling, it's just thoughts and feelings. It's unbelievable what a difference there is between "I am miserable" and "sensations of misery are present here." Without the automatic, unconscious ownership of mind stuff, it becomes quite benign.
The ownership reflex happens so quickly here that it can't be stopped - but that is actually not a problem. What is so astonishing is the simple seeing of this whole process! Now that the seeing is happening, it is simple, effortless, and unstoppable. The ownership or claiming reflex doesn't even need to be stopped-- because in just seeing this process occurring as it occurs- the gig is up! For example, as I'm typing these words, the claiming-reflex may come up. What this looks like in this instant is maybe the ego wanting to claim this note as having something interesting to say....so, okay claiming reflex--- claim away- churn up the usual brew of guilty pride and painful doubt- go right ahead and have a party! It's not a problem, it's just a magic trick, a sleight of hand where the grasping reflex of ownership applied to thoughts and feelings creates the illusion of a personal entity. Watch the whole spectacle- and remain unfooled by it.
Ramana Maharshi said if you are standing on a train there is no point in carrying your luggage on your head. Put your luggage down and let the train carry the load, for the train is carrying the luggage whether you set it down or burden yourself with carrying it. In claiming to carry the luggage myself I may feel very important as an exhausted and dutiful burden-carrier (my whole personal history, etc.). I may love making myself miserable by carrying all this mind-stuff. But the fact is that the train-- life- is really carrying what is.
Carrying the luggage is to clamp onto every thought and feeling and experience as more evidence of "me." Putting the luggage down is to see that there is no "my" story- there are only stories- arisings and passings in awareness. Even when that automatic claw machine of possessiveness claims this experience as "mine", it can be seen for what it is (i.e. as not mine, not evidence of a personal entity), and no longer cause distress. The neuroses, the conditioned patterns of mind, the reactivity, are still here, but they are no longer a huge burden called "me and my life"- they are just part of the dance, and "I" am no longer possessed by them...
Gratitude to Paul Hedderman, satsang can be watched at this link: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/9143973