Have you ever been talking with an old friend and they mention some great success they recently had, maybe like getting a high paying job or buying a really nice house when suddenly a thought pops into your head like "that lucky bastard," or "he doesn't deserve that, what gives?"
I know I've been genuinely happy for friends and relatives and these thoughts have still popped up at times. I used to feel guilty about thinking them and would say to myself, "Jeez, what's wrong with me? I keep having these jealous thoughts, does this make me a jealous person?"
The other night I was drifting into sleep when I had one of the greatest realizations in my entire life so far. My consciousness was dosing off and I was about to fall asleep at any moment.
My mind was wandering onto this topic and that, when suddenly I was no longer paying attention to the thoughts, but rather, I effectively fell asleep for about 2 seconds. Suddenly, I came back into awareness and since such a short time had elapsed, I was able to recall the last thought that had passed through my mind.
I repeated it in my mind and realized that I was not the one who thought it!
I said to myself, "That thought did not come from me at all, it came from somewhere else, I was asleep at that time."
It was in that moment that I experienced the feeling of separation between who I am and what I am thinking. I realized that I am not my thoughts; I am the observer of them, the experiencer, the listener.
I felt it at an internal level for just a split second. The thoughts that manifest inside my awareness are simply thoughts, they are not me.
I am defined not by what thoughts come into my awareness but by what thoughts I consciously hold onto and act upon.
Having jealous thoughts does not make a person jealous, being jealous makes a person jealous. The person defines themselves by their conscious action, not random thoughts.
Likewise, a person who reads a lot about running a business isn't a businessman; the real businessman is the guy out there cold calling, dealing with customers and creating new products.
It sounds so obvious yet this is a huge disconnect in our society, we identify and define ourselves by our thoughts rather than our action. Why is this?
I believe much of it has to do with the education system. In school we are taught to get good grades through reading (about others thoughts and experiences) and analyzing them (thinking about them), then writing a report (summarizing our thoughts).
Very little actual action is taken on our part yet we are positively or negatively reinforced for our thoughts, our ego rather than our character. This is probably the reason many graduates have trouble adjusting to the real world.
Imagine that you are visiting a foreign country and you can't speak the language so you bring a translator along with you. The only way you can communicate with anyone is through your translator and he has a tendancy to add his own opinion and ideas into what he is translating.
Since you don't know the language, it's hard to tell when he said something you didn't. Eventually, if you make the effort, you can pick up when the translator is adding in his words through your gut feeling.
You also find out that everyone else has a translator as well and sometimes your translator gets into a fight with theirs and you end up at odds with the other person.
So you decide to bypass both translators and communicate with others directly through your body language, facial expressions, and actions. The other person is soooo grateful to feel such a strong connection, that you both experience joy and happiness like never before.
This angers the translator (since he is no longer needed), so he tries to scare you into believing that you will not survive without him, that he is you.
You realize that he is not you but a servant of you. You realize that when you return to your homeland you and him will go your separate ways for there will be no need for translation at home.
This is how the ego works, it tricks you into thinking you need it and that you are it, when all along, the ego is just a tool to help you in this physical world and you can let go of it as soon as you are accustomed to the world.
Lately I've been focusing on bypassing my translator, the ego, to reach the other person. I've only made slight progress but the results have been very powerful.
A great book that focuses a lot about the journey inward is The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. There is a powerful scene where Dan lets go of the ego and feels extreme fear and uncertainty without it yet pushes onward.
Another great way is utilizing the meditation exercises from Revive Your Sex Drive.
Daily meditations will allow you to bypass the ego more each time you do them, allowing your true inner being to communicate through you with others.