How To Let Go of Ego

When we can find ways to slip free of our ego, we enter a “flow state” where time and judgment don’t matter and joy overtakes us.

Bro Vector/Adobe Stock

When I went to college, mountain bikes were coming onto the scene. I bought one my freshman year, rode it everywhere—on campus, and on the local mountain bike trails with friends. In medical school, I bought my first bike with front suspension, with which I could ride more challenging and technical terrain. There were excellent trails within 30 to 60 minutes of St. Louis, as well as enthusiasts in each of my classes whom I could link up with (school was challenging, but we would always find time to get out for a ride). In the summers, I also started traveling with friends to places that had “real” mountain biking, like Colorado and Wyoming. We’d ride huge descents in Durango and long stretches of single track in Alaska’s Kenai peninsula. On these big trips, we judged our rides by how “epic” they were.

We can feel like we’re on autopilot, almost floating somewhere with a daydreamy spaced-out quality of awareness. In contrast, awareness during flow experiences is vivid, bright, and engaged.

And that’s when I started tripping into flow. Flow is at the opposite end of the spectrum from habit. Mindlessly watching TV or automatically responding, “I’m fine how are…

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About the author

Judson Brewer

About Dr. Brewer: Judson Brewer MD PhD is a thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery”, having combined over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. A professor and researcher at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, he has developed clinically proven app-based training to help people with emotional eating (www.goeatrightnow.com) and anxiety (www.unwindinganxiety.com). He is the author of The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smartphones to love, why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017).

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