Have you ever heard within you, not necessarily in words, something to the effect of "Oh no, not this again!"? Perhaps we're looking at the latest flame of our heart and we see a fire in his or her eyes, but it's not because they are looking at us. In that moment we no longer see the moment unfold as it is, but rather we stand there transfixed -- experiencing the moment as we are; and we are not really present! We are back in our past, caught up in waves of emotional pain born of having become identified with other unhappy moments in our lives like the one unraveling before us. So, we are not really so much alive in the Now as we are reliving who we once were; and it is from our unconscious identification with this familiar flood of negative sensations that we derive a false sense of "I." In this state of self all sorts of runaway reactions rule us. Who hasn't wished there were some way to take back the angry words or cruel actions of this false self that literally sets itself on fire as it blames another for its pain?
What we want to learn from ongoing dramas such as this is that no false sense of "I" can run its self-compromising game on us without there being a reason for it -- a reason our own mind provides by unconsciously calling up, and then identifying with, old negative images taken from some darkened closet of the past. If we can see that any step this false "I" takes to protect itself from the pain it feels only serves to make it - and the pain it is experiencing - seem more real, then we can see why this fictitious self has to go.
The next time (and every time) you catch some negative thought or feeling that says, "I am anxious," "I am scared," "I am mad," or "I am in so much pain" -- the first thing to do is to come wide awake to yourself. By taking the following inner action, you can deliberately snap yourself out of that dark dream that is trying to weave itself into your identity. Rather than allowing yourself to be drawn into all the reasons that have appeared in your mind to justify why you should cry, reach instead for the shelter of the present moment. Then, while knowing that this negative state is present and pressing you to identify with its little life, work as consciously as you can to drop everything in that negative declaration except for the awareness of I am.
In other words, let go of any dark definition of yourself about to be draped over you. Just stand there, in the Now, within the light of your awareness and allow your newly awakened state to give you its identity. Then be still; just watch. Be the new you that sees the moment as it is -- instead of being deceived into seeing what that false "I" wants you to see so that it can go on stealing your life!
Your awareness of these troubled thoughts and feelings roaming through you is the power that keeps their harmful and self-limiting influences from having control over you. Their aim is to get you to define yourself by identifying with their dark and defiling energies. Your aim is to remember that who you really are cannot be confined by dark thoughts or feelings any more than the light from a bulb can be contained in its glass.