When a person says to me "My ego," "i think" or “My thoughts..." it could be obvious the person doesn't understand the relationship between Awareness and what's happening with the mind. Ego and thoughts very definitely don't obey us AKA Buddha-nature... Jiko-nature... Awareness-nature. Sitting still in Zazen for 5 minutes will verify that fact.
If we're sitting in stillness watching thoughts arise and fall, come and go all by themselves... it's obvious that that which is doing the watching... able to notice... observe thoughts coming and going... AKA Awareness-nature... Buddha-nature... Jiko nature... isn't in control of the coming and going, and much less the content. Do You as YOU really believe a thought could observe itself?
It's like the ocean having awareness of waves rising and falling, as a kind of side-effect of oceanic-nature itself, without actually having direct control of the waves on the surface. A boat moving through the water, doesn't control what comes in its wake.
How many times have we said, there's no logical reason to be scared... angry... sad... and yet we are influenced by the minds experience or agitation into assuming it's actually happening to authentic us? In many instances we say I feel angry. When someone tells me that, there's a question returned... are you feeling angry or thinking angry? Can you notice what's happening with the mind? What if anger is not the entire encapsulation of the person, but more the period at the end of a sentence, when the ego... the "I" within us thinks its been cornered by circumstances? What's in the sentence or paragraph, before we arrived at the period of so-called anger?
Going deeper, Have you noticed buying something later asking yourself "why'd I buy that?" We eat something and say "why'd I eat that?" We have a personal value, boundary, or rule and violate it... as though we're acting against ourselves and our actual intentions, and ask "Why'd I do that to myself?" Who is it that's doing the asking? To who is the question directed really? Could it be the ghost in the machine of Awareness-nature, Buddha-nature, Jiko-nature known as ego-identity? Are we mistaking the clouds coming and going skimming along the surface of the sky, for the sky Itself?
On a cloudy day it can appear there's no sunshine available to us. If we fly in an airplane, and go above the clouds, instantly we comprehend what we were so sure about on the ground, isn't what is really happening once above the clouds; in Reality. It's all about perspective in the looking and seeing. Is the cup of water, half empty or half full? It depends on if poverty-mind is looking at it or awareness-nature, Buddha-nature, or Jiko-nature is looking. One experience, yet the possibility of two separate perspectives. One limited. The other limitless.
The reality of authentic experience demonstrates we're powerless... helpless and without authority over with the mind is doing… the rising and falling... Evidenced by experiences of sleepless nights… or having thoughts that we don't want to think... but we're not powerless in how our awareness-nature, Buddha-nature, Jiko-nature responds, to the rising and falling of egos experience; that's not necessarily that of Awareness-nature, Buddha-nature, Jiko-nature. Though we experience pain, we can be free of being overwhelmed by suffering which are the stories and narratives of mind connected to specific dates, times, and locations that may or may not have been dealt with in healthy ways.
In Zen we use very simple practices to expose Reality swiftly, so that we can discern the difference between being damaged goods, and a misaligned person that does damaging things. The sooner we have clarity on what's happening, the sooner we gain real choices on how we can live our life. Will we do so as bumpkin or Buddha?
Zazen... stabilizing conscious contact with awareness-nature, Buddha-nature, Jiko-nature is often a determining factor. Please do not take my words as intellectual comfort food. Experience the reality with your our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual Presence in harmony and pointed in the same direction of Universal Loving Presence.
一We Are the Practice Itself