I have been practicing scales on guitar as a meditation technique for the past few weeks. For twenty minutes a day I typically play one scale over and over up and down the neck of the guitar. My intention is to simply play the scale as best I can. Of course my ego pops in from time to time with thoughts of how my technique will improve if I keep doing this every day. I have, in fact noticed improvement in my technique and my ego is always quick to take the credit. Sometimes my ego dwells on the question of whether this practice ultimately benefits me in any way. My ego tells me I am bored and suggests new ways to liven things up, typically by encouraging me to play other scales or licks. My ego does not seem to want me to be free to do something pointless for twenty minutes a day. It seems my ego thinks everything I do must serve a purpose and create further improvement towards some future goal. My ego keeps checking the clock to see how much time remains and worries that I will not have the endurance to stick it out for the full twenty minutes. My ego judges me when I make a mistake and (illogically) becomes frustrated when I give in to my ego’s distractions. When there are outside distractions in the form of noises or people coming in and out of the room. My ego wants to become angry or irritated.
In a way, this practice is a trap I set for my ego to get it to come out from hiding so that I can observe it in action and maintain awareness of it. But I also intend to lose myself in the playing. This can only happen when my ego recedes into the background. I do not think my ego recedes through any effort on my part except to focus my attention on what I am doing. When this happens I feel I abide in my true self and there is a sense of peace and release. Perhaps my true self is allowed to emerge in this environment. Of course my ego tries to make the emergence of my true self a goal as well but when this happens I simply try to non judgmentally observe my ego in this effort. If distractions arise that is simply my experience of what is happening. I do not need the world to be a certain way. I can let it be what it is. That requires less (or no) effort. If distractions do not arise that is fine as well.
My ego wants me to think about the future consequences or comparisons with my past or future self. My ego wants me to evaluate my performance. Following my ego (although easy in the short term) ultimately drains my energy. In the face of this I simply try my best for twenty minutes and concentrate on playing the scale. There is no goal other than that.