Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Trap Of Ego

I talk about this subject a good bit....and I do this, I realize, on this morning, because I have not always spelled out just what it is that I feel is important to consider when it comes to ego. Some new thing will rise in my awareness as a result of some real life experience that will bear new awareness to me that I realize I know but have not mentioned.  I often tend to assume people know this....I KNOW people know this deep down, but we don't always know we know.  This is what awakening is, the very core of it, which is moving into knowing, something the Greeks called Gnosis and is the root for the early Christian movement called the Gnostics.  Agnostic means you do not know.  But knowing you do not know is far better a thing then thinking you know when in truth you are substituting a piece of a puzzle where the part seems to fit but does not.  And this is really the challenge in all of this. We seem to have pieces that fit, but have never really fit.  You either take it into yourself and know how it fits inside of you or you don't.  What I say can only matter if it works for you.  If it works for you, great.  If not, then either I am completely off the mark, or you just haven't felt how the thing that it replaces has a shape that you now realize was not just right.  And when it is right, it will flow and fit perfectly as your Essential Self flows into the moment and you just know. 

I know that so much of this can seem like pontificating, and we as a species have had plenty of that.  I am not here to prove anything except to offer at my door a plate full of flowers and bits of nourishment that I have found to work for me.  No one is telling you to take the plate and run with it.  No one is telling you that you will burn if you don't.  I would RATHER you deny the truth vociferously and bear the badge of your own RIGHT to do so as a sovereign being and be a little off on the details than to follow mindlessly the rantings of a wild man.  At least you are exercising discernment which does not happen when someone says you are going to burn or that you simply do not know or can't know because you are fallen, or missing that ingredient that makes it possible for you to glimpse the truth of the kingdom, or cosmic consciousness, of divine awareness.  All of this is IN you.  As the Oracle of Delphi said, the only way we know the gods is by knowing ourselves. 

The problem with ego is that you will never get rid of it.  You wont get rid of it because of the important purpose that it serves.  I say important because it is.  But that importance is itself limited in a certain sense.  Ego plays a role in divine awareness.  It always will.  Without this awareness, you will not be able to experience anything as being individual within you. Ego itself is, I suspect, a natural outgrowth of our gift given to us from the Prime Creator.  If you want to give that gift back, then I suppose you might find the path back to a primordial state, but I rather think that this is like a bell having rung.  I don't think, in knowing individuality, that you can ever really go back to a place where there is no observer, no part of you that looks out and knows itself as you.

There is a problem with some eastern practices or perspectives that involve ego death.  This feels to me to be more a kind of self loathing than anything doing directly with something practical.  For if it were, the path to being ego-less would be a straight line that would lead us all perfectly to a place where we could dispense with ego and know the supreme state of cosmic consciousness.  Most things in life tend to be very simple once you get down to them.  We only want to make things complicated when we ourselves do not wish to glimpse their truth. When we are ready, my experience has been each and EVERY time that it all gets incredibly simple.  Simple like how things are simple in childhood.  By this I do not mean diminished capacity or lack of knowing, for children know things that adults have forgotten.  Childhood is remarkably nuanced, unencumbered by the false biases that have grown up by our mountains of hurt or wrongs done to us or some perceived slight.  In childhood, we are more clear without needing to call something a given thing.  We experience it AS IT IS without judging it or running it through all of our filters of mind and belief, which may or may not conform or align to the divine within us.  I am not suggesting that the eastern practices are somehow tainted and not worth learning from.  Learn, certainly, but first use your discernment, see if that piece fits.  It is up to you.  What fits today may not fit tomorrow as your insides slowly shift and conform to that part of you. 

The one inconvenient reality of ego is that your higher self has an ego.  Some call it the super ego.  It is an extension of the earthbound ego. The importance of the higher self in my own practice is that it serves as a template for me to become.  I don't need anyone else's say-so on how to be as long as I am doing my best to follow my inner higher self.  Here, I am doing what the Oracle of Delphi admonished people to do; to know themselves and in so doing, they would know the God and Goddesses within them.  if you have a superego, then doesn't it make sense that all this talk of eradicating the ego is simply a huge waste of time?  Okay, look, I can feel your resistance to this, and I am saying all of this in the way I am saying for a reason, to get you to identify your reactions and to then look at the matter at hand perhaps in a different way. 

It's not a waste of time to work on ego.  Certainly ego has been given this inner throne inside of us so that it keeps the core or Essential Self from taking its rightful place in our awareness.  But in so doing, ego is not sent to the gallows.  In moving it out of its central position, we allow for a more productive arrangement within us to happen.  Imagine having a garden full of beautiful flowers.  You want to provide protection and privacy for that garden by putting in a stone wall.  It serves to keep out the animals that would feed upon it and it gives you quiet and solitude, all of which you like when it comes to this beautiful garden.  And yet, it is as though we have not placed our rock walls around the periphery, but straight through the middle of our gardens.  Instead of helping to unify the self, it in fact divides it.  This does not make much sense since you have to stumble over this rather rigid wall just to get to see the poppies or the lilies. It makes sense to have the wall encircle your garden, don't you think?  And while a wall will always serve as a division, if you are going to have such divisions, then make them in such a way that they make some sense.  Perhaps, in the end, the wall does come down or you have many entries into the garden.  The self knows that the divisions can sometimes be arbitrary and as a result, no wall every keeps out what must enter in in order for you to know fulfillment and inner knowing.  The wall is more the result of intention.  If you intend to keep ego centrally located, it will quite naturally serve to blot out a central awareness of the soul as infinite and eternal and wedded to a much broader form of consciousness that leads you to the gods and goddesses within that the Oracle of Delphi was hinting at.  Like the God and Goddess within you. 

It is true that in order for this type of awareness to flood into your being, you have to set ego aside.  When I say ego, I am talking about the part of you that is more earthbound in nature.  You have a higher expression of that same ego that exists outside of time and duality and it is a more advanced form or version of your own earthly ego. the only challenge with the earthly ego is that it serves to filter and blind you to the broader awareness that you need in order to make more considered decisions about what you are and what the world itself is.  The ego in its earthly role has a tendency to blind you and in so doing keeps you thinking that you are more limited than you are, and also limits your awareness and experience of vast amounts of energy that is your birthright.  It is in knowing and feeling this energy directly that you will be able to know the bliss that exists as a natural state of being within the current of energy that is the universe.  With ego in the way, this awareness can sometimes be blotted out entirely. 

The best thing is to cherish who you are in entirety, forgive your shortcomings and move forward. Move forward by giving ego the assurance that you value its contribution, but that it wont sit on the throne of your awareness.  If you allow this to happen, ego will feed off the energy flowing in at that spot and it will grow slowly but surely into the monster it has been for most people and become a huge stumbling block.  Just let it be like your trusted advisor who goes back to its quarters without trying to run the show.  Let it come and go.  That is the role of ego for now. 

Your higher self form of ego is that part of you that touches the infinite.  Until you use it to do this, you may not believe me.  Your experience alone will tell you whether this is true or not.  If you know bliss from awakening, for example, your higher self has already been in the picture since the higher self is firmly rooted in the soil of the bliss field. The superego or higher expression of your own ego here in your earthly focus is an extension of your own troublesome ego here.  It isn't that one is an outgrowth of one or the other.  Super ego does not give birth to smaller earthly ego.  They exist, outside of time simultaneously.  So to say one causes the other to be is an irrelevant question to ask. If you do, you will go scurrying to find proofs that this is so in in the process, will cobble together some facts or appearances that seems  to fit the picture your own mind is seeking to create.  They are of a piece.  If you want a model to think of them, think of them as being like a cone, for this is how I have experienced it and it seems to work pretty good thus far.  One one end of the cone awareness is very focused, which is good in its own way.  You need this sharpness of focus, but it serves sometimes to be less aware of the broader picture that is available on the other end of the cone of consciousness which is what you call your higher self.  Consciousness expands outward and the part of you that you call ego is present in the higher self as a form of self awareness and identification of itself as individual.  In this state, though, the higher self knows that it can flow into the consciousness of the sun and flow out of it, merging directly into the consciousness that makes up the sun while never having its own identity blotted out or destroyed in any way whatsoever.  The difference between your higher self and your earthly selves' ego is that earthly ego does not have this assurance.  Ego, partnered with your present awareness tells or suspects that you are limited even though the genie in the bottle is but inches from your grasp. As you let go and surrender, consciousness naturally begins to flow out from the center point of this cone into the broader portion of the cone of your consciousness. There is no end to what your surrendering to your own natural self will do in bringing you higher and higher levels of awareness and experiencing of broader forms of energy.  There is not place where this cone ends.  It is infinite.  As you remove the hurdles to your awareness and allow the inner surface of this cone to be entirely free from bumps and points of resistance, your own consciousness will be free to move into ever broader realms of your being in and out of time.  You will reach places that there are simply no words for (and thank goodness for that).  But all along this path of expanding awareness is a sense of ego, and this ego does not strike you as being like the ego you have here on earth because the ego you have here has some work to do to reshape and mold and reform. 

Seeking to get rid of ego will only result in it popping up somewhere else inside of you.  Evidence for this is present in the psychological experiments that were done by both the Nazi's, Russia, the United States and Cananda in their now-infamous mind control experiments.  Central to the Nazi discovered mind control was a kind of crushing of the self by trauma.  It was discovered that if enough pressure was applied, the self would fracture into many smaller parts.  these parts were not random in any way.  Each portion that broke would have its own ego, its own core self, its own emotional self, mind, and all the rest.  Each portion would often serve to express different aspects of the personality but would have all the parts normally found in any fully created psyche.  the self fractured in holographic fashion, which makes perfect sense that it would do this.  It was the goal of the mind controllers to then manage these individual selves for their own ends.  Now the only reason why I am even mentioning this is that it points to the reality of what will happen if you seek to destroy ego.  You simply cannot do it.  Seek to kill it, and it will merely fracture off five of itself in order to survive such a hard blow to itself and in the process you will have a mush more difficult situation than you had before.  Try knitting all these pieces back together.  This can be done, certainly, but the effort to knit ego back together will be a greater challenge prior to the trauma induced. 

The challenge that  denial of ego produces is a rubber banding effect within the psyche most often.  What we repress will come back in a dysfunctional way.  Ego will become exaggerated, will explode, only to go silent again.  You will keep telling yourself that thank goodness it was just one small explosion and you have it under control the rest of the day, but there is still a problem and it will continue to be a problem until you align with the reality of how you are made. 

It is much more healthy to admit and understand you have go than seeking to banish it entirely.  Facing up to ego is much more productive because you learn how to deal with it on a day by day basis out in the open instead of seeking to pretend that it is dead and gone.  Don't do it---it will only lead to problems down the line and you will be chiding yourself for believing you got rid of ego when in fact you hadn't. Your mind will then go to another method or means for destroying ego, all with the same results as before.  So don't do it.  Ask yourself how you can arrange your awareness so that ego is present but not holding the reins in your life.  You can have a much more nuanced and peaceful sense of self if you will do this.  Notice I am not telling you HOW to do this.  There are no techniques.  You simply have to begin telling yourself that you will allow ego to step aside each and every moment.  Your own insides will then begin to take a different form and ego will be less of a problem in an incremental way.  Slow growth is better than seeking to have a lightening fast explosion of growth sometimes, even though these spurts do happen, they just happen more from the higher self than from your own earthbound intention.  You are still a pup learning the ways of cosmic consciousness.  You have a task before you and you are learning to undo centuries worth of thinking that goes beyond just this one life but the slow and gradual accretion of material that has served to create the edifice that is who you are.  Be easy on yourself, find the sense of devotion within that is married to love and compassion and apply that to yourself.  You have all the time in the world, and what you do not complete in this life will be continued in the next. Your spirit will see to it that it happens.

In truth, most people only come by this ego issue through what feels to them (and me) as a kind of collapse of the self, what some call "destruction" (Jesus used this term in describing it in a lesser known gospel) and while it may feel sudden and devastating, it is only in direct proportion to how centrally installed ego was in the first place.  But ego does not die.  Its just not as important as it was before.  A new feeling of importance comes about as a result of this that is not so narrow and monodimensional as before.  Suddenly, the self emerges as a this rich and wonderful thing that it is deeper down.  The ego simply can only deal with things in the way that it did when asked to be the gatekeeper for so much.  Here you can fall in love with yourself in a way that does not court narcissism but instead glories in the beauty of all life, which quite naturally includes yourself.  If nature is beautiful and wonderful, then being a part of nature, you yourself are naturally a part of this, but the difference is that you are less invested in the old positions of where you were when ego was so central.  With ego its all about me.  With ego to the side, it is all about we.  If you want to simplify it even more, think of ego as being the masculine current in you and your infinite self as the feminine.  Or the ego is the left brain and the infinite as the right brain.  They each do different things, and they do things much better when they are in union, when they are working cooperatively together.  And reflecting in this way, by being able to work cooperatively with those of the opposite sex will naturally reflect a willingness and ability to allow your own insides to work cooperatively also, for we each have this dual character inside of us.  We each have the yin and yang, the Shakti and Shiva within us.  It is the cosmic current, and we can put all kinds of labels and attach all kinds of images to them, but they each stand beyond all efforts to pigeon hole them.  All efforts to do so only point in their general direction.  The best way is to know them within yourself.  But once you allow the man to step back, the ego, he allows the woman within to do what she does so well, and she can only do this when the loud ego silences himself.  then her quieter and gentler nature that is her grace and softness to come forward.  Strength is not defined in how strident you are in your opinions, nor in how powerful your ego is. It is also in how compassionate you can be, how much you allow yourself to flow and be at peace.  It is only when we are at peace that the nurturing of the self begins in the same way that a woman can nourish new life in her in a physical way.  Only when we are in a stable and peaceful environment can new life, new ideas, new insight emerge.  Only then are we free to imagine, to go beyond ourselves, to go beyond what we thought (in ego) what we were capable of.  The feminine side I am talking about will always leave the ego side in the dust.  Every time.  And yet, the infinite self is so unbounded, that it is not capable of being able to fit all of this potential into a framework that has a chance of making its entry into physical it a child, an idea, a school of thought, a new product, or a way of bringing a method into your life for supporting this glorious flow that is the beauty of who you are. 

So don't fool yourself.  Be honest with yourself.  You are indeed stuck with ego, but ego need not be stuck in your very core awareness.  Utilize ego for what it is so good at, but do not make it your god.  If you do, then you will reinforce each other and then it will grow to ridiculous heights.  It just isn't that important in the final analysis.  You will be much more effective a person if you let the flow of the universe into your life.  Stop worrying over how it is all going to work out.  Let the flow more room.  If you do, things will begin to happen much more effortlessly.  You will have begun to anchor a much more effective cooperative mindset and soulset that will facilitate this great mystery that you may have thought was mumbo jumbo five minutes ago but are willing to bring back into your life.  This is the seeming magic that humans keep wanting to believe in.  It is the idea that incredible things can happen if we just let them happen.  And in being open to their happening, they will to the degree that you self realize and examine your competing beliefs that block their being able to happen. Some of the smartest people have the hardest time with this because this is so easy to do.  they think that nothing worthwhile comes easily, but here they are simply wrong.  there ARE things that will come with great ease, but their entry has been blocked just as surely as a gatekeeper within has denied them at the periphery of your being. 

So the garden wall itself begins to tumble down and my analogy is seen as a limited construct simply to get you to a certain place, after which you must abandon the wall and realize that the flowers that you think are yours are also others.  You will then see in the crumbling of that wall that your sense of identify never goes away, it merely refines itself into a much more grand and nuanced sense of self that has nothing to prove and that can move mountains if given half the chance.  I have this happen all the time now as a regular feature of my experience.  It happened yesterday as a matter of fact and it helped to clear the way for a project I am doing with a student whose work will be greatly facilitated through the connection that just showed up as I was displaying work in an out of the way location and entirely out of context with the work that this person does that I met.  The intention had been out there and it was only a matter of time.  It only took a few months, and in terms of the project, the timing could not have been better in all truth.  If you are locked into what the ego believes is possible, then you will always be limited.  Let ego step aside and allow the infinite self to show you the miraculous big and small things that can happen effortlessly.  You may even know people in your life who always seem able to get things done.  They seem just lucky, and you might find yourself feeling jealous or even angry at how easy it is for these people to do what they do.  You might even think you have very good reasons for knowing WHY they can get things done.  Maybe they are rich.  Maybe their wealth somehow puts them in touch with all the right people somehow.  But have you ever wondered how that person manifested their wealth to begin with?  Regardless of how they came into it, they attracted this in one way or another.  Once you tear down your bias towards these people whom you feel jealousy towards, the sooner you can begin to learn from them.  The secret is not some form of privilege, although certainly this may appear so on the outside.  Eventually if you follow the current back far enough, it goes to the headwaters of the soul.  All of it does.  No exception.  And if you can think in this way, you can remove the bias that keeps you stuck where you are thinking that the world is just unfair and some people have it and others do not because of something material in their lives that makes it so.  And yes, the appearance of something like material wealth might seem to be a cause, but it is only a symptom.  Letting your pride go for a minute will open more doors than standing beating your head against the wall. 

The trap of ego is the trap you set for yourself.  You can have too much of it and that is a problem, or you can have too little and believe that its gone and done for.  Either side of this equation there is too much imbalance.  The trick is in being honest about what IS.  This can be known in the moment, right here, and right now.  Keeping your intent in the right place will assist you greatly as this all unfolds in your life.  Whether you collapse ego suddenly or wear it away as it slips to the side, either way, you are setting up a new arrangement of self that is much more conducive to the universal flow that is your birthright. 

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