In another discussion, someone commented that they were surprised how hard it was to do what made them happy, what brought them results. How they would forget the simple things that made a difference. I explained:
Actually, if you understand the ego, then the behavior begins to make more sense. As part of the natural growing process, we need to gain a sense of separateness from our mother. As a young child, the mind creates the idea of an identity separate from other. We call this the ego. This helps us become independent and self-sufficient.
But not understanding human potential, we tend to get stuck there, building our adulthood around this childhood ego, around an idea or story about who we are. Oftentimes, this story is built upon our view of certain events in childhood – that we’re ugly or stupid or blame worthy or better than or justifiably angry, or whatever. Basically primitive lower emotions. This becomes the back story of our life.
And this is where we have our blind spots. Could be around happiness, around relationships, food, sex, money, and so forth. The basics.
The trick is, the ego has created a story and it keeps control (of what it cannot control) by making itself right. And the only way it can be right, is to make other wrong. Note that being right is being right about your story. Being right about being stupid or unworthy or better than or other total nonsense. Our whole language is built around this need to be right. Our culture is full of it. We’re right so Bush is wrong, they are a gossip and we’re not, I am better than, black and white, right and wrong. And in order to keep being right and thus ensure its existence, the ego is willing to sacrifice our health, our happiness, and our well-being. It sees it as a matter of its own survival.
The problem is, the ego is built on air. It is an illusion. It is just a “tiny mad idea”, in use long past its due date. Although the west does not yet acknowledge this, normal human development is to lose the ego sometime in the teens when the body is completing its maturing. Then the nervous system can sustain the next level of development. (just wait for the Indigos…)
The simple reason you don’t always do what is “best” and what would make you happiest is that it would make the ego wrong. For whatever irrational reason. These stories are often quite sub-conscious and deeply tied to our core sense of identity, so it take time to be clear about this. This is why it takes practice at first. We have to culture gratitude and more positive emotions. We have to practice a different outlook. We have to try different things. We have to create new habits of mind and begin rewriting our story.
But until we lose the ego, it will remain a practice because the ego is a devious little beast. The ego will pretend to cooperate. It will pretend to be spiritual. But it will tend to sub-consciously thwart. You’ll see the head of judgment, doubt and dismissal come up – thats ego-speak. And it will always try to run its story against everything that comes up. And will filter out what does not fit the story. This is why we can be standing in heaven and suffer. Suffering is simply a habit of mind as we did not know otherwise. Heaven is not somewhere else.
But there is nothing we can do to kill or suppress the ego. The ego is a natural quality of the mind and any mental effort against it is just the ego playing with itself. The only way we can dump the ego is by connecting with who we really are again. Beyond the mind. We lose the ego by transcending it. Again, by practice.
The only thing thats hard about this is that we have little context in the west for it. Loosing the ego is actually very easy. We do it every night when we sleep. When the mind goes to sleep, all the ideas of the mind, the story and the ego, all sleep as well.
Have you ever woken in the morning and for a short moment you didn’t know who you are and where you are? This is because the ego had not yet woken to remind you. If you felt any panic or other negative emotion, it was only because ego had not initialized its story and was fearful of its loss. It was not you being fearful, it was the ego. The ego is the source of almost all that negative noise.
You also may note that the ego is always in the past or the future. That is the nature of the mind. It is running on memories and projections. Not what is real.
To lose the ego, all we have to do is connect deeply enough with who we are and the need for the ego will fall away. The idea will be forgotten when we remember who we already are. It only takes a moment, when we’re ready. And the way to that is to allow. Just allow everything. Just as it is, now. That is what is real, now.
Everything you experience is either fullness or resistance to fullness.
If you have some sort of spiritual practice like meditation. Something that is easy and brings you peace, that will help make it faster. Its a practice that will help you remember. Help you allow.
Its a funny thing, but every day is miraculous, if you create your day or not. It is only the ego that judges it otherwise. When it shuts up for even a moment, the light that can shine in is immense. The happiness we can be, simply by being who we already are, is more than you can imagine. And because it is infinite, it can only increase. More, and more, and more.
If that seems too much, know that remembering who you already are is just the beginning of a remarkable adventure. An adventure into what we really can be, a greatness and a fullness beyond what the mind can conceive of. History is full of people who have embarked on this adventure but the stories rarely do it justice. Words fail when its beyond mind. Yet it is perfectly normal and natural, and actually ordinary. Because its who you already (really) are.
Be patient with yourself. The thing thats in a rush is the ego, pushing to be in some other time than now.
Keep practicing. The rewards are more than worth it.