Much as many awake people say they lost their ego, there is still a person there with preferences, winding down their karma. It can certainly seem like the ego is gone. Some even experience a kind of ego death or divorce.
But if we’re honest, once we settle in and integrate it, we’ll notice it’s still there in a reduced form. No longer a big mental construct, it’s just an individuation or focus of attention: Ahamkara in Sanskrit. It is no longer the centre; more like a function of this point of expression. There is an apparent “person” there, but it is not “me”, just as my shoes are not me. (mall joke anyone?)
Previously, I’ve written about how the ego is actually layered and the functions dissolve as we step through higher stages of development. With the initial awakening of Cosmic Consciousness or Self Realization, the centre of the ego concept falls out and various aspects fall away over time.
With the awakening heart of God Consciousness, the emotional drivers of a me fall away. This greatly helps the remaining mental constructs let go and is profoundly emotionally purifying.
And finally, with the approach to Unity, the core identity becomes seen. This is an old fear driver that originated when we lost our sense of connection to the divine long ago. When that is released, it ends the sense of division between “inside” and “outside” and all becomes recognized as one. The tendency for any new sense of me to arise is gone.
Adyashanti called this process head, heart and gut in his book Emptiness Dancing.
With time in Unity, we experience and become all that arises. But that is not the end of a person. A person with preferences and habits still exists and lives a life and notices problems and successes. The impact this has on wholeness is pretty minimal now. But it is still present.
At this stage, it is known as Lesha (leisha) Avidya, the faint remains of ignorance. A traditional analogy is that it’s like a film of butter on your hands after you handle it. It doesn’t get in the way of the direct experience of what is but a small shadow remains.
Another way to describe it – what remains to be done or worked out? That’s it.
Lesha Avidya also refers to keeping a small space between oneself and the object of devotion, be it God, guru, or mate. This space allows love to flow. Thus there can be some intention to retain some small division or ignorance.
As we get into the Brahman stage, it becomes even more intriguing. In an interview on Buddha at the Gas Pump, Jerry Freeman makes some notable observations. To paraphrase, Brahman requires Lesha Avidya. There has to be enough of the sense of person remaining for Brahman to be lived as a person. There is no Brahman without a knower of Brahman. Brahman is the knower. Brahman is a human being in Brahman (BC). Ignorance is what makes the Great Awakening possible.
Whatever you bring to the table, that is your ignorance. That gradually reduces over time as Brahman is integrated. But you remain a human, however vast and inclusive awareness is.