One of the most important lessons of the spiritual journey is letting go of the habit of making it about you, of taking life personally, of thinking what happens is about how it affects you.
When we’re identified with our ego or sense of personal me, this taking everything personally is natural. That is how we’re experiencing the world. The ego tries to maintain an illusion of personal control and thus takes everything as mine and about me.
Curiously, the ego know it’s faking it but wants to keep this secret from us to feel in charge. It’s another little signal we’re not the ego, we’re what is experiencing it. The ego knows once it’s seen through, its reign will end.
A great deal of behaviour, contraction, grasping, and suffering spins off of this one simple delusion. Spiritual awakening is a shift out of this ego story into our cosmic nature. The me never wakes up, we wake up From the me.
And yet it’s been going on so long, it takes time to clear all the habits and contractions even after letting go of this identification. I’m still surprised to see very awake people taking the occasional thing personally and playing out old dramas that have not been seen through yet.
Such issues are easy to avoid if we live in an ivory castle or cave and avoid much social contact. Relationships can be powerful mirrors for our junk.
By being willing to see and using transcendence to touch our true nature, we loosen those old bindings. Through living life in the world, we see through our shadows.
In Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna guides Arjuna in detaching from the fruits of action. This applies to all forms of action and response, even in the mind. At first, we may try to change but are noticing our reaction after the fact. Oops, I did it again. But at least the reactivity is now conscious.
As we make progress in that area of life, we notice reactivity during the reaction. It may still be too late but occasionally we can change direction. And this helps us see yet more clearly. In the next step we become aware just as the first impulse to react is arising. Then we have a choice. And finally, we resolve the impulse itself and the action stops arising. Another spoke in the wheel of karma falls away.
It also takes time to wind down our contractions because the big one’s are many-layered and may even be embedded in the blueprint of this life. Even the ego itself is many-layered. The mental story of a me is just the top level of ego entanglement.
Beneath that is the emotional drivers of a me that give it energy and drive and reactivity. These lose their core when the heart mahamarma opens, ideally at the God Consciousness stage. And beneath that is the “core identity,” a gut contraction that keeps us identified with this body-mind.
Once the core of each layer is resolved, there are often shreds of related identifications that spin off of them. These resolve over time.
These three levels I’ve referred to as the 3 Am-egos. They have an association with the first 3 stages of enlightenment, but there is considerable variation in how and when we let go of these identifications. Ideally, the third goes with the Unity shift but I’ve seen people post-Brahman who have not had the heart opening yet.
Unless source or events arise to trigger our remaining contractions, they can remain unconscious for a while. And yet their influence can still arise in quiet resistance. This leads to side effects, behaviours, and places where the light doesn’t shine fully.
Yet as we work through the process, the light begins to shine everywhere.