Ego and Enlightenment
Last week I went to listen to deborah king, internationally known spiritual teacher and modern kabbalist. The conversation of the evening was the ego and how different spiritual teachings have different ways of dealing with the ego.
She asked the room what their beliefs were in this area. One person felt that the ego must die in order for us to reach enlightenment. Another spoke about the ego must be transmuted. Another spoke of different stages that the ego goes through, kind of like stair steps of evolution and doorways that must be passed through to reach enlightenment.
One person spoke that the ego needs to step aside for us to become fully enlightened.
I can’t begin to recount what Jason Shulman had to say about the ego and the different philosophies, I can only recount my own personal perception and reflection from the evening. First, he spoke about the ego as being a part of our earthly being, just as much as our body is.
He stated that it was a necessary part of us and that it’s function is to bring stability to our journey here on the planet. Denial of the ego can be just as difficult a journey as denial of the physical. I know, because I have experienced both and it was not pleasant. I almost died twice. When I was in denial of my ego and trying to kill it off, I felt like I was in a constant battle, a battle which was affecting my body as well.
I then came to an awareness that there was no fight needed. I just needed to become fully aware of the ego and to differentiate between the ego and pure awareness or true knowing. This was necessary because, as Jason Shulman pointed out in his conversation, the ego is always trying to keep homeostasis, balance, or status quo. So if you are wishing to change, evolve, or grow, the ego is not really programmed to go there. Status quo means staying right where you are. Therefore when you experience that moment of enlightenment, the ego says, oh no, you have to come back to where you were before, we don’t know where that state of pure awareness, oneness, or whatever you wish to call it, will take us. The unknown to the ego is not status quo. Therefore you go in and out of that state of being. Jason Shulman brought about the hypothesis that it is the ego that is doing this in attempt stabilize your being here on the planet.
This brought to mind what one of the women said about enlightenment, that it is a journey of stair stepping and going through doorways. If the ego’s function is to stabilize our being while here in this earthly dream, then when we do take that evolutionary leap, the ego will tend to bring us back. But once we have moved ahead in our evolution, it can not move us back completely, It can have us down play it, have us forget some of it, but there is indeed a shift that the ego cannot change or deny. So it settles for stabilizing us at a different level of awareness. This is the appearance of stair stepping or progressing to different levels of enlightenment.
So if one is wishing to move to become fully enlightened or fully aware at all times without going in and out of awareness, what does one do with the ego? This is a good topic for a Blog.
From where I am right now, I can only share my perception or hypothesize. For the past six years I have seen my ego as an ally, it is always showing me the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that it uses to stabilize me. An example I believe is the belief that I must fit in and be like everyone else. This is one archtypical thought that the ego carries. So when we go to express our true nature and the ego checks to see if it fits in with everyone else’s nature. We become so obsessed with fitting in, wearing the right clothes, driving the right car, living in the right car, and I can go on for years on this pattern, it is so ingrained in us. So by the time we meet adulthood, we loose the sense of who we are and go on a search to find ourselves. Ha, as if we disappeared. Another ego tactic to make us think that we are in someway missing or not whole.
There is a dualistic nature to the ego. In order to stabilize something, you must move in one direction and then if you go too far, you must turn around and move in the opposite direction. So the opposite of the archetypical thought that we must fit in is what I call the rebel. The rebel likes to sabotage, it likes to go against the norm, stick out, be different. So you see one part of us is wanting to be the same while another part of us is wishing to be different. Insanity, yes. Built right into us. No wonder we wish to go to sleep.
By observing what is going on, I have come to accept that the ego is part of my being here in this earthly dream and I stay aware of it’s patterns and behaviors. Just as one can exercise and eat the right foods to enhance the bodies functioning, I have been working with my ego to release some of it’s more negative archetypes, which are just energies that carry thought or consciousness and actually reside in our physical bodies. By doing this I have found that those patterns leave my body and never reappear. I don’t try to kill my ego, move it aside, I work with it so that it evolves right along with me. I accept it as a part of my earthly existence just as I accept my physical body and that is a whole new discussion. The acceptance of the physical.