By Susie Ekberg
Q: I’ve done some spiritual and religious reading in the last couple of years and have noticed that most of these texts give the idea that we have developed egos that resist our calling to our true selves, our selves that are part of a pure collective whole. If we are part of such a perfect collective whole, why do we have to go through the motions of living a life where we develop an ego that is totally unlike our true self? What’s the point?
A: It seems like you’ve done a lot of reading on this subject, and have come up with some different thoughts. Well, I’d like to start out with another completely different thought for you to consider. You suggest that we go through our lives developing an ego that is totally unlike our true self, and I would like to change that language a little. I think we go through our lives developing and exploring different parts of our True Self. In that description, all parts our Self are part of the Whole – it’s impossible to not be you.
This is what I know about ego and the collective whole. It’s a paradox that we are at the same time all One AND all separate. How can that be? For any of us to experience different sides of the Whole, we need to have some kind of construct that allows us to experience things uniquely. That’s what I call the ego.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as some say – a healthy ego can describe who you are, in comparison to everyone else. For instance, I’m tall, have brown hair, am intelligent, love to laugh, I’m kind and loyal and mildly obsessive (sometimes not so mildly). You may be short (compared to me), have blonde hair (as opposed to my brown), like action adventure movies and Thai food. You see? In this process we can use our egos as mirrors to show us who we are as unique beings. We can use other people to mirror us back to ourselves as well. Think of what other people have told you about yourself. That you talk too much, you’re not confident enough, you’re too generous, not generous enough. This can also give you clues as to how you’ve constructed your ego body.
But most of this labeling is simply an illusion, based on past experiences, present wishes, and future expectations. In the end, we all just ARE, out beyond words and emotions and feelings. In order to walk TOWARD that place of the unmanifest, we need to experience all manners of the manifest, and that is where the “unlike our true self” behavior may come in. It may be simply unlike what we WISH our true self would be like; those undesirable actions we continually strive to eradicate.
Have you ever noticed that when you try to get rid of an unwanted habit it can make it stronger? Try telling yourself not to eat chocolate ever again, or drink coffee, or go online shopping. The first thing you want to do is grab a candy bar and a cappuccino and run to the computer, right? Denial doesn’t usually work. Why? Because the Universe is constantly moving toward unity (UNIverse/UNIty – both words mean “one”), toward addition not subtraction.
So let’s imagine that our True Self is our 100% Self, who we are when we are in totality. It was set up that in order to experience life down here, we could only take part of our Self with us, so that’s the only part we’re really conscious of. The rest of our Self? That’s what we experiment with and search for while on the earth, all in search of our 100%.
While we may think we’re doing something is NOT us, I put forth that if we’re doing it, then we ARE that. Again, it’s ALL a part of us. Now maybe you don’t want to be in THAT part of yourself all the time, but at least now you’ve experienced it. Now on to something else.
So we’re not using judgment, labeling one thing “good” and another “bad.” There’s no need to do that. We just learn by experiencing. And in that sense life IS like school, only it’s more like we’re RE-learning what we already know, but have just forgotten.
So when we come across something again, there’s a lightbulb that goes off somewhere in the recesses of our consciousness that’s like, “Oh! Been there, done that!” Haven’t you experienced that before? I know I have, and lately more and more.
Life’s just one big adventure in self-discovery back to our Selves, back to that place where we’re all connected, IF we choose to see it that way.
You can also see it as a rat race, a dog-eat-dog scenario where you have to look out for Number One, and tromp on anyone who gets in your way. It’s your choice. For me, I rather like walking toward the Light – it’s a happier place to be.
So I ask you – who ARE you, right in this moment? Do you know? Can you feel it? Do you know what I’m talking about? If you don’t, take a moment and just take a few deep breaths, and see if you can’t just BE. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about.
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