Ego’s Last Stand

I have been thinking about ego this week and how it shows up in our lives.

When the mind cannot accept a reality that goes against its own persona, it creates all sorts of stories to find a way to make it acceptable. We are seeing this unfold very publicly here in the US.

Someone who sees himself as a winner, was chastised as a loser growing up, and who now despises losers, cannot face being a loser himself.

A strong ego is driven by its need to be right. When it is threatened it will immediately shift blame, create stories and act out, so the ego is validated.

This is the ego’s last stand for survival.

A blow to our ego is one of the most hurtful things to experience. It cuts right into how we see ourselves and want to be seen. I recall times in my life when I expected  people to appreciate me, only to be disappointed when they didn’t. This is all about the ego and looking for validation.

For those of us on a spiritual path or working towards self realization, be especially careful where ego many hiding.

If you have difficulty saying “I don’t know” or “I was wrong” or “I am sorry” or “I forgive you” or “Please forgive me”, then your ego may still be very much in charge.

An other question to ask yourself as you talk to others, share on WordPress or whenever you are in relationship to someone:

“Am I doing this unconditionally or is there something I expect or hope for in return?

Sometimes we create stories that we are doing something for the good or others, but behind the altruism is an ego wanting to feel appreciated and validated.

Take some time to notice how your ego may be showing up in your life. Whenever you need to be right, its right there.

For Spiritual Seekers

ball ball shaped blur color

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“The gospel of self realization, once heard, will never be forgotten.
Like a seed left in the ground, it will wait for the right season and sprout and grow into a mighty tree.”

~ “I Am That” Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Self realization is a state in which an individual knows who they truly are and is fulfilled in that understanding.

What it means to each of us can vary.
For me, it manifested itself in an understanding that I am part of the loving Source within all beings and nature.

Others may call it a connection to God, or recognize that the Divine or Jesus is always within them. Yet, others may see it in a more scientific way, and consider it a fulfillment of all the possibilities of an individual’s personality and character.

Many of us have been Seekers for years. We have read ancient texts, taken up a practice such as meditation or yoga, and listened to the wisdom of modern enlightened sages.

We are told that when we reach self realization, we will have a happiness and peace.

At times we may doubt that we will ever reach that place within us. Yet, when we start to see ourselves differently and become less attached to how others perceive us, or are no longer interested in material things or status, then know that the seed is growing within us.

I found Yogapedia’s explanation of Self Realization helpful:

“It is said that once a person reaches Self-realization, their new vision and understanding of themselves brings them continuous, permanent happiness. It will also bring:

  • Equanimity to all circumstances
  • Inner peace
  • Freedom from all fears and anxieties
  • Deep spiritual fulfillment
  • Stronger, calmer relationships with others

Once a person reaches Self-realization, they are freed from their own desires and worldly attachments. They’re also liberated from external pressures, such as cultural and social expectations, or political and economic influences. They are beyond self-delusion and material attachments.

Self-realization involves letting go of many of the things that are associated with individual identity in order to find the true Self, which is eternal and unchanging. It is the difference between identifying with the ego and identifying with the true Self.

Practicing yoga is one means of achieving Self-realization. When used as part of a spiritual practice, yoga can help practitioners honor themselves, shed their egos, and reach a new state of awareness.”

Namaste

 

 

 

 

True Intelligence

intuition

“True intelligence is to rise above thinking as the source of all intelligence.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

I sat with these words this morning and had to smile. Of course, it is Tolle’s thinking that comes up with these gems. ☺️

Yet, it opens us up to something that is beyond our thoughts, that many of us innately understand, but perhaps have not put into words.

When we take time to pause and notice our thoughts, there are two insights that come to my mind. The first is, that we are not our thinking. What we have taken for granted as the “truth” is really only our perspective of the world around us and what we have learned about it. We are conditioned by our parents, culture, religion etc to see the world in a certain way. We also have personal filters based on our own experience from a very young age. For example, if we were bitten by a dog as a child we may have a fear of dogs and dislike them intensely as an adult. This is not the truth, just our perspective.

The second insight is that we have only the ability to analyze what we already know. Our ego mind likes to think it knows things, so it feels in control. Have you also noticed how it likes to judge and dismiss and deny what doesn’t fit in with its beliefs?

The truth is that there is so much that is beyond our thinking, and our intellectual mind. Analysis and science can only reveal what it can identify and quantify, but is at a loss with what is unknown.

I believe that when we pause and find a place of centeredness and calm, our true intelligence shows up as intuition, insights, new ideas, creativity and answers to problems we haven’t been able to solve. In my experience it also shows up as a deep feeling of warmth and love.

Of course, the next question is to ask what the source of this intelligence is.

Opening our minds to an intelligence greater than our individual self, that we share with each other and the world around is, is the step to realization or spiritual enlightenment. Tolle refers to this as Source or Presence. Others call it our Higher Self, Spirit, the Divine, Universal Oneness, Cosmos, Divine Mother, Brahma, Allah, or God.

When we fully embrace the unknown and let go of intellectual knowing, we are on the path to realization and universal love.

Namaste

What is the Purpose of Meditation?

man meditating

Image from Yoga Journal

“We know the outer world of sensations and actions, but our inner world of thoughts and feelings we know very little. The primary purpose of meditation is to become conscious of, and familiar with, our inner life. The ultimate purpose is to reach the source of life and consciousness.

Incidentally, practice of meditation deeply affects our character. We are slaves to what we do not know; of what we know we are masters. Whatever vice or weakness in ourselves we discover and understand its causes and its workings, we overcome it by the very knowing; the unconscious dissolves when brought into the conscious. The dissolution of the unconscious releases energy; the mind feels adequate and become quiet.”

~ “I am That” – Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“We are slaves to what we do not know; of what we know we are masters” is such a simple yet profound statement for seekers on the spiritual path. Being open to the unknown and taking time to pause and be an observer of our inner thoughts and struggles, is the gateway to a new way of being and self mastery.

In mindfulness and meditation practice we become aware of our inner life. When we are conscious of our thoughts and struggles, they lose their grip on us, and the mind can become quiet.

I have “I am That” as bedside reading. Maharaj’s  words are simple and direct, as he guides the individual to an understanding of his true nature and the timelessness of being.

I look forward to sharing more gems from this simple wonderful sage who did not propound any ideology or religion, yet guided people to self realization.

Searching Like a Cod

cod

When the innumerable searches are concluded,
The realization dawns that
The optimal place to be is
Where one already is.

It is an arrival at the place
Where there is no solid footing beneath,
The understanding of all things.

Until the conclusion,
The searcher is like
A cod asking directions to the ocean

~ Wu Hsin from “The Lost Writings” translated by Roy Melvyn

 

Wu Hsin’s insights into spirituality and Oneness always bring a smile.

It isn’t easy learning to go with the flow, until we stop asking for directions, and find the courage to be with no solid footing.

Capturing the World

balloon

” In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.

It will be a permanent Self, rooted in awareness and creativity.

Once you have captured this you have captured the world.”

~ Deepak Chopra

I’m inspired by Deepak Chopra’s words today.

When I was searching for an image to use, I come across photos of playful girls letting go of balloons. This is not what it feels like to let go of our persona and who we have always believed we are.
Surrendering to the unknown beyond our ego mind is a journey that is rarely filled with light hearted balloons. There is loss and sorrow.

Yet, on the other side, the world unfolds with clarity … with a smile and a different kind of balloon. 🎈

Inspiration – My Point of View

woman embracing nothing

Image from Pinterest: Steven DaLuz 1953. American Neo-Luminist Abstract painter

My point of view is not
a fixed or singular thing.
To say “I am the body,”
or “I am the vastness”-
both are true and neither.

To be all of it at once is to
fling my arms wide under
the shining sun and shout
“yes” with all my strength,
but even then I am not done.

Beneath the all and
everything I’ve just
embraced is the great,
unchanging silence, the
emptiness from which
the multiplicity arises.

To let my “yes” encompass
even this annihilates all
labels, takes away the
ground beneath my feet, and
leaves me perilously free.

~ Danna Faulds

I am sitting with these words today.

Please join me.

Namaste

* The Practice of Surrender to Become Real

surrender to awareness

Image from Google. Source unknown.

“Until you practice surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, get excited about, write books about, think about, believe in — or don’t, as the case may be.

It makes no difference. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

This reminds me of some insightful words from Hariod at  Contentedness.net

“It is perhaps something of a paradox that for her to find what she innately knows she wants, she – as seeker – must dissolve into awareness, no longer to live as a subject in search of knowledge-objects”  ~ Hariod Brawn

As long as we see spirituality as something out there that we seek, we will not find it.

Spirituality is not the object, but is within us all.

It is the ultimate subject … the conscious awareness of who we are.

It is revealed only when we experience surrender.

An inquiring mind is engaged and attached to outcome. Allow the unknown intelligence that is not of the intellect to sense what is already here.

Let yourself dissolve into awareness.

Namaste

* Awakening to What?

Most of us who see ourselves on a journey of evolution or spirituality, have a sense of awakening. But an awakening to what? I wonder if we all awaken to the same thing, or if we awaken to whatever we are ready to awaken to…

Whatever it is, when we find it we think “This is it!” But it is really so? Is it the final piece of the puzzle or just an other piece along the way that finds its rightful place?

pieces of the puzzle

As I reflect on my life there have been moments of awakening, when it seemed like my inner world and outer world launched into a new way of being. Yet, on reflection it is now clear that these have just been pieces of the puzzle.

As these pieces connected to each other, yet they revealed only a part of a great unknown picture.

Here are my reflections on my journey towards the unknown and the awakenings along the way.

Life Awakenings

I can only imagine what it must have felt like when I first discovered I was no longer merged with my mother. This experience is beyond my thinking mind. But I can imagine how traumatic and profound it must have been becoming separate and in all that bright light!

The next awakening was when I learned who I was in relation to other things and people. My ego developed as I grew into a separate human being with preferences and beliefs. I learned how to get what I wanted, how to be in relationship with others. I created beliefs about who I was as a girl child, daughter, sister etc…

Not long after this revelation came the waking up to feeling hurt when I didn’t get what I wanted, or when I was not seen in a way that I wanted to be seen, or when I felt abandoned and unloved. I believed that there was something wrong, and it was me. I wasn’t good enough. So I would try to be good and perfect.

This part lasted for quite some time. I continued to learn who I was in this world from those around me, and in the roles I played. I was looking outward for validation and love.

Then as an adult I awakened to the part of me that wanted to express herself fully. To slough off the conditioning and expectations of others. I started to look inward so I could find the real “me”, not through anyone else’s eyes, but through my own… Awakening to myself as a strong individual who mattered… Stepping into my own shoes and expressing myself to the world.
From not being good enough, I realized I was precious, unique and strong. I could make things happen! I took on challenges and overcame my fears. It was a period of tremendous personal growth.

Around then I began training to became a life coach. For the past 15 years I have worked with people to discover who they are as unique human beings who can overcome challenges and be their very best in the world.

Yet, this was not the end. From this place of confidence and expansion, an other kind of awakening started to unfold. One where I started to question who “I” was.

spiritual being

At a time when I was disillusioned the competitive, self absorbed human beings around me, I fully embraced yoga and took my first yoga teacher training. Unlike a lot of yoga trainings nowadays, our practice was more than asanas and breath. We had time for self reflection, read yoga philosophy, and committed to following the eightfold path of Patanjali.

Through yoga I became aware that my personal “self” was made up of my thoughts and beliefs. The world around me mirrored my own perception of it.  I had been creating stories about who “I” (this “small self”) was. I had grown as a person, but had replaced stories of not being good enough, with new stories about all I could achieve and show the world.

A part of me still got caught in patterns of self-doubt, fear and worry. I also had moments of glory and immense satisfaction and had glimpses of the timeless beauty and mystery of being alive.

In yoga I felt drawn to the belief that we are all connected and share the same Source or Conscious Presence. When one says “namaste” in greeting and farewell, it means that one recognizes the light shining within each of us.  This inner light is our true spiritual Self.  We connect to something more that our human body and thinking mind. Whether we call it God, the Divine, Brahman, Source, Presence or the Universe. There is a part inside of all of us that is connected to an infinite beingness, that words can’t fully describe.

egg opening

Egg World by Bradley Blazed. http://www.deviantart.com

Then something happened. It was like the outer shell cracked and the gloriousness of what was within was revealed. From understanding in my mind, I experienced a overwhelming feeling of love and connection with my fellow human beings, animals and nature.  A deep sense of oneness that is profound, no matter what is happening in the life. It is hard to put into words, because it is beyond words.

If I were to try to use words, it was be something like a veil had been lifted to reveal what had always been there. It is something that once felt, can always be accessed.

The aum symbol of yoga symbolizes this seeing beyond the veil and embracing an unchanging reality of oneness with spirit or pure consciousness.

aum symbol with meaning

 

Finding Your Middle Ground

Finding your middle ground is the gateway to this awakening.  The starting point is when we take time to pause and become self aware. We begin, by simply learning to slow down and noticing what is going on inside: our thoughts, judgments, emotions, body sensations …

I like to think of it as the phase of personal expansion and growth. Its a place of new perspectives, letting go of the past, and understanding and accepting who we are as imperfect human beings. We discover new aspects of ourselves, our passions and what gives us meaning in life.

From here, can come new insights into who we are beyond our beliefs and thoughts. Beyond our own small separate self.

With more compassionate self awareness, meditation and mindful living, a new way of seeing ourselves and the world unfolds. We realize that we are not separate, but are connected to something so much bigger, and to each other. We realize that we are not the master of the universe, but are simply a part of it all.

There is no right or wrong, because we know that it’s our thoughts that make it so. Everything becomes as it is. We stop resisting life, and begin to let go into its own flow. We let go of ego and surrender to being small as we connect to the Source of being.

Wherever we are on life’s path, we can open ourselves to new insights and awaken to a new way of expanded being.

As human beings perhaps our purpose is to awaken to what we are ready for, and to be open to surrendering to the next unknown.

What a ride!

These words from Mooji reflect this so well:

“What is the ego-mind’s fear of awakening? It is: Who wants a relationship with Miss Nobody? Who will employ Mr No-Mind? What kind of future is there for one who is desireless?
But I am reminding you that all these are the ego’s taboos, imaginings and attempts to distract you from your ever-perfect nature.
In truth, your awakened life will be magnificent, harmonious, joyous and complete.
Follow your intuitive sense of the divine within. Welcome its presence and vibration. Like this, your insight opens to fully recognise the real as your own Self.
The awakened heart invites and allows the Supreme to shine its light upon this world.”*

 

*Mooji (2015-12-03). White Fire: Spiritual insights and teachings of advaita zen master Mooji (Kindle Locations 232-238). Mooji Media Publications. Kindle Edition.