Recognizing the mental monster that is disguised as you.
What do we see as our identity? When one thinks of self, what exactly is that self? Is it the sum of all our experience? Could it be the thoughts that continuously run rampant through our minds. Is it the emotions we feel? Is it the part of us that distinguishes us from everyone else? Within much of my writing, I talk about our being connected, we are all part of the same Source. This sounds kind of "new age" or maybe a little out there, but these are not new concepts. The idea of all being part of the whole and the whole as one has basis in the most ancient spiritual texts and concepts. The "Lao Tzu" is an ancient text from around the sixth century BCE. It refers to the ancients that some scholars believe goes back another five to ten thousand years earlier. It talks about the introduction of the ego and the results of that. Based on those writings and other sources, I reflect on the path of those ancient people who made up the village or community. These people were not any different than we are physically or intellectually. The only real difference was their lack of modern technology and a clear view of who they were. Each worked for the betterment of the whole. All were equal, male and female. There were no actual leaders. Each realized that they were part of the community and the good of the community was the good of the whole and that translated to the good of the one. Love prevailed toward self and one another as there was little distinction between self and the whole community. Joy was found in the experiences and discoveries of everyday life. No one person considered their needs above the needs of the whole. This continued as the way of the world for thousands of years. This changed one day as the brain came up with a new concept, a mindset that would change and challenge humankind from that point on. One person felt that their needs, their desires were more important than the needs of the of the whole. This was the birth of the ego. Suddenly, personal gain, personal power became the driving force introducing greed, deceit, feelings of superiority and disregard for that which does not further ones agenda. This created anger and hostility among the people. Thus was the birth of discontent and jealousy. Crime and violence soon followed. Those ancient people saw this as threat to their very existence. This situation required action and that action was the birth of laws. Various rules were introduced to maintain order for the good of the whole. Individuals had to be put in a place of authority in order to enforce those laws. This was the birth of government. This worked for a time until the ego invaded those who were in charge. Suddenly, the government and law enforcement saw themselves above the laws they were enacted to enforce. They believed themselves to be superior to those they governed. This was a very difficult situation. Fighting began among the people and their government as well as among those who governed. This was the birth of war. Massive disregard for life. Those who had not succumbed to the ego knew they must find a way to bring people back to the oneness that was their essence prior to the introduction of the ego. Thoughts of the paradise once lived was becoming a faded memory. Knowing that they were spiritual beings, the hope was to bring the people back to that spirituality. This was the birth of religion, thousands of years ago. This rule of law transcends the physical realm and brings its ideals and morality from another place beyond what we physically see. This would usurp authority from any ego driven government and bring the people back to their origin. A realization that all are part of the one should create a respect for all creation once again. As the idea of religion spread, calm began to take place. Unfortunately, ego introduced itself to the Teachers of the religion. Soon, their self importance and need for control took over. They made up jealous and angry deities that threatened punishment for behavior that was not in line with the Teachers vision. These religious leaders made people believe they were less than that from which they came. They made believe that God was one or more separate entities that would hold the people to a harsh standard that made them little more than minions or slaves. The people were controlled with feelings of guilt over perceived sin, unworthiness and a number of other ways to be manipulated. This was the most dangerous situation of all. Humanity was at it's worse. The ego seemed to find it's way into every sector, few were immune. What could be done?
The ego is like a cloud or a dream state that pulls a person from reality. It is a part of our mind that sees its own existence as the most important part of creation and the most threatened. It uses it's own influence to reinforce itself as real, as one true identity. The ego is of the mind in the physical realm. It can see no further and therefore can perceive no further.
Each of us has an ego and as long as we are human, it will be there. The key to this is to keep it in check. One maneuver the ego loves is to remove us from what is actually happening by putting our thoughts into the past by reliving old glory, regretting past behavior, wishing things were different or laying blame for perceived failures. If that does not work, there is always the future. One can spend a lifetime planning and laying out expectations or fearing the strife the future may bring. One gets so caught up, that little attention is given to the present. We miss out on what is actually happening now. So many thoughts are racing around in our heads that we can hardly keep up. We identify those thoughts as our true essence. Over sixty thousand thoughts pass through the average persons mind on a daily basis. This is a form of insanity. Those racing thoughts bring uncontrolled feelings of all kinds, some positive and some not. We become reactionary to all the thoughts and conditions we are in. We can identify ourselves as our condition. We try to cover pain or disappointment with more worldly things. We feed that ego with desires and wants that often turn to addictions. We then identify those wants, desires or additions as our true selves.
We collect things, property, money, material wealth and identify these things as our true self. We grow feelings of inferiority or superiority as we develop belief systems that could be political, religious or even identify with the lack of any belief system. Some see this as their true selves. This is why we feel we must be right. The ego is weakened by any sight we have beyond it. The ego does not care if for instance, our political beliefs are not in line with our religious beliefs. They can in fact, be in complete contrast, but both are right and one will curse and swear to that fact. This is why we are afraid of death. We see death as an ending of self. It is merely a transition from one realm to another, but that is not how the ego sees it. The ego is of the physical mind and will end as the physical mind shuts down. There is a part of us that is so much more, the soul, the spirit or as some call it, our higher self. This is the essence that drives the physical. This is the connector of the physical and non physical. This is the individual part that makes up our true self, learns and grows through our experience, yet is also a part of Source, the infinite all encompassing essence of all that is, what many call God. We are an extension of that Source, a physical interpretation of the non physical. The ego is a denial of the non physical, a part of the mind that sees us as purely physical beings. It only identifies with this life, this world and uses all it's power to be the end all of who we are. Tough energy to manage. One way to control the ego is to quieten it. This is the purpose of meditation. Finding a way to quiet the mind, slow the racing thoughts and allow a connection to our inner selves. It is said that there is nothing that can be taught that cannot be found within our selves. This is the beginning of wisdom. Finding the quiet within that brings peace and opens us to new ideas as well as learning to be aware of the moment will move us closer to our non egoic mind. Let go of past and future and just be open to the present. Instead of being reactionary, be deliberate in thought and action. Meditate each and every day. Find your quiet, find your peace and you will find your true self. Love and light.
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