Likely the biggest obstacle for me on my spiritual journey is putting down my ego.
The ego: the greatest source of human misery and triumph in our lifetime.
For me, my ego has been a great source of pain, confusion, and wanting in my life. Especially in the last decade, since I developed an awareness of it.
My ego wants to think it’s “special” and so I protect it. I hold onto it like it’s my very life.
But is there not something more? Something beyond it? Can I not experience a state that is beyond or above the ego?
The ego state is one of constriction, of holding, of control. Whereas the state of egolessness is a state of allowance, of grace and flow.
When I meditate, I can become aware of the energy of my mind: it feels heavy, thick, tense; in my body, I can feel the current of emotion, operating from my core, present in my legs, my torso.
It’s often a challenge to move beyond my conditioning, my reliance and strong attachment to this sense of Self that I feel within. It is holding on with all the strength it can.
When I bring my attention to the edge of the ego and to the edge of this moment, a thought appears, warning me with fearful tone, that I must not let go – who or what will I become if I stop holding onto my “Self”? The very same Self that has brought me so much suffering, that has kept me small.
I like the analogy of the Self as a cold, damp, blanket that we keep wrapped around us: somehow we find that to be more comfortable than throwing it aside and taking a step into the unknown, into egolessness.
It usually takes a great deal of suffering to finally make that decision.
Or a choice.
To risk stepping into the unknown, risk letting go of the familiar Self and to step boldly into nothing.
I got tastes of that today during my meditation. It was quite uneventful if not for a feeling of greater lightness and ease I felt within.
Yet I’m still afraid, still fearful of losing the Self that I’ve put so much time and energy into.
Although, something inside knows the falseness of the Self, the counterfeit nature of it, and yearns for the pure expression of the Soul. I feel like there is tremendous potential therein.
A Bible verse comes to mind:
Not My Will but Thy Will Be Done
Surrendering my will and the shallow wants of my ego for a greater will, one that does not abide by a false sense of Self but by a direct knowing of myself, of God.
It feels so out-of-character not to respond/live from the ego but the idea or possibility of not doing so is quite attractive to imagine.
Imagine if I was free from acting out old, unhelpful patterns of behavior.
I imagine my behavior when I’m sub-communicating with women. My ego keeps me small, protected, afraid of being rejected. Imagine what it would be like if I didn’t have those aversions.
Imagine how I’d interact with other people if my ego took a backseat. How would I spend my time? What would be of greatest importance to me?
Maybe the ego doesn’t dissolve in a great flash of light, once and for all but instead is a slow dissolving or breaking down of the rigid structures of the ego.
Maybe this happens little by little, like losing weight: we hardly notice it until it’s gone, when one day, we look in the mirror and see how much we’ve changed.
I think spirituality is like that.
And though we may spend countless hours on the mat, in meditation, assuming nothing is happening and not experience anything of great noteworthiness, little by little, we are bringing forward that greater part of ourselves.