We all talk about the ego. Some of us may at times like pointing fingers at what we see as ‘other people’s ego. Some believe that we are in fact our ego. Many spiritual traditions of the east and the west believe that the ego is an ‘enemy’ which must be done away with, or at least overcome.
The ego is an essential part of our physical beingness, inseparable from our physical form. What happens before or after that does not interest me, as such dysfunctional speculation is another distraction from the Here and Now.
If we believe that we are ‘spiritual beings having a physical experience’, we would by extension discount the idea that we are ego.
On the other hand, having lived in and experienced first hand, various monastic communities of eastern and western tradition I have also experienced how the condemnation of the ego is the biggest ego trip of all.
Nothing strengthens the ego more than ‘fighting’ it.
Rather, I would compare the ego to a dog. Ideally you should train your dog and be able to walk it on a leash. There is nothing funnier than seeing a small bodied person being yanked around by a badly trained large dog. What we have here is not a human walking her dog, but a dog walking its human. A dog may well be ‘mans’ best friend’, but it needs to be trained in order to serve us. Not beaten up, or be allowed to dominate. In order for the dog to serve its owner it must be acknowledged, loved and disciplined. You need to impress your dominance. And so it is with our egos, we would do well to train and tame our egos so that it is us who walk it through life, and not the other way round.
In so doing, we realize that our ego is our friend, our teacher and servant. It is up to us to decide who will be the master, to keep it disciplined and under command.
Put briefly, what we seek is to develop our awareness. Moment to moment.
That is the purpose and lesson of the ego. It is the vehicle through which we attain awareness. By ‘teaching’ us the illusion of separation through which we re-member and regain our Oneness, but this time, with Awareness. (Likewise, we transcend duality not by resisting it, but by adding to it. We can look at that later if you like). Just as we need darkness in which to be aware of the light.
The ego is the vehicle through which we attain awareness
The *mythologies all over the world on the ‘fall of man’ is basically an odyssey, or, if you prefer, the story of the Prodigal Son. A process by which a Light Being (or Unit) leaves the Light and enters the darkness with the purpose of returning when it is ready to go through the process Jesus described as being ‘born again’, the light at the end of the tunnel.
There it has the opportunity of being overwhelmed by the dark or making its presence known by lighting up the darkness. The truth is, the darker the darkness, the more a single candle en-lightens. Once it shows its light, it returns and is welcomed back to take its place, not just somewhere near the other lights which have not yet ‘left the fold’, but at the top of the chandelier with other lights which have also reached self awareness and transcended the self/whole paradox.. All shining as One chandelier.
Now this journey, this odyssey, this return to Source is not something that happens in some ‘other time’ or ‘other place’. It happens nowhere, or Now Here. Outside the realm of time and space. A realm only accessible in the Here and Now. NowHere else.
We can and do experience flashes of it, and as our awareness grows, we can find ourselves increasingly in this ‘Heavenly Realm’, until that becomes our ‘reality’.
How does awareness grow?
An infinitesimally small portion of humanity have the ability to cultivate it of their own free will. The problem is, that the ‘spiritual path’ whether formalized through classical institutionalized religion, or through ‘alternative means’ is paradoxically often the biggest ego trap of all.
Life generally gives us ample opportunities to ‘wake up’, but we tend to miss these by judging them as ‘bad events’, bad luck’, ‘bad people’, or pain or bad health (physical or psychological) which we suppress by drugs, (prescribed, legal or illegal), and other addictions such as consumerism, addiction to otherwise wonderful experiences such as sex and social events and parties, etc until we get to a point where we either wake up, or ‘our credits run out’ and we undergo physical ‘death’.
I have had a taste of this route, but decided to submit, with the assistance of my co mentoring partner (we all, including mentors need a mentor), unjudgmentally to all the ‘ills that had befallen me’ before they became stronger. These perceived ‘bad events’ are certainly a challenging time for the ego dog to ‘heel’, and not bite the messenger. Just as with everyone else, it is a challenge that I at times rise to, and at times fail. Hopefully, I am getting better at it, but let Life be the judge of that!
However, there is another, ‘safer, less traumatic’ method of heightening awareness. This is the ‘Socratic Method’, whereby our belief systems are challenged , and whereby we are called upon to summon the courage to face up to our fears and surpass ourselves. The Socratic method is the most comfortable way of undertaking our ‘spiritual’ journey of awareness, as the extent to which we expose ourselves to it and accept it is within our conscious control, and we can benefit from it without suffering physical, or material loss or pain. Being able to laugh at ourselves is an Awesome and fun choice and the best way to do this, as we convert ‘negative’ into ‘positive’ to the great benefit of our body/minds, in the same way that an aikido master uses the strength of an opponent to defeat him. Obviously not everyone is prepared to face their fears and challenge their egos in this way, and would rather attack the messenger, even to the extent of killing him, as our dear mentor Socrates found out. (Jesus (not the church) used a similar method, again a challenge to the unconscious ‘status quo’ in which a tiny minority enslave the great moronic and dehumanized majority)
This (Socratic Method) is the method I choose, a method that is as good for me as it is to those I write for. It is the way of cleansing the vessel to accept the Love, the Unity that is preached by many. I don’t try to teach this, because for me it is beyond words, and any attempt to teach it would be arrogant, as I believe that it is already Here, right Now waiting for us to be sufficiently cleansed and ready to accept it.
* the real meaning of myth/ology is not fiction, but an allegorical representation in physical form of what occurs in the metaphysical realm. It may or may not also have manifested physically, but that makes it no more or less ‘real’
Apollo Pampallis is a Life Mentor and can be contacted on Apollo@discoveringthenow.com. He is establishing new web pages in an exciting new alliance. For ongoing information, upcoming webinars, consultations, ebooks and other news please contact him on the above email