“The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is, and yet is not. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It just happens . . . It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it, nor meaning. Only the onlooker is real. To the Self the world is but a colourful show, which he enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over. Whatever happens on the stage makes him shudder in terror or roll with laughter, yet all the time he is aware that it is but a show. Without desire or fear he enjoys it, as it happens.”
One regular refrain of traditional spirituality consists of the admonition that the so-called ego must be methodically eliminated in order for the light of truth to dawn. In other words, it has been taught that it represents some nemesis, obstacle, impediment, or downright nasty evil entity that somehow attached itself to us, or that we acquired by virtue of wrong thinking, wrong living, or simply as a condition of appearing here at all — something akin to the Christian version of original sin.
On the other hand, some of the more sophisticated of the wisdom systems will explain that the ego is simply a persistent hallucination, an illusion which is not real, but rather a false assumption that we are currently plagued with because of karmic reasons related to bad seeds of ignorance and selfishness we planted in the course of previous incarnations. Alternately, some will expound that it represents the habitual activity of craving and aversion, and thus is not an entity, but nevertheless should still be eliminated, conquered, subdued, or somehow manipulated into non-existence (even if it is an illusion in the first place and so only exists as a conceptual designation).
Upon some inspection, however, and perhaps with the benefit of a little insight gleaned from expanded consciousness into the mechanics of incarnating into the dense vibrational frequency of this psycho-physical realm, we can recognize that the ego, or sense of self, is more like a necessary downloaded software program (in the same sense that the body/brain is the necessary hardware) required to function in life and relations. Just so, let’s consider how this works.
Our true nature is not human. We are immortal Spirit, a beloved extension, expression, and reflection of Source, the Universal Basis. As such, we act as a lens for Source to experience Itself in all of Its infinite manifestations. Spirit does this by infusing a portion of its light energy (Source Energy) into various sentient beings, including humans, in order to sample and share in their experience. In this way, we reflect Source back to Itself. Just as humans populate their dreams at night with all sorts of characters (who are nevertheless projections of their own minds), so too does Source project the whole universe into existence in an act of indescribable love, and then enjoy the multi-faceted experience of it through Its Spirit extensions.
Source Itself is not an entity, but more like an ineffable field of creative energy which expands its Self-awareness by employing shards of Its own Source Consciousness (Spirits) to explore Itself in the mirrored halls of infinity, which are ultimately Its own dream creation. There is in reality nothing but Source, playing all the roles. We are Source, manifesting as Spirit — the actor who inhabits all manner of bio-vehicles to both play the parts and also to enjoy the drama of sentience, human and otherwise. Indeed, the human carbon-based lifeform construct is actually only one possible incarnational option amidst innumerable universes and dimensions, with most of them utterly incomprehensible to the current human intellect.
Although our Spirit has its own unique identity, that ancient identity is not the same thing as the perishable human self-sense, which consists of a combination of survival instincts and various personality factors. This transient self-sense, or ego-program, is the tool Spirit employs to experience realms such as that of the human. Without it, we would not be able to maintain the necessary focus of energy required for physical manifestation. Indeed, in order to play the game of life on this stage, we need the personality roles and identity props which are programmed into each of us so that Spirit can create the virtual reality scenarios and storylines that we call our lives.
This so-called ego-program, or self-sense, naturally projects the necessary illusion of substantial reality needed to provide us with a human experience. Consequently, the prevalent concept that one needs to kill or eliminate the ego in order to become enlightened actually represents a compounded error in judgment and appreciation. In other words, it is a conceptual fantasy based on purely human suppositions and conditioned interpretations on perception. In reality, there is no substantial or enduring mental subject or ego-person that can be established, disposed of, or liberated, and so whatever may arise (such as thoughts, memories, sensations, and perceptions that seem to reify such an entity) can be compared to a thief in an empty house.
Regardless of our most idealistic human intent, we simply cannot become more of what we already are. To the point: as immortal Spirit, and extensions of Source consciousness, we have never been un-enlightened, and so there is nothing which we can do, no special practice or Guru, that is going to make us any more spiritually elevated than we already are. That dog is simply a tail-chaser!
Furthermore, since we incarnated here to experience the human adventure, it would be contradictory and counter-productive in the extreme to attempt to eliminate that which makes human existence possible in the first place. Such an attitude and intention would be tantamount to the old saying: “cutting off our nose to spite our face”.
Words themselves provide a good working example of the paradox of ego. Words are essentially audible vocalizations, or else little lines, dots, and squiggles on a page, with no inherent substance, which we nevertheless interpret as symbols, and to which we collectively assign a provisional reality, employing them in order to communicate with each other. We know that they are only sounds and scribbles, and not what they are intended to represent, but we agree to grant them a temporary significance for pragmatic purposes.
So too with the sense of self, otherwise known as the ego. Inherently, it is empty — a fictional creation — but we behave “as if” it is real, in order to accomplish our aims while playing in this virtual reality. This self-sense, or ego-program, is neither good nor bad by nature, any more than an operating system in a computer is good or bad. It is in fact essential for the life experience, and depending on our intent, it can be employed to serve many functions, some of which we could consider skillful, and of course some not so skillful. The results of such skillfulness or its lack are clearly evident in the world which the present collective self-sense has generated, mixed as it is with the inspiring as well as the regrettable.
Drilling down to the level of the apparent individual, all of the numerous emotional and psychological symptoms of dysfunction originate from an internal conflict between the survival aspect and the personality aspect of the ego-program, just as all of what is beautiful and desirable is birthed into manifestation when the various aspects of the ego-program are in harmony.
The chief complication in this process is the tendency of the conditioned mind to enthrone and then worship this basic operating system as if it were its true identity, projecting it as the master rather than the servant that it is intended to be. That delusion is simply based on a case of mistaken identity, but is nevertheless responsible for all the suffering which ensues, and which, in far too many respects, defines this realm, on both the micro as well as the macro level, as a kind of prison circumstance.
Omniscient Spirit consciousness contracts its pure vibrational frequency into the dense form of the human animal so that it can fully inhabit and experience the human adventure. Moreover, in order to achieve maximum impact from the experience, it also assumes a kind of temporary amnesia regarding its true nature and condition, at least for the life of the bio-vehicle, so that it can enjoy confronting the Unknown.
What is called “awakening” in various human wisdom systems is simply a matter of directly seeing through the self-imposed amnesia, realizing the empty quality of the projected self and its world, and simultaneously re-cognizing our original Spirit nature. If it happens in the course of one’s human adventure, great! If not, great! In other words, it is not an object that can or need be pursued, particularly since this life itself, from the point of view of the Spirit world and one’s immortal illumined nature, is simply another inhalation and exhalation within the grand panorama of infinite expansion.
In that regard, the human mind itself, no matter how brilliant it may be in the relative sphere, is quite ill-equipped to comprehend the bigger picture of that which precedes it, and in which it appears and disappears like a tiny bubble in a sea of champagne. Even the most profound human spiritual capacity is still very much like peeking through a keyhole into the parlor while trying to take in the immensity of an enormous mansion with infinite rooms.
In any case, since one of the functions of the ego-program is to handle survival issues, it automatically reacts to any presumed threats to its existence, including threats to its image of itself. Indeed, all we are ever trying to protect and defend is some image we have of ourselves, based on this false assumption of limited identity. Subsequently, since the current propaganda of this world is fear-based, the egoic survival mechanism responds by generating a corresponding contraction in the being, and hence the sense of unhappiness follows as night follows day.
Beliefs in threats, separation, conflict, and lack continually reinforce the ego-self survival program with a negative feedback loop, which in turn infects the collective environment, and subsequently is reflected in the various human religious and political clashes which have rendered this a war planet. This was not at all the original purpose of the program, but is simply what it has become in far too many cases, and also why there is the movement in human spiritual philosophies and systems to banish it.
As understandable as that motive may seem, it is utterly ineffective. Nobody can banish the ego and remain alive. The wiser course, on the other hand, is to simply switch from being controlled by it to taking charge and re-programing it to fulfill its original intent. In order to do that, it is necessary to first understand its mechanics – how it operates – and the best way to do that is through the process of True Inquiry (which has been elaborated in detail in previous essays here). As long as we remain ignorant of how we have allowed ourselves to be controlled by it, we will never be able to see through its defenses and discover the misdirected love at its core.
Certainly, a major part of True Inquiry involves inspecting the role of thought in the creation of our life and relations. Indeed, every thought is generated by the program. Consequently, if we can see directly how identifying with and fixating on thoughts keeps the contracted ego-mind in the driver’s seat, so to speak, than we can also turn the tables by bringing attention to the witness of thoughts – that awake aware space in which thoughts arise and dissolve — and thus undermining their power to drag us around by the nose.
Again, this does not mean that we go about trying to eliminate thoughts, but rather simply see them for what they are, and thus not be controlled by them. After all, the gifts of being able to think and feel, to create and form relationships, originate dependently with the self-sense. These are all wonderful capacities, and if properly understood and directed, provide the tools with which we can accomplish our creative purpose in coming here in the first place. For example, as a means of expression, every piece of music or art is created through the vehicle of the ego.
Even so, we need not take the transient self-sense to represent who and what we truly are, but we can instead simply appreciate it as the creative expedient that it is, like a space suit worn to navigate a particular environment. We are not the costume, we are not the program, but we do need it in order to provide Spirit the necessary access to the physical adventure it desires to immerse itself in, and so provide Source with eyes and hands and feet to discover and enjoy Itself in this shimmering corner of Its dream of living light.
“Those who teach enlightenment through the dissociation with the physical expression of Self walk a path of exclusion and separation, rather than inclusion and connection. Such are teachings in their expression that one thing has greater value than another, that one status of expression is more ascended and proud than another. If all are One, there is only one true value of every-thing. The body, the being, is the celebration and the fruit of the soul. It is the chalice that holds your sacred waters of life, and the temple through which the symbolism of harmony within diversity is expressed and embodied.
It is your human persona which perceives and pigeon holes the physical plane as a ‘lower’ dimension. There are actually many, many physical dimensions which coexist, yet which at times most, are never aware of each other. One is not ‘lower’ than another. That is a judgment you have placed upon its understanding in order for you to relate to it more conveniently. It is more accurate to say, they are simply different expressions of the same source, or, they are different potentials or canvases of creation. One potential is not ‘better’ or ‘higher’ than another, for all potentials come from, and lead to, the same One source.
Just in the way you taste a variety of ingredients when preparing food; one ingredient is not ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ than another, they simply provide different flavours, different experiences. The physical dimension to which you relate is simply one of many flavours, one of many sources of experience, which present you with an expanded insight into what can be created from the ingredients of that which you know as God. So, in a sense, you are like a child playing in the kitchen of the cosmos, or the cradle of creation. If such is your human experience that leaves, how to say, a bad taste in your mouth, then your beautiful divine Self will simply pursue other ‘ingredients’ within the cosmos to cook up and create new experiences of its Self.
So then, your ‘level of spirituality’, as you have called it, is simply your human brain, your ego, trying to fabricate challenges, obstacles and interactive pathways for you to somehow ‘achieve’ something which, in fact, you already are, always have been and always will be, regardless of anything and everything you do in physical state. So before you, or anybody who now reads these words lowers their own spiritual Self-value, know that regardless of what ‘spiritual’ progress you presume you have made through physical ‘learnings’, it does not and will not change who or what your spirit is. You are beautiful, you are perfect and divine, and you do not need to achieve, suffer or struggle for this to remain fact, in life or in death.”