Sunday, June 24, 2012
Ego: The Current State Of Humanity
This week Eckhart, along with Oprah, invite us to check-in with our breathing. To simply ask "Am I still breathing?" A meditation exercise, to focus upon the very breath as we inhale and exhale. As explained, when we focus upon our breath - we cannot focus on other things - thus promoting Stillness.
In this chapter we learn about the Ego, and labels. That because the label is a pre-conceived notion, we then communicate with the label or the pre-conceived matter, rather than the person or the situation. Which then desensitizes us to the person.
A recommended exercise in life is to attempt to perceive people and nature without labels. Feel the energy. Allow yourself and the other person - or plant, flower, tree - to just BE. Become aware of the other energy source without giving way to the urge to either acquire it or label it.
Ego is a gathering of compulsive and conditioned thought processes, therefore, once eliminated the energy then becomes free from thinking and becomes presence.
The word "I" embodies the deepest error and the greatest truth depending on how it is used. This is referred to by Eckhart as the Illusionary Self.
Becomming identified to your story - "I am a victim" ... "I am successful" ... opinions or experiences. In fact these are not a compilation of who you are but a collection of memories or experiences.
Clinging to an illness can also bring identification. Talking about the illness repeatedly will empower the illness and the ego to identify and connect the illness to you.
Eckhart explains that in doing so, you will ultimately create psychological pain in addition to the physical pain you are experiencing.
Whereas you certainly must discuss your illness with your Dr. and pursue medications and treatments where necessary, do not spend every waking moment speaking it - giving it a name - "I am unwell."
Eckhart tells the story of Narcissus, who became so enchanted and entranced by his very image reflected in the water that he eventually drowned in it. This is the birth of Ego.
Ego lives in your thought processes. Such as in a young child who is given a toy. The child becomes identified with the toy - "MINE!!" and when the toy is taken away, the child then becomes very upset. A sense of self is lost with the toy. This of course grows with us into adulthood. Our homes, our cars, name-brand clothing. When we wear brand names - especially expensive ones, this becomes a part of our identity. We feel as though we are inflated through our ego, which revels in the fact that it is a member of a sort of exclusive club. Not everyone can afford to pay $400 for a pair of shoes. If we all could - the shoes would be devalued. And would then become meaningless to the ego. The allure, and status would no-longer exist.
Ego is a false sense of self and identification of form. Marketing specialists have mastered this. Try to be AWARE the next time you are watching commercials, notice how you are sold an identity enhancer rather than the actual product. If you buy this perfume, you will be attractive to men. If you buy this suit, you will look like a CEO. If you do you hair this way .... If you buy this car ... If you live in this neighbourhood ....
The ego of course is never wrong! Therefore when we challenge the opinion of the ego, this can be hurtful to the ego and believes it is being attacked. The "I" in the person will react - often negatively and will lash out in defense of the opinion. The ego will often hold the position that their belief is the right belief and everyone else's opinions are wrong - and often stupid!
Try to be the "Awareness" when this happens.
Labels are learned a children. When a child asks ... "What is this?" .... "What's that?" ... we can instead of saying "That's a bird" ... we should perhaps say ... "This is called a bird" For when we give a label to the bird, the child then becomes disinterested in the bird. The magic is gone. From that point forward, the child will become lost in the conceptualization of the word and barely gaze upon a bird in the future when the label name will surface. Rather than studying the bird, the feathers, the colours, the beak, the feet. the majesty of the living creature.
The beauty of this book and the classes for me is that each time I read the book or watch the classes, I take away something new. In the class #2 a caller asked about how to transition with the ego in growing older. That we do not typically carry the beauty of our youth as we age.
I had an AHA moment - How often have we said ... "I feel 20!" (when you are really 40-something)
The destiny of all form is to dissolve. The human body, animals, flowers, fruit ...
BUT the consciousness - that is to say; the God is us ... our essence does not age!
Often people who are dying are in a state of present awareness. The "I AM-ness" becomes (and should always be) stronger than the story.
Eckhart quotes Jesus when He spoke: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs will be the Kingdom of Heaven."
Eckhart offers this interpretation: That Poor in Spirit means No inner baggage, No identification. Thus your Spirit is light and without burden.
Be also aware that ego is very jealous. Any time you feel superior or inferior - that is Ego comparing itself to it's pre-conceived opinions/labels of others. For example, when you walk into a crowded room. You immediately survey those gathered. And the Ego will establish a pecking order based upon others - perhaps in employment position, style of dress, financial position. This is all ego.
Remember that there is only NOW - the importance of the future to ego is simply to gain more. Being in the present disarms Ego. Ego cannot survive in the present moment, it only lives in the past or future.
Memories are remembered - NOW
Planning for the future is done - NOW
Whatever you are doing is happening - NOW
NOW is the foundation for the rest of your life.
'Waiting' means you want to be out of this moment - out of the NOW. Which, of course can never happen, as what ever moment you are in is NOW.
Practice BEing present in this moment.
Even if you do not like this moment, ACCEPT the ISness of this moment - then take action.
Remember the story of being stuck in the mud from Chapter 1 - you must ACCEPT that you are stuck - this is not to say you like being stuck or that you agree with it .... but that you ACCEPT that what IS in the NOW is that you are stuck. Once you ACCEPT the NOW - then you can take action to get out of the mud.
Remember; What you resist persists.
Peace is living in alignment with the present moment.