Courtesy of DP, age 6
I like jazz, by the way, but these thoughts are about Ego. Jazz is here though ;).
Some think that Ego is an unwanted part that you and I need to get rid off in order to reach enlightenment or be saved. This was certainly a trap I fell into when I was young.
With years and some grey hair I have come to understand that Ego exists for a purpose. Ego is an integral part of the whole being. It cannot be just cast away as a bug, which happens to wander in your body.
For me, Ego is an individual consciousness from the (W)holy Being (who is both holy and whole, i.e. complete :)), perceived through the “eyes” of self-consciousness.
Ego makes both you and me unique. It gives us color, shape and structure. Perhaps it gives us tasks and challenges too 🙂
It makes the Self possible to exist within time and space. It helps you and me to think and act as an entity not as a mass. And I like it this way, I must say 🙂
Ego is the difference and makes the difference.
It is a part from the whole, which is both similar and different at the same time.
You may pretend that Ego does not exist. You may train yourself to neglect him/her, but You cannot abandon a part of yourself. Deep down you know
he/she is there.
Some meditation schools focus on the experience of being an undifferentiated part of the whole, where you stop existing as a physical entity and become unbounded spirit. The Self is united to the whole and you feel as if a drop in an ocean and yet the ocean at the same time. They may also emphasize an experience of being a part of vibrating consciousness which is all around us.
Some schools of thought, say, non-duality, encourage the understanding of the I who is an illusion once its importance is lost.
Such schools focus on the experience of a Spirit, the idea we are all deeply connected, a part of One.
The roles of Ego ans Spirit are both necessary, I think. Even, perhaps, Ego and Spirit are not different creature, ultimately.
How to see that?
Consider a metaphor of a particle. We know that the particle has a dual character, it can present itself as a wave (undifferentiated information/potential)
or collapse to a physical measurable particle. And although we talk about duality in science, for me there is no duality. They are one and the same. It is only the lens of observation which makes the particle the tangible thing.
Similarly, Ego is the filter of perception through which Spirit experiences reality at any given moment, while Spirit is the connection to the Creator, the Consciousness-Who-Is.
Are they one and the same depending on the lens of perception/observation, which can make consciousness an individual?
Ego allows Spirit to have unique experience. Ego gives boundaries, but these boundaries allow you and me to have specific experience.
Without Ego there is no independent thinking and no independent action. (And I love those too.)
Spiritual development is therefore not about getting rid of Ego, but embracing it, instead. Ego is a vehicle, a mean to your life purpose.
And what is life purpose?
In the daily scheme of events life purpose is self-development through (or thanks to) the integration all parts into one complete you. (Note that in the grand scheme of events you may choose your purpose as being saved or achieving enlightenment). You may make it as specific as you like.
Perhaps being ego-istic serves a purpose, too.
When you talk to great teachers, leaders or achievers, you will learn that their power to make a difference comes from their individual passions which are
shamelessly acted on.
When you talk to great scientists you will learn that their discoveries came as the result of them chasing their own intellectual pleasure of understanding how
When you talk to great industrial minds you will learn that their technological advancements came as the result of them chasing their own pleasure of making things work.
When you read interviews with great artists, e.g. Beksiński, you will learn that they create their amazing art purely out of the personal needs to satisfy
themselves, to transform their dreams into tangible form.
It becomes One who chooses to satisfy Self, yet serves to Many.
Seemingly a paradox. But … No. No. No.
This is exactly the key: you can pursue your egoistic dreams, which although realized to satisfy a single mind, will ultimately deliver to many. Perfect deal!
Perhaps the greatest minds choose the path of ultimate self-serving (egoism), which ultimately becomes the path of serving others. Why? Because in order
to walk this path you need to choose to serve others too, as without the interplay between similarity (selflessness, being a part of the whole) and difference (selfishness, being individual), there is no reward.
This is also why great minds and people, with experience deeply enjoy to teach others or to share what they have or know.
The pleasure of Self, of Ego, comes from serving the Others.
And sometimes it is hard to know the direction in which you walk. From Self-Service to Service-to-Others (or from difference to similarity) or the other way around.
Of course, you may also choose the path of seemingly neglecting Ego, the path of service to others, such as Mother Theresa or Kerrie from The Footprints Orphanage. However, ultimately you can only reach your purpose once you embrace Ego by serving yourself the way you need, as without self-service you will soon become empty, unable to give.
So, we are back to what we know.
The task is to maintain the flow of abundance from giving to receiving or vice versa.
…all that jazz
To finish all these rumblings in the jazzy style now, I will say now:
The best thing you can do in life is to pursue your own dream, go after your own needs, embrace who you are and shine your own light. And in doing so, make the best to help others on your path to grow.
Choose to be the difference not the norm.