Friday, April 19, 2013

Invested in ego

 Things changed inside me many years ago.

I don't know how to explain that, but the changes were permanent. My experience of life underwent a fundamental change that was accompanied by a series of religious ecstasies. Because of their medieval character, it was a highly disconcerting experience for a 20th and 21st century individual. These experiences did not fit into any reductionist or scientific mindset, and indeed didn't fit into the range of experience anyone else I had ever met had, with perhaps one notable exception. It quickly became obvious that the tell people anything about these experiences was a profound mistake, so I rarely, if ever, mention them in public.

In any event, the changes were permanent, and they raised permanent questions which have been alive in me ever since. At the time that the changes took place, I said to those who I confided in that if one ever once gets a real taste of God, one never stops seeking God. In fact, one cannot forget oneself or get rid of the urge to seek God intensely, and in every action of life. There is a part of oneself that can awaken and will not go back to sleep, as far as this goes.

This kind of action in human being could be a dangerous thing. One does not actually want to change; and once one begins to have a fundamental change, one that is permanent, one cannot stand still. One is utterly required to go forward into the unknown, relentlessly and without fear, no matter what one confronts. The way back is not there to be had. This is a distinctly uncomfortable and sometimes even frightening experience, because it challenges everything that one knows about. It especially challenges the ego, which is much less hidden than it used to be.

I spend a great deal of my day watching the ego in action, both my own and that of other people. I'm astonished at what a chameleon it is. It manages to hide in plain sight at all times, and it does a particularly good job of this when it is manifesting in those of us on spiritual paths. It's positively bizarre to see how many ego-manifestations dominate exchanges between those who aspire or profess to various levels of spiritualization. I've seen the most shameful and blatant displays of ego from some people who supposedly have the "greatest levels of development." All of them, to the last one, appeared to be completely unaware of how noxious and obvious the way they were behaving was. If there is ever an experience that causes one to question everything, this kind of experience is it.

Well, I'm probably like that myself some of the time. But there is always someone in me keeping an eye on things, and in my better moments, I realize how important it is to feel a sense of shame in regard to this question. Eventually, one begins to understand why one should not make a spectacle of oneself, in any way, under any circumstances. And it is possible to make a spectacle of oneself in 10,000 different ways. Exercising and expressing humility can only be done one way, and it begins with an inner action that has to be alive in order to emerge.

Society and humanity have organized themselves relentlessly so that almost everything that takes place involves making a spectacle of oneself in one way or another. We celebrate crudity and coarseness; and while both of these actions, too, are flowers that bloom within the heart of the Lord, they do not have a higher nature. So much more is possible. Yet we are blind to it.

 One can develop a great deal of sensitivity without properly understanding this question of shame. And one can develop a great deal of sensitivity and still be cruel and unfeeling. The propensity of evil to find its way into situations that begin by expressing themselves as the good is very nearly unlimited; and only a conscious and watchful eye can see such action of ego. One needs to be forever and constantly on one's guard, because lower influences take great delight in hijacking the action of higher influences and masquerading as an aspect of them.

There comes a moment in inner work where one begins to see that one must feel shame; it becomes organic; and one furthermore begins to see that one must keep a very close eye on one's inner troublemakers, because they are always interested in bringing out the worst in a situation.

 may your soul be filled with light.


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