We all have roles and identities we play and maintain in our life. These things are a necessary and functional part of the human experience. However, problems are created when we become ATTACHED to these roles we play and the pursuit of the physical pleasures of life, and we begin to identify these things as being fundamental to WHO WE ARE.
When we become attached, we desire things to stay as they are, which is impossible because change and motion and flow is forever a constant in the universe. Spring into summer, summer into fall, fall into winter; life into death and then life again from death. Everything is in a constant state of flux.
But we create an illusion that this eternal flow will somehow not affect us and we cling to these attachments that our ego creates. This results in our minds manufacturing a world of turmoil and pain around the agony of having things we are attached ripped from our grasping hands over and over and over again.
The ego at its core is simply the part of our mind that differentiates our physical body from the rest of the physical landscape we inhabit. It is a necessary tool for having a spiritual experience inside of a dense physical body. Without something to differentiate separateness, we would literally perceive ourselves as “one” with everything- including the bus that was headed straight for us. We need the ego to survive and do the work we are here to do on this level of existence.
However something has happened in our development that has allowed this ego, which was designed to be a tool and a servant, to become the master. The ego has created kingdoms for itself and walls to protect what it has. And while it asserts an illusion of control, with its pride and hubris and attachments, it is easily fooled and manipulated by others and itself.
It is also this pride and attachment that makes it extremely difficult and at times impossible to tell the ego it has been deceived or it has deceived itself. The ego HATES admitting it could ever be wrong in its belief and will aggressively defend against the notion that it ever could be.
Ego has taken over the consciousness of humanity collectively and individually.
The reasons and origins given for this run the gamut from an unexplainable side effect of evolution to some kind of alien or demonic intervention. I cannot claim to be certain of the exact nature of the origin of the ego problem, but I feel the perpetuation of it into the present has to do with human “self-domestication” and the world we have made for ourselves which has caused us to become disconnected from the true nature of reality and the world around us.
The world we have collectively created is a result of a moving away from the Natural World and the Laws of Nature and Creation and letting the materialistic (focused on the world of matter) ego call the shots.
Humanity under the guidance of its governments and institutions (which are the expressions of the collective ego of a people) has tried to do things “its way”, and the suffering and turmoil we collectively experience is the result. As always, the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, and the suffering and turmoil many of us experience in our daily lives is the result of trying to do things “our way”.
But for many of us, there will come a point in our spiritual growth where we realize that following the whims of our lower ego doesn’t serve us the way we thought. We may come to realize that doing things “my way“, isn’t really doing it for us.
It is at this crossroads we decide to get out of the way and let the Divine work through us, unhindered by the often petty, grasping nature of the ego.
This moving out of the way means we have to stop trying to control things and do things “our way”. The ego hates this. The ego wants us to submit to its will and remain attached to the physical sensations and pleasures and comforts as being our goal in life.
When I’m doing things “my way”; my ego’s way; I am doing what is habitual for me instead of taking a moment to reflect on the decision I am about to make.
When I’m doing things “my way”, I am reacting instead of acting. I investing myself in specific outcomes of things and events that I cannot possibly control, and then getting upset if things don’t turn out the way I want them to.
When I’m doing things “my way”, I am expecting other people to act and behave in a manner that I feel they should, and then resenting them when they don’t. I will even lie and deceive others and myself to protect and maintain the identity and ways of doing that my ego is attached to, and I will lash out at anyone who threatens it.
When I am doing things my ego’s way, I am separate, isolated and fragmented. When I am in this place I can tend to be a miserable prick.
Contrast this to when I “let go and let God”. In this place, I am reflecting on what I feel the impulse to say or do at an given moment, taking a conscious breath and checking in with my Heart, my Mind and my Gut (these 3 elements are unified when I am in this state of consciousness) to guide me.
When I “let go and let God”, I am acting consciously instead of unconsciously. I have faith that the outcome of an event or situation will be for the best, but also have the clarity and insight to take the right actions, while being guided away from taking the wrong ones.
I “let go and let God”, I don’t put unrealistic expectations on people and I accept them in that moment as they are, while being grateful for them being in my life and learning what I can from my relationship with them.
When I I “let go and let God”, I am connected, I am at one with my environment (although I still don’t walk in front of a bus) and I am in a state of whole-ness. When I surrender in this manner I feel truly alive and full of love, and my actions and demeanor reflect that.
In my experience, this process of surrendering to my Higher Power is not a “one and done” sort of deal, but rather a continual process of recognizing what needs to be let go, and praying to the Active Force of Creation, to remove these things from my mind and being.
“God, please remove this __________ (fear, resentment, anxiety, belief, etc.) from me, and direct my attention towards what you would have me be.”
The ego and its habits and mannerisms are deeply entrenched into our psyche and don’t just “go away”. We have literally been programmed by a multitude of influences, most importantly our own mind, to act and identify with ourselves in this manner. We have become comfortable with our programming. This way of being is what we know. So it is for this reason that surrender has to be done repeatedly; day-by-day; moment-by-moment.
Every time we face a challenging situation where we are tempted to respond in the habitual ways, but instead we surrender to this Higher Impulse, we grow spiritually stronger as a result.
The stronger the spirit is, the stronger we are as a whole.
Whether it is keeping your cool and not speaking or acting in a hurtful manner when hurt or angered; or whether it is reaching out and being present and available when you would rather just not deal with it; when we surrender and let the Principles of Light, Life and Love guide our actions, we receive relief from our personal suffering and find Grace.
Namaste and WRA-ALDA’S Blessings