Archives for posts with tag: ego

I don’t see anyone mentioning this so I will call out the elephant in the room. I have been seeing it since awakening made its rise and it is this; there are two ego’s. I noticed when I felt myself drop off the deep end of the pool of consciousness that there was this tightly focused awareness of self and then there was another form of ego, a kind of “superego” which was just the opposite of its counterpart. This form of ego was more broad, seemed much more mature, and unlike the small ego, which was like a genie in a bottle in its own cramped space, not much bothered this larger ego. It also felt more mature, more emotionally capable, and it could glimpse the larger things without being bowled over. Two egos? But who talks about there being two egos?

Concurrent with this awareness was also the awareness that the powers of the mind, more specifically the brain, were now more obvious to me. I felt the force of awareness of each part of this awakened consciousness in my body: I felt a concrete, linear, rational feeling energy on the right side of my body. I referred to it as “the man.” On the left side of my body I felt something completely different. I felt a presence in the energy in my body that was fluid, nonlinear, holistic, and emotionally intelligent. I began referring to this as “the woman.” It felt like a classic yin-yang situation. I felt this all the time, it was as if a bright light was shown down into my consciousness and into my physiology to highlight a quality I had not paid that much attention to. This was before I even knew what on earth had happened to me. i didn’t know that this was even called kundalini. I worried for a bit that I might have something wrong with me, like a brain tumor or something. Luckily, this concern didn’t last for long, but the awareness of how different everything was at that crossing over period in my life helped to provide clues into the nature of this phenomenon.

In those early days, I was free to simply observe. I noticed that whatever this thing was, it had an automatic quality to it. What I mean is that I was aware that I was caught up in a force that was now moving me along with or without my direct participation. There were concerns of possession, I will admit this was true…but this was also short-lived, thankfully. I was curious, eager to understand what on earth was happening to me. It was as if I had somehow crossed over some line of psychological inertia whereby I now had developed some kind of force in consciousness that was now running on automatic. One of these forces in the eddies and flows of my day to day was how I noticed how these two forces, the “man” and “woman” were beginning to merge together in a kind of union. I didn’t just feel this as a force in consciousness but I could feel it as a force in my body. My left and right side of my body had twin forces running in them that were now beginning to merge in the center line of my body, right along what felt was my spine. When they did this, it was when I wasn’t holding them back. They just did this naturally. It was a new novel effect I had never experienced before. When they merged together I would go into ecstasy. Imagine my surprise. It felt orgasmic and it felt like two forces were making love inside my consciousness.Instead of physical sex, this was a higher order version of what I knew in the physical. It felt extra-dimensional, tied to here and now but took me entirely out of it all at the same time. It was in these states where I felt a new consciousness emerge, it felt like another order of magnitude beyond what I had known. It also shared qualities with states I had known before all of this took place. Inspiration was one of them. As an artist, I had brushed up against this state before, it was the firestone that all artists seek and find it oddly elusive sometimes. Artists “seek” inspiration…..and we do whatever we can to find it, since it is the fuel that helps to bring forth new creations. In my new state I saw how two forces in my body and mind were merging to create a new synthesis, a new mind…..the Metamind. This fueled intense creative output and also personal transformation that was natural and happened automatically while at the same time to the degree that I allowed it to happen.

This Metamind was like turning a cosmic key in a cosmic lock. Each unlocked each other and fueled a new form of awareness. When this happened, I felt like I could also unlock knowing about just about anything. I had a lot of trouble with this notion at first. One side of my mind knew that what was happening was correct and completely on the mark while the other was skeptical. As time wore on, these experiences began to pile up. I took notes hoping to make sense of what was happening to me. Part of it felt impossible, another part said. “not so fast….hold on….watch….just you watch….” Over time, years, in fact, I would find that many of these experiences where I felt like I was reading the “secrets” of the universe had an odd habit of showing up in other writings. If I was trained on something in physics, there were theories that spelled out a large part of what I had seen earlier. How was this even possible?

All through this was the awareness that there was this left and right side in my body and awareness that was involved. I felt two kinds of awareness of self, two ego’s. I knew this was the case only because I felt it in such an obvious way. I began to consider that what I was experiencing was based in my physiology. I considered that these twins were connected to the two brains that we each have, two hemispheres that develop along two different lines to form the processing engine that we call the brain. We think of it as a whole, but there are two joined by a large cluster of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. Was what I was feeling on the right side of my body, this flowing nonlinear form of my consciousness which I called the “woman” commensurate with the left hemisphere? Was this solid, concrete, and rational feeling part on my right side, the “man” the left hemisphere both reflecting themselves in a brighter or more obvious way in my awareness and my physiology? What’s more, when these two merged together, they created what I called back then “the child” and this, I would later discover was what the ancients called cosmic consciousness. My first realization that other people knew and wrote about this state was when I read the gnostic texts of early Christianity. It was an epiphany, a welcomed one, in which I finally realized that yes, there were people who had experienced this and I wasn’t just going around the bend. They spoke of the “left and the right” in a curiously similar way as I had experienced it. They spoke of the place of union within us, the bridal chamber, where the two become one. Somewhere, though, in the centuries that followed, this knowledge was lost, along with the keys to how to unlock it as the power of the tide of Orthodoxy took over the Christian world. That, though, is another story best saved for another time.

Was much of this being fueled by the fact that we have two brains? Was this man and woman the two hemispheres and how differently they develop in order to handle the broad range of possibility that we each have in consciousness? I sensed that this was entirely on the mark and I wondered if there was anyone out there who had done any work in the world of neuroanatomy that might provide clues. I didn’t have to look very far. I found a TED Talk by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor who described how she had a stroke in the left brain one morning while getting ready for work. Having her left hemisphere shut down through hemorrhaging in her brain meant that the right brain was now running the show (mostly). What she experienced was very telling. She came away with the clear sense that she had begun to experience samadhi, which is the bliss that is encountered when we experience cosmic consciousness. She further described how she observed that it was the left brain that was like a linear processor while the right brain was a parallel processor, able to handle vast flows of information all at once. It was her right brain that provided her with the awareness of how everything is connected, a common awareness of nonduality and cosmic consciousness.

I was aware that how we use our brains that the left brain acts as if it is running the show. I saw this as common to all people of the earth, it was just how we have all developed, a tendency that has been in place for a very long time. What happens when you shut down that part of your mind so that your other mind can begin to express itself? Much like how women have been sidelined in our world, there was a microcosm of this happening inside each one of us. Was the left masculine serving to hold back the flood-tide of awareness that we think of as the feminine side of our consciousness? A few years later I remember reading a paper about how scientists had found that the left brain served as a brake against the right brain. Bingo. So the process of enlightenment was in large part an effort to quiet the mind so that the left brain, which deals with language and process based tasks and linear logic, is not as active. And as often happens when we are lucky, the right brain hums to life as its own capacities are felt perhaps for the first time in a meaningful and substantive way.

Is it any wonder, then, that the Hindu describe kundalini as “kundalinishakti”? Is it any wonder that in Hindu iconography this new form of being is illustrated as a man and woman split down the middle? It was all the same thing I had been experiencing, too, with the man and woman, and the birth of a new form of mind which I called the child. The early Christians called it Christ and at least at one time people were learning how to BE Christs. Similarly, there are other cultures that also describe this same phenomenon, all using their own cultural lenses with which to understand it.

In my experience, I kept receiving the admonishment not to read about what I was experiencing. I know this may sound strange at first, but this is just what happened. Except for nibbling around the edges of this topic and wanting very much to understand what had happened to me, there was this still voice within that told me to pay attention, to watch and observe it directly without seeing what others had to say about it. Only after a number of years after I had uncovered these early Christian texts on the subject did the voice within say it was okay to begin researching more widely. This was itself part of my own inner development and was part of a task which was part of a very long story that had to do with other lifetimes (involving how early texts were hidden away from view and from those who might destroy them). But as I began to search more widely, I found that so much of the literature is speaking to this left/right paradigm in fueling cosmic consciousness. For as new as it may seem to many of us, this has been something that has been experienced by many people down through time. Many wrote about it and when you understand the phenomenon well enough yourself, you can pick them out quite easily. Plato created a myth about the separation of the sexes where we once were both male and female, an echo of this primordial awareness of the two-in-one that we each are inside. And perhaps it is because of this twin nature that we each have that we have been so fascinated with the Other, the opposite polarity of our own sex (not for all, but for many of us), keeping us always seeking that other “part” of ourselves with which we are less acquainted with.

I found in my own development that there was a point where the left brained awareness of ego was beginning to become a problem. I had experienced the oft-described “contractions” of consciousness that is tied to the ego-mind. I saw how it was a literal bottle-neck in my awareness, and as time went on, the forces of a larger awareness began to push hard against how centrally installed this “little” ego awareness was in my consciousness. After a period of about two years, I kept coming up against a solid and hard resistance within myself that felt instinctive and hard to work with. What gives? Over time, and during an extended dark night of the soul that lasted about five very intense months, I found that I reached a point where the force of awakening finally disengaged this little ego from its front and center arrangement in my consciousness. This took time and happened through repeated rises of the energy which would come for me, bowling me over each time. I described it was feeling like the energy had become a 600 lb gorilla that would glower in the corner of the room, launching itself onto me until it wrestled me to the ground. Each time, I would resist this force, not even aware why I was even doing so. I was embarrassed; I was about as unsurrendered a person as there could be. Why was I resisting so much? Why couldn’t I just let go? It was what I knew, what I was familiar with. It was how I was raised. It was how everyone who I knew was. This thing, this mad gorilla, was trying to break me and turn me into something else.

Slowly, in steps, each time our gorilla came for me, I slowly softened. Maybe it was only after feeling like I had just been attacked and pinned did I finally cry uncle. But at the end of each of these “attacks” I began to see how the face of this force would completely change to my mind. Instead of being a threat, it became a bubbling and effusive force that would look out through its mysterious eyes and smile at me, still very much lying on top of me, but looking at me now with wonder and joy as I was also feeling the same. So it was in this way that I gave up the small ego. It was done piecemeal. I gradually got the memo and began to welcome the wrestling matches that would take place in silence. Eventually, I no longer even got attacked. It never was an attack. I was just seeing it all the wrong way. Over this time period, I learned that all I needed to do was to allow this new force in awareness to simply be. All of this was like one long tutorial, taught over and over until I learned to let go. And the day came, a very definite moment, when I finally got it. When I did, a curious thing happened; all thoughts ceased and it was like I had punched through a layer of atmosphere that was dense and I was free. I felt for the first time an enduring silence in the mind. With it came a peace and a presence. I had felt both of these things before, in fact I had felt them hundreds, perhaps thousands of times right from the beginning of awakening, but I always did so as a visitor. I could visit those places but my old habituated consciousness would win over in the end, sending me back to where I had been before. Awake, full of energy, intense and alive, but still in an old mode of being all at the same time. This was a process.

What took place once this silence emerged or was given space to exist in a more consistent way, was itself a bit of a challenge. I still had to be in the world and use old modes of focus just to get through my day in a way that would keep me anchored in my physical life. I learned to balance and to use different modes of consciousness like a child would learn to use its body to walk or to learn to talk. I felt like I was learning how to be a new human all over again. I found that I could be very forgetful. I might forget from one moment to the next what I had only moments before been thinking about. While this might not seem strange to you, this was happening all the time to me. I would go through self-checkout at the market and forget that I had just seconds before gotten cash back from the machine. It was left, a twenty dollar bill spit out by the machine, for the next person in line to notice it was there. But at the same time it was this lack of focus that also allowed me access to a field of being that was remarkable and felt like freedom. This process of learning to balance these tow states was itself gradual as I felt my way around things. What I found so hard to believe was how events would conspire to keep me in the flow of things. I had trouble focusing, I would forget about meetings, but they always worked out. Someone would call to cancel because something came up, or something else in my life would put me at just the right place at just the right time. It all looked so accidental and purposeful all at once. It is hard to explain how many times I had blanked on something only to have things work out perfectly. After a while it was hard to see how this was all working just by accident. It felt and looked like there was some force alive in the physical, a kind of conscious thread whose material I was unaware of being there that would look out after me as I floated in a kind of inner space of the numinous, as if time itself had been cancelled and I simply was there….unthinking, unable sometimes to think in the old way sometimes unable to navigate in the old ways that I had before. Someone might call out of the blue asking for an appointment at the studio minutes before I realized, I already had an appointment that was going to happen in minutes. Yes, I began to rely heavily on my calendar on my phone to write it all down to prompt me, but even this was hard to do sometimes because of how quickly I would shift into no-time and no-thought. I know that this all sounds hard to imagine, but it was my world for a good while. And yet everything worked out. I hardly ever wound up in a situation where I was able to completely forget something, not without the poking and prodding from the universe itself. It was like tumbling and falling from a great height only to land always on my feet. No one caught on to just how “out there” I was. Krishnamurti described this as his “declutched” state where he could not access normal thought and often felt lost in this new state of mind. It is a necessary step along the way to reaching a larger synthesis of mind and being where nothing is set aside, discounted or left behind. This is the path to being a fuller being here on earth and we have been wrestling with this for a long time. This relates, I think, to how we can develop these two powers of mid and learn organically how to balance the two, which is itself a process we call embodiment.

All through this, though, was the awareness of the two focuses in my mind, my brain. I had this incredibly large and diffuse awareness of ego that I sensed was from the right brain while there was this incredibly cramped quarters of the ego that was in my left brain. When I entered into that left-brained ego, it was like putting on blinders. I seemed to see everything in such microscopic detail that I completely lost the wave of cosmic mind. On the other hand, when I was so “out there” with my right-brained ego, I was swimming in a vast sea.

I have come to see these two forms of awareness and focus to be just that, two focuses. My job has been to marry them, not toss them out completely. The next stage has been to marry them so that there is no difference between the two. I see them as being like two parts of a cone of being; one side of the cone comes to a point for laser-like focus, and then its expands outward to where its widest point becomes the narrowest point of the other focus or hemisphere, the right brain. From there, this cone expands outward, perhaps to infinity. It doesn’t have the laser focus and relies on that part of the brain to make sense of some of what it is seeing and experiencing. But in the same way, the left brain is completely unable to grasp the larger more broader realm that the right brain seem so adept at. One is a particle, one is a wave. One is masculine, one is feminine. Neither can do much alone, both achieve a new synthesis when brought into harmony with the other.

So all of this talk of the ego being an illusion is to me beside the point. So many who want to say that it isn’t real and for us to just chuck it out. I find all of it hilarious and sad. This is the left brain at work. It sounds pretty impressive, after all, so many teachers have prescribed doing this for ages. But all of them have been men and when I hear those men talk I hear a voice that shows no sign of being all that aware of the bigger picture that the inner “feminine” brings to all of us, regardless of our physical sex. The way that they explain it, describe it, it is all very logic-driven and it also lacks substance in the bigger picture. There is talk of “who is the “I” that is experiencing this?” It is all to me like one big tail-chasing game. The “I” is here for a purpose, use it and understand it better, then perhaps you will see that this is not merely an anomaly. When I see these men speaking about this “I” that is pure illusion, I also find that most of them have not had a single experience with a past life. In fact, the reality of a past life itself would disprove such notions as severely limited because it shows how the “I” persists from lifetime to lifetime and that while we are the universe, we are also given awareness of the “I” in order to allow us to look out with our own perspective and turn of mind on that universe, the all. And why would these need to be contradictory or mutually exclusive? There is the doer and there is the knower. There is the part that is at rest and the part that changes and transforms and works with the stuff of this world in order to work through its own stuff. To me, this talk of no “I” is a clever way of bypassing the work that you are here to do. And who knows, really, perhaps resting on the cosmic sandbar of the belief in no “I” might be a necessary step in people’s evolution before stepping out into the great ocean of consciousness where both I and All are commensurate with one another, a paradox to be embraced, two focuses to be fused into a new Metamind of great wisdom and understanding….compassion, even.

A while back I wrote this piece called, “I Cannot Ride That Neoadvaita Train” in which I linked to a wonderful video of a woman in India who pointed out how useless it is to try and make the kinds of distinctions so many teachers, all male, make about this issue with the “I.” I found it incredibly refreshing and meshing with my experience through all of this. Why toss it out, why not work with it? Please show me a single person who has gotten ride of ego. Name me one. I will wait. “That is because of how pernicious our consciousness is in the production of a false-self!” they explain. But perhaps it is only because we have always had this “I” because it serves a unique purpose here in our development. Is it all that there is? No. It is a part. But we are a whole of parts working as one and yet we are still also those parts. Small ego, big ego, emotional self, mental or intellectual self, the body, the light body, all make up the “koshas” which are aspects of our whole being. All can be seen as parts by the rational mind, but they all work together as a whole. And isn’t every single atom in the universe like this? Each goes to make up larger parts than themselves, creating or adding to what we see as the seemingly infinite physical cosmos where galaxies swirl in the distant reaches of space? And yet, we also know and can sense how all of this is also connected, delicately wedded together in a masterful creation that isn’t just our desire to project upon it or to imagine that it is so, but that it offers up its secrets to reveal how complex and amazing all of creation is in how it is indeed connected and engaged in a cooperative experiment that is our world. And this world is all energy, and all of this is itself a play of how energy recreates a world some call illusion but that my wise inner feminine knows is creation. It is creation because at every point we see these sacred-two at work inside the atom as “matched pairs” as the physicists theorize, as the opposites which are present at every dimensional level of our existence from small to large. This is also at work in your body in your two brains and it also informs your relationships, especially the intimate ones. Why do we accept it as fact in our world but a fallacy in our consciousness? Is consciousness itself not energy, too?

Further, without seeing the usefulness and need for the “I” I insist that it may not even be possible to get to the place where you can supercede your own local awareness to get to that place where you can see all of this for what it is. Yes, there have been great teachers, but they were all human, and while they all climbed great mountains within themselves, they only climbed so far. They seemed to have gone far by normal standards, but there is much more beyond what they might have thought were the highest heights that still remains to be mastered. I am reminded of how the earliest memory tied to my life today was how I came to choose my parents. I wasn’t physical yet. It is perhaps one of the greatest gifts I gave myself, which was the ability to remember this event. I was a point of awareness that had no physical body. I was buoyant and free, floating above the Ponderosa pines that were planted in near rows like a cathedral there in Northern Florida. I saw the two people who would be my parents lying on a blanket on the forest floor. This memory is the most vivid and crisp of any memory that I have to date. It exists, it seems, both in my brain and in my mind, something recalled from the past and from before my body was itself alive. It is one of many proofs that the “I” is no illusion or some kind of mistake in our cognition. It is not some aberration, but is instead a very natural part of consciousness despite what form that consciousness might take. While I was given proofs like this, it seems that the world of others are waiting for the day when this comes into view for them.

This “I” is composed of two ends of a very larger, perhaps infinite spectrum of awareness that we call ego. One is ego and one is superego. It is the same part of ego that teachers have pointed out are the parts of us that continue to exist even when we reach such lofty states as cosmic mind. Taisen Deshimaru the Zen master pointed out that as we touch cosmic mind that there is still a higher order form of “I” that is always there. There is always the awareness of self through all of this, even when swimming in this sea of the All, there is always the self.

Swami Rama who was a man who developed a high level of consciousness has explained that without ego you would be forced to feel and experience everything in your local environment like a giant rush of water. Your senses would be swept away as your nonlocal consciousness would be aware of everything taking place around you from the atoms in the air to your neighbor stubbing their toe. The ego, he explained, serves as an important filter that you need while in the body. His many talks have been preserved on Youtube where you can find them. I found in his talks the awareness of how useless it is to try and rid oneself of ego, but to learn how to work with it differently, in what I consider a more natural and organic way. His life itself is a fascinating one and it is all preserved online if you wish to look.

As I walked up the road at dusk in 2008 on May 17th, I found myself suddenly without that filter, or without much of it in place. In that instant I was aware of every single thing down to the smallest detail from the mist in the field, the leaves on the trees, to the eddies in the water flowing in the creek below. What’s more, I was aware of the atoms in the stones and the life swimming in that creek. It had the effect of unbalancing me, making me feel like the water from a fire hose was flowing through a garden hose. It taught me one thing and initiated another; I needed the ego but I needed a new awareness of what ego can do for us as physical creatures here on earth. Ego was part of it, but it is not the whole story.

Ego can make us feel very small, but it can also show us how to be larger, how to grow, and a better way to be. The way we are now in general as a species reflects mostly the small ego, and this is a problem if you want to know more. There waits for you a new synthesis of mind that is as much about the spin of electrons as it does the duality and unity of the self. It is all-in-one in my experience, and it waits for everyone for when they get to that place. Kundalini is not a goddess, it is a fusion of our polarities. That alone is what lends potency to the experience, for those two poles are each powerless without the other because they are two-in-one. It is the addition of the right brain, that expansive side of us, the feminine goddess side, that seems to activate kundalini. It is only this way because we are only using one side up until that time comes when kundalini activates. yes there seems to be the addition of “her” but it is in her union with her compliment that moves the cosmic force we call kundalini so that our energy body is transformed. We need both sides of the brain to make full sense of this. And yes, it is the feminine aspect in consciousness that is the larger more expansive one, but what she lacks, the more masculine part has. The masculine has made itself small so it can show to the feminine side that which it needs in order to create. She alone cannot do it no matter how hard she tries. Nor can the masculine, either. He might think that he can, but it always winds up dry and lifeless, like those men who talk about ego and about a great may other things that hold people in the hypnosis of the trap of rational thought. You need both. The two walk hand in hand, and the more aware you are of this, the more aware you are of your fuller nature as a being on this earth. Yes, you can leave ego alone and experience something majestic. You can learn to leave it alone so that you are not a slave to it. This is not the same as destroying ego. You remove the dependence upon that part of you that is ego. It can become like one tool in a toolbox, one tool among many. Pull it out when you need to, use it, it can be very useful and even helpful for some things, but a screw driver does not do the job of a wrench. Ego, then, is like the screw driver that is constantly being pulled out of the toolbox each time. You can let it be, you can use a wrench instead. And when you do use the ego, you have two parts to it that correspond to how each of the hemispheres of the brain have developed seemingly separately but are made to work together to help form a new synthesis of mind. Two ego forms can merge and work together peacefully and in context with a larger whole. All ego death is, is losing the reliance on ego. Ego does not go forever away. You must learn to work with it but not be its slave, that is all.

Surrender

Awakening can be a sudden and bewildering change that pushes a relentless process of clearing stored emotional material, ultimately with the light at the tunnel being a better more peaceful life with bliss as the centerpiece of this new level of attainment.

Right?

While the “rise” of awakening can be a very quick event, it instigates a transformative process that can be years in the making.  One of the big challenges among the many that come with awakening is how to BE in the world.  Most specifically, after awakening, how do you go on doing what you have always done?  So much is irrevocably changed within you; how you see, how you respond, how you interact with the world around you. Its a big shift that brings with it a lot of self examination about what it was you have been up to for all these years. Often you can be left feeling at odd ends about your work, your relationships, and how to move forward with awakening as the “new normal.”

Most importantly to bear in mind is that everything has changed. Trying to go back to the old way tends to repeat old patterns and methods.  This is a wonderful opportunity to be brave and leap into the breach, into the void of the future in a new way. I know as well as you do, that if you are going through awakening there is a new aspect being brought to bear.  This new “element” within the self is discovered while awakening.  It is itself the nonlinear, more feminine aspect within consciousness.  It is what I think of as a missing link in our own awareness and consciousness that sparks great change. You can see just how big a change it is because this unfolding of this part of you results in events happening differently. You are interfacing with reality in a different way, or perhaps I should say, in a much more efficient way than ever before.  Like what you think has a way of coming to pass very quickly.  We refer to this as synchronicity.  It is in fact a kind of “upgrade” to our own native ability to co-create with reality.  You create your reality. Now, though, its just a touch more seemingly magical because of this added and once missing element.

So the trick, I find, is to not try to go back to the old ways. You have been changed.  Period. Let the new filter into you and as a result of it, even though you are different from the masses, you will feel a flow and freedom as well as wonder joy and awe about this new life. And the more that you are able to anchor this sense of being within, the more it surrounds you in your life.  Slowly, or even quickly, your energy body is released, cleansed, of the hundreds of hitches that has gotten caught up in the co-creative cycling that is your karma. Letting it go clears the decks and makes thing easier in direct proportion to the mass of inner material released.  You are now better able to NOT know what the future holds, willing to ride the wave of bliss and maybe even find how perfect things happen when you are in this zone.  Trusting.  Happy.  A little breathless, intense sometimes, hard at other times, too, yes, but getting better and better.

But.  Sometimes you want to take what you may still love to do and adapt it to your new life. I can tell you that in my own experience, so much changes.  If you are a business owner like I have been, being able to steer the ship in a way that supports you in basic ways as well as all of the new ways can be a daunting task.  This is where listening to the force within will guide.  I was an artist in production. Nothing got done that I did not myself do. I worked 80 hour weeks and loved it, and yet I brought to the work a lot of issues that disapeared once awakening came along. I was left lost for about a year, bereft of creative juices, new ideas, or even the drive, the old fire in the belly.  Intuitively, I knew that the fire in the belly could be supplanted by a different kind of fire.  It would attract a different kind of client just as it would support my new life. Before I went in a very linear fashion, a rather rational approach to all of this. But post awakening, I saw a world of new opportunities for collaboration and leveraging my brand as well as my own creativity by working with others with similar interests as mine.  I found that instead of being so aggressive, I simply did what I had always done; let the work speak for itself and let the chips fall where they may.  If I needed someone to help market the work, someone would come along in perfect timing.  It has always happened this way.  I don’t go looking for resources, I am now attracting them magnetically. Less about money and more about having fun and enjoying life, I have opened the door to a world of possibility.  I simply say, “bring me the highest” and for the time and the place I am in, it almost always has. All of this requires me to step back and let the universe work its magic. This involves faith I think.

Along with this change is also what I experienced as my mind entering into a persistent state of stillness and quietude.  To get there, I had to ride some pretty serious waves of bliss for extended periods. This took place over about a two to three year period that culminated not in ego death, but in what I call ego rearrangement. Its important to understand that there is no such thing as ego death. Those who use it are trying to explain what feels like might be a death, but is in truth a gentle but tragic-feeling change that asks us to allow ego to drift into the background.  Once that is done enough, the self will feel immense relief as well as a number of new benefits to consciousness and how you feel on a day to day basis.  But for a time, there is also a kind of “spacey” quality to your mind.  I forgot things very quickly.  On the one hand, the chemistry behind this was important for letting go, but try getting through a day with a long list of things that need to be done.  I have found that I make written lists so that my bliss state remains without any feelings of tension or anxiety about missing something.  I can say, though, that there were many times when I was in that “daze” of the quiet mind that I would end up being in all the right places, a little embarrassed to realize that I had forgotten an appointment even though I was there at just the right time.  I found that the more I let go, the more flawless this worked. But it didn’t work every time.  I was not always in the perfect flow, so being able to set up a note system has been a nice way to remind me when I am soaring through the day.

I was pleased to find that this state of mind was described by Zen monks as the goal of reaching samadhi.  It was a necessary precursor, they said.  This is often referred to in Buddhism and the Vedic tradition as the “empty head” or “no-head,” suggesting that the normal operations of the mind as a linear thinking rationalizing organ have been disrupted. In my own experience where I have carefully observed the chemistry at work in my body, I identified the chief compound involved in this surrender state as being primarily dopamine.  I arrived at this as a result of a lot of careful research and study into the effects of dopamine as well as opiates on the body, and all opiates have had an analogous enough effect as dopamine since the signature of bliss in the body is far more complex than any one compound- this includes hormones as well as oxytocin, and even small amounts of adrenaline in order to modify the spacey quality inherent in dopamine).J. Krishnamurti described that he went into a “declutched state” where his mind simply refused to work.  He would often forget names, would look at himself in the mirror and simply not recognize who it was that was there (this happened to me several times).  This state persisted for some time, and while it moderated later, he retained an aspect of it throughout his life. And I think that its a necessary state to have in order to deal with cosmic consciousness.  You simply cannot rationalize your way through your day and expect to get through in one piece.  Linear thought becomes the short-order cook in your life, very good for specific short-termed tasks, but terrible for the bigger stuff.  The Zen master Taisen Deshimuro explains that people who are rational and “mental” have a lot of trouble with awakening.  They have trouble just being a monk, too, but its because they  use the mind in a way that is no longer compatible with awakening. You just need to be much bigger than the narrow linear mind. You have to be bigger-hearted, more soulful, to navigate the energy in greater peace.

For as much as I like to be my own boss, awakening sparked in me an interest in working with others, so I have.  I have been able to bring to my work in teaching something that few teachers do.  School is still very much a mechanistic process.  Some of it is necessary in order to teach technique in art, for example.  You simply have to learn how to lay down paint well, or to know just how to move a tool across a surface in order to get a smooth surface in clay.  This is what dancers study for years, what ballerinas will repeat endlessly in order to train themselves to be the best they can be. Its important, but its only one side to the coin.  Along with this is the human soul that is part of our creative expression, and how we access creativity.  Instead of teaching through pressure and the fear of deadlines, I create an environment of freedom that includes personal responsibility to ones own work.  To be an artist, you cannot hope to succeed if you don’t have discipline within you as a choice instead of imposed from outside.  So doing this work, while very different from how I was trained, I have used and I have hoped that it will yield results for the hundreds of students whose lives that have transited my own through my work. As more and more students “come back” after graduation by asking to be ‘friended’ through Facebook or through other forms of social media, I see how what I do has been catching on.

Creativity goes crazy when it is stripped of fear and is instead infused with joy and wonder.  Something very special happens.  And I have been dedicated to supporting this way of teaching because I know how great it is to experience creativity in this more expansive way.  Each of us has genius inside of us.  I know you might not agree, but I have seen it when someone pokes their heads out of their own fear and desire to play it safe.

Another aspect of my teaching work has been to do group projects so that my students can realize a much broader range or scope to a finished work.  The result has been that we have made hundreds of pieces for an installation, larger-scale work that has grabbed a lot of attention by other students and faculty as well as the world at large.  By learning how to collaborate my students also learn how to work with each other in an interesting dynamic that involves give and take, as well as making choices and going with them.  They do less overthinking their choices while in the process and learn how to follow their instincts, an important non-rational aspect to creative work.  Ultimately, my hope is to empower my students so that they might develop greater confidence in themselves and use their experience with me as an example for something they want to do later in life.

Collaboration means inclusiveness.  If you find yourself hungry for working with groups of people as so many who awaken do, you might serve as an inspiring presence that suggests that while the way forward may not always be known, things have a way of working themselves out perfectly when we let go of expectation and just throw ourselves in projects with joy and enthusiasm.  It might be that your work sustains you but you find that it is not terribly rewarding.  I think you have two choices, either you find a way to work so that its more interesting, or you find something beyond your work that fills the bill for you.  Between my creative work and the five sites that I manage for it, my spiritual work and the three blogs I manage for those writings, along with my work teaching and being a father, I find that life is just packed. I am constantly tuning and fine tuning my inner work in order to harmonize with a life that continues to change and clarify.  Things change as they need to, and the timing always seems to be just right.  I know that when I say I go with the flow that it sounds like I am somehow inactive, it is less that I am inactive as I am at a deeper level very engaged in the river of my life in a way that does not involve the same level of physical manipulation needed.  I am simply not pushing the river as much, but finding ways to be “like water” (thank-you Bruce Lee) and to use the flow of my life in as harmonious a way as I can.  I’m human, so its not perfect, but in the imperfection lies an opportunity to know more about myself as long as I am willing to be honest with myself.

The answer to coping may not be in trying to do things the old way, but to navigate life in a new way.  This new way may require you to have faith, to not always know what the future holds but to find that the more you are able to suspect that a”bad” outcome one day is just setting you up for something not yet in your present. I recently had a pretty significant equipment failure, but instead of letting it get to me, I saw that there had been a series of these odd little glitches happening that made me feel like I wasn’t supposed to be doing the work I was doing.  For reasons I do not know yet, the work that I would have done had the failure not happened, probably wont be needed.  Thus, this has given me two additional days away from my production work in order to get ready for an open studio event.  I have learned that when I go with this flow, there is always something that comes along that shows me that had it gone differently, it would not have been “right” or that the flow of events were perfectly arranged in the way they were for certain other events to happen as they did.  Without the equipment failure, I would have missed something, or something important would likely not take place.  I don’t know what that is, but I have faith that everything is unfolding as it should.  In the old days, I would be banging my head against the wall.  The flow of events have been sufficient to put me where I need most to be.  And sometimes the right place is not something that I might even want or recognize as important at the time, but often winds up being significant in some important way.  So the job that you lose, which is seen as a tragedy, also means that you wind up taking off time and find yourself swimming in a pool with someone who is to be a major player in the next chapter in your life.  Had you not lost your job you would not be swimming in the pool at just that moment meeting your new contact in perfect timing. These things happen with great frequency the more we can open ourselves up to being available to them.

What you might lose, you also win.  There are compensations in this new life.  Limits tend to go out the door as you ask yourself, “What can’t I do?”  And that is just the spirit, right?

If you think that you know where other people are in their process life will deal you a wake up blow, because even when you are awakened, knowing where someone is is one of the most difficult things to really know.

Awakening opens you up, no doubt.  However, kundalini does not completely disrobe you of the distorting dross that lies before you which you are looking through.  It brings the potential of incredible insight into how things are, no doubt, and the world begins to clarify as these scales fall from the eyes of the self, but it does so incrementally.  With each reveal, we assume we become all knowing. We become more knowing.  Ego leaps us forward telling us we are where we are not. We wax foolish.  This is the most dangerous place to be without humility and grace by our side.  We assume much and know less and less.  Projections rule the day.  This is when turning the search light into our own process is so critical.  We fail with others but we succeed so much better when we deal with our own.  Everything we see around us is measured against our own inner distortions. Of these, we have lots.  Humility.  Grace.

Beware anyone who proclaims they know where you are and offers you advice.  I might know what it is like for someone to go through “ego-death” as someone recently wrote to me about.  I know just where he is….but I cannot know exactly what his experience is.  I can only know my own. And in looking through the windows of his own soul, I am gazing through the windows of my own soul first. And then into his. And who am I to proclaim to know where he is?  Look, the world is full of the walking wounded, and everyone deserves compassion, if only to bear our own souls to that place within ourselves where we learn how this is done for our own good if not not for the other.

The gift of individuality is a big one, cosmically it lays the responsibility for your own spiritual sovereignty at your feet and no one, not even the Creator will ever mess with that.  THAT is just how sacred freewill and individuality is.  As such, you cannot pick up anothers’ experience.  You will always view it through your own. I have said many times that the saying of Anais Nin goes, we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.  This individuality also means that you alone come to the divine.  No one hauls you up to it. We each reach it on our own.  How many times have I known someone with such incredible insight fall so terribly far from knowing where I am?  When someone starts telling me or others how it is that I feel, that is when I run for cover because this is where the greatest illusions get spun.  Karma projects its distortions writ large and nothing good every comes from it.

Does it mean we cannot empathize with others or feel their presence? No, we most certainly can, but don’t ever be fooled that what you feel is directly them. Years may pass before you wake up to realize that what you were seeing was your own version of that own secret world of another. It is a lens through a lens.    I know of nothing thus far that suggests that this will ever change. As humans, we like to think we WILL KNOW. Bearing that, through our egos, we proclaim to know some great immutable truth.  But fortunately for the world, we just know our own.  We can relate, yes, but we always come home to our own hearth, to our own assembly of self for council and nurture.

We are not entirely alone, for we also live in that vast sea together, but this individuality serves us for a purpose we have found so important that we have taken this on in each life.

Humility is the greatest balm for the ego, for false masters and would-be authorities of this world.  It is also the hardest one to take and the strongest medicine for all of us.  Its reward is a spreading grace all through our being.

I bow deep before your greatness……

I tried to edit this so that it would be short(er) and it seems it needs to be about 2k words.  It was 3.5k.  I hope that you can get through this and that it can offer you some food for thought….I was talking last night about the concept of ego death with a friend and how misleading the term is….but what lies at the core of that term is itself something that can help people a great deal, which has to do with HOW the ego is used or resides within the self. Unfortunately the term ego death also does not help anyone who has not yet gone through this to understand what on earth it could be.  What I feel is important is learning how to let ego sit at the back of the bus.  Ego is still there, though, because ego death is itself a misnomer.

I also want to make it clear that acceptance is something that you use for entirely productive pursuits, right?  What is the line between simply accepting someone’s bad behavior and not?  Obviously, you do not let someone roll right over you.  That would not be healthy.  However, you also don’t put yourself in harms way by getting involved in a situation where its pretty clear that the person or event that is problematic for you is going to cause you problems or hurt or injury. In both cases, you have to exercise discernment.

Acceptance.  It seems so simple, so straightforward, right?  You are right, it is.  Things that are this simple and uncomplicated are most often won through a very simple and straightforward process.  It is so simple, in fact, that it eludes people.  It eludes us when we are upset because we are stuck in an emotion that wont allow us to feel what we need to feel in order to accept.  That and being upset is the antithesis of acceptance. The advantages that acceptance offers are huge and are like a bank that offers ever-increasing interest over time simply because you grow better and better at it as you go along if you remain focused on acceptance.  Acceptance is something that is learned and that you respond to in an ever-increasing way in your life as you pay  it heed.  What things do you need to aid in acceptance?

The first thing I am going to tell you is that acceptance is a choice.  If you understand anything, understand this. Your seeking to change how you feel about a given situation that has had you tied up in knots is going to be a choice that you will make.

I am going to offer some suggestions that are all part of my own practice that have led me to success in the past.  Some of it is even rooted in older traditions (whether I knew it at the time or not).  So consider acceptance a practice that you grow into incrementally.  It might not be reasonable to expect perfect results within a given period of time. Be patient with yourself and grow into it at your own pace.

Let The Ego Go

Acceptance requires that you allow ego to drift into the background.  To do this, identifying too much with a position or feeling that you feel you are entitled to that serves to keep you upset is obviously doing you no good. Ego does this!  One very good way to let your grip on ego (or its grip on you) go is to simply become an observer in the moment.  Step back for a second and forget what you were so upset over and just WATCH.  Don’t judge.  Just watch and observe.  As you do this, you will probably find that you are already becoming more relaxed and calm.  It isn’t that what you thought or felt isn’t important, you just aren’t worrying about it as you begin to become an Observer.  There is a very good background in meditation practice  for observation of ones thoughts and feelings and surroundings for the simple reason that it works. Being the Observer allows you to drop your investment in a harsh feeling and shift from emotional investment to something more neutral. It is also a capacity that we all as humans have because of our primate brain.  Using it can be very positive and could be key in unlocking how you respond to things that keep you upset.

Its All About You

The really great thing about acceptance is that you don’t have to get into a heated exchange with someone in order to learn acceptance. In fact, you can start small and build your way up.  Buddha spoke about suffering and he was clear that the suffering he was talking about was small suffering that found its way into our daily lives.  Of course there is larger scale suffering, such as the loss of a loved one, but what happens when the store is all out of the sour cream you need in order to make the dish tonight for company?  I know it may sound a trifle, but these are the very things that create within us a low level form of suffering….

Observe and Shift through Breath

The next time you are in a situation where you wind up not getting what you want, say, not getting the sour cream or bread at the market that you need, step back for a moment as you feel yourself feeling upset and pause for a moment. Not getting the sour cream is perfect because its less likely to overwhelm you and you can use your training wheels more and observe without knocking over the apple cart as might be the case with harder issues.   If you don’t know how to observe yourself, do what my third grade teacher told us to do when we were upset; hold our breath to the count of ten.  What this does and other things like it is it breaks the chain of obsessive thought or recursive thinking so you have a better chance of returning to stasis or greater normality in your thoughts and feelings. Until you can master observing your feelings maybe holding your breath or having a time out will work for now.

One very good way to calm yourself emotionally is to use breath.  One very good way to relax is to use single nostril breathing.  It works!  Simply plug up one nostril and breath deeply in and out through each nostril for a count of four to five breaths, alternating between each nostril until you begin to feel yourself relaxing.  Keep doing it if you want, since the benefits will continue.  You can also use deep steady and slow breath as well, but it does not work quite as well as single nostril breathing.  Once you have done this, observe how it has made you feel.  Build into your mind and awareness the shift that has taken place as it will likely be easier next time when you are looking for that elusive state of calm!

Change Your Mind

This is the hard part….which is where your own choice comes into play and is also the part that makes acceptance so hard for some people.  You have to WANT to accept something that just moments ago had you upset.  You literally have to CHANGE YOUR MIND.  To do this means you have to decide to actually change the character of your thoughts and your feelings. You have to be willing to take the yellow brick road and pave it over in, say, purple brick instead. The entire landscape of your feeling self has to change.  This is why I have mentioned observation as a key player in helping you edge closer to acceptance because most often acceptance requires a change in your mind.

To change your mind one very useful means to this end is to reach a state of grace.  Now grace might sound like an almost esoteric thing to you, and I say that it need not be.  I have observed grace quite a bit and I can tell you that there are some very clear alternative routes to grace that do not require you to carry a Rosary or bow down in saffron robes.

Let Grace Flow

Grace is itself the act of opening ones self. Grace flows when you are receptive, not when you are rigid angry and shut down emotionally.  To know grace you need to first be calm and neutral. remember the Observer?  That, or hold your breath tot he count of ten. Once calmer, you REMAIN calm and then allow this receptivity to move through you and change how you feel.  It is this receptivity that is Grace that will lead you to a place of acceptance.  I will tell you that when you are creative, Grace is there.  IN fact, what we call Grace is actually a form of cognitive function that involves a broader brain being put to use.  Creativity is itself connected to Grace.  In order to be creative, you must be willing to PLAY.  You must be willing to set aside whatever you were thinking and feeling in order to throw yourself into the imaginary world of that play, whatever it happens to be.  For children, this might mean being in an imaginary realm.  For adults, it might mean solving a problem using creativity. It also means being open to the possibility that things could change.Ask yourself over and over “whats the greatest and highest good for this?”  By doing this, you train your mind to consider that there are options you may not have considered.  It also keeps you more pliable.  And just so you know, feeling as though you want to “give up” is itself NOT a bad thing!  This is itself most often letting go of an outcome and letting go your attachment to a position your own ego self may have held.  This is part of what I am writing about….which is a form of surrender.  You can still surrender while you are wrestling a 600 pound gorilla.  You just quit.  You give up (ego).

It is also coincidental that when you are receptive in this way creatively, that you are much more likely to have those inspired moments and visions that saints and seers talk so much about having.  I can tell you that a religious experience or spiritual experience only happens when we let go and allow our imaginations to be free enough to bear the information necessary for the experience to unfold. Yes.  You heard it right; you have to imagine.  But what is so different is that once you have met the spiritual half-way, it then takes on a life of its own. It is more than what you alone could have probably come up with.  Einstein did the exact same thing when he discovered Relativity; he let his mind wander and he let his imagination out for a walk and that was when he and the universe smacked into one another in a rather marvelous sort of way and changed our world and the world of physics forever.  This same state of mind or being can help in any number of pursuits or problem solving.  it can also lead you to a solution beyond the problem you are having, which has to do with acceptance.

Some other things to bear in mind that may be helpful to you is to learn to be present in the moment.  When we direct our attention away from the present moment several things happen, but one really big thing can happen, which results in  string of challenges for all of us.  When you leave the present moment you are suddenly dealing with what is not yet known.  That is a very uncertain space.  On the one hand, this type of thinking allows us to do some planning in our lives, but it can also get entirely out of hand.  We can plan so much into the future that we are simply not living in the present anymore. The reason why this is so undersirable is that it is a misuse of your energy.  It also can lead to fear and uncertainty….and while I wont call this sort of thinking a high level form of fear (fear of the car going off the road or the sky falling) but smaller and thus more insidious sorts of worrying and edginess.  Like small particles of sand, they infiltrate into the substrata of our emotional lives and help to create a low level form of dis-ease.  Small things can grow into big things over time and this can all turn into neurosis.  I have observed people first hand in my life and how this can take over your life in ways that can entirely blind you to the fact that it is even happening.  After all, what harm could a small grain of sand do?  So be present! The more you wander, the more what-ifs you will be dealing with and these just can’t be answered properly except in the present. SO do what you can do in the moment and let the future be the future and you will have to deal with it when it becomes the present.  it isn’t even that you don’t care about the future, its just that you cannot change it except by what you do NOW. Don’t get caught up in the what if of the future.  DO what you can do NOW so that as each moment passes, you will live it in as calm and happy way as you can.

For full disclosure I will say that I have had to deal with some pretty tough forms of acceptance in my life.  I have.  I had to accept the death of a parent and move on.  I had to deal with the loss of a child.  I am still dealing with these things and I have found that all of this work goes in layers. There is a lot that I have let go but there is more I have yet to dig down into and decide its no longer worth holding onto.  I know that the things I have passed on to you do work because they have helped me a great deal in doing the work I have done in my life.  I wish I could just drop things entirely, but it seems that our feelings and souls are built the way we dress, which is in layers.  But layer by layer, these things fall away.  Big things often go first and there is great relief from letting them go, which builds enough momentum for me to be very hungry for the next layer to go, too.  Just don’t get discouraged if you find that there is more material beneath the layers you have shed.  Be easy on yourself and be kind.   The deeper you go in this kind of work, the more interesting it can become, but it can also seem kind of endless.  Well, perhaps it is, but isn’t it worth it?

So be present.  Be grateful.  Check your ego at the door and keep expectations down. This doesn’t mean that you scale back hopes and dreams, you simply do not focus on them at this point in time.  And then have at it. See if this results in your having a bland life or one that is quite unexpectedly exciting and wonderful.  You might be surprised.  Go at life with wonder and let grace filter in as part of the transformative mix that aids you in your work.  Let the glass be half full and it will be. You can do this by simply learning acceptance.  It soften ego, it makes your mind more pliable, and your emotions far more fluid and accommodating. When you do this, you wind up being closer to your authentic self, which is at peace and filled with bliss.  Suddenly all the problems of a moment ago begin to fade and the angst does too.  And you will begin to uncover your native natural self if you are lucky.  You will feel this very delicious feeling….almost like you are falling or floating.  Energetically, this buoyancy points to your being more free.  And that is a very good thing!

~Good luck~

I think the term ego death is so unfortunate.  I have had people who are going through awakening express such anxiety about it because it simply sounds so scary.  I have an article HERE about ego death and the importance of ego within the self.  Frankly, language can be tricky, so don’t make up your mind about something in awakening until you yourself have gone through it.

I went through this “death” at a time when my kundalini was accelerating to warp speed.  I had already experienced a rising of kundalini and it had been very active for a about two years when I began corresponding with someone whose ideas meshed with mine who was also kundalini awakened.  It is said that kundalini can be transmitted.  My observation is that it is more nuanced than this.  Rather, I think that we attract based on where we are.  I was already asking questions about how this experience was “supposed” to go because some of it didn’t make sense.  Like the issue of soul connections.  Some call them Twin Rays and Twin Souls and I bought into this belief for a time, but the edifice surrounding it began to crumble when I noticed that a Twin is supposed to love unconditionally, was supposed to be just like you, etc.  I observed that this just was not so and that this person I was connected to was actually quite harsh, hard, and punishing.  Vindictive, actually.  And this was a pattern in my life, I would discover later, a gift that kundalini gave to me to open my eyes.  By learning to develop good healthy boundaries and to heal the old karmic scars, I found that my experience went into hyper-drive.  The only thing that was different was that I was beginning to possess a different outlook and I was beginning a dialog with someone whose ideas were much more aligned with my own.  In fact, there were aspects of the experience this person helped me to bring to light that I had not been entirely aware of.  She helped me to shed light on this and to shine a bright light on my own experience in a way that was at once difficult, but liberating.

Something in me began mirroring a very different side to the energy.  Giant waves of kundalini began to move into my life and for the first time I felt an overwhelming feeling of getting knocked over by giant waves from this force.  Everything inside of me sought to hold on for dear life, for what I knew was familiar.  What I did not realize was that kundalini was now moving in a different way, a broader way, and it was hard to keep up with.  But I did hold on.  For dear life.  That wound up being just the problem.  I had to let go.  My precious ego, though, feared for its life, feared for its sanity.  As this force began to move in me so strong, I had an experience where as I walked through the woods at night I could feel myself leaking out into the surrounding environment.  All of my carefully laid boundaries were being erased.  When I heard the water rushing by in a swift mountain stream, I could feel myself connected to it.  I felt connected to the mist hanging in the meadow.  I felt the pulse of moonlight.  Instead of feeling peace, I felt like I was about to lose my mind.  In a way, I was.  I was beginning to lose those boundaries that had been erected around ego and self.  The difference between this experience and my first experiences with the force was that I was unable to embrace it.

Over the next year I went through a flurry of experiences that all involved letting go of old patterns.  This involved a gradual letting go of ego as the central agent in my awareness.  This was like wrestling with an 800 pound gorilla.  In time, this gorilla became an ally, not an enemy.  Its presence as a threat dissolved completely.  All of the tension, all of the hardness melted away.  Ego was now much more mobile and would come forward and go back into the self as needed.  This was much better, much easier!  Now the energy flowed through me without hindrance.  It was a saving grace.

As I think about those days and how hard they were, I am considering how what we call ego death can also just be a willingness to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.  The curious thing with ego is it identifies with ourselves as being US.  Individual.  This tends to set up a kind of border land within the self.  If we aren’t careful, we erect all kinds of borders around us that block out all manner of things.  We become like a castle whose walls have become hardened.  Little gets in or out.  We defend our territory and karma remains in place, the very guards of this very tight little castle of the mind.  But concurrent with ego “death” was a softening of the self, a willingness and ability to be vulnerable.  There was less of a need to win, to be right, to prove anything to anyone.  The race, the battle, the journey…..the “I” became a differently defined “I” that did not need to define itself in relationship to others.  More and more,  I can just let people be who they are.  By letting go, by being more vulnerable, I saw as the need to keep ego in place became kind of silly.  unnecessary.  Kundalini was making it hard to keep this part of me planted as it was, so it was easier to just go with the flow.

Being vulnerable has its benefits.  It leads to being able to look reasonably at things as they are instead of always trying to make things as we want them to be.  We are more forgiving of ourselves, and this is key in order to reach a place where we can say “I AM imperfect, but I am worthy of love!”  I think that a willingness to be vulnerable is an important step in softening the ego and opening the self up to a greater flow for this energy of the self.

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