Awakening

By Anurag Shantam
(With R. J. Doucette)
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The Ego

The ego. What is it? If you ask ten people, you will most likely receive ten different explanations. Ego pathology, or dysfunction, is endless. There are numerous books describing various ego pathologies, with new pathologies being "discovered" daily (along with the attendant "experts" to treat them). Since there is so much confusion around the concept of ego, I will provide you with a simple explanation. You will then have some idea of what I am talking about when I talk about ego. In all likelihood, my explanation will be somewhat different from whatever concepts or beliefs you already hold.

The ego I am speaking of is, very simply, the beliefs, patterns, defenses, memories and bad feelings associated with your sorrow-pain states, your anxiety-fear states, and your anger-bitterness states - in short, everything hidden within that creates for you a life of suffering. The ego is your suffering, and when I speak about dissolving the ego, I am speaking about dissolving that suffering.

Because ego is also an illusion, I am also speaking of awakening you from the illusion or dream of suffering. Since something real (you) is lost in the ego illusion of suffering, the suffering too seems very real. But like being lost in a dream that seems real, when you awaken you see that it was not real at all. Awakening from the ego nightmare is a very similar experience, though not as sudden. This awakening happens in stages, as you move through different states of consciousness. As you attain each state, you look back on what preceded it and it looks like a dream. It appears this way because it is.

As you awaken into clarity, you see and know that all you experienced prior was essentially a dream - that you were in a dream state, projecting the dream onto reality.
As you awaken into clarity, you see and know that all you experienced prior was essentially a dream - that you were in a dream state, projecting the dream onto reality. You slowly awaken into reality, with more and more of you in the light of now, and less and less of you in the ego darkness of the past. Ego cannot exist in the now, for it is not real, and now is the only reality there is. Ego cannot experience now. It is always taking you into either a painful, illusionary past, or a fearful illusionary future. Because the ego is an illusion, it can never experience real states. Love is real. Ego can never know what love is, and therefore can never love. Trust is real. The ego can never know trust. How could something born in fear know trust? Ego?s pretense of trust is rooted in fear and expectations of betrayal. Truth is real. Ego can believe any number of crazy contradictory things, but all of its beliefs will be shrouded with doubt that can never be quelled. The ego can never know anything with the certainty that brings peace, and as long as there is ego-created warfare within each of us, there will never be peace in the world.

Lost in the ego nightmare of suffering, we are unaware that we are creating it. As a result, we do not understand that we have the power to un-create it. All you need is a way to uncreate it, and the motivation to end this suffering once and for all. However, one of the first realizations of any seeker embarking on the journey of awakening is discovering just how precious our suffering is to us. We ask, without my suffering, my fear, my anger, what would be left of me? What will be left are things you have not known for a long time - unconditional love, unconditional trust, truth, and bliss. These are what is lost in the ego nightmare, the separation, of suffering.

My definition of ego is, therefore: Painful, fearful separation from myself and my world. Angry resentment at the way life has turned out. Conflict, dishonor, disease, lies, deceitfulness, greed, heartlessness, and at the very center of the ego darkness - hatred. To awaken is to part with all of these things, and to become a light in the world.

Ego and the Metaphor of the Wave
A wave arises in the ocean, rides the surface a while, and then abates. Does anyone celebrate its birth or mourn its demise? No. The wave is part of the unique expression of the ocean, which itself seems eternal, never being born or dying. So too, out of the ocean of consciousness arise the myriad forms we see around us. Each form is a unique expression, or wave, in the eternal ocean of consciousness. Each wave arising from the ocean of consciousness assumes a form, a unique expression developed over millions of years of evolution. The wave abates, consciousness returns to the ocean, and the form dies, only to be reborn again with the rise of a new wave. Nothing is actually born or dies, because the consciousness animating these forms is eternal.

With the notable exception of man, life forms are not disconnected from this ocean of consciousness. They are not fighting it, not trying to control it, not expecting it to be turbulent or calm, and not fearing or anticipating death. Most of nature lives in the eternal now.

Imagine a wave in the sea, somehow becoming trapped in a container. Trapped, the wave is unable to flow naturally with the sea's currents. In the beginning the container is as transparent as glass, but over time it becomes dirty, and as debris attaches to it, it eventually becomes a rigid structure. As more debris attaches to it, the container becomes more rigid, more dense. Because the wave inside is no longer able to flow, it loses contact with its very nature. It identifies more and more with the container. It begins to believe it is the container, set adrift in an alien and threatening landscape. The wave forgets it is a wave. The wave forgets that it is still part of the ocean around it, believing instead that it is the rigid container whose stability and integrity is threatened by a capricious and unpredictable environment.

The wave believes the hard container is reality, and that everything must be done to strengthen it, for the container is all that protects the wave from the unpredictable ocean threatening it.
Thinking itself the container, believing its existence is dependent on the container, the wave struggles unsuccessfully to strengthen it, and thus control the ocean. Over time though, the wave grows increasingly unhappy. It is unable to flow. It is restrained. But having been in the container for so long, bumping into other containers similarly encrusted with debris, seemingly also adrift in the ocean, the wave has forgotten it was once the ocean. It has forgotten that it once flowed free. The wave's long imprisonment in the container feels so familiar, it believes the dim memories of flow and freedom to be nothing but dreams and illusions.

The wave believes the hard container is reality, and that everything must be done to strengthen it, for the container is all that protects the wave from the unpredictable ocean threatening it. Imagine a wave feeling alien to the ocean around it, creating beliefs and myths to justify and explain why the structure imprisoning it exists. Imagine the wave's surprise if the structure containing it were to dissolve, allowing the wave to rejoin the ocean and flow free. Imagine the wave discovering that it was, and still is, the ocean itself - the same ocean the wave had been blaming for feelings of separation, alienation and constant danger.

Such is the fate of man, a wave in the ocean of consciousness, held separate by what at first was a subtle transparent sensation, a subtle separation from the ocean of consciousness, opening a new opportunity for evolution. An opportunity for parts of consciousness to become detached from the ocean, to begin exploring the nature of consciousness itself in the only way possible - by becoming separate from it. The ego veils began just like that, as subtle walls of separation, allowing individual parts of the ocean of consciousness to separate and explore creation and the consciousness creating and sustaining it.

At first it was new and exciting. The veils were thin and transparent, and allowed individual consciousness to explore and dance with creation. It was magic. For a very long time it was magic. The veils made something new possible in creation. The same wave could exist over time, incarnating in one human form after another, enabling deep sustained exploration of the nature of creation and consciousness, and the development of creative gifts that could not be attained in one lifetime alone. Such is the miracle of man. This is why children born to the same parents and growing up in the same environment, turn out so differently. Hidden in each one is a long unique history that even the most pervasive social conditioning cannot entirely destroy. We are not born clear slates for social scientists to fill with the beliefs and shoulds of our culture. The slate we carry into this life contains the writings of many life-times, a sort of spiritual pentimento. Each new human is uniquely drawn to different areas of interest, as though each has a natural familiarity or aptitude in that area.

This new evolutionary leap that was the birth of man, of individual consciousness, carried an inevitable flaw. This flaw was neither foreseen nor planned. It just happened. The veils opened a new chapter in evolution, enabling a single part of consciousness to move again and again into human form. But just like the container of the wave, over time the container of consciousness, the veils, became dirty, encrusted, hard and rigid. For with each lifetime, a layer was added to the veils. Over time, the consciousness that is you began to experience more and more separation from the world of which you are obviously a part. As the veils thickened, the sense of you was replaced with a sense of the veils. You began to identify with the veils, which resulted in an increasing feeling of separation. You felt the thing which held you separate, but you mistakenly thought of it as being you.

With the growth of the veils and mankind's growing identification with them, the light of consciousness was dimmed. For many beings, it became very dark indeed. The veils assumed labels and identities, and because they are shared by all human beings, they were assumed to be a natural human component. The veils seemed to be a given, an unalterable condition. Though they did not feel good, they did feel familiar. From the speculation of why the suffering produced by these veils existed, arose all of the philosophies and religions that continue to this day.

The reason these philosophies and religions have all failed to answer the essential questions facing humanity is that they are all based on a false premise. That is, that the veils and all the confusion and suffering produced by them, are an unalterable component of being human. They are not. The veils are simply the accumulated dirt covering the lenses through which you look into the world, distorting all you see, interpreting reality as the distortion. Each life adds another layer to the veils. Each successive life experienced as being sadder, more disconnected, scarier, and angrier at the seeming unfairness and meaninglessness of it all.

In truth, you suffer because you are creating your life through the ego veils of suffering. Dissolve the veils and you dissolve suffering.
In truth, you suffer because you are creating your life through the ego veils of suffering. Dissolve the veils and you dissolve suffering. Life goes on with its challenges, its highs and lows. The only difference will be that you do not suffer and feel a helpless victim. Life becomes what it is - no longer a struggle, no longer a war - simply a unique wave, moving in the great ocean of life. Earth is not a penal colony. We are not here to suffer for past transgressions, or to learn lessons. This is not the reform school the ego claims. It is simply life. It is what it is, an unfoldment of consciousness, with no meaning and no grand design. It is more like an exploration of limitless potential. You are the explorer and the potential, you are the seeker and the sought.

Older souls seem to carry a heaviness produced by the thickening of veils over countless lifetimes. At times they seem jaded, as though they have seen it all before, and know it is much ado about nothing. They will seem less excited about life, less enthralled at the ego distractions of the world. For indeed they have seen it all countless times before. When such souls awaken, they contain a storehouse of wisdom. But such wisdom can only be released through lifting of the veils. Younger souls tend to be more drawn into the world, more excited by the world's possibilities. To them, the world and its experiences are still new and unexplored. They tend to have a lightness, an adventurousness lacking in older souls, who tend to seek peace, rest, and an end to the journey.

But the call to awaken goes out to young and old souls alike. A cycle of darkness is coming to its inevitable conclusions. We must each awaken, renew the earth, and ignite a new glorious cycle. If we do not, the world will die. It will no longer be a place for consciousness to evolve, to reach new heights. The fate of the world rests with you.

To enter and explore consciousness, one must enter through the gate of the human Soul, and the Soul is something that science denies exists.
Ego and a Metaphor of Science
In the scientific quest, we have been taught that the brain is synonymous with consciousness - that the brain is the seat of consciousness. This is understandable only because science is limited to the exploration of the physical world. No matter how sophisticated or penetrating science becomes, it can never go beyond the physical manifestation of consciousness to explore consciousness itself. To enter and explore consciousness, one must enter through the gate of the human Soul, and the Soul is something that science denies exists. Despite the fact that Soul cannot be proven logically, rationally or scientifically, one can know its existence even in ego sleep. Consciousness too can be known, but not proven scientifically.

The brain seems to be the center of consciousness because we are always living there, in its constant flow of mindless, repetitive chatter. The brain is a bio-computer, used by your consciousness to process information as you move through, and interact with, the world. When you are in ego darkness, your brain becomes a false center of consciousness. The bio-computer which is meant to be used by you, becomes your master. It becomes a very powerful instrument controlled by something false, claiming to be you. In the material world, an electronic computer functions very much like the ego controlled bio-computer. It promises freedom, but delivers slavery. It stores and links information, but cannot know. It allows access to an unlimited volume of contradictory and confusing facts, but cannot itself make sense of them. Like its biological counterpart, the brain, the electronic computer too is plagued by pop-ups, advertising jingles and images, and intrusions of other people forcing their information on us - all of it unwanted and unasked for.

Just as the ego controlled brain promises freedom and fulfillment and fails to deliver either one, so too the electronic computer further enslaves us, by virtue of the egos that have designed it and those who use it. Like all creations in the world of good and evil, the electronic computer delivers both.

Once awakened, your brain begins to function as it was intended, as an instrument to enable consciousness to process information that is received through the senses.
Once awakened, your brain begins to function as it was intended, as an instrument to enable consciousness to process information that is received through the senses. You begin to use this instrument, rather than be used by it. In the process of awakening, you will also discover moments when the internal bio-computer seems to stop - as if not being needed, it simply shuts down. These moments allow you to experience what the ego abhors, which is silence. And in that silence you experience the beginning of something you have probably not known since childhood - and that is peace.

In that silence, with no thoughts or commercials or shoulds, you begin to realize that to be conscious does not require the constant noise being generated in the brain by the ego. In that silence you begin to understand that consciousness is separate from the brain - that it permeates the whole body - and that the brain, far from being center of consciousness is, like a computer, a powerful instrument that you can use when necessary and turn off when it is just a noisy distraction.

Science can manipulate brain chemistry to alter moods, creating a desensitized and over-medicated nation. Mood altering drugs are nothing new, but like all drugs, over time they lose their effectiveness, and require ever increasing dosages or newer and more powerful formulas. While they may alter moods by altering chemistry, they cannot touch the under-lying consciousness that is causing the imbalanced chemistry in the first place. When you stop taking these drugs, you return to your previous troubled state, if not to a worse state, for the chemicals themselves will affect further and unforeseen imbalances.

Transform consciousness, and brain chemistry will change on its own. Eliminate the ego imbalance in consciousness, and the physical vehicle of consciousness will change as well - permanently. The similarity between the electronic and the biological computer which created it, is summed up by the programmer adage - garbage in, garbage out. Like its electronic counterpart, the brain has been stuffed with other peoples garbage, which it constantly regurgitates, driving you mad.

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