Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Dissolving: Ego and Personality
I spent a good deal of Christmas Day gripped by fear and grief. Oddly, they weren’t at all in my mind. I can’t say why there was fear or why there was grief. Though there had been fleeting thoughts. The emotions seemed totally and intensely physical.
So, in a sense, I was fine. I curled up in bed and read. Outside, a winter storm arrived delivering a white Christmas.
Everything was fine, and still – my gosh!
Since Christmas, I’ve been experiencing intense fear. It grips my belly like broken glass. It stabs and breaks my heart. It electrifies my body.
It seems like there are no barriers anymore and the emotions just rip through.
What barriers were there to drop? I didn’t even notice. I’ll accept Sarojini’s explanation, “a sense of a separate self.”
Last night driving home from work once again I approached (ha! at the intersection of La Vista and Druid Hills, oh what a metaphorical stage)… I approached the question, “Who am I?”
As a response, in the midst of evening traffic and emotional blowout complete with streaming tears the words, “I cannot say!” seemed a desperate, desperate reply.
The inability to say, really bothered me – “me” which seems to have disappeared despite my driving the car, putting in an eight hour workday, and pitching emotional fits.
Even this morning, finding words is just too frustrating and physically painful.
So, I found some nice quotes I want to share.
Yesterday, I went back to the beginning with my books. The operative word was emptiness – there is a lot of that these days. So, I picked up Emptiness Dancing, by Adyashanti:
If my identity can take a break and I don’t disappear, “What am I then?” or rather, “What am I when I do disappear?”…
It has been said many times that the only people who don’t know who they are, are the ones who are awake. Everyone else knows… they are their script…
There is a state in which the mind says, “I have no idea who I am,” because it can’t find the right script. Awakening is the realization that happens after the mind says, “I give up. I just have no idea who I am.”
Emptiness Dancing p.11
Have I given up? I DON’T KNOW that either! There’s an awful lot of thrashing around that seems to counteract the claim. … which makes me laugh out loud.
I’ve been doing a lot of that these days too, bursting out in laughter.
I also have been wondering about the distinction between ego and personality.
People say that after awakening you still have a personality. How’s that differ from having an ego? Here is Eckhart Tolle’s take:
Ego is complete identification with your thinking and your emotions. When you are unconscious, personality and ego are one thing. As you awaken, you become more aware of your patterns, which may to some extent still operate…
As you awaken spiritually, the awareness that is nothing to do with your personality increases, and the power of the personality, with its conditioned patterns, decreases. Gradually, the personality is no longer opaque; it is transparent to the light of awareness, or consciousness. It loses its solidity. This is why you find that in people who are awake, or people who are awakening, there is more of a lightness to them…
Strictly speaking, before awakening, to a large extent, you don’t have a relationship with your personality; you are your personality.
If you can have a relationship with your personality – which is the ego, with its way of reacting and thinking, and emotions – who is having a relationship with the personality?
What that means is you are witnessing it. There is a witnessing consciousness there, and if there is a witnessing consciousness, then you can have a relationship with your personality.
What that really means is, you can be there as a witnessing presence when your ego is doing something silly. And you can laugh at yourself…
Thus endeth the lesson regarding ego, personality and laughter.
There is one more just for now, and that’s regarding fear, the heart, and emptiness. This comes from a fellow by the name Davidya:
In the first awakening, the mental idea of being a separate self, often called the ego, falls away. In the second cycle, the ‘crust’ on the heart falls away and it blossoms. In the second waking, the core identity falls away.
The core identity is the driver of the emotions/energy that in turn drives and sustains the ego-mind’s concepts and shadow story, it’s beliefs about the world. Because one arises from the other, they have a similar modus operandi and similar way of falling away. For example, the ego falls away when we become Self, but much of it’s supporting structure of related constructs often remains, trying to resurrect itself. I’ve referred to this as “ego shrapnel”. Adyashanti talks about minds attempts to return…
This increasing openness to what is, coupled with clearing of the old stories and dramas means the clouds start to really clear. What has been deeply sub-conscious, the core identity begins to be sensed, then seen. This is a purely fear based grip, holding the sense of separateness. Holding us from Oneness. As the core identity is seen and allowed, it falls away. Then the peripheral grips are seen and cleared, much as the ego shrapnel before, but more subtle and loud. (laughs) These are things like a deep need to know or to control or be seen or complete. While quiet, they often have had a profound impact on our life. They are often our core motivators to act, think, and feel. The clearing feels like one is being emptied out but what remains is fullness.
“Emptied out” –that’s what it feels like. All those emotions are just in this heatless burning away. It feels real correct to absolutely do nothing. Don’t try to find a word. Words are too inaccurate. Words can only distort. To insist, to do anything to impinge about what is happening only hurts. Physically, intensely hurts.