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Living our lives authentically and with soulful richness is not as difficult as it so often
seems. And no, we don’t have to kill the ego to do so. The ego (in and of itself) is not
“the problem”. The placement of our awareness is!
This is an EMAIL that I just wrote for and sent to my 2-Year SoulArts Master’s Practitioners.
I am offering it here for those of you on my Subscriber List who are engaging in a process of spiritual inquiry and awakening. This email is in response to a group dialogue about awakening; ego vs. soul; the spiritual journey and how to navigate the soulful life.
I invite you to engage this email as a “living dialogue” with your own inner wisdom way… And I look forward to connecting with you in dialogue in the year ahead through my growing SoulArts programs. With LOVE – ronda
Email to my 2-Year Students, December 23, 2010
OK my SoulArts Beauties!
I am appreciating your vulnerable dialogue with one another this week. SO, as to matters of ego, soul, suffering, healing … and awakening:
You are asking and diving into good questions:
“How do I live authentically? How do I find and know what’s coming from my Soul and what’s just my ego talking”
“Who am I outside of my ego-identity? How do I get beyond the fear of the ego-self? How do I understand my true self? ”
“How does Ego and Soul fit into living authentically?”
Here are some reflections to help “amp up” your quest and your Seeing:
(GET READY): First of all there isn’t really any such “THING” as an ego. Ego is a concept or construct we made up to help explain a certain mechanism or working pattern of the mind. Ego and Soul are not so much separate THINGS… not something to get polarized over (which can be it’s own trapping :)
Only the linear mind (that which we use to keep a sense of place — aka “ego) names things “THINGS”. Ego is really just an apparent structure of the mind that we form and crystallize around as “identifies” in order to help support a sense of place and belonging. AND It is an important functioning! So the ego is not the “bad guy”. However it IS important to understand how it operates and why… The identity-making “ego” in each of us very naturally constricts around fear, threat, and the need for security in order to help keep us alive and “safe”. The ego is great in it’s right operating environment! We’d be dead meat without it!
Soul is also not a “thing”. It is a quality of awareness; a level of perception… An open creative doorway to the unbound unmanifest self. Soul does not need to call things, “things”. The Soulness of you is beyond “thinging” — and much more awake to essence as it is stirring in each moment. Soul is that which is listening.
In quantum physics terms (grossly simplified as metaphor) the two seeming aspects (ego/soul) are only “things” to the ego (the particle). They are NOT things to the Soul. (They are the wave). To be healthy is to come into wave and particle awareness. To see relatedness. To be healthy is to be in true relatedness with the essence of “thingness” and no-thing…
(Further Reflections to my 2-Year Student in our online mentoring program)
Here’s the weird paradox of it all. One the one hand “recognizing” where the mind goes and engages and tells its stories (as Jody and Lora both say) is very powerful as part of the self-awakening process.
It is indeed imperative to start seeing how the ego-self operates in your life (at least at first! — and to help build awareness of ‘the inner witness”) The part of you that recognizes ego-mind structures and stories helps to free you of ego-over-identification and thus brings you naturally closer to something we may call “Soul”, “Essence” “I Am”, “True Self”, “Unity or Christ Consciousness” etc.
The trap comes when you try and use the ego-self to understand something bigger than it! Can’t be done. So at some point, all the recognition and seeing of how the ego runs things still can leave the ego-mind (that which catalogues, controls and tries to Identify everything) exhausted and frustrated! This is a necessary first phase (for most anyway). But, how to actually live soulfully? It is partially by becoming enough exhausted at seeing through the “antics of the ego” and part by infusing more and more quiet and recognition of beauty into one’s life.
Want to naturally slip closer to a soul-based life? Then turn off the TV and radio, meditate NOT out of neediness or to GET away from something, but to savor a moment of “HERE” I actually recommend active forms of meditation as the sitting type can just keep someone caught in mental circles. Walk in nature (WITH NO radio, friend or cell phone!); do yoga (and don’t talk); create and saturate small times of your day (EVERYDAY) in beauty: put on beautiful music with dinner, set a pleasing looking dinner table, light a candle to your arriving home after work.
Little simple soulful things – for the pleasure and gift of being enjoyed — bring soul out of it’s (seeming) hiding place! You merely have to GIVE beauty to your life, for your soulful authentic self to be present!
You will NEVER — by force of will, fervency of prayer, or extreme of insight — end the ego-driven mind. It will never stop through trying to control it. It can’t stop. It shouldn’t stop! It has a function. The ego is not the problem. Your singular awareness of it, is the only problem.
Allowing ego (unconsciously) to be the master in your life is the problem.
Start to become aware of that in you which is bigger than and more than and outside of the ego-mind-story-making machine, by cultivating silence, beauty, enjoyment. That is how one increases a life of soul, and learns how to not let ego alone be your master.
The ego is a servant to the soulfully-awake life; not its master. We are confused and living it backwards. There is a great quote by Albert Einstein in this regard:
On the spiritual path of self-realization, here’s the A#1Self-Realization: There is NO GETTING THERE! (key key key point!)
There is no stagnant you to get somewhere …and there is no there besides! This is impossible for the ego-mind to get..so don’t even try. It is a realization you will see, once you let go.
When you are living authentically, you will forever be evolving and opening and seeing new layers where you are contracted (please re-read Sandra’s missive to me). Life, awakening, and healing into Love is a spiral process that forever unfolds and evolves. We are not merely this THING!!! Called this (Name) PERSON!!! We (you and I both) are each PROCESSES of AWARENESS, EVER- EVOLVING! We are in a dance of form and formlessness, particle and wave, forgetting and seeing, (Get that and you’re awakening to your “true essence”.)
To wake up is to put wherever you are now (in that dance of form and seeing) into the Service of Life, made more conscious. To become free or “awakened” or “enlightened” or soulful, is merely to become conscious in each moment, and to place your awaking process of evolution in Service to all of Life around you, while you are on the move!
Want to awaken? Allow your questions and your unique process of growing, directly into service with life. Start to share the quest. Start to care more about living in the question than in needing an answer. Start to discover the miracle of allowing ego and soul to become friends in the Holy dance of Love…
If you are fighting with whether what you are doing is ego-driven or not, just know it (at least partly) is. Good to ask and to see…and then to “get over it”! If you never ask if ego is involved, you’re on a very dangerous and slippery slope indeed and can be very easily seduced into power-trips and manipulations (like the “Jerry Fallwells” of our culture). So yes, ask but don’t constrict around the asking! Ask and then fall back into a consciously-empty stillness, responding simply from that empty stillness again and again and again…
The project I gave to you for our 2nd year apprenticeship together, is a project intended to help you directly learn how to engage your own evolution and awakening. It will do so by asking you to place your self–healing process into direct Service to life. To follow what I’m saying here, you must directly experience it. Your year 2 projects, if truly engaged, will do this!
So with regard to ego and soul and living from your wholeness: Here’s “how” to do it:
You ask and wrestle with these questions as you are here. You live from the question. And you keep coming back to offering what you can give (right now) from that place of inner stillness. Giving is what show you more; it is what opens the doorways of perception. Not giving is ego-self trap. Always (even when it feels like “unworthiness or fear or not good enough”).
You don’t wait for answers or direction in your life. You create and move from where you are. You awaken to being your Soufully true self (AKA engaged in your life as a PROCESS that is unfolding) and thus stop being 100% identified as merely a finite ego-mind (AKA a thing called “Person XYZ”)
For example: When we meet in the SoulArts Process of Awakening Apprenticeships together, I just keep emptying and waiting and then spontaneously offering (“seeing” words, actions, processes and meditations) from a place of no agenda but of very very open listening. (Really read and reflect on this section til you “get it”.)
What I am telling you here is very important — this level of “listening”. It’s a kind of listening that is NOT needy at ALL!! It is a kind of listening that has NO agenda at all! This “listening” is not listening for anything. It is not seeking truth or power or answers or what is helpful to someone. It is seeking no-thing. It is listening as worship in and of itself! It is listening only to listen… and then if, from the listening, action responds (as word, as image or as action) to allow the response to emerge (into form)! When I listen to one of you in an email or a phone session or in our SoulArts circle, it is from utter silence with NO agenda.
NOTE: If you can really “hear me” here, you will have a big insight! Once you learn this level of listening as I’m expressing above, you will be in Soul. Listening in this way is fundamentally different than the ego-mind notion of listening. So please really practice what it is to “listen” with absolutely NO agenda at all. When you get this in your life, then ego merely helps keep things together – in a very small simple and noble role, as servant to the “sacred gift”.
Here’s a further quest that will bring you closer:
What does it take to really truly let go? All I know personally, is that each moment I have truly let go (never easy in my experience), a new next level of soulful awakening and life soon appeared with (previously unimaginable) rich new possibility, for me to unfold into, to let evolve through me, to grow me wiser and truer.
HOW? By allowing each place of seeing to be given in service to Life, so that it can move and unfold. By being in life. By honoring it through the act of giving what I am seeing as it moves and evolves. This is living the question! I am not merely a person or a thing or a life purpose. I am much much more. I am a process of love in the making …My life is my project — My Life is my Art. I am Art-Making. I am Love-Making. The person-thing merely marks and offers little particles along the wave… See?
– r. larue
Ego And Soul
- Come find out for yourself: that there is no greater journey than your own...