Much wisdom, care, and humility are needed while trying to convey the essence of a living experience. Concepts and ideas are just containers, temporary objects, they don’t reveal they just “point to”. We can’t project more than what we are experiencing and what we are experiencing is never a final destination when it comes to spiritual awakening.
Keeping the above in mind let’s explore a subject which is at the essence of spiritual development: The Ego.
Essentially a newborn is free of identification, there is no “sense of I”, it is pure Presence.
The identification process starts with the name. Presence starts identifying itself to the sound of that name, it associates “its presence” to that sound, it is the initial seed of the impermanent self, the ego appears on the stage.
We now have a name. Our family has its own particularities. We are part of a nation that has a history.
Later we have a job status and the layers keep stacking, identification over more identification, more stories being added to our already existing stories.
What has been happening is that unlimited Presence has been limiting itself through identification. All that remains is a crystalized “sense of I”, a drop of self-awareness adapted to a particular specific environment but essentially disconnected from the ocean its coming from, Presence.
Identification per se is not a problem as long there is an awareness that it is an impermanent state of affair. The big drama is that Presence is “lost” in the process of identification but only “lost” from the point of view of the ego. Presence is essentially never lost. That mystery is described by the famous Hindu quote:
Having impregnated the Universe with a portion of myself, yet I remain.
We can say that the ego is a reflection of Presence through the imperfection of the substance. The essential rays of light of What IS travel through the layers of substance from the mental to the physical levels and the manifestation of the ego is the visible manifestation of what remains from Presence. The ego, although unrefined, is Presence nevertheless. The light of what IS has reached the dark pit of crystallized matter and impregnated it, yet, what IS remains and the process of purification can carry on.
You probably heard that the ego must be destroyed, that it is an illusion, that “there is nothing in there”, that the ego is evil, that you can’t awaken if you still have an ego, that everything is happening and that there is no need to try to control anything, …etc. well, it is only one part of the story.
Contemplated from Presence, the ego is just a vortex, it is neither good or bad, it is just a natural principle. It will absorb the forces and energies you throw at it and focus them through a specific personality, it’s all there is to it, it is a neutral process but a powerful one, once you are functioning from Presence.
Presence cannot manifest itself without creating, focusing and concentrating forces and energies through a vortex, a radiant point “inside consciousness”, very much like you can create fire with a magnifying glass by concentrating the light into a tiny point, stars do it, so do we. Manifestation cannot occur without such a focus of energy, those who are claiming the opposite are fooling you and themselves in the process (see my article on pseudo-Advaita).
Before being able to function from Presence through that vortex, your consciousness needs to be established in Presence and a “little death” might be necessary. Feel free to have a look at my article on the dark night of the soul on that particular subject. The dissolution of the ego does not affect the lines of least resistance of the personality that will be used by Presence in the post-awakening stage. The core characteristics of the boat don’t change, just the captain.
So, to simplify things, in stage 1 we have John Doe and the world, which is Presence functioning in complete identification to John Doe, life is seen from a dual perspective, unity is not yet intuitively perceived behind the diversity.
As life is experienced, joys and sorrows, successes and failure, peace and dramas, John Doe starts aspiring for more. One day, through spiritual practise or not, John Doe realises that John Doe was just a mental construct and the ego starts to dissolve, this is stage 2, the dark night of the soul.
Stage 2 can last for a long time. Consciousness is left between what is to come and what was. Light and darkness are very close from each other. Presence and unity is perceived, flashes of brilliance are occurring regularly but there is no stable vortex through which Presence can operate yet.
In stage 3, the ego has largely dissolved, the identity is fairly established in Presence, the illusion has faded for the most part. Presence can come back into manifestation again, through the lines of least resistance available in John’s Does personality. There is a big difference this time, compared to stage 1, Presence is not “lost”, Awareness is established at a personal and transpersonal level, John Doe is aware of Presence, Presence is aware of John Doe. It is obviously just a way to say it as they are essentially one.
Humanity is swift to jump from one extreme to the other one. After embracing the destructive aspects of the ego without limit, it is no surprise that, as consciousness starts expanding, it goes to the opposite extreme of dismissing it entirely.
The principle behind the formation of the ego is neither good or bad, it is just a natural principle which can be compared to a vortex, a lens through which Presence can operate. Once it is understood it can be used to create living “Suns”, radiating conscious centres of living power.
Your Ego is a Sleeping Sun.