Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Way To Spiritual Freedom Is Counter-Egoic

The title of this post makes a big assertion and begs more questions than it answers. What do I mean by "freedom" and what is the link between it and egoity?

Many years ago when I was reading every kind of spiritual literature I could get my hands on I remember being irritated if I read a sentence like the title of this posta sentence with little or no explanation as to its meaning. I vowed that if I ever wrote spiritual articles, I would write plainly, taking the time to drill down to the core meaning. This is something that I have striven for in all of my writing. I am extremely lucky in that the editor of this website encourages this and to him I am extremely grateful.

Female Kundalini by Margaret Dempsey book cover
So why do I assert that the way to freedom is counter-egoic? By counter-egoic I mean going against the ego and egoic tendencies, rather than doing something I want to, only if I feel like it. What is the evidence for such an assertion? Very simply, it is the truth of my own experience. Experience in itself is not the path to spiritual freedom. All experience really does is provide one with the cachet to write from the point of view of and with the authority of one's own experience. It doesn't make that experience the Truth, but it does provide pointers on how to attain spiritual freedom, especially if one's own experience, though it be anecdotal in nature, is backed up by others with similar experiences.

I am confident enough after all these years to assert that I have won a certain level of spiritual freedom by which I mean a loosening of the consciousness from its identification with my body/mind. I have a tacit certainty that I am not my body/mind. I know this, not as intellectual fact, but as a realization of the heart. What I can say with absolute certainty is that this freedom has been won not by me indulging my ego and egoic tendencies, but by going directly against them.

Doing this in one's early years was a struggle and an ordeal because the frustration and confusion that accompanied those early years obscured any notion of improvement as to the shifting of my consciousness. Those early years left me feeling extremely drained and tired. What I didn't know then was that every time I disciplined my ego or egoic tendencies by acting counter-egoically, some aspect of my Being was actually being purified. This is why self-discipline — and let's face it, there is nothing more counter-egoic than discipline — has been so cultivated and so encouraged by every realized Adept who has Graced this earth. There is a need for clarification as to how "I" has been used in this paragraph. I once read somewhere that if you want to see just how big someone's ego is, observe the use of "I." In this paragraph, there is much use of "I." Indeed, it is difficult to write without using it. So I think it's important to clarify that the "I" that am referring to is the "I" of consciousness, not the "i" of the presumed separate and separative ego.

And yes self-discipline is unavoidable if one is serious about spiritual freedom. But there is another
counter-egoic tendency which is more subtle, but in my opinion, very effective and that is the counter-egoic tendency of integrity and keeping one's Word. Why this is subtle is because it doesn't always relate to the spiritual realm; it relates to one's worldly actions. What I discovered from my own experience is that this kind of counter-egoic activity is just as important as sitting down to meditate/study. This other kind of counter-egoic activity was very important in the weeks and months after Kundalini rose. The strong egoic tendency was to give up everything and become totally absorbed in the amazing thoughts and experiences that the energy was creating. The counter-egoic behavior was to say "no" to all of that and continue to work a boring 9-5 job in the face of an egoic tendency that absolutely did not want to. Over time, I found that as I went more and more against these tendencies, my insights and realizations became stronger.

These egoic tendencies are embedded in the design of every human being, which is why it takes so much concentration and discipline to go against them. The brain also serves them, so the challenge is huge. If spiritual freedom is not something an individual is striving for, then there's no reason not to indulge egoic tendencies except, in the long run, indulging such tendencies doesn't result in lasting happiness.

Also embedded into the design of the human being is resistance. It is a tool the ego uses very effectively. For instance, in the early years, I would say to myself, "I'm going to get up early tomorrow morning and meditate." The morning would come and the alarm clock would sound, and, as the thought of getting up surfaced, a stronger, more compelling resistance of not to get up appeared, and more often than not, I wouldn't struggle against the resistance. Then when I woke up again, I'd feel bad for not being strong-willed enough. This took away my power because it made me see myself as weak-willed, thus playing into the ego's game.

In fact, the resistance I felt is not personal; it is inherent in the design of all human beings. This insight gave me such freedom that the next time I experienced resistance I was able to transcend it. Resistance is going to arise; there's no avoiding it. What you have to do is recognize that it's there, that it's not personal, and then the reward for going against it will be experienced maybe not in the very next moment, but definitely...over time.

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