In part 1 we have established that, in order to partake in this game of life in the material world, we need an ego. It is there to maintain the separateness we need to operate as individuals. When, where and why we agreed to this dream delusion is unknown and perplexing to me.
I would really like to see a record of the conversation that went on where I decided living in this drama would be better than existing in a state of never ending, ever changing bliss and connection to all things at the spiritual level.
But, anyway, here we are and what are we going to do? Remember that the ego, like surfing, football and driving comes with inherent dangers.
In the same way that we would acquire protective equipment for football, or work on swimming skills for surfing, we must actively learn about and pursue methods to allow our higher soul/spirit consciousness to rise above ego thinking.
Take a Vacation from the Ego
Since what we have here is a predominance of ego influence, the obvious remedy is to move into a different frame of reference. Here is what we have:
Body / mind / ego connection
This is the package that most people operate from. These 3 are very involved with each other and are not easily separated, It works like this:
- We experience our reality through our senses (the body)
- The ego evaluates the experience and reacts to it with either an original response based on protecting it’s individuality, or it has a preprogrammed “habit” response, in the mind, set up from past experience. It likes this because it takes less cognitive effort to execute.
- The mind then initiates thoughts and emotions around the experience, usually based on nothing more than habit.
- The Spirit is suppressed in all this because it’s true cognitive awareness would shatter the illusion and threaten the egos existence.
Spiritual Connection is the Key
Spirit exists both within and outside of material creation. This world and its workings are nothing more than a dream illusion to spirit. By definition spirit’s qualities are omnipresent, omnipotent, timeless and indestructible. These qualities are not only reflected in greater aspects of vast spirit, but also in the souls of us all. When we can tap into and experience the reality of spirit, the ego’s petty delusions are revealed.
Meditation is the Path and Patanjali tells us how
Patanjali, an Indian Sage put together a blueprint of sorts around the 2nd or 3rd century CE with his 8 limbs of yoga. Yoga, (to “yoke” or ‘connect”) to Patanjali, is the process of “connecting” the individual soul to collective spirit. His method is this:
- Yama and
- Niyama – correct behavior. Without correct behavior karma will hamper the person’s progress.
- Asana – Asana, as defined by Patanjali has nothing to do with Hatha yoga. He defines it as correct alignment of the spine while practicing the following…
- Pranayama – The Sanskrit translation of pranayama is life force (or Prana) control. While this is usually practiced with breathing exercises, the objective is to gain control of life force for:
- Pratyahara – Once we have some control of the prana, we want to withdraw it from the senses. By doing this we can stop, or at least slow, the input from the body to the ego and mind. From here we move on to:
- Dharana –concentration- Without the distraction of the sense input we work on focused concentration. Once there we turn our focus towards spirit.
- Dhyana – meditation -This, for some, is a point of contention. From the teachings of my Guru (Paramahansa Yogananda) only concentration directed toward spirit qualifies as meditation. Any other form of focused mental effort would be concentration, contemplation, reflection or something of that nature.
- Samadhi – Samadhi can take different forms as the connection manifests with different qualities of spirit. This is the place of total connection between soul and spirit. The result is a state where there is no separation or distinction between the “knower” and the “known” or the “observer”, and the “object observed”. Only the basic spiritual qualities of love, bliss, and connection are experienced.
Sounds good, how do I do it?
Meditation is the way, however, there is no one way to meditate. Meditation requires a method, and practice. For some a Buddhist meditation may work best. For some TM may work. For some SRF techniques may be best. There are many styles and schools of meditation practice.
This is the journey and the hard part. Like any other long term relationship in this world, first you must find the choice, and then commit to the choice.
Don’t get lost in the “flavor of the month”
You will need to try different methods, hopefully when you are younger, and ultimately find your path. As westerners, our challenge is to not get lost chasing the excitement and variety of the “latest” thing. There is always some new age guru with some new thing to sell you on. You cannot bounce from one thing to another and make progress. Not in this game.
The stakes are too high, and the rewards too great. We are talking about freedom from suffering. That is a rare commodity in this reality and is not given easily.
People ask me “How do you know when you’ve found your path?” At some point, hopefully, you will intuitively know that you have found something that resonates with you. It must be intuitive. Any intellectual method will be tainted with mind/ego input.
However, no effort or work that you put into this is wasted. Even if you decide to move on from one method, the work you have done is never for nothing. Everything you do, with intention to draw closer to spirit, will have lasting effects.
Hello Spirit, Goodbye Ego
As I said what we are doing is taking a vacation from the ego. As we all know the physical environment we are immersed in will influence many things about us. That is why to make change in our behavior we often must make changes to our environment.
Same thing with our “Internal” or mental/spiritual environment. We live in the body/mind/ego frame of reference so much of the time that many can’t imagine there is anything else. But through meditation we take our awareness into a completely different paradigm.
Experiencing Spirit and Connection Rather than Ego and Separation
By using Patanjali’s blueprint, and our meditation technique, we move away from our default frame of mind and toward what is, actually, our true nature as spirit or soul.
Since spirit exists outside of material creation, our experience and attachment here is not subject to the “duality” of the material world. We are exposed to an experience more in line with who and what we really are. Thus, the term “self-realization”
The more time we spend under the influence of the higher vibration of spiritual connection the more we realize and are released from the suffering and relentless insecurity and fear of the ego.
And so, it is like “rehab” for the soul. We get away from and “detox” from the corruption and pitfalls of this vehicle that we need for this physical experience.
We have provided the “protective equipment’ and nurtured the skills necessary to make playing this game mentally and emotionally safer.
Consistency of Practice is Key
The ego does not just sit back and say, “Ok, you win, go ahead and enjoy your life as an ascended master.” The ego is programed for survival as well, and has had much practice. It’s methods of regaining it’s hold are subtle and effective.
It is important to anchor ourselves in those higher states on a regular basis so as not to slip back into oblivious suffering. We need our viewpoint and automatic responses to be colored by our familiarity in self-realization and not in ego reactivity. Consistency of practice is key.
“Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard.” –Coldplay
If these concepts and practices were simple to execute, this world would be a different place. People feeling happy, safe and secure in their lives. Feeling compassion and connection to all of creation. We are a helluva long way from that.
This is what defines and separates the “hardcore” from the “lightweight” or “Wannabe” spiritual aspirant. The decision to undertake the pursuit of self-realization or soul actualization, and to actually follow through and apply it, is the realm of the true spiritual warrior.
Make no mistake, the reference to the warrior is not for dramatic effect. It is no coincidence that the lessons of yoga are taught to Arjuna by Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, on the battlefield, on the eve of the greatest war the world would ever know. This path is a battle. It takes discipline, devotion, and resolve.
What is the reward?
I have a friend who has applied himself to the path. 1 ½ to 2-hour meditation every day, and sometimes more for 20 years. Recently he was dealing with having to find a new place to live, and all the associated hassles. I said to him, “yeah it sucks having to go through all that stuff.” He said to me “It’s ok…I just shut my eyes and it’s all gone.”
To have the sanctuary of true reality. The reality that exists beyond this illusion. The reality of spiritual bliss and connection that knows no pain, or suffering. That is the reward of the true spiritual aspirant.
Well Yeah, but..
One last point. You may look at this and say “Well yeah, but just escaping from this existence is just like taking drugs, and you still have to deal with it.” This would be the typical ego fear thinking because it doesn’t understand something very important.
Here is the thing, and one of the most important things to remember. I can speak to this from absolutely first-hand experience. This is crucial.
If you only take one thing from this, here it is…
The more time you spend with spirit and the more connection you build, the more spirit takes care of you.
This is an absolute spiritual truth and is summed up in what I think is the MOST important and relevant passage in the Bible;
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God (spirit), and all things shall be added unto you.”
The world needs spiritual warriors now more than ever. Ego based fear-aggression is very popular these days. It is apparent everywhere from art and business to politics.
It is nothing special, dogs do it all the time. It thinks it’s “tough” and “hard hitting”. It is actually weak, reactive and one dimensional. It is for the punks and the bullies. It looks shiny and impressive. It is, however, the path to division and suffering as individuals and as a society. We need to do better than that!
Let your life reflect Spirit and not Ego
Spend more time in the realm of spirit and truth. Be an emissary of light. Be a warrior of truth and the highest qualities of spirit. Seek and nurture your relationship with the source of all things, and that source will take care of you!
Way over the word count again! Oh, well. Thank you for reading, and best wishes to you in your life. I honestly hope you find what it takes to rise above the ego and the mundane suffering of this world.
Peace and blessings.
Please, please comment and share. Be part of the community.