Imagine the world if every human could see through the veil of their mind and honour who they really are beyond name and form. Imagine a world with an abundance of love, forgiveness and compassion; a world that sees humanity reconnected with its primary spiritual purpose of being, and the vital cessation of compulsive doing.
In my previous blogs The Time is Now and On Spirituality we looked at techniques on how to still the mind and honour the present moment to subside the repetitive mind patterns which lead to suffering. We also looked at the ego and its manipulative effects on our behaviour. I have split this blog into three parts. In the first part, I want to elaborate further on the ego’s influences and how we can become aware of our inner state of mind by learning to recognise the automatic egoic surges in us, and deal more effectively with them as they arise.
In the second part we will explore the phenomenon of mind streams, how the apparent ‘magnetic’ effect of an active egoic mind can influence the thoughts and behaviour of another through the energy field it emits. We will also look at the influence that inherited and accumulated emotional pain has over us.
Finally, in the third part we take inspiration from nature, and take stock of the current state of humanity, and the unsustainable way of life we have procured for ourselves through our increasing disconnectedness from nature.
We conclude with the stark truth that we must fully realise our destiny if we are ever to restore peace and harmony to our world.
Part I: Recognising the ego, and the egoic mind stream.
Seeing as the vast majority of people on earth are completely identified with their egoic mind – how then, do we set about freeing ourselves from our mind and reconnecting with our essential nature?
By being present.
To begin with, the most important thing you can do at any moment is ask yourself, “What is my state of consciousness at this moment?” This immediately brings awareness to our present inner state. When we bring awareness in, by being the passive observer of our thoughts and emotions, we become present.
Go deep within. I recommend you take several conscious breaths to bring in a degree of stillness as you focus on the energy flowing through your inner body. Now focus your attention fully on your mind.
Is there a part of you longing for drama or clinging on to a grudge? Do you relish any opportunity to complain, challenge a point of view or proclaim your own? Are you constantly comparing yourself to others? Berating others? Are you harbouring any resentments? Planning revenge? (You have to be really honest with yourself.) If so, you have just recognised the most destructive force not just in yourself, but the most destructive force on the planet; and the biggest obstacle to finding not just inner peace, but peace on earth. You have just recognised the human ego.
Each and every one of our outward actions is an emanation of our inner state, and when the ego runs that state (as it does in almost everyone), the manifestation is that of dysfunction and disorder – suffering. When manifested on a global scale, the resulting worldwide dysfunction is that of total madness – pollution, war, conflict and destruction.
Just observe the current state of the planet and it’s accelerating demise at the hands of human activity – activity borne of the insane human mind and its ego. The ego flows through the veins of every conceivable worldwide societal structure and institution; through business, commerce, education – and nowhere more so than in politics. When the ego operates on such a large scale, the world suffers. The ego’s manifestation at such a scale is however, merely an amplification of the low-level egoic drama and oneupmanship we experience everyday on our roads, in the office, the playground, queuing in supermarkets, or in neighbourly and family disputes…
The ego is cunning and can even manifest through seemingly positive acts such as charity or humanitarian work in the form of inflationary self promotion disguised as compassion. Any act through which we assert a sense of self or identity is borne of the ego and so is destined to fail – to end in suffering. Similarly, even in spirituality, if we assert an identity through a perceived superiority of being ‘so much more spiritual than everyone else,’ the ego has struck again.
You have to be extremely vigilant to spot the ego at times, as it will forever attempt to wriggle in to whatever it is you are doing for the purpose of adding something – another label – to your identity. The default nature of the ego is that of dissatisfaction – it always wants more, hence the ingrained patterns of endless greed and desire for growth we see the world over. It thrives on the pursuit of seeking fulfilment through always wanting the next best thing, the latest this or that; always something extra to try and achieve completeness. Naturally, it nearly always fails, and so the cycle we experience when we are identified with our ego is an endless oscillation between temporary fulfilment and inevitable dissatisfaction.
Does this sound familiar? An angry or skeptical reaction, or rejection of this is also the ego at work, so be prepared to be duly unsettled during the process of egoic recognition.
But don’t despair. The ego can be tamed and even repelled. You have to be aware of your egoic surges at the times they arise, and it does take practice. So whenever you feel challenged, threatened, belittled, disbelieved, inferior, jealous and so on – fix a gaze upon your reactive thoughts and emotions. Watch what is going on inside your head. It is enough to begin with to simply witness the thoughts and emotions and recognise them as the ego, as soon as they arise.
Even if you do end up acting out automatic unconscious behaviour, don’t berate yourself – awareness is the key. Practice this often enough and you will soon expose and in turn weaken the ego. Over time you can lessen its grip of you, and be free of your mind – free of the predictable, behaviour patterns which blight you and our entire species.
To be free of your mind is to be free of suffering. It is to be still within. If you are to realise anything, realise this: you are not your mind.
The Next time you find yourself feeling affronted, or desperate to give your opinion; if you feel tempted to correct someone or join in the gossip – try doing nothing, and see how it feels. Simply observe the urge to react, or the desire to assert superiority. Resist sounding your horn or gesturing to show your disapproval at another driver’s error or rudeness; resist the passive aggressive ‘you’re welcome’ if someone fails to acknowledge your act of holding open a door for them. Simply let things go and watch what goes on in your mind. It will feel alien for some time, because you are conditioned – so used to being identified with your mind’s reactive nature. But the more you watch what goes on in your mind, the more you realise the futility of it’s reactive nature.
The more aware you become, the less reactive and the more conscious you become. When you do observe that you are defending yourself, it is worth asking just what it is you are actually defending. The answer of course is your mind made sense of self. The ego. Nothing real, or personal – just the ego.
As you practice inner awareness, and so become more conscious, you will become more acutely aware of other people’s egoic behaviour and unconsciousness. It is far easier to identify the ego in others, and it is temping to want to intervene – to step in or ‘pull them up,’ so to speak. There is often an impelling desire to get your point across – to tell them how it is or ought to be. Realise this is just your own ego being seduced, out of habit, into reacting to the ego of another.
Part II: Mind streams and accumulated emotion.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves”.Dalai Lama XIV
Strong active egos are drawn to one another like magnets, and they can tend to energise one another, as neither wants to be outdone by the other. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the ignoble shouting parlours of social media comment sections – and of course on our roads. Unless you are still within – free of your own ego, you will always be drawn, like a magnet into the mind steam of another active ego.
The egoic magnetism I refer to is actually an attraction of two energy fields. Essentially, all thought and emotion is physical energy which by nature, has a vibrational frequency. Modern physics has begun to reveal the vibrational energy in the sub-atomic realm of matter – and we are all used to seeing images of the brain on scans, becoming illuminated in various regions when certain emotions are stimulated. This is a beautiful visual representation of the mind’s energy.
As sentient beings we are subliminally influenced by such energy frequencies, and as we become more conscious, spiritually speaking, we become more attuned to recognising them and can more easily avoid their magnetic-like pull. A simple example of our sensitivity to mind energy streams is when we sense a ‘frosty atmosphere’ in a room immediately upon entering, despite no words being spoken. We somehow detect a certain ‘something’ in the air. That is an example of our innate ability to perceive the mind’s energy frequencies.
Let us now take a scenario which we may all be familiar with. You are driving safely down a country lane, and suddenly you encounter an angry and impatient looking driver tailgating only inches behind you. Now from the point of view of the tailgater, we know from my previous blogs, that they are treating the present situation as a means to an end. Their mind wants to be at the destination more than in the here and now – and so they are resisting the present moment, thus creating impatience, anxiety and frustration in themselves. They cannot cope with this setback. Because they are totally identified with their egoic mind stream at this moment, they have completely dehumanised you, or rather their ego has – it only seeks transmission with your ego. If you were to react aggressively, as many do, the situation could instantaneously escalate into a catastrophic chain of events, resulting in extreme road rage, violence or even death. We see this so often on the roads when two or more egos lock horns. The mind stream of the driver behind you is emanating a strong, negative energy field which can, if you are not alert, draw you into it. Note what happens inside your head the moment you catch sight of them in your rear-view mirror… Do you detect your ego? If so, watch – don’t react.
There is however, more to the energy field of the mind than just the ego. What is also vital to the mind’s sense of self, and what energises the ego in us, is the dense body of emotional memories and pain, which we both accumulate and inherit from birth. This accumulation serves the purpose of giving us ‘our story.’ It forms the lens through which we process and interpret every encounter of life.
The accumulation of past emotional pain is passed on down generations, particularly within pockets of the world where prolonged historical suffering has played a role in shaping the cultural identity. New generations inherit the pain of their ancestors, and so their identity is partly established at birth like a pre-cast mould into which the ensuing emotional content of their life is poured. Like a jigsaw – no matter what order the pieces are assembled, the picture, will be the same.
Eckhart Tolle, in his book The Power of Now coined the most fitting term for this accumulation of emotion by calling it the Pain Body, and so I may refer to it as such, as it is a perfectly concise term for embodying such a notion.
Wherever there is conflict, inequality and suppression, there will be a particularly strong cultural, collective pain body. The pain body collectively fuels egos into identity affirmation through whatever means are culturally available. It therefore provides the particular lens through which the world is interpreted.
So we see particularly dense pain bodies throughout the world. We see Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland battling out of historical obligation – marching in each other’s territories to assert their identity and affirm their superior mental position. We see ingrained negativity and insecurity within many ethnic and black cultures, particularly in America, following years of horrific suppression and slavery; women too, in various parts of the world carry the weight of years of suppression under male domination, and as a result, inherit a sense of inequality. And then there’s the Middle East…
A pain body is not just confined to hostile parts of the globe. It is not just a collective, cultural phenomenon – we all have an individual pain body; a lens through which we assert our place in the world as we see it. Our pain bodies are always present as either an active or a dormant state. If we had an abusive upbringing, were bullied, spoiled or abandoned, our pain body will exist in accordance with our past experiences – our outlook on life will be directly influenced by those past experiences stored in our memory, and will influence our thoughts, behaviour and beliefs as we navigate through life.
Everyones lens has a slightly different tint, which is why, although many of us are similar, we all experience life differently. We all have different temperaments and levels of tolerance – different political and religious views – different outlooks. Some people are optimistic, others pessimistic. Naturally we celebrate the vast array of diversity among our unique species, but when you fully realise that the causal nature of such diversity is largely a product of the mind, it opens up an entirely new dimension of awareness within. For how can there be a fundamentally universal right or wrong, good or bad, success or failure, unless there is some form of mental concept applied to it to make it so?
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.William Shakespeare.
Let us pause and really consider this for a moment.
As Shakespeare observed, whatever we view as good, bad, wrong, indecent, obscene, evil, divine, boring, stimulating, ugly, attractive and so on, can only be so if viewed through a specific lens of accumulated thought or mental baggage: mind content. As we grow, we become identified with this lens, meaning that we only see the world through our lens, regardless of how open-minded we claim to be. To live this way without any awareness or realisation of its insular limitation is, despite being normal – actually madness. If I may paraphrase – Eckhart Tolle once said something like “Just because most people think a certain way, does not mean it isn’t madness.”
In essence, this lens in conjunction with the ego, is instrumental to our historical pandemic suffering. It is the cornerstone of our compulsive need to judge and label everything we encounter. It is a view of reality seen from only one perspective – an illusion conjured by the mind.
If this sounds startling or even dangerous to you, then that is useful indeed, as you have perhaps begun to see the human mind for what it is, and you may be some way to taking the necessary and vital step outside of the box of ‘normal’ conditioned human thinking.
Let us now pause, and take some inspiration from nature.
Part III: Taking inspiration from nature, and our destiny.
In nature, a shrivelling flower isn’t envious of the one beside it in full bloom. The tree or bird care not if they are unnoticed. There is no comparing or complaining. A rose just is. As is the oak tree. They know no time – they are always present. The animals and plants are totally at one with the one divine life force (the same life force which animates each and every one of us). You can call this life force God. If you are uncomfortable with using the word God due to the heavy religious connotations, you can use the words Being, Nature or Consciousness, as I often do. To use the word God in this context is to acknowledge the true meaning and essence of the word, stripped bare of the distracting concepts applied to it over centuries of religious misinterpretation. God is the essence of all of us. God is not a being – God is being.
“The roses under my window make no reference to former roses or better ones; they are what they are; they exist with God today. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are at a crucial juncture here. This is where our egoic mind jumps in when it senses a threat to its existence.
“Yes, but we’re not plants or animals are we? We are much more than that! We are far more highly evolved and intelligent than anything else!” it says.
Evolutionary speaking, of course we are more advanced than the plant and animal kingdoms. They both exist at the evolutionary level of ‘pre-thought’ and are simply at one with being – without the help or hindrance of the developed thinking mind. Here however, is where we find ourselves at the gateway of realising our destiny.
We, as highly evolved conscious beings have the capacity to go beyond thought. Our current state, as we have seen, is trapped in thought. It is our destiny to go beyond the shackles of thought and allow consciousness to realise itself through our physical form.
So profound is this realisation, it is worth re-saying.
We exist as we do to enable consciousness, the universal essence of all life, to realise itself through us. This is the primary purpose of our evolution. It is the meaning of our life. All else is secondary.
To realise and then go on to live out our primary purpose is to be enlightened; at one with our true nature: Being.
Presently, as a largely dysfunctional species, we have mistaken our primary life purpose to be that of mind pursuits, through the obsession with form; through commercialism and materialism; through the relentless pursuit of financial and economic growth, wealth, fame, status, and academic success. We have become disconnected from our primary purpose – our spiritual realisation, which particularly in western culture, has been dismissed at best as been an optional ‘lifestyle choice’ for rebellious anti-establishment hippy types and dreamers.
It seems as though there is an element of good intent, albeit misguided, when it comes to the attempts of the commercialised world to market essential elements of spirituality through aspirational themed commodities (car stickers and T-shirts telling us, ‘Live Life to the Max!’, ‘One Life, Live it!’, ‘Live for the Moment!’ and so on). Consumers buy into this branded ‘inspirational lifestyle psyche’ yet completely miss the essence of such statements. The core spiritual message becomes misinterpreted and used instead as an excuse to become even more ‘form obsessed,’ leading to further reckless consumerism and spending, and various other forms of needless greed and overindulgence, to the detriment of both personal and planetary health.
The only short term winners are the ‘Powers That Be’ – whom under the direction of their egos manipulate the rest of us into lining their pockets – by taking advantage of our naturally discontented egos; by getting us to believe (through aggressive and persistent advertising) that our lives aren’t good enough.
And so we seek to find and define ourselves in the products they sell us, and buy into their slickly marketed lifestyle. It may give us a short term ‘fix’ or ‘buzz’ – but we will never be content so long as we are trapped in the mind-fuelling consumer machine; nor do they want us to be content – for that would bring the system to it’s knees…
The consciousness that is currently been suppressed and resisted by the modern world cannot ultimately be contained in such a way – despite the delusional attempts of humankind to do so at the expense of planetary destruction.
Consciousness will always find a way, whether it be through the eventual awakening of the human race, or through the demise of it. For consciousness is timeless and infinite by nature. It transcends all time and space; and so, long after our self-destruction and the extinction of all known life – at some point within the timeless realm, life will begin again in another form; animated once more by the ever-present life force of consciousness; or if you so desire, by God.