Presence and the One True Self
The Ego is a crazy, deranged parent imprisoning you in the dark. Be present and gently walk away
What if your mother or father was so terrified that something bad was going to happen to you, out in this big bad word of ours, that they locked you up in a cage in a dark, dank basement, berating you and threatening to beat you with a stick if you ever thought of escaping their prison?
What would you do? Most likely you would live under these circumstances until you were old enough, strong enough, or wise enough to some how secure better circumstances. You would accomplish this by being present to your one true self.
Escaping the Egos Prison and Pain
Here is some disturbing news. Most of us are in some version of the above described prison; although it’s not our parents in the so-called physical real world who are doing this to us…at least not for most of us. (There are actually horrible parents like this. We have all heard the stories.) For most people, however, it is the ego inside of us, (reinforced by egos outside of us, perhaps belonging to our parents, and others) that builds this prison. The experiences with our Egos (along with traumatic “real” life experiences) cause us to develop what author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle refers to as “pain bodies.” A pain body is a way to describe an energetic field within us that craves emotional, psychological and physical pain.
Long, long ago…like prehistoric times long ago, the Ego had a valid job, in the human experience. The ego’s job was to keep the human being safe by keeping the human’s actual body away from harm. The ego did this by talking to the human, as it still does: Don’t do that. Don’t go there. Do you hear that bear? Stay in the cave now.
All this was well and good, initially. But then, something went wrong with the Ego in the timeline of human history. At an unknown point, the collective human Ego went absolutely insane! Our two world wars, as well as others before them, (the Crusades, the Holy Inquisition) are evidence of this insanity. Wars are all about Ego (collective insane Ego); and they absolutely do not make any sense. What tripped the Ego up in time? Your guess is as good as mine. My guess is power. Some where in the human experience, humans arrived at this idea that if someone is bigger, stronger, or in some way more powerful than another, the ego can have more. The ego certainly likes more, in fact the ego just absolutely loves more! The problem with more though, is that it always comes at the expense of another.
Getting more involves taking from another. The act of that taking creates fear. The powerful ego fears that the other will want revenge. What’s the ego’s solution to this? Take more! Take, take, and take, until the Ego has it all and the other has nothing left. That way the other cannot take back. Power is cocaine to the Ego. And, to that end, the Ego so loves its power and all the struggles. The Ego can play in the realm and illusion of power (on its terms of taking) endlessly.
I think power is the force behind the Ego’s collective insanity. But I digress. We may never know what caused the Ego (individual and collective) to lose its ever-loving egoic mind. That is not the immediate question. This is:
What can we do about these insane egos? How do we avoid the traps set by them?
By quietly walking away from them.
I know what you’re thinking.
Amli that’s not going to work! Have you seen how insane these egos are? These egos have me locked in a cage in the basement!
Yes. I am well aware. It is true. Our egos, and other egos, have many of us locked up in metaphorical basements.That impossible, alcoholic boss, who yells and screams about your work, and calls you at midnight to complain?
Well, he (or she) has an insane ego that has locked you in a cage in a basement. How in the hell can you walk away from that? It’s not easy (or it is, depending on how far along you are with the concept of presence.)
You have to be present. Presence is light. Presence is a very high energetic vibration that allows you to vibrate out of the range and the frequency of the Ego, and its endless machinations.
Whatsoever Things Are True
Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. — The Apostle Paul Phillipians 4:8
I have been studying a spiritual text entitled A Course in Miracles (ACIM) for nearly sixteen years. ACIM is this very intense spiritual text, as well as a course, that presents many extremely difficult to grasp spiritual concepts designed to weaken the egoic hold one the mind. I am not going to pretend that I understand most of the concepts presented in ACIM, because I don’t. After sixteen years, I only understand a small fraction of what has been taught in the course, and yet, I have stuck with it all this time. Why is that?
Because it works! If you work with the course, you will develop an understanding of some spiritual truths. One that the course has helped me to discover is that, I do have the ability to gently walk away from the Ego, whenever I choose to do so. I do this through presence, which is a gateway to my one true authentic spiritual self. Being present allows for that connection to this self. The existence of this self is a concept that ACIM gently reinforces all throughout the course.
Open your thought system to me. I will correct it very gently and lead you back to God.
This is the entire purpose of ACIM. It wants to teach you how to remove your thought system from the Ego’s authority and deliver it back to God. Once your thought system is within the Godly realm, a connection to your one true self is easy.
The Ego arose from separation [from God.] The ego offers you a temporary existence. Spirit offers knowledge of a permanent and unshakable being.
A permanent and unshakable being- that is your one true authentic self. Once we get passed all the labels, all the false constructions, all the illusions and all the fears of the individual and collective egos, we can find this permanent and unshakable sense of self. We find this self through presence. I know this much is true. I have found this real true spiritual self many times. I know the power of it, real, true and authentic power, not crazy insane egoic power.
Connecting to the One True Self Through Presence
My first experience with presence, that I can actually remember, was very powerful. It occurred when I was very young, only seventeen. I was in a relationship with a dangerous young man, and the relationship itself was becoming dangerous and dark. He and I were caught up in countless egoic power struggles. The male/female one, of course was the most predominant one. He wanted to control me. I did not want to be controlled.
It was around this time my true authentic self began to speak to me. Why it was doing this, how it was that I could even hear the voice of my true authentic self, I don’t even know. At seventeen I was highly disconnected from this self, and barely aware of its presence. I had been raised in a very strict Christian household, where I had learned the power of prayer. I suspect that I was able to connect to my true spiritual self through the power of prayer.
My authentic self told me, very firmly, that I had to leave this relationship. The authentic self even gave a reason. If I didn’t leave, the relationship would end anyway…with murder. The authentic self didn’t provide any more specifics than that.
Well…that is quite a disturbing message to get from one’s authentic self (or anyone really.) Although, I didn’t quite understand the message, I heeded it anyway. I began to slowly and carefully back out of this relationship.
Problem was...this guy! What an Ego! (Pun intended!) He was not going to simply allow me to back away from him without out some big egoic confrontation.
When I made it clear to him that our relationship was over, his Ego/pain body lashed out at me! He responded by calling me all kinds of hurtful names.
I was oddly present.
Be still and know that I am God.
And indeed a sort of present stillness came over me. It was quite odd. I did not understand what was happening at the time, but I just watched him. I just observed his anger in a sort of objective kind of way. It was almost as if I didi’t feel like his ager was directed at me, and so I didn’t take it personally. (And this makes sense, as the ego relates to itself as a person and nothing more.) If I was connected to my ego at that moment, I would have felt attacked and cursed him right back (oh trust, he and I had very well developed egos, and were quite good and bashing them up against one another, like those stereotypical ram heads.)
But, being so connected, in that moment, I had no interests in the Ego’s game. What stopped me from going with Ego and caused me to enter presence instead? I honestly do not know; but if I had to guess, I would say it was love. Despite all of our relationship difficulties, I had discovered along the way that I actually did love this guy; and I had promised myself, that I wouldn’t do anything to consciously hurt him. In breaking up with him, I was hurting him, but I had no desire to make this worse by making the event uglier and more painful than it needed to be.
So I just stood there, accepting the insults, graciously I guess. My non-responsiveness initially caused more anger; and he considered hurting me physically, which had always been my greatest fear with him. He said,
“I should fuck you up!”
He clenched his jaw, and although I can’t be totally certain I am recalling this correctly, he clenched his fist too! Even in the face of egoic violence, I did not react with egoic anger or fear.
I simply stood as still as I could and observed him. I wasn’t really judging his actions or his responses. I was just being and I was allowing him to be. That is presence. In my presence, his anger subsided; not entirely, but enough for him to at least decide that he was’t going to physically hurt me.
“You’re not even worth it- slut!”
That was the last thing he said to me, before he angrily marched off. I saw him maybe a handful of times after that less than optimal break-up. Most of those times, this same scenario repeated, in some varied format. Usually it ended up with him attacking me for leaving, for not being faithful to him, for anything his egoic self wanted to drum up against my egoic self. Sometimes, I attacked him back, mostly I didn’t, though. I had no desire to go there with him.
The last time I saw him, roughly three years after our break up, something amazing happened. Once again, I was present. The amazing thing is that, he was too. We finally had a cordial, and some what honest conversations about our lives, our current relationships, and the failings in our past one. This turn in the conversation is usually where things got ego-ugly. But this time they didn’t. Instead of attacking me, he pleaded with me to stay. He asked me to come back to him, even though, clearly at this time in our lives, this simply wasn’t possible; but the ego so does love to hold on.
He realized that, and said something to the effect of,
“Go…just go. Because I could ever give you what you want.” And then he left.
At the time that this happened, I felt as if I had witnessed something great; but I had no idea what.
Thirty years later I now know. The light in him had recognized the light in me…the light in me was shining because I was present. He had no choice but to match that vibration, one real true authentic self, to another. That was the last time I saw him. He was murdered four years later.
His body left this physical dimension, many years ago. But his true self, his presence, is forever. I feel it, from time to time. He comes and he goes. Oh the stories I could tell.
Anyway! This is about presence. My first experience with it was very powerful. Since then, I have had may more.
How do we enter presence? It’s not that hard really, presence ca be activated through mindfulness practices such as meditating, breathing and observing. In my next set, Just Breath, I’ll explore how to experiment about with presence through breath work.