Ego is like a balloon in which one lives. Everything outside that balloon is part of Oneness. From inside one’s balloon the Oneness cannot be seen; only the self can be seen and it is separate from everything else. Sadly, most people of the world live entirely in their own balloons, failing to see the Oneness. The balloon has become an invisible barrier that creates the illusion of separation. This invisible barrier also limits and controls one’s ability to interact with the outer world. The confinement and separation convinces one that they are unworthy to be part of anything else. To break the balloon, eliminating the barrier, is all that is required to see and become part of the Oneness.
Before we metaphysicians become too excited and rush out into the world with giant needles looking to pop the ego filled balloons of mankind, we would be well advised to check the condition of our own balloon first. In Jesus’ words, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Ego is clearly the source of the world’s problems and miseries both great and small. Yet to wage war against ego is to fuel the very problem we are trying to solve. In the book, A Course in Miracles, we are told that the actions of the ego are errors in thinking. That means that as metaphysicians we might best view ourselves as teachers correcting errors in how the ego perceives itself and the world around it. This sounds much more loving than the waging of another war. Experience has told us many times that war doesn’t create peace. Consider the war on drugs, the war on crime, and the war on terrorism. None of these wars has been successful, regardless of the time, energy, and resources put into them.
As one prepares to examine their own ego it would be wise to keep in mind the words of author and radio host Garrison Keillor, who introduces us to his mythical Minnesota community with the words, “Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” These words are humorous yet they also represent a poignant commentary on how the ego really thinks. One’s initial self-examination could very well lead them down the proverbial primrose path if they are not completely open to the truth.
One place to test the ego is in identifying one’s motive for becoming a metaphysician and setting out into the world on this particular spiritual journey. Let’s consider this possible mission statement; I will create peace and happiness in the world by teaching, writing, and healing. If we break this down for analysis we might find that create peace and happiness appeals to us either because it simply is the right thing to do (spiritual) or because it will make us feel good (ego). Similarly we can scrutinize teaching, writing, and healing. One may have chosen these means because one is particularly knowledgeable and gifted in these areas (spiritual) or because it’s easier to make a living (money, honor, fame, security) doing this things (ego).
One’s ego will surely try to convince them that they are making their choices for spiritual reasons. Many metaphysicians even argue that it is reasonable to make a living helping people because the Universe demands an exchange of energy. But this argument comes from the ego which believes that life is finite. The Spirit recognizes that the exchange will come sometime in eternity based on one’s need. Buddhists refer to the ideal exchange as selfless giving. Kabbalists refer to it as receiving from the Creator with the intent to bestow. In both of these instances the giver must release attachment to what is given and to all possible outcomes.
When one finds themselves debating or justifying their financial motives it is pretty clear that the ego is involved. This defense is the egos fear that it will not survive. When one’s spirit is engaged this fear is gone and trust is placed in the law of abundance. One only need look at the lives of the great Masters and Saints, who gave help to those in need without expectation, yet their own needs were always met.
The purpose for this discussion is not to say one must be perfectly spiritual and altruistic in order to become a practicing metaphysician. If we were to become perfectly spiritual we would not be living in the physical realm. Rather, it is to demonstrate the crafty ways that ego will dress itself up in order to convince us of our specialness and our separateness. It is when we are able to recognize those times that we are thinking and acting from ego that we are actually awakening to our true spiritual nature. Change then becomes possible through this awareness. This is a lesson one needs to learn about ego and certainly one to be taught to others.
There are many arenas within which one may work to create this awareness. Many individuals are suffering their own self-imposed versions of hell because they don’t understand what their ego is doing to them. Families are suffering from conflicts and pain created by the selfish nature of the ego. Workers are suffering the abuse of power delivered by egoistic coworkers and superiors. Communities and even whole nations are suffering from fear of each other, fear of hunger and poverty, and fear that they may lose control of their destiny. Ego has so many dark faces; there is no end to where the awakened may choose to bring the light of awareness.
It just makes sense to grow where you are planted. That is to say, begin with yourself. The change in you will naturally create change in many of those around you. When you are able to accept the events of your life and your world unemotionally and recognize them as being the way they are meant to be, then you will know you are on the right path. In other words, change what you can and let the rest be. This is what peace feels like and this is what you will want for your fellow human beings. From this position you can teach as a voice of experience. How you value such a gift to the world can only be determined by you.