Last time, I shared my opinion that ego should be a controlled substance, and promised to follow up with how to take control of the ego.
If you missed the last post, you can read it here. But let me recap…
What the ego is
Ego, the way I use the word - the way most metaphysicians (like Marianne Williamson, Byron Katie, and Eckhart Tolle) use the word - means the self that observes and interprets (in contrast to the soul/spirit/essence, which is the self that experiences).
The ego is perception; the spirit is knowledge. Perception is time-bound; knowledge is timeless.
The ego is made up of thoughts. And thoughts are ephemera: memories, tribal beliefs, desires, expectations, opinions… all that stuff we are thinking about the past and the future that runs around in our mind and creates the story we live in. It’s not real. We made it up.
As we recognize our perceptual errors, we can see past them and experience Spirit. Forgetting our misperceptions, and with nothing to hold us to the past or chain us to the future, we can experience the Now.
Why we should strive to dissolve the ego
Dissolving the ego, that is, becoming the mistress of our thoughts, is the way to be calm and happy.
With thoughts gone wild, we can go from despair to anger to self-pity to vengefulness to relief in a matter of minutes. We can hold a grudge for years and remain disgruntled and dissatisfied.
We might take all of that out on other people. We might go out and eat and drink too much and buy things we don’t need so we feel better for a minute or so we can just shut our head off. We might seek out entertainments to ‘take our mind off things’.
With thoughts under control, our Soul can express itself. Without the distraction of all those thoughts, we can hear the whisper of intuition. And then, we can make decisions from a place of serenity and certitude; we can enjoy each moment more profoundly, we will feel less anguish.
How to dissolve the ego
So let’s get to the point of this post. The process we use to dissolve the ego is called forgiveness. Yep, forgiveness. Just stay with me here.
The process of forgiveness bridges the gap between perception and knowledge. Once we are on the other side, we live free from anger and resentment. When we are free of the ego we are calm and happy. (This is what A Course in Miracles calls a Miracle.)
We don’t forgive to be charitable or good, but because what we are seeing is not real. We forgive to experience the Now; the true love of the Universe; the truth of existence. We forgive to be free of anger and resentment; we forgive to be calm and happy.
Whenever you hear yourself say, “I don’t like that…” or, “I have been an idiot” or, “He’s an asshole”, it’ the ego speaking. Those thoughts are judgments or opinions or the like. They come from the self that observes and interprets.
But, whenever you experience unconditional love, that’s spirit. That’s experiencing the Now; the present moment. When you are not thinking about the past or wishing for the future, your ego is dissolved and you are experiencing the truth of the moment. You will notice that you are calm and happy.
A Course in Miracles is a practice book for dissolving the ego; for correcting misperceptions. And this stuff does take practice. How many times have you heard the words, “spiritual practice?” Yeah, we have to practice this stuff. Every day.
To stay in the moment, we have to tune in to our bodies and notice what we are feeling. We have to accept what we are feeling. We have to sit still and hurt, if necessary. We have to allow that sensations to flow through us. We have to resist the urge to identify our ‘self’ with those sensations.
To stay in the moment, we have to observe our thoughts and accept that they are ephemera; that we are making them up; that they are perception and not truth. We have to allow the thoughts to drift away like clouds. We have to resist the urge to identify our ‘self’ with those thoughts.
When we stay in the moment, we can access Spirit and the words that come out of our mouths will not be judgmental or mean or fearful, they will be tolerant and kind and courageous.
The short answer
The short answer is: stay in the moment. That’s how to dissolve the ego, to forgive, to be happy. Simple, but not always easy.