Technology is interesting.
When Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, when Eve plucked the pomegranate from the tree (or the apple, depends of whose Bible you read!), when Spider Grandmother petitioned Tawa to give us our voices…
This is a universal archetype and there are plenty of these incidents to mention. A benevolent deity or an infant of creation consumed by curiosity makes a small decision against the better judgment of their progenitor.
Seminal moments of personal risk taken by incumbent creator and creatrix beings.
All justified by the sense of something that is not in alignment with the ‘oneness’ conception that is often espoused to be the end point of the spiritual journey.
The sense of something is ‘inadequacy’.
We cannot ‘obtain’ ‘oneness’ when we can conceive of inadequacy.
Even the above statement is ironically devoid of the means to be in oneness, as saying ‘obtain’ others it. Make oneness elsewhere.
Making here inadequate due to the absence of oneness.
Oneness. Ishwara. Tao.
The place so often described as being the space after the eradication of the ego.
Spiritual people like to talk about ego.
Lately spiritual people like to talk about how it’s good, then it’s bad again, then it’s fear, then it’s your friend. It’s the lower mind, it’s the expression of sinfulness, etc.
I find it curious the word ‘ego’, mainly because everyone I meet who uses with it regularity is either punishing themselves or someone else with it.
I have been cautious to use the word ego in this way, as I have seen that when we use words in judgement those same words will be used for us in return.
To me, ego is a trickster intermediary between you and your divinity.
It is also you.
To be clear in how I am expressing the word here what I will define ego as to me is ‘self-safety-construction’. More than that; it’s the power of self-safety-construction which is enforced through ‘compensatory behaviours’.
Which inevitably triggers a trajectory of suffering through personal creativity based on fear.
Let’s go back to the above examples; a primary god or creator figure gives us the world, our form and the means to thrive with a few challenges and secrets to spice things up. Then an intermediary comes along and suggests that perhaps, just maybe, it could be better? Maybe we might know better than Father Sky, Zeus, or whomever? Maybe if we just had the tools we could do a better job, and be that little bit smarter, or more comfortable, or more powerful? Maybe we can do the work of creation too? Maybe there’s a shortcut?
And so we accept the mantle, and we begin the work of intervention in the divine plan through our own creation. We no longer wait for the fruit to fall when it is ripe and ready to eat, we pluck it when it suits us. We no longer wait for the forest to create our fires, or lightening to strike to catch the means to warm us, we simply flick a switch and put our feet up. We no longer wait for the incantations of Tawa to sing thought into form, we speak our thoughts in endless formats now.
My sense of the ego is that it is the intermediary god who comes on our behalf to let us know the processes of divinity. To know what it is to create beyond what has already been created for us. ‘If I just leave this red road I might find a short cut’
My sense is that we are given the spark from a thunderbolt as the flame of our soul, but when its pissing rain and the going gets tough; we want a cheat code. So our ego mediates ‘reality’, or more succinctly, ‘what is’ for us.
When did the going get tough? At some point it it always gets tough. Maybe it was in childhood when your love of ‘girls’ toys meant you were bullied for being an effeminate boy? So the intermediary god of your ego noted that seemed hard, took the technology of the bullies and gave it to you. Now the bullies, just like the gods, won’t lose their spark, but your fire becomes dependent on a finite source of fuel, not essential to the authentic you. You are not playing your avatar now, you are playing the role of those who hurt you. You are mimicking the wrathful god.
Now consider when first you felt intellectually belittled, lets say by a parent. The god in this scenario knows something you do not. They have an awareness of the greater workings of life. You feel shamed by not understanding something, for making a mistake and being highlighted as insufficient. In slithers the serpent who says ‘hey kid, you know what? Fuck that guy! We’re going to get so smart this guy is gonna feel like a moron all the time‘. And so you study and maybe even take up the same or a similar profession to that parent and out-‘perform’* them. (perform is an important word here). Thus you have been possessed by the God of Knowledge.
What about another scenario? Let’s say you do something you know you shouldn’t have, stolen something for example. Your aunt’s necklace. It’s her absolute favourite necklace and she’s had it for years. You traded it in to a cash converters to buy cigarettes. You figured it was just necklace lying around. When asked about it you lie, you create a new reality wherein the necklace could not possibly have been left in the house and you do not recognize the description of it at all! Your condolences to your aunt for having lost her precious belonging. In this scenario, you become the Great Observer. You become the infallible.
The Four teaching emotions which are like being struck by hot irons on the anvil of life are, in my humble opinion,; Fear, Shame, Guilt and Anger. We will go to great lengths to avoid them. We will even supposedly ‘give up’ our divinity, our own spark, to avoid them.
Many of these first experiences occur when we do not have the power, or agency to change them or remove ourselves consciously from them. Often they happen in the home or in school first when we are children. We look to our caretakers to teach us how to deal and, if they are kind, they offer us their technologies for coping with the perceived ‘harshness of reality’. If they are the agents of guilt, shame and fear then it is another even more complicated story, but often the response is ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’.
By not confronting and sitting in difficult emotions as they arise, by not being present with fear, guilt, anger and shame temporal to the event that created those feelings, we invite the experiences to return again and again. We play a game with them; a game of shape-shifting.
The technology of ego facilitates this, we shape shift through reality, protecting that divine tiny little spark in us that was confronted with these painful lessons. We start to like boy stuff and hit other boys. We become bookish and give up dancing. We start to lie more elaborately to be loved and to avoid responsibility. All the technology has to do is work once to alleviate the suffering of disapproval, or even better, gain us some acceptance and approval, some comfort in the world and we are hooked!
Ego helps us survive in spaces where it is not safe to be our true authentic selves.
Ego makes us feel protected.
The teaching emotions as they correspond to the chakras as far as I have perceived are;
Root – Fear
Sacral – Shame
Solar – Guilt
Anger exists in all three and is normally the last protective sheath before the release of Grief.
The higher chakras have less stern teaching emotions, as the higher chakras are less related to personal survival.
In the experience of these teaching emotions we find it necessary to abandon ourselves in order to stay in the group and survive.
So we adapt to the expectations and challenges of our environment using our survival technology.
So what is so bad about ego?
It is simply how we try to control our reality to make it more manageable for us to experience. Like with any dependency (ie smart phones, drugs, drama) we place a barrier between ourselves and what is.
The only cause to release your dependency on this tool is that you are now safe to do so, the crisis is over, and you can now train your own muscle in this regard, rather than having to use a device.
To give an example; I studied in two courses at the same time a few years ago. One was horticulture, the other; herbalism. In the horticulture course I found myself glued to my phone. I don’t have social media to check particularly, I just kept starting chats with people. I couldn’t be present there. I felt my friends and my community were in my phone and I felt exposed, overwhelmed and vulnerable among the other students. So rather than sit with the discomfort of the fear I was experiencing, I mediated it with my phone.
In the herbalism course I attend I feel very comfortable with the other students there and often leave my phone in a friends car or at home.
I do not feel I need my phone as I am not experiencing social anxiety. I feel safe so I don’t need to anchor myself by checking that my tribe remains through the medium of text message.
Now an example with a compensatory behaviour (which is what I say when someone is doing something ‘out of ego/fear’).
Recently in conversation with someone I started a semantic argument seemingly unrelated to the topic. The conversation had been about DNA splicing. I felt overwhelmed at the thought of human beings altering our essential code and it frightened and upset me. Rather than admit that I was scared, I started a fight about something else.
This is a compensatory behaviour learned long ago. Growing up I learned that showing fear makes you vulnerable, so I learned to fight when I felt fear. I was luckily safe enough with the person present to admit that DNA engineering scares and upsets me after I was questioned on the argument I started. My response was instinctive and unconscious.
And just like the leg I’ve been leaning on to support an old injury; I am very good at arguing. And just like we can forget why we started lean that way in the first place; I am very bad (but getting better) at identifying when I feel fear.
Eventually all mediation of what is becomes what is.
This can be a great way to learn lots of different devices and techniques to move through difficult spaces where we feel unsafe.
Yet we begin to embody the technology, the device, the ego, rather than ourselves.
Eventually the discomfort of being totally mediated by technology provokes us to crave the intimacy of the real thing. The real authentic honest vulnerable self.
To experience this first we need to feel safe.
Find a safe environment, a safe community, a safe connection. Some people feel safest alone, others in the right company. Some at home and some on holidays.
Somewhere we can relax, explore ourselves and unwind.
And then one thing at a time. Then we can lean into the old injures, and let them be felt, let them heal and strengthen us.
Occupying your fear, your shame, and your guilt is an empowerment to core strength. They are your empowerment to your true personal safety.
When you can embody them, accept them and notice what they are teaching you about yourself in the context of your environment, your relationships, your health, your work etc you will no longer need to abandon yourself in order to remain in the wrong context for survival.
Instead you will be empowered to call your soul home and return at last to being in alignment with what is.