Evolutionary Awakening Journal
#06 Ego, Individual, Self and I – What’s the difference and does this matter for Spiritual Enlightenment?
Firstly, when I talk about Spiritual Enlightenment I am describing a very specific consciousness that is way beyond the usual and everyday personal consciousness.
To awaken into Enlightenment is to know yourself as all things, and all things as yourself. This is not the same as feeling connected to all things or even one with all things….but it is to know yourself as the underlying timeless, boundless, mysterious, divine source of everything and the ground of all being.
There are countless names for this consciousness and each tradition, based around someone who awakened, has developed their own in an attempt to describe what is ultimately beyond any description.
Secondly, at this moment in time, and for most of humanity, the more usual consciousness is not one of identity as everything, but rather is one of identity as one thing, a separate being, a ‘me’, which then leads on to the experience of an ‘other’ and also many ‘others’.
Within this dualistic consciousness not only do we experience ourselves as intrinsically separate and distinct from everyone and everything around us, we also experience ourselves as separated from the divine ground of being.
I use the term the ‘Ego’ in its simplest form as a way of
identifying and naming this sense of having a separate identity.
Currently in our society the Ego is constantly being reinforced by the education systems, the media and our culture. Hidden away it runs subtly in the background of our lives, informing our perception of the world.
Although it is taken for granted, and can seem so really real that we are
intrinsically separate from others and the divine, ultimately the Ego is a grand illusion.
You, me, we are not, and never have been, anything other than the one source of all life itself.
However, and thirdly, as human beings each of us is also an individual aspect of the undivided divine source of all.
There are things that one person might have such as brown hair, or be good at such as dancing, empathy or languages, and another person may have blond hair, not like the colour blue but be good at meditation, cooking and mathematics.
Whatever they are, there is a vast range of traits, abilities and preferences that go to make up each one of us, and there is no one else exactly the same as you on the planet. Your Individuality, your uniqueness, is a precious - and never to be repeated - aspect of the divine.
For many years I was very confused and unclear about what was my Ego and what was my individuality, and what they each meant for Awakening.
If I was in a discussion and insistent about something, was that my Ego in action and therefore binding me back into the illusion of separation, or was it simply part of my uniqueness and therefore a manifestation of the divine?
Ultimately it became clear that it is the Ego which had engendered
the sense of being separate from everyone and everything, as well as the sense of being separate from the divine.
Ironically, and on the surface seemingly paradoxically, as this dissolved the individuality grew clearer, more defined and stronger as an expression of the undivided infinite, not separate but unique.
Fourthly, and in addition to both the Ego and Individuality, the vast majority of people I come across have been wounded during important early developmental stages in their upbringing.
Even a so-called ‘normal' upbringing, and the research here
is quite clear, leads to a restriction in a child's growth into their own unique
Because the damage takes place within relationships, this also impacts on the ability to relate with other people.
Both of these, the restriction in development and the curtailment of the ability to
relate, have a profound, and ongoing, impact on how easy it is to Awaken into
That our upbringing can have such an impact is not a popular
view in some spiritual circles at present, but that doesn’t mean it’s not accurate.
Ways of relating
to ourselves, and to others, carry with them pockets of pain, fear, shame,
loneliness and anger held over from the past.
These repeatedly rise up into the present and exacerbate the sense of separation, separation from ourselves and also driving a wedge between us and other people.
Both of these then can make it much more difficult to consistently see the face of the one divine source as it really is…as our own, and every face we meet.
Over the years that I have been sharing about Awakening I have seen so many people make valiant attempts to move beyond the Ego and Awaken into Enlightenment, but because of the current confusion they have become embroiled instead in a suppression of individuality and/or a disassociation from the wounded parts.
This no longer needs to be the case and there is enough knowledge now to bring together Enlightenment, the Ego, Individuality and healing past wounds into an integrated whole.
In doing so we start to flourish as we
embrace the next step in our, and humanity’s, evolution.
And after all, everything arises and occurs - including healing and recovery - and is embraced within the changeless infinite that is who and what you, me, we are already.
How different might the world be if integration took place?
How different might your life then be?
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