Tag Archive: Ego


universeIf you are new to this blog – then welcome! If you have been following the Responsive Universe for some time then you understand the premise of this “conscious Cosmos” we all live in: Every action and reaction is connected at the subatomic level. That includes your actions and mine as well.  In a Responsive Universe every thought, feeling and memory is linked to this tapestry that is our existence. Our energy is always changing and it can’t be destroyed; the power of God sits at our finger tips; the breath of mindfulness and clarity our compass; nature and silence our temple…

The premise of the Responsive Universe isn’t cult ideology or fringe science. This isn’t dogma or blind faith. Everything tangible and intangible is connected through waves and particles of energy. We are energy, our thoughts are energy and so are the words in this blog.  Quantum Physics and other related sciences shed light on these truths. One can interpret them as gifts and use such offerings to their benefit.  Others settle for archaic religious doctrine that tends to smother our spirit instead of rekindling it. Modern religion is but a snap shot of the bigger picture – Science, the power of God, you and I – we are all part of this immense puzzle that is the Responsive Universe. In short, we are the creator of our own destiny.  This tends to be an unnerving thought for many – especially those of religious faith. Wait, what? No omnipresent ruler in the form of man? Once you take the ego, dogma,  fear and mental conditioning out of the story of human spirituality you are left with two things mostly – you and this vast and beautiful Responsive Universe – a realm where our conscious energy interweaves into the fabric of the Cosmos – where anything is possible with the right mindfulness and energy…

I think we have all heard the old saying – practice what you preach… Well, I am certainly not a preacher and though I practice meditation and mindfulness, I am not perfect and never will be. I am fallible and malleable.  I make mistakes and I will continue to do so. It is not a perfect process but from our screw ups and the bad days that sometimes follow comes an education and wisdom. I have been applying this wisdom to my life for over 15 years. To be free from the constraints of ego and mediocrity we have to find a level of mindfulness and clarity that allows us to see past our own influences: Our parents, teachers, politics, the approval of others, materialistic addiction and even religion – discarding what only feeds our ego and this self-inflicted suffering we continue to subjugate ourselves to.  We need to strive for the things that make us whole with the goal of elevating this mindfulness; this vibration to a higher level. That is the goal of Self-Actualization.

Imagine if every thought mattered… Imagine all the thoughts that float and sometimes careen through your head. Have you ever stopped what you are doing to simply observe the mind and its facilities? The thoughts are endless aren’t they? Even when we sleep our brain is active, replaying old tapes and twisting our fears and desires into picture shows on our eyelids. What if you could control these thoughts? We are our own master right? What about negative thoughts? In a Responsive Universe what you think you project. Imagine the mind as a blank movie screen – you alone are the director; this is your movie; your story of life. What we project on this movie screen will also project out into the world. Quantum Physics explains with painstaking detail that our thoughts and energy react with the smallest features of the subatomic world – we are creating the fabric of the Universe – we are creating our own destiny. We are the hand of God… You are part of the equation; the definition of God and Universe. We are the creators of energy through thoughts and actions. Therefore it makes perfect sense to project positive thoughts and images on that movie screen. Positive thoughts and energy create positive actions. Positive actions will eventually return as positive reactions in a revolving Universe of cause and effect. You alone have the ability to create wealth, love and bliss in your life. You are the director of your life’s story and science now proves the connection to your thoughts and energy and how they affect your surroundings. Think about that… every time a negative thought enters your mind – imagine turning that thought around; taking the ego out of the equation and making something negative into something positive. The first step is simply being mindful of our thoughts and how they could be affecting our wellness. The next step is to begin making lasting changes to your thought process. The more positive energy you create the more positive your life will become. Such positive actions will come full circle with good karma; with your dreams being fully achieved. If you are going to have faith in something – have faith in the notion that you are your own creator – you are God in its many forms… That is not ego, that is True Nature

You are the director of your movie – your story of life. Why not write a feel good movie with a great ending? You never know, there could be a sequel

 

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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mandalaIs it suffering and tremendous emotional pain that unknowingly thrusts those solemn few on to the path that is the Heroes Journey? What is it that motivates us to follow our Bliss? When you look at the world that surrounds us, I suspect the Heroes Journey is a gift that everyone receives; but few disembark on… I could be wrong, but I would imagine it takes some cultivated levels of mindfulness and awareness to see the signs; to walk the hero’s path; to accept the gifts of this Responsive Universe. The Hero’s Journey for me was acknowledging and then confronting my ego facilities; thus connecting to this sublime notion of True Nature… But my journey did not begin there… An abusive childhood may have been the beginning point. Low self-esteem, Attention Deficit Disorder, addiction and most definitely the bludgeoning defeat that brought my suffering full circle: The late-term, still-born loss of my first-born and namesake – truly a devastating day and a defining time in my life that saw me reach rock bottom both inward and outward. It seems as we age and mature our soul becomes calloused by the layers of ego and societal immersion. We tend to be defined by society and by our successes and failures. The cold, stark walls of that hospital continue to be a grim reminder of that awful day I lost my boy. And yet while holding my lifeless child in my arms that fateful day; it may have been that moment that I unknowingly began my own Hero’s Journey.

I recall a quote from Joseph Campbell: ““We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” Ironically for me, surrendering to life instead of fighting against it became the veering path I eventually chose. It was several months later that something unique happened that changed my life forever. After the loss of my son and after weeks of depression, sadness and self-loathing, the sun came out and showered me with the warmth of wisdom and spiritual illumination; a stark difference to the wintery, cold grip that previously enveloped my life. The sky looked bluer, the clouds seemed whiter. The trees and plants all seemed brighter and more colorful. My thoughts were clear and concise; my mind boundless; my challenges and suffering palatable. It was if I had poor vision all my life and suddenly began to see clearly for the first time. I experienced an awakening – I stumbled upon the concept of awareness and space and how it related to me, my life and surroundings, my hardships and my place within this Universe – my intrinsic connection to this Universe. This source of empowerment was not of religious origin. I knew immediate it was a much bigger picture: A vast boundless world of energy, vibration, love, wisdom and connection. In fact, religious dogma began to look very weighted and dogmatic. Thus began the process of deconstructing my belief systems and living life with an open mind.  My Hero’s Journey evolved as I allowed more space, clarity and responsiveness into my life. I no longer blamed myself for the loss of my son. I no longer blamed God or the Universe. I redefined God and the Universe…. I no longer blindly demanded answers for life’s mediocrity. For a brief moment, I saw myself connected to every atom in the Universe – a part of something so vast and immense it boggled the imagination. My fear dissolved and an illuminated path revealed itself to me. It was my True Nature… The concept of True Nature is the intrinsic, immortal potential for reaching enlightenment that exists within the mind of every sentient being. Its source and energy are born from the Cosmos. True Nature is your transcendent link to the Universe. It is everything that exists and when you consider everything that exists you must consider yourself part of that equation; connected and purposeful.

I discovered that True Nature is the opposite of ego. True Nature is everything left behind when you are egoless. Imagine stripping away negativity, evil, fear, guilt narcissism and jealousy (all ego facilities) – what are you left with? Only love, wisdom and positive energy – the heartbeat of existence. Mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls”. Following my bliss involved accentuating mindfulness and self-discovery. Through meditation and daily life practice I became acutely aware of my ego and what reinforced its maligned energy on my actions and reactions. Through synchronicity and awareness, I began looking for the signs and genuine thoughts and epiphanies that shifted my mainstream perceptions away from the majority. There is a price to pay to society while on this Hero’s Journey – I have found that as I walk uphill most people that surround me are walking downhill. Yet, there is an acute awareness that my path is noble and genuine. By centering myself in the moment, I took the necessary steps to act and react with unadulterated empowerment.

My Hero’s Journey is not always a perfect sunset. Life can be messy. I will make mistakes and from failure will come triumph and wisdom. The key to this journey is always stepping forward and never backward. No matter how small the step, I will continue my Hero’s Journey with karma, clarity and my center of being aligned as best as possible with my True Nature. I have confidence the Responsive Universe will take care of the rest….

John C. Bader

John C. Bader is a wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

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The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have sparked (or rekindled) a debate on whether insulting a religion is or isn’t free speech. Pope Francis joined in the debate by stating publicly that though he defends free speech, people should show restraint when it comes to insulting people’s faith: “You cannot insult the faith of others”, he stated recently.  I actually like Pope Francis. He has been a refreshing breath of fresh air for a stifled religion weighed down by dogma and archaic views. Still, I respectively disagree.

I understand the comment of restraint and it makes complete sense. If you are picking a fight you will get one. Still recent events have shown that even restraint is overshadowed by terrorism. Without free speech how are we to counter extremism?  Without a voice, how are we to counter the oppressive? History has shown that if there is no opposition, there is only tyranny.  Some may say it is western occupation and media insults that fuel extremism. I agree but it runs deeper than that. It is an opposing life style, slanted view of religion and culture that seen through the eyes of a few extremists, labels the other side as infidels – punishable by death…  That is a problem.

Here is the true problem at hand. Religion is flawed… I know… I know… another insult…. I can’t tell you how many biblical conversations I have been involved in that eventually evolve into arguments – especially when facts outweigh unproven biblical dogma. In my own research, I have learned that an individual’s religious faith is often as strong as the intensity of his or her worries and desires in life. Because religious thinking often gives purpose and meaning to a sometimes cruel and indefinable world, it is hard to dive into religious discussions without insulting someone’s beliefs in some way. People get defensive of their religious beliefs and often cannot take any criticism about them.  Some protect their religious beliefs with an intensity that is fanatical and though I would not call it a benchmark; the more fanatical one is with their specific religious philosophy, the more deeply rooted fear they probably harbor. Being ridiculously defensive alludes to a weakness in thinking; whether it’s because of ego, self-esteem, or ignorance, fanaticism points to a flaw in one’s belief system.

Try to insult a Buddhist… It is pretty difficult because Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion. In general Buddhist philosophy and through space, clarity and responsiveness – spiritual empowerment is found within by connecting to True Nature and also through the beauty of people and nature. When someone insults a Buddhist, the Buddhist immediately feels compassion for the person and understands that the source of the insult is a projection of that person’s fears, guilt, ego and lack of intelligence (in certain cases).

I am not sure what the end game is for extremism. To be honest I do not even understand it. Everyone is born with basic morals of right and wrong – no matter your religious or spiritual affiliation. It is so beyond me that some of religious faith can justify sawing the head off of a journalist or killing cartoonists.  It seems like a major dysfunction or complete lack of moral fiber. How can anyone be at peace and happy when living under these actions?

All I can say is Karma is a bitch….

 

John C. Bader is a wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

fourthquestionmarkPart of the goal of mindfulness is being cognitively aware of our egos and false-self.  The more mindful we are of our ego-driven world, the less we will suffer in the long run. Does that mean being overly confident is bad?

I just read an article in a recent issue of Ideas and Discoveries titled “Overconfidence, The Dangerous Trips of the Brain”. It is true that overconfidence can lead to stupidity – especially if it is ego driven confidence.  Just browse YouTube and you will find example after example of high-risk situations fueled by overconfidence and yes, stupidity. How about viral videos of a guy jumping from the roof of a house onto a frozen pool – only to have the frozen pool win? Enter one big bruised ass an also a bruised ego. Do we create the illusion of winning? Is there any benefit to overconfidence?

Psychological studies show that in social situations and conflict; when two rivals assess each other and if one of them has an exaggerated sense of his or her abilities that person is more likely to emerge the winner from this conflict or challenge. That surprised me! Studies show that the illusion of strength is one of the most meaningful and persistent characteristics of the human psyche. Interesting huh?

Last year I wrote an article about body language mindfulness. Being mindful of your posture and body language is important. We now understand that through mindfulness of body language and physical posture; we can change other people’s perceptions as well as our own body chemistry. We know posture and body language is connected to our confidence and energy levels. But what about over- confidence? I think the difference is this… if you are overly confident, then your actions are probably led by your ego and thus stupidity is not far behind. This can be a risky road to walk.  Still, if you are connected to your True Nature, mindful and present; you are exhibiting true confidence; unadulterated and genuine.

So, there is nothing wrong with being a little over-confident, just don’t let it go to your head!

John C. Bader

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ego2I write about the ego and its counterpart True Nature all the time. This is a great question queried recently by Dave, a friend and fellow blogger… Is our ego a friend or an enemy? Shall we settle this once and for all?

This is a complex question and it will come with a complex answer. I have overheard Wayne Dyer tell Oprah on TV once that the ego is not necessary – that there is no need. I totally disagree. Still I am cautious in saying that the ego is our friend… it is not in most cases.

What is the ego? The ego is part of our mental devices that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of our being and the demands of the social and physical environment. . The ego for better or worse thrives on ideals, beliefs and laws that determine a perception of the world and life that is larger than the individual. It becomes the governing force from which we unknowingly base our daily actions.

Ever heard of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? The model describes an imaginary pyramid that begins with physiological needs at its base and aesthetic principles of self-directed growth at its apex. After the satiation of water, food and warmth, humans seek love and safety needs. These requirements are born from a more primitive human existence dating back millions of years. The ego was necessary for the early evolution of humans; competing, breeding and foraging to survive; and it is necessary in the early development of children today. Many of us are born into a world where social Darwinism defines our existence. Though its mechanisms are crude, the ego is an unavoidable social phenomenon that helps trigger survival instincts and stimulate early social evolution.  Now, imagine if a child lives totally alone and isolated from social interaction; he or she will never come to grow an ego. But that is not going to help in human evolution. This child will remain like an animal never progressing or evolving. The ego is basically a bi-product of our social existence.

It was not until more recently – the last 3,000-5,000 years that humans have began searching for self-actualization. This is when modern religion was born and it is when humans began to cross the threshold of a physiological needs based society to an aesthetic needs based society.  Still, the ego remains rooted into our mind facilities growing and maturing as we progress into adulthood. The ego becomes this borderless entity that is so interwoven into the fabric of our minds we do not even realize its influence. . It is a complex array of sources that feeds an ego: From the unattainable benchmark set by celebrities to the materialistic urges brought forth by our peers and the advertising we are inundated with daily. It deals with social acceptance in communal arenas and the moral and mainstream pressures of life. In the “material world” the ego unknowingly gains power from these sources and we as malleable creatures inherit control patterns which subconsciously dictate our actions and reactions in life. Control patterns are subliminal hard-wired urges and intentions that are controlled by the ego and facilitate and reinforce the emotions of fear, anger, jealousy and low self-worth, many times unknowingly.

So what was once a crude but necessary friend in early development becomes this complex false-self that feeds on the infinite variables and situations that society yields. Still, without the ego, how would we know what is a balanced and unbalanced existence? How are we to know what our True Nature is without already knowing the extreme opposites of self-gratified bliss and suffering?  We need to have a matrix in place that takes in consideration all facets: bliss as it relates to our false-self, suffering as it relates to our false-self and this elusive middle ground called enlightenment. When we are born, society hands us our ego. True the ego is not found in the womb – the ego is manmade and in order to socially evolve it is a necessary function in our lives. It is true that most Buddhists would contend that the ego is not a part of us – it is merely a distortion. Still, even distortions are tangible evidence of who we are. When we look in a mirror, that image may be a distortion of our true self – a mirrored copy that is not real, but still it is rather difficult to deny that this image is not us.

The concept of an ego is in itself a yardstick in societal evolution. Whether we need the ego or not is really not the point – the ego exists whether we like it or not. The focus is not to say we do not need the ego but to acknowledge that it exists and then separate its facilities within our mind – make space for it so that when thoughts and emotions arise we can distinguish which ones are proactive to our evolution and development and which ones are merely there to create false-self and ultimately suffering. We cannot deny the ego but must find awareness for its power – the ego helped build a crude but necessary foundation in our human evolution. Now in the search for enlightenment, the key is to limit its authority and power so that true authentic empowerment can arise from within.

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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Image: courtesy of thetakeover.com

I have stumbled upon a fundamental paradox on the road to enlightenment. I have studied Buddhism extensively over the years – even took formal classes – so of course I sometimes use the yardstick of Buddhism when applicable in my ongoing self-evolution. Yet it seems with any religious dogma, no matter how refreshing, there are still flaws in how it relates to us in the present.

The main focus of Buddhism is connecting to our True Self or True Nature (as I like to term it). There are three inseparable qualities to True Nature: Space, our boundless vision of the Universe, mind and surroundings; our clarity or awareness that arises from that space; and our responsiveness to that awareness which illustrates that all thoughts and emotions are merely distortions of our True Nature. In Buddhism we are told to treat all thoughts and emotions equal. In doing so, it keeps the pendulum of energy and experience from swinging too far into self gratifying bliss or the opposite, pain and suffering. In essence we are asked to find a middle ground in how we interpret our thoughts and emotions so we are balanced – only then can the indestructible quality of our existence arise from the ashes of ego and false-self.

The paradox is this: How would we know where the middle ground is without already knowing the extreme opposites of bliss and suffering. We need to have a matrix in place that takes in consideration all facets: bliss as it relates to our false-self, suffering as it relates to our false-self and this elusive middle ground called enlightenment. When we are born, society hands us our ego. True the ego is not found in the womb – it is society that molds an ego but much like the concept of Hell, the ego is manmade and in order to socially evolve it is a necessary function in our lives. Much like Hell which does not transcend humans and earth – humans create Hell through our own actions – there is this fundamental concept of right and wrong that facilitates such discussions about Hell. Likewise, there is a fundamental connection between ego and our true self (True Nature). It is true that most Buddhists would contend that the ego is not a part of us – it is merely a distortion.  Still, even distortions are tangible evidence of who we are. When we look in a mirror, that image may be a distortion of our true self – a mirrored copy that is not real, but still it is rather difficult to deny that this image is not us. As stated in an earlier blog, we need the ego to evolve so that we can first reach the necessary milestones in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: The ego and our basic instincts feed subsistence strategies, love and warmth for example; only then can we begin to tackle self-actualization at the apex of self-directed growth. So, the ego is necessary in our early development as humans yet it is ironic how it becomes our enemy as we mature into adults.

The concept of an ego is in itself a yardstick in societal evolution. Whether we need the ego or not is really not the point – the ego exists whether we like it or not. The focus is not to say we do not need the ego but to acknowledge that it exists and then separate its facilities within our mind – make space for it so that when thoughts and emotions arise we can distinguish which ones are proactive to our evolution and development and which ones are merely there to create false-self and ultimately suffering. We cannot deny the ego but must find awareness for its power – the ego helped build a crude but necessary foundation in our human evolution. Now in the search for enlightenment, the key is to limit its authority and power so that true authentic empowerment can arise from within.

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

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Twitter follower, Brenda (@BrendaRegina12) asked me a great question this weekend. Her question was this: “Why are males more steeped in the EGO?”

That is a great question because on first interpretation or first glance I kind of agree that males seem to exhibit more ego like traits; of course we are basing this assumption on western culture.

First, I think we need to define the ego and label it for what it really is – your FALSE-SELF. Sounds negative doesn’t it? The thing is; we need our egos to socially evolve. Imagine isolating a child from any social existence – That child would not grow an ego, but this child would also not grow up to be a high functioning cog of society; no, this child would be more like an animal. As children and young adults we need the ego to compete and forage for subsistent strategies as outlined in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. After food, shelter and love, we yearn for something more: Self-Actualization! It is then when we need to begin letting go of the ego and connecting to our True Nature. Only then can we evolve to the next level and prosper though self-discovery and enlightenment. The point is, both males and females need the ego to socially evolve – the gauge tends to be which gender or individual carries ego traits into adulthood.

So, the ego is our false-self. It seems all of us unknowingly carry the ego through daily life – it tends to rear its ugly head during times of conflict, challenges and pressure. Men tend to add a testosterone driven quality to it that seems to emblazon the concept of ego. Still, the ego is not always about brawn, bar fights and peeling out at green lights. The ego defines and manipulates our self-esteem, jealousy, anger, guilt and addictions – and these qualities effect both genders equally.

So, it seems both genders tend to harbor these traits and at different levels. Look at the Dalai Lama – he is one of the most egoless humans on Earth and he is male.  Look at some infamous female rock stars and their excessive demands while on tour. Each of us is different in how we unknowingly allow the ego to govern our existence. Women might find their ego more entrenched in relationships, friends and what they see in the mirror. Men may find their ego through competition, money and how they measure up to other men around them – really both genders will overlap all of these qualities and many more.

In a nutshell, both females and males exhibit ego like qualities – just in different ways. The key is acknowledging the ego and slowly working to take power away from its facilities and give that power back to your authentic self – your true-self.

your comments are greatly appreciated – especially from the female population 🙂

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

As you continue to be more mindful of your thoughts, surroundings and energy, a new-found clarity begins to evolve. Anyone familiar to the practice of meditation probably knows what I am talking about. As you continue to be mindful of the present and mindful of what is going on right now inside your head, you begin to see new intricacies as it relates to the mind.

For me, I have been successful in separating the True Nature within which is my intrinsic, even immortal potential for reaching enlightenment (my life source) and the ego which represents my more crude social existence (my false-self as compared to True Nature). Still, I think there is a discernible third entity in there somewhere.

Sigmund Freud talks about three parts of the mind apparatus in his famous structural model of the psyche. He talks about the Id being the primal, almost instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality. The ego reacts to the reality principal working to find a mutual compromise with the Id that touches more on realistic needs and not necessary primal needs. The Super Ego aims for perfection incorporating both the Id and Ego and appears to be the voice or mediator between the minds facilities. This is more than likely the root of suffering as the Super Ego can never be fully appeased.

It seems all three modes of apparatus overlap each other to an extent. Further, it is clear that Freud’s model leaves out an important Buddhist principle: True Nature:  Enlightenment and non-duality. Sigmund Freud was not one to mix religion with science but I would offer that Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion.

So where does this leave me? I know there is my ego – through social immersion the ego is a bi-product of society. When you limit the egos power, our true self emerges – the Essence of True Nature. Still, there is an intermediary voice that sometimes pushes and tugs between the two entities. Sometimes this voice is your friend and other times you question if it is looking out for your best interests.  My best analysis for this illusive third entity is that it is an overlapping process of mindfulness that combines the ego and True Nature – it is sort of the front line (the demilitarized zone) in the battle against false self and true self.

It appears the focus is to push beyond the ego which is rooted to unnecessary dogma and social trappings and even push past that imaginary line that separates the mediocre with the sublime and try to live in the present as long as possible – away from fear and fantasy – thoughts of the past and future.  Everyone interprets the mind differently. My interpretation is definitely different from Freud’s as I am adding the facet of True Nature to the equation. You have to ask yourself what is that state of non-duality that exists before our birth and after our death? Energy is our source – we are born from energy and we will die and return to energy.  The facet of energy or True Nature needs to be added to the apparatus of the psyche. Without it, humans would be a real hot mess laden with bad habits and suffering. Oh wait, we are already….

And finally, one has to ask the question: Was Sigmund Freud a happy man or a victim of his Super Ego?

No one said enlightenment was easy…

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

 

I might need your help on this one…

Let me first set the scenario…

Among other things, meditation teaches us to be mindful of our thoughts. There was a point years ago (early in my practice) when I was overwhelmed by all the thoughts that floated by in my head. Once you stop what you are doing and actually listen to your mind ramble on; well, it can be a little unnerving at first.  Sure I was being mindful, but the more I paid attention to my thoughts; isolating ego and false self from True Nature; the more I suffered. It’s like that old saying: “Ignorance is bliss”. When our inner struggles are “out of sight and out of mind” we tend to move through life reactive instead of proactive. That is why addiction, self-gratification and religion are sometimes the opiates of society. The more I thought, the more I contemplated. The more I contemplated, the more I suffered.  At times I wondered if it was worth all the trouble.

Years later, I have self-evolved to the point that now I look back on those early days and see a different person.  Granted, I still have a lot to learn and I am confident I will be learning until the day I die. Still, one major component to my self-reflection sticks out: The night and day comparison of ego verses our true self. I know I was not born with an ego. The ego is this facility that was born somewhere in adolescence and has been a part of my life to date. True, I have been able to separate the two entities in my head but it continues to this day to be a push and pull – a battle of good verse evil. Sometimes I wonder which side is my friend and at other times I wonder why the ego remains steadfast, despite my evolution. What purpose does the ego serve us? Is this the devil looking us directly in the face?

I injured myself while in Kauai over New Years. I was bodyboarding a famous shore break called Brenneckes Beach and though I had the best tube ride in recent memory, the finale of the wave was me being pummeled into the sand bottom. A separated shoulder later; I was uncomfortable and in a lot of pain. The Emergency Room Doc prescribed Vicodin – something I have not taken in a while.

Yatzee!

(Now, a little about me… I am a terrible Buddhist: I have yet to give up my wine at dinner (probably never will) and if I do not have to suffer from pain, then bring on the little white pills. Hey, the last thing I am is perfect). So, weeks later, my shoulder is healing. It still hurts but it is more of a nagging pain rather than a sharp acute pain. Still, every morning, whether I need a pill or not, there is a little voice in my head telling me to take a pill. I have to laugh….

Here are some of my little ego quotes from within my mind:

“Come on, you are in pain – why would you suffer?”

“You deserve it – what is it going to hurt?”

“It’s not like you are gonna get addicted”

“Don’t you want to feel better?”

“Look; see, your shoulder does hurt still – take a pill!”

“It is a cold, cruel world out there. Bring some warmth into your life – take a pill”

Maybe I am going insane?  …CRAZY LAUGH*** …The mental chatter is endless – I am actually very impressed with some of the excuses and rationalizations for taking that little white pill. Trust me, I am far from addiction but it makes you now wonder what addicts struggle with. I guess my question is this… Is the ego a fixed entity within? Are we born with it and the pressures and situations in society awake the beast within?  During my research for my upcoming book, I have stumbled across some interesting revelations about ego and false self. From my experience, the ego is an accumulated phenomenon, a by-product of living within society. Imagine if a child lives totally alone and isolated, he/she will never come to grow an ego. But that is not going to help in human evolution. This child will remain like an animal never progressing or evolving.

It is a paradox of sorts: Our True Reality, sans of ego cannot be reached until we come into contact with our false-self; so the ego is a must. One has to pass through it and live it. It is a discipline or rite of passage growing up. How else would we know the difference between false self and enlightenment? A True Reality can be known only through the illusion (ego and false self). So it seems, those seeking enlightenment, are always destined to struggle with the ego and false self – it is evolution looking us straight in the eye.

The Dalia Lama once said (and I paraphrase) “We will never truly reach enlightenment until the entire world stops suffering” Maybe I will just take a half of pill to end my suffering right now. (LOL)

Do you suffer the same as I? This battle between our minds governing forces – between ego and our true self? Your comments are greatly appreciated.

 

John C. Bader

 

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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Sigmund Freud talked about the ego as part of the psyche that consciously governs the Id, a source of instinctual energy. We often become so entrenched and buried in control patterns (hard-wired behaviors and emotions), that we lose control of our egos. As society molds us, for better or worse, two people emerge from one human. Jekyll and Hyde are a famous literary example of this psychological phenomenon. As I have written before (in The Responsive Universe),  two forces of empowerment determine our behavior and life paths—one sees reality as a true reality which is tied to our True Nature and the other sees a reality laden with layer upon layer of outside influences, masking and clouding our True Nature. The latter force creates an ego that, if unchecked, fosters negative self-esteem. The ego itself, whether good or bad, thrives on ideals, beliefs and laws that determine a perception of the world and life that is larger than the individual. It becomes the governing force  from which we unknowingly base our daily actions.

The ego is born in childhood, and often on the road toward adolescence, it develops bad habits. As a child, the ideals and beliefs that make up that realm beyond us come from others. Nothing is more important than having other peers around who approve of you and what you wear and how you look and speak. We then frame our belief system around this need to be accepted. We carry this pattern with us into adulthood. Have you ever heard the term “keeping up with the Jones’? There is this invisible benchmark that is positioned at unreachable levels. Our role models are celebrities and sports athletes that tend to set the bar so high that as ordinary people, we are set up for failure. Fashion magazines and television programs show us how to look and behave. And, then there is the hypothetical Jones family who lives down the street and the pressure of keeping up with their attractive lifestyle.

How many times have you sat at a stop light and watched the person next to you preen in his or her luxury automobile, basking in the attention you are apparently directing his or her way? What was once a childhood control pattern—being the coolest kid in the eyes of your peers—becomes an unconscious habit later in life. We become ego feeding junkies, so entrenched in what other people see and think, we lose sight of the true being that exists stifled under these false layers of confidence. The ego becomes a runaway train that can only be stopped when you start thinking for yourself and redefine that realm beyond you that determines your self-esteem and subsequent actions. Once we do this, we achieve the first step to self-actualization.

So, how do we confront our egos? Well, you already have taken the first step by simply being aware that you have an ego and it may be in possession of your true nature. Start attaining more clarity in your daily life by being more conscious of your actions. You need to ask yourself where the source of this root action lies. Are you making the choices based on other people’s approval, self gratification or are you making decisions and actions based on unadulterated motives – unselfish and unfettered? By being more aware of the root of our actions and control patterns you will begin to take power from the ego and slowly begin moving toward the power of your True Nature. This is the true progression of a self-evolving human – less ego and false-self and more pure, unfettered actions and reactions rooted in positive energy.

John C. Bader

 

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

 

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