Why does the ego hang out with shame, guilt fear – all that stuff? With greed, with desire, with lust, with hatred? Why? Because it gets a payoff. The ego ‘mulches’ negativity, and it gets juice out of it. The ego survives by virtue of the juice it gets…
The willingness to surrender the payoff of the ego, then, allows you to let everything go experientially, as it arises. The willingness to let go of the payoff of grief, anger, resentment, hatred.
So what do you surrender to God…? What does devotion mean? I love thee O Lord greater than I love the glee I get out of my hatreds, my wickednesses, my shame, my guilt, revenge. Either you love God, or you love revenge. You can’t have them both. Either you love God, or you love self-pity. So it’s always merely a choice. Am I willing to surrender this for the love of God, or not?
David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., from his recording,
The Highest Level of Enlightenment
Most of us have the idea that if only we could get a little more ‘spiritual,’ we would stop having these uncomfortable, dark feelings (and the thoughts associated with them): anger, hatred, fear, self-pity. The desire for revenge. Shame. And when we feel any of these come up, the negative self-talk begins: Oh, Mr. Spiritual! Right! You are so holy. You’re the same loser/jerk/self-righteous whatever you’ve always been. You don’t deserve happiness. You barely deserve to be alive. Etc.
This idea is the furthest thing from the truth.
The ego is not going anywhere. It is going to be around for as long as we have a body. And as long as it is around, it will continue to do what the ego does, which is to react to the world in its separative fashion, and to try to control this being–me and my ideas of myself in the world–with its negative chatter. This is a given. And it in no way is a report on my spiritual condition.
The measure of my spiritual growth is in my willingness to identify with what I am that is other than the ego. The measure of my spiritual growth is in my willingness to listen to something other than the running commentary of separation and negativity that the intellect and the ego can get locked into. My willingness to listen to the silence behind the chatter, rather than to the chatter. My willingness to see myself as God might see me, rather than as the negative ego sees me.
And this, it turns out, is a choice. Always. No matter how loud the ego may be screaming, I do not have to listen to it. I do not have to accept its characterization of me as a lesser being, as something separate from the whole of nature, the whole of consciousness, the wholeness of God.
As Bob Dylan says, you’re gonna have to serve somebody. And as Dr. Hawkins has elsewhere said, at every moment you are serving either the ego, or you are serving God. It’s always a choice. And the more I make the choice in one direction or the other, the more likely it will be I will make that same choice again–in a day, in an hour, in the next moment.
Today I will recognize the voice of negativity in my mind as the negative ego, and not as myself. I will remind myself that what I am is something other than that voice. I will choose to disengage from what the voice is saying and I will listen, rather, for the silence behind the voice. And rather than do what the voice of negativity tells me I must do, I will ask what God might have me do in this moment. I will ask how I might be of service, and then I will put my attention into the world, rather than into my thinking, so that I may be guided to the answer.
Bones, Foxen Canyon Ranch, Los Olivos, CA