02 Apr Transcending the Ego – April 3 2019
Posted at 21:09h in Daily Thoughts
The ego is an endless wantingness, cravingness, desiringness, and because that’s its nature, it can’t be satisfied. You can’t satisfy the ego because you’d have to change its nature. You can’t get enough approval, because you’d have to have every person on earth bow down to you. It wants to be God. What the ego really wants is the world to recognize its divinity.
David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.,
Transcending the Mind
There are many different ways of viewing the ego. Some Christian approaches call it evil and urge us to fight against it. The Course in Miracles says that the ego and spirit are in opposition, that the ego must be educated.
David Hawkins, a modern day advaitist/non-dualist, has what is perhaps the most helpful approach to the problem. His philosophy is based in the idea that the ego is a natural outgrowth of the evolution of life. There is nothing that need be done to the ego. It is doing its job and will continue doing its job. It can be neither educated nor conquered. Rather, it can be accepted for what it is, and then transcended.
When life arose on this planet, it needed from the outset to find food, energy, outside itself. If we had chlorophyll, we simply could stand in the sun. But as animals we must find sustenance outside the self. So from the very beginning it is the nature of life to want. When we developed a prefrontal cortex, man began to elaborate what he wanted: approval, status, power. And as the quote above suggests, this wanting-ness is endless. We never can get enough. Of anything. Bernie Madoff stole 60 billion dollars. And apparently that wasn’t enough. By his own account, he was miserable.
The ego never will be satisfied. But also, it never can be changed. It always will want. No matter how much spiritual work I do, the ego will continue to call upon me to acquire. So now the question becomes: will I serve the ego, or will I serve the Higher Self? Will I engage in trying to fill the unfillable, or will I bypass that system to find the truth of my Being?
Each day, in each moment, we are serving either our animal nature or our spiritual nature. One is not better than the other. To serve the ego is not evil. It simply is to delay the inevitable; for each of us is an expression of pure consciousness, here in the world for the express purpose of transcending this animal nature. Each of us will get there. It’s only a question of when. This lifetime? Or a thousand lifetimes from now? It depends solely on how much research we wish to do in trying to make it work the way the ego would like it to work.
And if we’ve decided we’d like to move toward transcendence of the ego now, then our work becomes very clear. As Sri Ramakrishna said,
‘If you want to go east, don’t start out walking to the west.’
Today I will ask myself which direction I am choosing, which part of me I will serve. I will pause to hear the still, small voice within that may encourage me to transcend this animal nature and allow me to give of myself to the world. And no matter how loudly the ego may scream, I will choose at least once today to serve God rather than self.
Cowgirl, Downtown Photo Collective, Los Angeles, CA