So, what’s an Ego Death? Addicts, Born-Again Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists might be the only folks around who really understand what it means. It happens when we realize that what we’re doing in Life is really not working, and our only option is to “Give Up,” or, more properly, “Give It Over.”
Remember the old saw about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes? When we Realize that we’re doing the same thing over and over again and it’s never accomplished what we’d hoped it would, we’re stopped cold in our tracks, and know that we have to try something new.
Only problem is, do we know how to try something new? Or will we just try the same old thing under a different disguise. It helps a lot to understand the concept of Identity, because an Ego Death is a Change of Identity, like when Clark becomes Superman.
For most of us most of the Time, our Identity is transparent to us, because we’re relating from it rather than to it, as Stephen Levine says (Turning toward the Mystery, p.53). When we say “I’m [not] one of those people who…” our Identity becomes opaque and observable, but who among us says that as an Observation about our Limits, rather than a boast about our Prejudices?
And worse, how many times a day do we make a Decision or Choice based on an unstated “I’m [not] one of those people who…”? At least if we go around saying, to ourself or others, “I’m [not] one of those people who…”, we’re Conscious of our Identity, even if we don’t realize it’s a Mask and a Limitation.
Let’s take a Real-Time example. Suppose I think “I’m one of those people who writes good blogs.” And Suppose I start thinking, “This one is hard,” and I have to stop and PIAVA assistance to communicate clearly, because I like that Feeling of finishing a post and thinking to myself, “This is really good!” Then Suppose what happens next is that I Feel Despair about accomplishing it.
Well, I’m closing in on my Identity as a writer, aren’t I. You’d think that when I had to Ask for help, my Identity would have already taken a hit. (Notice that “My Identity” and “I” are synonyms – substitute one for the other in those sentences and see if it’s illustrative of anything.) No, I/my-Identity long ago Realized that I/my-Identity could do anything a lot better when I/it had help from the Ethers. But I/it didn’t really Change the Subject, did I/it. I/it went straight from PIAVAing to Despair.
Of course. Our poster child for Despair, Chiron, is dancing with Mars (16 January, 10pm PST, 22 Pisces – A new law is promulgated.) I’ve already had one episode of intense Frustration this evening, where I got to watch how I React to an impassable dead end.
So how do we (ie, I/my-Identity) Change the Subject? (Notice the editorial we-Identity creeping in there.) Well, I/my-body have to pee anyway, and I/it want some ice cream, and I/it can use one of my standbys, a hand of solitaire. Diversions! That’ll Change the Subject! Of course, the Sugar has cut me/it off from my/its Feelings. So, now what.
Well, I/it can try to Pay Attention. What was my/its original issue/PIAVA? Oh yeah, how would I/it Feel if I/it wrote a lousy blog post. Well, unfortunately for youalls, I/it is not that much of a Perfectionist. (I/it is Noticing I/my-Cleverness subtly patting me/it on the back for writing this as a narrative.)
Okay, I/it admit it, I’m Feeling Confused. Are you/your-Identity Feeling Confused too? Confusion is good, Confusion is the first sign of Growth, right? Growth in Consciousness isn’t possible without an Ego Death. We’re like the Snake and Turtle and Crab – our Identity is literally an exoskeleton, and we have to molt it in order to Grow. So, now, are you perfectly Clear about what an Ego Death is?
No? Well, good, because if you were, you wouldn’t have Grown, you’d just have been playing Scrabble with me. Maybe we’ve talked circles around it long enough to plant seeds into your Intuition, maybe not. At any rate, besides Learning about our Relationship to Despair and Frustration, this week we’re also going to be Confronting two other Big Ego Deaths.
In the first one, we’re face-fo-face with our Abandoned Genius, and we won’t recognize them unless we’re willing to Embrace a Big Ego Death, aka a Change in Who We Believe Ourselves to “Be,” on a deep level.
19 January, 1am PST, Ixion (Abandoned Genius) Initiates Juno (the Edges of Consciousness), Sagittarius 26 (“A Flag Bearer”). Oh my, a Flag is an Identity, isn’t it!
What might this look like?
Well, we might meet someone we’re intensely Jealous or Envious of. Someone who has all the glorious Qualities that we’ve always wished we had, and wears them as if they’re Effortless. Someone Brilliant, Gorgeous, Talented, and Fabulous. I Wonder what would happen if we tried to Mirror their admirable Qualities instead of Shying away from them or Feeling Inferior.
We could meet someone we immediately really dislike, and probably not know why. Whoever suppressed our Genius probably started very early in our Lifetime, before we had developed much of an Identity and Memory, or even before we had collected enough Experience to even detect a difference. So when we encounter a Mirror of our Programmers, we might simmer internally without knowing why. So we may imagine that we don’t like them because “they’re one of those people who…”
Or, maybe we’ll meet someone whom we have an intense Desire to Please. There’s a good chance we’re still Collaborating in the Suppression of our Genius,, and to the extent that’s True, someone who reminds us of our Programmers may seem like someone we need to Please. Like Unconsciously falling in “love” with our Kidnappers.
So, if our Identity is Paying Attention, we could try, after we find a Safe Space and Time to do it in, Imagining ourself to be the person who Triggered us, and then watching to see what arises. Even if you detect nothing, you may still have planted a few seeds in your Intuition, to sprout later.