The biology of ego seperation…

 

 

In michael’s blog world adventures there is always a lot of juicy activity on the subject of ego.  It’s not surprising since it is a topic that most “seekers” on the path brush up against at some point on their journey.  Depending on the path, dogma, philosophy or teaching on this particular subject, it has the power to elevate our ability to navigate the journey to a more integrated level of understanding of “Who We Are” or, as in many cases distract, trap or warp the mind into a seductive web of nonsense.  This nonsense is many times then incestuously regurgitated by the very path, dogma, philosophy or teachings that was designed to “liberate”.  Our innocence is once again, temporarily lost as judgement is layered on judgement, concept on concept, and we become further distracted from Who We Are.

In this blog entry I’d like to share with you some ideas and insights that I have been exposed to over the past few years that have brought some light to the ways in which our personal suffering is elevated by the concept of ego/personality from the standpoint of seeing it through and as, a biological core of the body/mind system.  While this may appear to be yet another colourful concept (which it is!); something that is perceivable and conceivable and therefore discardable as NOT being Who We Are; the intention is to use this knowledge, rather than “it” using us.  It is hoped that through the wisdom of understanding, we can use the form to create the space for the formless to express itself more effortlessly.

Most of these ideas are not new.  What might change is the way in which the ideas are synthesized, distilled and written.  I want to recognize and acknowledge the work of Stephen Wolinsky in particular.  He has been a mentor for me over the past few years, providing what I believe to be some of the most important contemporary perspectives and understandings on this immortal topic of “I” and the world of “Spirituality” in general.  The breadth and depth of Stephens work and understanding is profound, he has one of the most brilliant minds I have ever met or studied with.  While somewhat unavailable as more traditional teaching goes, the body of his written work and his personal journey is very accessible and makes him one of the most important contemporary teachers of our time.  His work creates the space for those who are truly looking to crack the cosmic egg.

 

The word yoga in the west is very misunderstood.  Most people understand yoga only as a series of postures or exercises used to affect the physical body and well being.  Some might take the time to explore more refined knowledge that lies outside of the traditional yoga session studio, most in the west don’t.

The word yoga means union.  Union of body, mind, environment and what most new ager’s like to call Spirit or Soul.  At the subtlest level “it” already is in union, it’s just that most of us are not able to experience or perceive the unity that prevails and is so often spoken of in the worlds greatest wisdom traditions, as a result of our attention. 

The word Yoga is related to the word “Yoke”, a type of harness that is used to control cart pulling animals.  When we practice certain types of Yoga, we are attempting to “pull back the senses”.  We are “yoking” the senses so that our attention is no longer outside of ourselves, scattered and distracted by the curtain of distinction, but instead focused inwardly to a still point of awareness that lies within, to expand our awareness to include the underlying unity that pervades all infinite expressions of diversity.

Our senses are an expression of our nervous system and our nervous system is of course an expression of the brain.  The term mind/body or body/mind is not just metaphoric.  The mind: thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, memory, our very psychology, has an undeniable connection to the physical, biological core of our nervous system/brain/body.  Whenever we speak of our ego or personality we cannot deny the biological component, influence and contribution our nervous system plays, in particular the old brain and it’s reason for being; it was specifically designed to enhance our ability to survive ~ flight, fight or freeze; to organize chaos. 

The yogis of our past spent entire lives experimenting, documenting and creating new ways in which to  “pull back our senses”.  The intention was very simple, to leverage an exceptional capability hardwired only into the nervous system of our species, we have a newer brain which has the power too become aware of the fact that we are aware.  Using specific tools such as meditation we have the ability to curve back our attention from our senses and the world of form to explore more refined levels of our existence; to drop into Consciousness, as Consciousness.  These saints and seers intuitively knew that as long as we identified ourselves with and too our senses, our body, the mind and the objects of form that exist in a perceived external world, there would be no way for us to explore and navigate the subtlest levels of our existence, the formless playground of eternity.  They new we would suffer.

Within most “Spiritual paths or philosophies” there are at least two common issues that people can brush up against:

There is a blatant inability to embrace the biological component or footprint of our senses and body as an expression of Who We Are. Simply said, we have “issues” dealing with the four functions of eating, sleeping, shitting and fucking, and we get lost through our senses into the seduction of the world.  These natural functions of our physiology, these biological processes which are an innocent expression and way of being, are in most cases demonized; labeled as unholy or in rarer extremes, boomerang to become “Spiritualized” as being a way of achieving some higher state of consciousness.  The Buddha over twenty five hundred years ago set a precedent for us that still stands to this day.  He clearly indicated that neither approach of abstinence or its opposite, immersion, would be a healthy vehicle for our “liberation”.  The body and our nervous system and our physiology exist in space and time and must be embraced as part of our humanity and awakening process.  The show unfortunately, still goes on…  

The next more important observation is the unnoticed link between what has been labeled the ego/personality and our nervous system and the impact it has on all thinking and behaviour (being is the basis of thinking, thinking is the basis of doing).  Other than the actual labelling of our ego/personality as an imagined entity; something that exists, that is real and therefore somehow controllable, no further attention is given to the mechanics of the biological connections or aspects of our ego.  In most cases the selective attention that is given to “the ego” is  “negative” i.e. the ego must be controlled, minimized and judged as “not good” or “spiritual” ~ another form of demonization or spiritulization that is consistantly perpetuated by the prophets, priests and paths.

It’s clear that the world of form is a seduction (no judgment implied).  It is a delicious box of chocolates that can be sampled and enjoyed in balanced ways or binged on with potentially disastrous results.  Once this world appears physical through our senses it is seen (though our nervous system) as something that can then be conquered, controlled, changed, fixed, improved.  It is something to be used, something to be discarded, something to be saved.  The lack of respect for the physical world is an extension of the lack of respect and understanding we have of our body.  The eating, sleeping, shitting and fucking are denied.  The body itself is denied.  Without a connection to our body, there can be no grounded connection to our world.  When we deny our body, we also deny our world. Lack of acceptance or complete denial of our body and it’s connection to the world prevents us from bridging the innate and very intimate connection we have to the universe through our body, through our senses. 

The universe is our extended body.  If we cannot get passed the four fundamentals of our biological response, while also embracing and celebrating in balanced ways, the vehicle of our senses, how will we ever embrace the deeper levels of our existence? How will we ever step into eternity from where the body, senses and world appear from and dissolve into?  It is a fact that both the seduction of our senses, our body and the world combined with the suppression and denial of these resources, only further elevates the level of suffering we inflict on ourselves and on others. 

To expand more; the function of the nervous system is to survive, to organize chaos.  Barring the exception of creativity, inspiration or direct knowledge, all thinking is based on and filtered through the drive to survive, to organize the inherent, percieved chaos that exists within a perceived universe.  All our thinking and philosophies, all our beliefs and concepts, are driven by an inherent desire to survive (better) and to organize the chaos (more). 

 The ego/personality is the totality of all our thinking, beliefs, concepts, notions, ideas, emotions, memories, desires and discrimination’s.  While most choose to label the good thoughts as “NOT ego” and the bad thoughts AS ego, they are in fact one and the same.  ALL thoughts are ego thoughts.  Consciousness does not recognize “higher” or “lower”, “good” or “bad”, “inner” or “outer”, the “sinful” or the “virtuous”, the “ego” or not “ego”.  All our thoughts are ego and ego is the mind, which is an expression of Consciousness.

Learning to “pull back our senses” using yoga and the study of it’s wisdom, can allow us to navigate and explore other dimensions of our existence and awareness.  When we begin to explore other dimensions of the Self, when we begin to inquire as to our true nature, we become more and more detached to previously limiting levels of existence.  We become less fixated, stuck, overwhelmed, obsessed by the neurosis of a mind that was identified only to itself and it’s limited ways of thinking and being. As we pull back our senses, we utilize the new brains ability to navigate and identify “new terrain and territory” and our subjective experience of freedom expands as our level of intimacy with a new layers of our existence expands to open doorways, the bound becomes unbound.

With this acceptance and our desire to explore our biological footprint, we begin to understand that the ego/personality is not something that needs to be “dealt” with.  Our awareness is free to once again notice the backdrop of silence that exists prior too, during and after the impulse of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, associations and memories arrise and subside…

There can be no ego bashing here.  To bash our ego is to deny the roots of our “bio/spiritual evolution.”   This is a journey that demands we recognize and understand the inherent limits and gifts of our ever evolving nervous system.  A nervous system that presently by nature can only process 2000 bites of information out of a total 4 billion bites of information that we are exposed to every second.  Most of reality is in fact unavailable to us.  It remains an illusion.  This is why the sense of separation is so strong for us in the world of form. We do not see the entire picture ~ we see .000054 percent of reality only. 

When we begin to recognize that all the spiritual doctrines and philosophies are inherently driven by the same brain that protected us from the Saber tooth tigers of our distant past, it becomes a necessity to question every so called spiritual doctrine or text to qualify the validity of it’s teaching.  Is it simply another story to explain away the chaos, such as the doctrine of reincarnation or karma?  Is it another scripture to suppress and deny our senses and biological footprint that is innocently part of the human condition?  Is it another narrative that was passed down through the centuries, filtered and sanitized by untold numbers of minds, to fit untold numbers of unspoken agenda’s?

Let me be clear here.  The mind/ego/personality is a composite and expression of impulses.  We exist prior to the impulse.  We exist during the impulse.  We exist after the impulse.  No separation, no distinction is to be made outside of these descriptive words.  The inability to tolerate the biological footprint of our humanity and the seduction of the world spawns thousands of beliefs, rules and obligations designed to control the uncontrollable, and we wonder why there is confusion, conflict and suffering.  We are dumbfounded as to why our social programmes don’t work, our politics don’t work, why there are wars, why our relationships don’t succeed, while most religion and spirituality fails to liberate us from our suffering…

The bad news is we will spend much of our journey in the temptation and distraction of behaviours and choices that are determined by the unconscious drive to survive.  To always organize our life a little better and a little more by doing this and that. 

The good news is at any moment in time we have the opportunity to step back and decide where we will place our attention.  Will we continue to allow it to be distracted in the foreground of our life, where guaranteed suffering occurs, or will we instead turn our attention back onto itself, towards the backdrop of silence, that prevails prior too our thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, associations, memory and body.  Even better news is that it does not matter which route we take.  There is no judgment, there is no comparison, there is no assessment.  Everything is as it is, or not.  Only the mind thinks it matters… 

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One Response

  1. Brillant post, im a huge fan of Wolinksys..Alexia

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