Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Enlightened Ego: Awakening to Authentic Power

Building our way up through the different levels of being, we're now at the 3rd energy center home to issues like personal power and the seat of the ego. I've written about this area pretty extensively. Initially, connecting to this region is about being able to manifest your goals in a multitude of ways from physical achievements to intellectual achievements and more. Further along, I talked about issues that need to be healed in this area from the person who gives their power away (the victim) to the person who abuses their power (the perpetrator). Having done the work to know how to achieve what you want in life and having healed some of the major issues for your personal power, you then can more easily move into a space to develop an enlightened ego--an ego that serves spirit.

Awakened Personal Power: Shifting the Balance of the World
Power has been abused for millenia. Atrocities and violence beyond imagination have been committed in the ego's maniacal quest to control and dominate its world. Hitler is a great example of an ego so totally lost that it led to a deeper loss of ego and personal power on the psychic level. He was carving a great dark hole in the psychic universe, and subsequently, he called that power out in others. In some ways, the atomic bomb was called out through that dark nexus he created--a dark nexus created through multiple doorways of ego spanning back centuries as nationalism grew. Reactions upon reactions, each ego raised the stakes on the other to gain more or have more leading into the first World War. And subsequently, in this quest to have the most and ensure our personal safety and power, we lost more than any of us care to imagine.

The teachers and masters who are manifesting today are part of the energetic shift to correct this gross distortion of ego and of self. Ego was never meant to be a tool so haphazardly and dangerously out of control. And we're not out of the woods yet, but we're starting to work on re-balancing the world in authentic ego.

Authentic Ego: When Ego Knows It's Place
At this phase, you hopefully have achieved a few things that you wanted. If you're lucky, you may have even achieved a major goal or had a dream or two come true. But one of the things that I've noticed in life is that a lot of the external goals that I thought would make me happy never really lasted. In achieving what I wanted, I started to see that the game was much different then I had imagined. I also started to find out that my ego didn't really know what was right for me. There are so many ways that we tell ourselves that if we just have this or we just do that, then we'll be happy. Walking down that path, many of us find that the external world doesn't have our happiness. The spiritual path kicks in when we stop this outside search and return inwards.

A return inwards means that the ego is about to be scrutinized, and this is scary for the ego. You'll be worrying that you're going to find out that you're a bad person. And you may well be. What's worse is when you come into the presence of other aware people or a spiritual teacher and you feel connection. Because in that connection, the light in you is merging with the light of the other. The other and you start to vanish, and all there is is this immense light that is now shining on all the dark places in you. Ego fears this because all its lies start to be exposed; it knows that it is about to be put into its place.

Ego Is Part of Life: Our First Egos Are Just Stepping Stones
We will always have ego. My name is Jim Tolles. That is ego. The difference is that I hold my current sense of self/ego much more lightly than I used to. My initial ego that I grew up with was much harder. It wanted to win. It wanted to be right. It would do things at the costs of others egos. It was always on alert and trying to defend its turf. You know what this is all about. You probably have seen this happen at work. You've seen egos battle it out in meetings over stupid stuff, and you've probably done the same at work, at home, with friends, and in so many situations. Maybe you're the victim; maybe you're the perpetrator. It's all the same.

But when you've started to see how useless and harmful this type of ego is, you are starting to let go. Let go into what? That's part of the path to find out.

The Spiritual Ego: The Hammer Knows It's a Hammer
The spiritual ego may sound like an oxymoron in the growing anti-ego culture that seems to have sprung up in response to the insanity of the mind. However, I term the spiritual ego as an ego that holds itself much more lightly. It has a point of view and perspective unique to you. This is normal. So long as we're in a body, we are all going to have egos. The difference is that the spiritual ego knows that it's a tool. It knows that it can be put aside when it's not needed. It knows that arguing for the sake of arguing is useless and that there's a much broader context than the one it can currently see or perceive. It also works in service to spirit--helping community, helping yourself, and more. Ultimately, it knows that it will have to be put aside completely at death or when it's current awareness is no longer sufficient to your needs. In so doing, it allows you to continue to evolve into whatever being you need to be.

A spiritual ego is not necessarily an easy thing to come by. A lot of times the ego wraps itself in "spiritual" packaging, but all the old functions and programming are in tact. That is not a spiritual ego. That's an ego that calls itself spiritual. An example would be that you gave up all your power to your boss, and you did whatever he or she told you to do to get approval. Well, you quit that job and are now following a guru to whom you give all your power and do whatever he or she tells you to do to get approval. That's not even remotely spiritual. It's still just another ego game.

How Do I Know Which Ego I Have?
Oh, you'll know. You'll know when you no longer have a vested interest in getting power from others. You'll know when you have everything inside you, and you choose to do what feels true to you. You may even stay in that old job, but your relationship to your boss will dramatically change. It may be a great improvement in your working relationship. When you no longer need anything from the world or need to achieve anything, you know that you're closer to the spiritual ego. When someone argues with you and it's a choice to respond instead of a reaction, you know that you're closer. There's a lot that goes into getting here though because most of our egos are so dug in and entrenched. Which is why you need to have been doing the work that I've described earlier because to awaken the ego to authentic power means clearing out a lot of internal debris.

Tips to Awakening the Ego and Coming Into Your Personal Power
Everyone is different, so some of these tips may work for you. But others may not. In general, I don't have your answers, but hopefully, these thoughts will spark your own inner knowing to help you find your way.
  1. Are you ready to fail dramatically? For the egos who have to succeed at everything, your greatest growth comes in failure. In every way that you fear this, you've found your ego. In every way that you embrace this, you'll dissolve this old fearful ego.
  2. Are you ready to succeed incredibly? For other egos, they've been so afraid to succeed because they don't want the pressure of having to continue to succeed. They're afraid of letting themselves down. They're afraid of living up to their light and their potential. For you, you have to learn how to succeed. In every way that you feel pressure, that is your ego weighting you down. In every way that you let go of that pressure to attain and maintain a specific result, you are letting go and dissolving that ego.
  3. Trusting in others. Finding others to put your faith in is a powerful thing. The contrary aspect of this is the micro-manager ego. So where you find good people to trust, then trust them. This dissolves the ego's fear, and thereby, it reinforces the sense that the universe will take care of you. You are not putting all your power in others. That's just the other side of the same coin. Instead, you own your power and what you can do while letting go of control of the things that you can't do and that others can do for you.
  4. Owning your power. In knowing and trusting your own abilities, you are dissolving the ego that doesn't believe in itself. It's an activation of your personal power. When you know when to act and how to act, that is the movement of the enlightened ego. To take action and to take a point of view is not inherently bad, although other people may not like it. And it's not giving the finger to others by doing something anyway because you're simply doing it because it's what right and true for you in the moment.
  5. No longer outcome focused. Finally, and this is implicit in some of the others, the outcome of your actions is no longer as important as the space and integrity from which you choose to take those actions. All true goals are in achieved in the moment. What happens later is always born in the moment of these actions, and actions lost in concern about the future or the trends of the past oftentimes doom themselves to failure and cycles of pain.
The Rise of Authentic Power
The rise of authentic power is not about holding power over others or ourselves. It's about acting in accordance to our deepest truths and to the deepest truths of the universe. Our petty aims and quibbles no longer matter. Getting a new raise, having a perfect spouse, or having the latest techno-gadget no longer matter. They fall away to the work of creating safe spaces for honesty, love, integrity, compassion, and peace. No enlightened ego cares a whit about whether its own projects are achieved or successful. It only cares that the greater community of the universe is served and cared for.

Next blog: Awakening to Your True Purpose
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