The Ego, The Present Moment and Some Unexpected Revelations!

More and more I think Eckhart Tolle is right. I think there is definitely something good, a worthy practice or pursuit, in staying in the present moment. As I continue to plow through ACIM and learn about the intricacies of the ego, I am coming to understand some things, some past experiences.

I first “met” or encountered or even experienced Tolle I think back when I was living in my grandma’s attic. Man I really miss those days! There I was, all this space to myself, places where I could go outside and do yoga or meditate, and I never really appreciated it! I guess the fact that my mother and my grandmother were constantly arguing, and I felt like I had to play referee may have contributed to my not seeing the blessings I had been given. Also I was far away from town and other people – no social opportunities. But I had a bed, my own relatively warm room (warmer than the RV anyway!) and plenty of space and time to do something with my life. If I had been intelligent at all I would have started to be serious about YouTube, back in 2009, BEFORE all their restrictions and censorship. Who knows? Maybe if I had I would now have my own huge channel and thousands of subscribers, enough that I could relocate anywhere I like.

In any case, some folks were going to repair our bathroom and remove mold, so my grandmother’s insurance company moved us all out into hotels until everything was finished. While I enjoyed my time at the Staybridge, I read Tolle, Basho and Ryokan. That’s when I started to write these shorter, Haiku-like poems. It just fit me, felt right. In immersing myself in Tolle’s teachings, I found myself in that space where poetry flows effortlessly through me. It is the exact same space I am in when I am in the natural flow of my life instead of struggling against the current. One way you, the readers, know that I am not in the present moment, not in the flow, is that there are no new poems being shared here. The few I have shared these last few months were written last year, or during some brief time when I was in a happier state. When I am angry, depressed or suffering from cabin fever, like now, the stream of poetry finds no access through me, and I can no longer be a channel for it. Or anything of a loving or spiritual nature. I am sure you can see that from the things I have written these last few months.

I think I understand a few things about this now… It occurs to me that a truly enlightened person is permanently focused on the present moment. They have to be, and this is important because, the ego does not have any influence or power in the present moment. I am certain this is true. Nobody who is fully aware, fully present, gets caught up in other people’s BS. This must be how I was able to stay at my brother’s the last time I was there, and when he blew up, I did not engage. I was able to just walk away. I am sure I wrote about this here some years ago. When you are fully aware, fully present, fully IN your present moment experience, you are happier, you are more inspired, you are more loving and you are more of a conduit for true spiritual energy, that might manifest through you in the form of writing, or art, or some other creative endeavor. In other words, if you are blocked creatively, it seems to me the most effortless fix would be to find a way to get into the present moment. Meditate, accept your feelings about your art as they are, embracing them, feeling through them, then releasing them and letting them go. If you can get into the present moment, and practice staying there even for a few days, my guess is that the ability to create will come flowing back.

From what I can understand of ACIM, the ego is past-focused, and it uses the past as a reference for the future. But it NEVER, EVER dwells in the present moment. Someone in the sway of their ego will find themselves easily caught up in the ego BS of others around them. They are easily influenced by the actions of others. They experience anger, discontent, frustration, unhappiness, stress and a host of other negative emotions. Why is that? Lost a train of thought here, but will type in in faith and knowing the words will come if important…

Why is it that someone being driven or influenced by their ego is unable to experience more joyful, spiritual states? Simple… Because there is this idea (I guess it comes from the ego) that the present moment experience should be something other than what it is. It is that simple. It really is. If you are angry it is because you are in denial of how things are. You want things to be different, you believe and really feel they should be different. But reality doesn’t bend to your will like that. Actually, as long as you are angry and struggling against reality, you will continue to create a reality that seems to be fighting against you, that seems to be in some struggle with you. It’s that rowing against the current state. Caught up in your ego, you never realize, it never occurs to you, that you can simply accept reality as it is, get back into the current, and determine to create a better experience for yourself.

You see YOU create the current of your life! How’s that for mind-blowing? All the energy you have focused and invested in whatever or wherever you have focused or invested it over the years you have been alive has created a stream, a natural state, in which your life flows. The only way to change that flow is to place all your energy and focus in the new direction you wish to go. And you start RIGHT NOW, in this moment. Then you practice placing your energy and focus in this new direction, every day, until the new current is established. Then you flow in that direction. The current CURRENT you’re are in is very powerful. Or at least it seems to be very powerful, and in your perception it is very strong. You have put YEARS of energy and focus into it. So don’t expect overnight miracles. They can happen – “Anything Is Possible, All Possibilities Exist” (the author), but it is more likely you will have to continue to ride them as you slowly shift things and change their direction.

What does this entail? ACCEPTING THINGS AS THEY ARE, IN THIS MOMENT! Yup, that is what you have to do. The ego has likely influenced the current flow of your life, and that is why your life sucks big, giant hairy goat balls right now! The ego does not have your best interests at heart, only its own. It doesn’t care about you at all. In fact it hates you. That is essentially what ACIM says, and for all I know it is true. The good news is that each moment brings a chance for you to change where you put your energy and focus, an opportunity to begin the most likely (but not necessarily) slow, tedious process of creating a better present moment experience for yourself. But you always, ALWAYS, have to accept the present moment experience as it is. You made it after all! It is YOUR creation!

Teal swan has several videos on anger, and I forget now what she said to do. Something about asking yourself what needs are not being met? In any case, if you are angry, I would perhaps follow her advice, because if nothing else that causes you to pause. It is a good interrupt. You need an interrupt so you can become aware and initiate any change. The next thing I advise is asking yourself, what is it you are denying? What is it you are attempting to deny the reality of in this moment? What is it you feel should not have happened, or should be different? What is the “should story” running in the background here? You need the interrupt to get a chance to become aware of that “should story.” Once you have become aware of it, THEN you have to accept it.

That first step, BTW, I think of as ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, AKA, “It is what it is.” That leads, naturally to acceptance, because it is how it is. It will not change by you being angry at it. Actually, your anger will ensure you keep reliving that same state, over and over again. You will keep having that undesirable and unwanted present moment experience. ALL RESISTANCE EMPOWERS (gives power to) WHATEVER YOU ARE RESISTING! I am sure I have said this before, and that is what I mean. Your denial, your “should story”, is a form of resistance, and you resistance provides the power that creates, drives and perpetuates the experience making you angry. So you have to ACCEPT it, because it is there, you can’t deny it away.

Next you have to feel your way through it. This is where Susan Jeffers, “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” comes in. You have to feel what you feel. You have to allow yourself to feel. You have to embrace these feelings, allow yourself to feel them as long as you need to feel them, then when you are ready, you have to release them and let them go. LETTING GO is another egoless state. LETTING GO is antithetical to the ego, just as acknowledgement and acceptance of things the way they are is. These things are directly opposite to the egoic state.

The ego wants to retain. It wants to be angry, it wants to hold grudges, it wants to hate, it wants to be bitter, it wants to be resentful. So it drives you, as long as you are under is influence, held in its sway, to be angry, bitter, hateful and resentful. If you think you are a religious or spiritual person, and yet you have any energy invested in, or focus invested on, any of these states, anything that is the opposite, at its root, to love, you are not truly religious or spiritual. Because a truly religious or spiritual state is one where the individual is influenced by love, not their ego, PERIOD. There are no exceptions!

Any investment in your identity as a religious or spiritual person – as Christian and part of the Christian group, or a Muslim and part of the Muslim group, or a Buddhist and part of the Buddhist group or even as a spiritual, not religious person (this is me) – this is a sure sign the ego is behind the wheel of your life. I am in the same boat as the rest of you in this. Anything we would make as part of identity, and invest all our energy and focus into who we believe, feel or think we are (BLM, LGBTQ – I am looking at you!) is sheer ego. And as long as our egos are in control, there will be war, there will be disease, death and destruction, because our egos hate us, and want to destroy us. It seems odd and counter-intuitive, because once we are dead, our ego is also dead. But our egos are insane. You can not apply logic to insanity. You can not apply reason to the unreasonable.

Your beliefs, religious, spiritual, scientific or anything else, your racial identity, your gender, your sexual preferences – all of this BS does not go with you when you die. Understand that. It all dies with your physical body and your ego. Who you really are is none of that shit. To get more in tune with who you really are, hold your beliefs loosely, let them go when they no longer serve you, and practice being in the present moment. Accept things as they are, and if you want a better present moment experience, invest the energy, effort and focus in the direction you wish to go. But always say in the flow, in a state of acknowledgement, acceptance, allowing then releasing and letting go. If you want to be happy, if you want to be effortlessly creative, that is the state you need to be in, If you want to experience true joy, that is the state you have to be in, and I suspect, that if you want to manifest desirable, wonderful things in your life, that is the state you have to be in. You have to let all the other BS go.

Somehow, someway, I am determined to change the current course of my life to one of abundance and joy. I will get out from under the influence of the ego and get into the present moment, with full awareness. And I will practice staying there, until it becomes the natural current of my life. And I will know I am in that state when all my creative endeavors flow effortlessly through me, just as they did when I dipped my toe into the waters of this experience all those years ago. I keep forgetting all the things I have learned. All the lessons I went through. It is not easy to create such a drastic change in one’s nature, ones state or natural way of being. Or at least it seems as if there is a lot that gets in between me and the intention to change. Thankfully this is a journey we can take together, we can support each other and help each other. Actually I have created a place for that here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/M_A_S_T/

I think change seems difficult, seems hard, because so much energy and focus has created a current state that seems to resist change. The current is very strong, if it has been created while under the influence of our ego. We have invested a lot of energy and focus into our current life experience. But ACIM may be right, this may all be an illusion, “albeit a very strong, persistent one.” (Albert Einstein) The ego is just an illusion. It is not real. It’s like we put the VR glasses on, and now are struggling to take them off. But they can easily come off, allowing us to see things as they really are. We just have to raise up are arms and take them off. It seems harder than it really is. Maybe there is no current dragging us along at all, maybe the currents are just our beliefs, and when we let them go, we come to see that we are not being carried or driven anywhere. We can just start walking in whatever direction we choose. Maybe that’s how things really are. I don’t know, but I will apply and remember what I have learned, and shared with you here.

Here’s to making our experience of this world exactly what we want it to be!

An Important Realization

I have just started reading Louise L Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life.” This morning, when I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep, I was reading and encountered her mentioning some of the things she does with her patients. To begin with, she had them title a page with, “I should” then have them list all the things that come to mind. So I did this. Not only does she have them write these things out, she also asks them to say each item out loud. So I did that too. Then as they read each statement aloud she would ask, “Why?” So, lacking anyone to answer to, I wrote down and said aloud all of my whys. Finally she would have them go through the list, and with each item replace “I should” with, “If I really wanted to, I could.” For this list, as each item is read aloud, she asks, “Why haven’t you?” So I finished my work by going through most of my very extensive list and answering this for every item I now listed as, “If I really wanted to I could.” I made some substitutions here. For past things I would add a “have” or maybe answer with, “why don’t I?” By the time I had come to a stopping point in these exercises, I had realized a few important things about myself of which I had not previously been, consciously at least, aware.

I found 5 negative feelings cropping up. In order from greatest to least they were: Guilt, Hatred, Fear, Anger and Bitterness. I also discovered some deeply embedded beliefs. As of this morning, I have begun the process on working on these inner issues.

Guilt is the biggest issue for me. In fact I believe guilt has manifested, in physical form, on my body, in the form of a skin yeast infection. It makes sense because last year, through the holidays, I add a lot of sugary, starchy foods, and I had been working very hard all year to limit my intake of these. So when I ate these foods I didn’t just eat the food in a physical sense, I was also eating guilt in an energetic sense. My body, in an attempt to make me aware of the issue, manifested this irritating, itchy, bloody (and spreading) yeast infection. I should note that I knew better. This statement, about eating the negative emotion with the food, is not my own. I learned it last year from something I had read. But, like so many truths I have learned, it slipped away into the cracks of my memory and I did not recall it.

Hatred was next. It is very specifically directed. Following that was fear, also very specific. Tied in with the hatred were anger and bitterness. I will not go into specific examples or great detail here. These are personal, inner issues. with this post I am acknowledging their existence as a first step to dealing with them.

What I will reveal however is that many of these negative emotions, if not all of them, have a common root. I think I was a little shocked to learn that in the case of someone I knew, who had recently killed herself, that I simply did not care. Ultimately she had hurt me by rejecting me, my advances, so many years ago, so anger and bitterness have kept me from loving or caring for her.

Because of that rejection and a few other examples I think I have come out of it feeling as if I am unattractive, unwanted, unlovable, undesirable – perhaps a few other uns. Tied in with some circumstances in my life surrounding my relationship with my mother, at some point I stopped loving myself, stopped caring about myself. Unfortunately it is very hard to care for or love others if you do not love yourself. This I think is the main issue, the main root of all the other issues.

I have to stop seeing myself as these uns, and instead see myself as loving, lovable, desirable, attractive, wanted, etc. I have to change my perception of myself. I have to let go of any bitterness, anger – any negative emotion I have towards others or myself. I have to forgive others and myself for any perceived wrong. I have to spend time reprogramming myself, loving myself, until the words manifest as a reality of love for myself, and at that point, or perhaps during this process, I will find that I love and care about others. Of course caring for myself, forgiving myself, will release the guilt I have been harboring, and allow this skin yeast infection to heal and clear up.

So this morning I closed my eyes and tried to visualize Katie, the girl who killed herself and who was once my friend. I only saw a sort of silhouette or white outline, I think have it one of her distinctive features when I knew her, really short hair. I also added the weight she seemed to have put on. Or maybe these things were already there, not sure. Then I started to talk to this idea or image or whatever of Katie. I will not go into details here, very personal. But I talked to her frankly and left nothing out about my feelings, what I wanted – laid it all out. I told her she had no right to kill herself. But that I loved her, cared for her, that I forgave her and hoped she was at peace. I told her that if she was a Christian when she died, and as a result ended up in hell, that she could free herself anytime she wanted. Hell was only real for her as long as she believed in it. While I did not get any specific impressions of her circumstances, or even that I was actually talking to anyone, much less Katie, for some reason I don’t feel she is in hell, and as I had now completely forgiven her I did not want her to be in any such place.

Much work lies ahead. I have to go over these notes, all these questions, ask any others that come to mind, write everything out, and suss out all these deep seated inner issues. The person I am now has nothing to do with the person I was. I have turned my back on my former Christian faith. Last night I told my parents that I was no longer a Christian. I know it must have hurt them. But I had to be clear on this, to not build up any more guilt by not telling them. So I am, in essence, reborn. I need to clean off the rest of embryonic sack from my old self and move on. I am very grateful to the universe, the Source, whoever or whatever is in charge, Hermetics call this force, “The All”, that I have been granted this extremely rare opportunity to recover from past abuse and rejection. It seems to me that too few people are able to do this, to break out of this particularity nasty trap.

When we are abused and rejected as children or teenagers we can, over time, come to a point where we hate ourselves and others. One of the especially disturbing things I discovered about myself is that I felt, at the time I wrote it (saying felt instead of feel because I am no longer spending energy in the reality of these negative feelings), in answer to, “If I really wanted to, I could love myself. Why haven’t I”, was: I was worthless, stupid, hating myself, hating life, I gave up, I quit, fuck it, I’m done, why should I, I should die, life sucks and I don’t want to. When you see these things pour out of yourself, its a real eye opener for sure! I get to spend time later asking why to these other, “I shoulds” that have cropped up. So, to say the least, there is much inner work ahead of me. But how many people actually get a chance to confront this stuff inside themselves, and furthermore, have clear direction as to what to do about it?

On other thing I made a note of was two distinct mental voices answering my various why questions. One was a little child’s voice. I picture a boy with his arms crossed against his chest, lower lip sticking out after saying, “I don’t want to!” The other was a younger man’s voice, although sometimes I could hear the child in it as well. His was the voice of hatred anger and bitterness. There was more of a maturity to what he said. I could, at the time I wrote it, probably even now, easily tell which answer came from the child and which answer came from the young man. I wonder if perhaps this idea of “soul loss” may be true, and if I might have pieces I have to go fetch from when I was a child and later as a young man. On the off-chance this was true, I invited each to me. I remembered what Robert Moss teaches his readers to do in his books. Figure out something to do that each of them would want. Easy enough. The child wants to have fun, wants to play. The young man wants to go out on a date and have sex.

So I committed myself to this year, when the money I need manifests, or if the opportunity manifests, whichever the case may be, I would go out and surf, maybe snowboard or ski, certainly play some games, maybe even sit down with a game today if I could. This should make both these previously lost aspects of myself happy. I committed to the young man that I would introduce to any female I met, follow the flow of conversation/interaction, let it lead where it will. Trust that if I am rejected, that it is not me. That this female is not the right one for me at that time. Understand that she too must have wrong perceptions and inner issues. Must feel as if she is worthless, undesirable, unlovable, or whatever the case may be. When I understand, when I realize, that others have suffered as I have, I can more easily love them. Ultimately if I am rejected it is my body that is rejected, the inner me is unfazed either way.

In this way I will not worry about age and society’s ideals of right and wrong. I will be with whoever is right for me at that time in my life, trusting that either she has attracted me into her life because this is the reality she has created for herself or what she needs at this time, or that she is the right one for me at that time. Whatever the case may be, if I flow and do not force, then it is the right course of action. I can trust that whatever happens, even if the interaction leads to sex, that this is right by a far higher authority than man’s.

So I made my commitments to each and welcomed them back into myself. Maybe more work is needed here, but for now I trust that I am a more integrated, complete soul than I was when I started these exercises, and certainly more complete then I have been even a few years ago. I have started telling myself, “I love you. You are attractive, desirable, worthy, loving and lovable.” I will continue to do so until the words become the truth of the reality I have created for myself that they represent.

I guess the most interesting thing about all of this is that I didn’t even buy this book for myself! That’s right. I bought it for a friend’s father, really my other best friend’s (I have two) father. Anyhow this man has cancer and is at home in hospice care. I had my dad drive me all the way over there to give him the book. I got a sermon instead. The man is a devout Christian. I respected his beliefs and did not push. But now, apparently, the book has found another purpose, or perhaps this was its true purpose all along.

Ultimately I have created a reality where I am a changed person, spiritually developing. Just like I have been taught in the books I have read, just like what I have personally experienced in other, minor ways, this reality I created seeks to manifest itself, and brings into my path, my life, whatever is needed to do so. Up until last night I never even considered the book as something I needed. How wrong I was! If you ever see this on a shelf somewhere, no matter what you believe, trust me, you should buy it, without hesitation.

I think this book, and perhaps others as well as some teachings, find their way into our lives right when we need them, or when someone else we are connected to needs them. Maybe someday in the near future you will open the book and begin reading. Or perhaps a friend will come over, spot the book, and begin reading. Whatever the case may be, if you see it, buy it, there is a reason its there for you to purchase.

This morning, after doing those exercises and talking to Katie, I was able to shed my first tears for her, since I received the news of her passing. Facing our inner issues and dealing with them may not be easy. We may resist. But if we can face them, let go of these negative emotions twisting us up inside, we ill find true freedom and happiness, no matter what our external circumstances may be.

Further Applications for The Flow

I believe I have mentioned this process, this state of being, The Flow, before. In brief I have often used The Flow as a sort of way of living. But I am seeing it is more than that. That it applies to more aspects of one’s life. I believe, more and more, that The Flow is a way of being.

But that is the state of The State, enlightenment, is it not? Not somewhere to go, something to do. You just are. Enlightenment is a state of being too. The best way to think of this is it is not a going forward or backward, but inward. Outer Change Begins Inside. Inside is where Enlightenment is found. Or rather it is realized. Like something you already knew but forgot. At least that’s how I understand it.

Flow is a choice, and in that respect it is something you do. But really it should be how you live your life. How you are. What exactly is the flow? It is a state where you proceed through life without forcing anything. It is a process of letting go. You stop trying to control things. You act with trust and belief that whatever decision you make, if it is made in the flow, without forcing, then it is the right decision for you at that moment. You don’t look back or ahead. You remain in the present moment.

I found tonight that the flow even applies to one’s daily activities. I have been trying to teach myself guitar. I caught myself tonight tensing up, trying to do an exercise. I relaxed. I let go. In the relaxing and letting go you pull up anchor, untie yourself from the dock, and set the boat of your life adrift. I trusted that my body knew what to do. I just had to relax and let it do the exercise. Immediately, on doing that, I was able to go faster and ore accurately than at any time I was forcing it. I was even able to look away from the strings and play for a short time, 4-1, 3-1, 2-1, 1-1, repeat, without messing up. Trust and belief in one’s self, in God, your Higher Self, or whatever other higher power you ascribe to, these are integral components. Once you let go and trust yourself, you can do anything. Or so I currently believe.

So if you take nothing else from this blog, from all my endless teachings, instructions, rantings and raving, then take way this. Let Go and Let Flow. Or Release Flow (a mantra I use during Deep Meditation), if you prefer. Stop trying to control your life, your spouse’s life, or your children’s lives. Gently guide, instruct, teach. Share concerns. Communicate. But in the end let go and leave it to them. Belief and Trust. You want to deepen your relationship to your loved ones? Gentle communication followed by belief and trust is the key. It’s so obvious, so simple, so easily missed, yet so deeply desired and needed by all of us.

If you’re learning an instrument like me follow my example. Get the exercise down in your mind. Once you know mentally what to do, relax, exhale, and let your hands and your mouth, where applicable, do their thing. Your mind works much faster if it has direct access to your muscles. If it forced to follow a maze-like path of concentration and effort your movements will be far slower, and you will be handicapped until you learn to relax, trust you know the exercise, believe in yourself, in your body, in its capabilities, and just let go. Let it do its thing. Flow with the music. Such beautiful music you will make!

To bring this home even better I think of Brittany. I know I have to let go of her, of this idea of any sort of relationship. I know. I am still struggling. But I digress… I think of her dancing. Substitute her with any dancer. Can you imagine what would happen if the dancer, jumping, leaping through the air, were focused on the ground, on whoever is supposed to be catching her, on the placement of their limbs, and everything else that one would worry about and be tempted to concentrate on? What would the the end result? The end of a dancing career for one thing. Broken leg, sprained ankle, hurt partner. No the dancer closes her eyes and trusts in her partner, in herself, her body. Her mind already knows the moves. The routine has been gone over and over again. Now it is time to simply let go, belief and trust. The result? Probably the most amazing dancing you will ever see. Do you understand?

I am beginning to think, more and more, that nothing of any value, lasting or otherwise, can or ever will be achieved by force. You can’t force people to change. You can’t force yourself through tasks like playing and instrument or dancing. You can’t force a victory when playing a video game. I remember the best times I ever had when I just didn’t care about victory. I just relaxed, enjoyed myself, and usually during deathmatch I performed feats that left my friends talking. I didn’t win very much, but there are limits one’s abilities, and mine were never that great in video games. The worst times I had are when I was sitting forward, my body tense, focusing on the screen. I would just get more and more stressed, angrier and angrier. Moving on… You can’t use force to subdue people without serious consequences. Pretty much there is nothing of any use you can ever do with force. Water trumps rock every time. Flexibility trumps inflexibility. Open minds trump closed minds.

Accomplish more. Stop forcing and start flowing!