Over a long enough period of time, the survival rate for your body is zero. Contained within the body is the brain and one of the functions of the brain is the ego. The ego is the self concept of the brain-body organism and it does not like what was just said one bit.
And there are different states of consciousness than just ego. The ego is like a dog you bring with you on a journey. Untrained, it will run off, bite others and come back to bite you. But trained and disciplined it knows its place. It can sense things, warn you of danger, protect you. As the saying goes, "Ego is an excellent servant and a horrible master".
On the journey, to confuse yourself with being the dog that runs alongside you, is to be lost in a profound hallucination. Such is the nature of the egoic mind. It knows nothing of the true self and is driven only by its need to survive. No reason to make it feel bad though. Better to pat it on the head and every now and then – throw it a bone.
Demonization of the ego is the result of ignorance. This idea that we must smash the ego comes from those who do not understand the ego - their only understanding is that they fear it. As the world becomes more and more afraid of itself, this brand of so-called “spirituality” becomes ever more popular.
Smashing the ego makes about as much sense as removing an eye or cutting off your arm. It is barbaric, not necessary and in fact very harmful. And insofar as the brain-body organism is concerned, as the body navigates through material space, a self concept is better than no self concept. Ego is that branch of self concept that concerns itself with the survival of the brain-body organism that often thinks it is you. It is only harmful when it is misunderstood or when it’s forced to go underground in order to survive. Take good care of it and it will serve you well, but never allow yourself to serve it. This road goes in circles and leads to a certain kind of madness that passes for normalcy in our society today. The insanity of ego identification is still the social norm at this early stage of our evolution.
In the human state we experience the full range of human emotions. We are having the human experience. To be captured entirely by the human experience is to lose site of the reality that this human vessel is a very small fraction of who and what you are. It’s part of the ride, it won’t last, and there is really no sound reason not to get all of the action out of it that you can. In retrospect, when one leaves the body, it will likely be remembered as a crazy day at the carnival, looking at the fun house mirror. To believe that what you see in that fun house mirror is you, is to forget who you are and where you are.
There are teachers, teachings, books, seminars - so much available to tell you who you are. And one can incorporate these teachings into a belief system. But a belief system is a cheap substitute for direct experience. A belief system is a map and compass that one can never be sure is reliable until you are truly lost. Only then does one find out that the treasure map you were sold was at best, only a rough estimation of where you are and where you are going. If your belief system came from the religious establishment, then it was purchased at a novelty shop.
When we are not misidentified with the ego, belief systems lose their importance as one turns to an inner voice, the voice of the Soul.
As with all words, when speaking of spiritual matters, the word "soul" is only a rough approximation of what we mean. Incidentally, all matters are spiritual matters and the word "soul" refers to that which transcends the limitations of ego, but contains the higher dimensions of self.
So what is Enlightenment? There is certainly no shortage of charlatans out there, auditioning for the role of being the one who can answer that question for you. As it turns out, there are “enlightenments” along the journey. As the awareness of Self expands and expands, these are enlightenments. The many merchants of so-called “enlightenment” would have you believe that enlightenment is a finish line that you will arrive at if you follow their treasure map, their belief system. For many of us it takes falling for this hoax over and over before we are willing to take the responsibility and find the courage to look within.
I can tell you that what it means to be a “spiritual person” is to know that you are everything and everywhere. You are the world; you are every person you meet. You are the moon and stars and galaxies and the universe and the multi-verses and you transcend space and time. And if you take my word for it, and incorporate this into your belief system, it is not the same thing as seeing it directly. It won’t work to hitch a ride on someone else’s experience. And besides, what if I am blissfully walking off the edge of a cliff, looking up at the sky? Don’t settle for hand-me-downs. Seek the experience with more passion and commitment than anything else in your life.
If anyone tells you that in order to find God you must turn away from the world, they are speaking out of ignorance – more than likely parroting words from a belief system which their ego found comfort in. After all, it is the greedy ego that seeks to find and seize upon “abundant bliss” and then be acknowledged and respected and praised for it. That which is truly you already knows bliss to be its true nature. So to turn away from the world is to find God, but also to turn towards the world is to find God. How can God be missing? God is all that is and all that is not. That which seeks to find God is only suffering from a self-induced state of Amnesia. Simply put, you are that which you seek. But don’t take my word for it.
Pay close attention to nature and you will see that nothing really dies. It merely changes form. The only thing that dies, when a tree falls and rots, is the mental concept of a tree. In fact what is taking place is merely change. Every part of that tree becomes something else. All of existence is in flux, expanding and retracting, evolving. That which looks out through your eyes is part of this evolution.
As you move from Amnesia toward God Realization, the Soul evolves. Your perception broadens. Your experience deepens. To memorize anything that has been said here will only serve as a form of imitation. To hold up any word choice to careful scrutiny will only reveal that none of these words can be relied upon. Everything I have told you here is a complete and absolute lie. And hidden within each lie contains the jewel of enlightenment.
That which does not evolve - dies. But even that which dies serves a purpose. It becomes the fertilizer of new life which seeks to evolve. Nothing is wasted on the journey, nothing is lost. And in that circle you find yourself, you lose yourself, but what remains constant is self.
Even in the deepest darkest depths of human emotional experience, when one really goes into the darkness deeply, you will find illumination. It is everywhere you seek it, always hidden in plain sight. Whether you are chanting a mantra or explaining to the landlord why you do not have the rent, every act is holy when done consciously with conscious intent.
What you have just read is a letter, that you wrote to yourself and asked me to hand deliver to you when you are ready. The light switch is on a dimmer. It’s in your hands now.
Eric Allen Bell is the Founder of
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