Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ego: Existentialism, Ineffability, and Conscious Creation

A friend recently posted on Facebook "How do I know if my attempts of dissolving my ego really work? Are my self proclaimed ideas on the nature of consciousness really free from my ego?" He also expressed frustration at his inability to definitively answer philosophical questions of self and truth or know if this was even a useful exercise. These are questions that have been on my mind quite a lot recently, as well. I think most thinking people come across these sorts of frustrations. As such, I thought it would be useful to share my thoughts so far with you, as follows...

Probably due to the well-intentioned but incomplete influence of Eastern thought in the Western world, "dissolving the ego" is a buzz phrase in the occult, new age, and philosophical communities these days. I -and I'm not alone- think this is a highly overrated or simply misunderstood concept. You cannot dissolve the ego and live a corporeal life. The ego is the part of self that tells you that you are a self. The key is to align the ego (self-conscious, thinking/logical self) with the sub-conscious (patterned/instinctive/emotional self) and super-conscious (intuitive/higher self). You do this by constantly asking the aforementioned questions, especially about self. Know thyself is the chief admonition of nearly all mystery schools. This is the story told through the Major Arcana of the Tarot, particularly crystalized in The Lovers (introspective) and Temperance (dynamic).

Analyze the operations of your sub-conscious. What are your conditioned responses? Are they logical? Are they helpful? Harmful? To what extent are you aware of them at the time and to what extent do they control you?

Examine your self-conscious. In what ways do you delude yourself? Are these delusions helpful or harmful? How can your ways of thinking improve? What are your strengths of mind? Are you analytically engaging your environment and actions? Are you using your "third thoughts"? (First thoughts are instinct, what you don't have to intentionally think. Second thoughts are thinking about your first thoughts; this is "the observer". Third thoughts are thinking about what you're thinking. Is your observer on point?)

Listen to your super-conscious. Are you living in accordance with your ideals? Are your ideals rooted in truth and practicality? Do you need to more clearly define your ideals? What is in the way of living according to your ideals? What ways are you living your ideals?

All of this information together will allow you to align your selves to be as aware and effective as possible. This is an eternal process.

It's important to keep in mind that we can never know the true answer to ANY question. The best we can do is have a good idea or a best guess. And we have to do that in order to make decisions. That's why it's so important to engage this as a process, rather than a task. You're constantly getting new information, so you have to be constantly re-evaluating. I've had to reframe how I ask these questions. Rather than thinking of them as mysteries to be solved, I think of them as lines of thought to consider as I consciously create my reality. You can't escape creating your reality, so you best do it consciously with the intent to shape your reality to be as useful to you as possible. Pragmatism over truth any day. Truth is ineffable, it's a red herring.