The Cook Awakening


April 9, 2019
Posted in: Life on Life's Terms, Meditation, Spiritual Practice

There’s a common misperception about spirituality that I’d like to address. That’s the idea that we have to “get rid of the ego” to awaken.

Remember the quote from Carl Jung in my last article? “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”.

We can’t get rid of the ego. By ego, I’m not referring to the psychological definition, rather the term used in spiritual circles, that can also be called the small self, or the belief that we are separate from one another and all of creation.

Gautama Buddha

I’ve heard the difference between the ego and Soul (or Self, or Spirit), described this way — the ego is NO!, and the Soul is YES! I experience the energy of ego as a clenched fist, holding onto… ideas, self concepts, being right, being wrong, being sick, being well, etc.

Really, I experience the more surface aspects of the ego as a little child, sometimes weeping inconsolably, sometimes throwing a tantrum.

If the ego is NO, the Soul’s YES is a tender embrace. The Soul embraces the ego. There are times that embrace can feel very painful, because there’s truth in it that may not agree with some of our ideas, but that doesn’t mean the embrace is violent or rejecting. It’s just… real.

I remember a moment in a yoga session on a retreat last year, during Shavasana, the period of relaxation that usually begins and ends yoga. I had dropped into a deep state of parasympathetic rest, a result of, well, perhaps a lifetime of spiritual and emotional work.

I felt a sudden moment of fear. The thought that came was, “I’m not sure it’s okay to be this relaxed!”

And, I remembered something one of my teachers says occasionally. “Awakening is simply a process of relaxation.” I might say the same of healing. Perhaps a case could be made that they are the same thing, Awakening and healing. In the health coaching world it’s often stated that parasympathetic state is where healing happens. Rest and digest.

There are so many things in our minds and hearts that appear to need to be “figured out” with some mental process. A client recently got in touch with a very anxious part of herself, that seemed to fill the room with fear and nervous energy. In exploring a couple of ways to relate to the energy, she found an image of herself relaxing into the embrace of a tree. I witnessed her actively sinking into a profound state of rest. It was clear to me how valuable this was for her, on a very simple and deep level.

More to the point, as this was happening, she reported that the anxious part of herself was sitting on a branch of the tree, completely at peace. Still there, but curious, and no longer spinning and filling the room.

We don’t need to push anything away to Awaken, and to heal. In fact, actively and tenderly embracing the ego, however it appears in any moment, allows it to relax, allows the fist to open. That embrace can come from within, as in you sending yourself love, or it can come from outside, as in a prayer to the Divine, or a visualization that you are being held by a power greater than yourself, however you define that. As if the ego were a child crying or throwing a tantrum. Or perhaps catatonic with fear. Just gentle holding, being with. As we all needed as children, and which many of us didn’t receive, at least not enough.

That relaxation probably won’t come immediately. But, you’ll be establishing a relationship with the ego, instead of engaging in battle. And, you’ll be strengthening a part of you that is not locked up living life as a clenched fist.

I have space for three new clients in April, if you, or someone you know could use some assistance with exploring what this kind of work might look like. Distance is not an issue! I use Zoom video conference for many of my sessions.

Blessings to you, as you explore coming into a gentle relationship with your ego. Push no one out of your heart.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 at 11:35 pm and is filed under Life on Life's Terms, Meditation, Spiritual Practice. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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