Lecture 158 – The Ego’s Cooperation with or Obstruction of the Real Self | Abbreviated Version

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P1             Many of my friends on this intensive path of self-realization have come to a crossroads where they see the old inner landscape, which is fear: fear of life, fear of death, fear of pleasure, fear of giving up control, fear of feelings—fear of being, as such. The nature of all these fears is a misunderstanding of the function of the ego and its relation to the real self.

P2             Even those of you who have, for years, formed a concept of the real self, of the creative substance that enlivens every human being, forget in ninety-five percent of your daily lives that this creative being lives and moves in you and you live and move in it. You forget its existence. You do not reach for its wisdom. The ego cannot add deep feelings and a deep flavor to living. Nor can it produce profound and creative wisdom. The ego can only memorize, learn, collect other people’s creative knowledge, repeat, and copy. It is equipped to remember, to sort out, to select, to make up the mind, to move in a certain direction—outward or inward. These are its functions. But it is not the ego’s function to feel, to experience deeply and to know deeply, which is to be creative.

Every simple act of living can be creative, provided you are activated by the real self. As I said, these fears come into being as a result of cutting off from the real self and remaining in ignorance, living with false ideas. Let us begin with the fear of death, since it is this particular fear that casts such a shadow into everyone’s life. If you predominantly identify with your ego, your fear of death is really quite justified, for the ego dies indeed. This is why no human being who has activated his real self and experiences it as a daily reality is ever afraid of death. One feels and knows one’s immortal nature, one is filled with its eternal quality; it can only be a continuum, for this is its inherent nature.

P3             I want to add here that an intellectual acceptance of the real self as a philosophical precept will not alleviate fear of death because it cannot give a sense of reality and true experience of the real self. The next fear on the list would be fear of life. For the ego’s capacities to cope with life and to live life productively are extremely limited. In fact, they are downright insufficient and must leave the individual uncertain, insecure, inadequate. The real self, on the other hand, always has answers, always has solutions, no matter what the problem is; it always makes any experience, regardless of how unnecessary and futile it may seem at first, a deeply meaningful stepping stone toward further expansion.

The ego is incapable of transcending the dualistic level, of bringing into harmony the truth of both sides, as it were. The next on the list might be fear of pleasure. But let me tell you that everyone, to the degree they feel unhappy, unfulfilled, and empty, fears happiness, fulfillment, and pleasure, no matter how much they strain and yearn for it on the conscious level. It must be so; it is the equation that must come out even.

P4             It (our life) is always a product of your own inner consciousness. Don’t you ever forget this. The more the ego cramps up to get what you want consciously, forgetting that it is not the ego alone that can attain it, the less can fulfillment be possible. Even when one pays allegiance only to the active ego self with its consciousness, even then the ego self is no more than an obedient agent (of the fearful, unconscious life-refusing part), whether you know it or not.

Unfoldment and pleasure, delight and creative living, fulfillment and happiness, can exist only when the real self is activated, when you do not identify exclusively with the ego, but when you are connected and identified with the real self, with the eternal, creative substance of your being. And here is what is important: this necessitates letting go of the direct ego controls. It requires trust and courage to surrender to an inner movement that is not responsive to the outer thinking and willing faculties. This is the kind of happiness that knows no fear of ending or loss or unwelcome byproducts. It is the kind of happiness, as I said elsewhere, that is, at one and the same time, dynamic, stimulating, exciting, vibrantly alive, and yet peaceful.

P5             Next on the list is fear of letting go. Only gradually do you become acclimated to the new condition, the new vibrations, the new ways of the real self’s functioning. It merely means harmonious interaction between the ego and the real self. It means knowing the ego’s functions, its limitations, as well as its power. Second, it is self-evident that feelings cannot be controlled by the ego. They come about indirectly and seem to have their own, independent life, their own laws, their own logic and wisdom. You would do better to explore and understand this law and wisdom rather than deny the feelings and superimpose over them your puny ego logic, ego law, and pseudo-wisdom.

For feelings are an expression of the creative process itself. Feelings and the creative process are inner movements, which I also term soul movements. This life force (of the real self) is not only a tremendous power: it is consciousness. It contains deep wisdom and inexorable lawfulness, eternal and immutable. It is necessary to explore and understand these laws. The denial of the pleasure supreme of life is death.

The fact that the ego came into existence means that death came into existence. It suffices to say that the ego is a split-off particle of the vaster consciousness, which still remains in all human beings. Unless this split-off part is integrated with its origin, it dies. Therefore splitting off and dying are related, as reunification and living are related and interdependent. This is the true meaning of death. It is a denial of the true, original life kernel.

P6             To the extent you are frightened of letting go of ego control because you believe the false idea that letting go makes you lose strength, to that extent you are unable to assert yourself because you are afraid. The more capable you are of self-surrender, to your feelings, to the creative process, to the unknown qualities of life itself, to a mate—the stronger you must be. You will then not fear to make decisions, to make mistakes, to meet difficulties. You will rely on your own resources, will have the integrity of your own views, will pay the price for selfhood, will assert your rights as you fulfill your obligations freely and willingly, not out of fear of authority or of the consequences of disapproval.

Conversely, the weakness of an ego that fears self-responsibility makes self-surrender, and thus pleasure, impossible. The person who habitually overcharges and exhausts the ego faculties will then seek false relief. The ego must know that it is only a servant to the greater being within. Its main function is to deliberately seek contact with the greater self within. It must know its position. it must know that its strength, potentiality, and function is to decide to seek contact, to request help from the greater self, to establish contact permanently with it.

Moreover, the ego’s task is to discover the obstructions that lie between it and the greater self. In other words, the ego’s task is to formulate the thought, the intent, the desire, the decision. But its limitation is in the execution of the thought, the intent, the desire. The ego must, again and again, select, decide, intend, in order to follow this development. It must learn to interpret the messages of the destructive unconscious, as well as of the still more deeply unconscious real self, with all its wonderful creativity and constructiveness.

The ego must lend its wholehearted support, its one-pointed effort, its most constructive attitude and undivided attention to the inner path. It must know its limitation as to the deep wisdom, the individual rhythm of the path, the timing, the strength to persevere in difficult times, and call upon the unlimited resources of the real self. May you study it deeply, meditate about it. Study sentence by sentence as it applies to you.

Meditate with the wish to make use of it, not only by understanding it theoretically, but by truly seeking that part of yourself that is eternal, that is truly adequate, and that is always in wonderful, ecstatic delight. For this is your birthright. The price is some effort of overcoming laziness, resistance, and false safety devices. It also includes exploring the conditions that make a connection with the real self possible. One must see where selfishness, cruelty, self-centeredness, greed, dishonesty exist, if only in minute form, in the soul. Every such particle, no matter how diluted by genuine goodness, stands in the way—particularly when it is not recognized, when denied or excused.

—The Pathwork® Guide

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