Praying for a Toehold

Exactly how should the ego go about knocking? By praying. Praying for what? Simply to know the truth of the matter.
Exactly how should the ego go about knocking? By praying. Praying for what? Simply to know the truth of the matter.

Our best efforts, using all the brilliance of our amazing ego minds, will land us every time at the doorstep of duality. This is so because the ego itself is a fragmented aspect of ourselves. And left to its own devices, has no depth or original resource. The ego learns and spits back out what it has already taken in. It sets a clock and gets us out of bed in the morning. It signs us up for spiritual retreats and sits us on a cushion for meditation. But that’s as far as the ego goes.

We have come to this turn in our evolutionary journey as a direct result of choices we ourselves made long, long ago to check out the other side of life: the dark side. No one made us do this. We were curious and that’s how we wound up participating in what the Spirit World refers to as the Fall. (See more in Holy Moly and in Gems, the chapter called Expanding Our Awareness and Exploring Our Fascination with Creation.)

So we all started out in the Oneness. And then we fell away from that fine state, only to land ourselves in a world of hurt where the climb back home is a real bear. The result of the Fall is that our spirit has fragmented. In this lifetime, each time we experienced another hurt we couldn’t bear to endure, we fractured some more. We are all walking wounded, with inner aspects of ourselves having split off at varying ages of development. There is not one “inner child”; we are a compendium of banished inner children who all eventually need to return to the fold, bringing back with them our fractured off life force.

So now we find ourselves here on planet Earth, where we have better opportunities for reuniting our fragmented selves than in the Spirit World. This is so because here, unlike in the Spirit World, we are surrounded by other beings who also have all different kinds of fragmentation going on. And in acting out their negativity, they will bump us against us and show us where we have our own work to do. This friction is the gift we get in coming here; it’s the mirror that allows us to see our soul dents. In the Spirit World, we hang out in spheres made up of such like-minded souls that we get along better but don’t grow as much. A ticket to Earth-school, then, is a hot commodity for us fallen spirits.

But since we are fractured and fragmented beings, we need a way to hold ourselves together enough to do this work of healing. Introducing the ego. The ego is also a fragment, but it’s a fragment-with-a-job. First, it’s in charge of getting our ducks in a row. Frankly, a person whose ego is not well enough developed to take care of their personal needs for living, is not ready to dive into a rigorous path such as the one outlined here. People still do, but it’s not ideal.

Once the ego gets strong enough though, it’s job description changes, and it now needs to reach out for help. It needs to knock on the door of the Higher Self. And when that door opens, step aside and let in some new light. Over time, a strong ego will master the art of letting itself go so completely that it will merge once again with the Higher Self—which is the ultimate destiny of all our fragmented selves—and allow us to live from that higher state of being.

Exactly how should the ego go about knocking? By praying. Praying for what? Simply to know the truth of the matter. Full stop.

In Jill’s Experience

I was attending a sales meeting, having recently moved into a sales position that involved a high-profile customer with a large opportunity for business. I had timed it well and sales were projected to see a definite uptick. So I felt good about my work. Which is why I couldn’t believe it when the manager of the group stood there in front of everyone handing out accolades, and I wasn’t mentioned. Truly, I was floored.

And to the young wounded part of me, this was also devastating. I mustered the courage to ask this manager afterwards about why I hadn’t been included. And having caught him off-guard about such a significant oversight, he basically tossed me off with a breezy, Oops, sorry about that!

Back in my hotel room, I was reeling. While true, this was a painful thing that had happened, it had gone straight to the quick. My reaction of hurt and indignation was far more than this situation warranted; I was in tears and trying hard to numb what was bubbling up and oozing out all over the place.

The only shred of perspective I could assemble was the awareness that I must not be in truth. So that was where I sat, for several long minutes, just breathing and praying to know the truth. And then it happened. Something shifted and started to open, and in dropped a perspective I hadn’t considered: he had made a mistake. This manager, standing in front of a room full of people, had overlooked something important. And when asked about it, he didn’t have the wherewithal in that moment to say he was sorry. And that’s on him. What had happened there was actually not about me.

The more I cried and breathed into this new take on reality, the more I opened to seeing this wasn’t really as painful as it had seemed. Sure it stung, but more truthfully, it had scratched open my old, old wound about not being seen. And that was what really hurt. Through the verities of life, sometimes we get overlooked. And while that doesn’t feel good, it’s really not the end of the world. I let go of my case and went to sleep.

The next morning at breakfast, this manager approached me and told me he was sorry; it had been an oversight he heartily regretted. A short while later, when the meeting got underway, he stood in front of the group and made it right. I was both seen and acknowledged in front of the group for my contribution. Deep breath.

In Scott’s Experience

It is two o’clock in the morning and I am sitting in the front of the departures terminal at the airport in Jakarta, Indonesia. Cooling my jets, so to speak. I’ve been awake since 5:00am the previous morning, attending business meetings all day in service of helping a worried client. At 5:00pm my taxi crawled through the impressive Jakarta traffic to the airport, and then I made my way through security and immigration to the gate for my midnight flight back to the States. Now here I am, back outside the airport, having just been denied boarding due to some obscure ticket mishap. It sucked watching that plane push back without me, and being escorted out of the airport to the curb.

Plan B and then C fell through. The airport hotel is full, and I just got kicked out of the Barcalounger I’d appropriated in the vacant medical assistance kiosk. Ok, let’s find plan D. So I am waiting near the curb until my 4:30 am re-check-in for the next flight out. It’s going to be a long couple days getting home.

As I waited, I began to pray to know the truth of this situation. I say this prayer a lot. And in fact, there are a lot of truths here, some of them easier to feel than others. One that I’ve been working to face is a feeling of being special, or wanting to be seen as special, because I get to travel frequently. There has been a subtle “Gee, look at me” kind of air about how I talk about where I get to go. Plus, I have “status” with my airline and wait in shorter lines than most travelers. It is really subtle, but it’s also been pointed out to me that it feels off. It’s important to keep looking at the subtle things. And I’ve wanted to know what is underneath this.

The feelings and thoughts that arose when I was denied boarding were a cascading event. First, indignation (“But I have status!”). Then anxious pleading (“God, please step in and fix this. You got this, right?”). Followed by fretting (“I’ve been abandoned, again.”). And irritation (“Inept airline people!”). Finally, gratitude (“A lot of people worked hard to help me.”). Also wanting to feel special (“Yay, I have another travel story to tell.”). And at last, curiosity (“What does this experience have to teach me?”)

Fortunately I did not impose my feelings too much on my fellow human beings. My deeper self was there the whole time, chill. Nothing can rock its world. This is what doing the work looks like at this stage: part of me is centered, knows everything is fine, and is simply observing what is happening inside. Still, some parts of me aren’t so connected and experience emotions upwelling. And so my outer response to the gate agents wasn’t completely chill, but was respectful and didn’t make it painful for those around me.

As I pray for truth, I see the proximity of the child consciousness feelings of pleading and abandonment next to the feelings of indignity and being special. What feels truthful is that a seven-year-old boy inside me wanted to feel seen and loved, and when that didn’t happen the way he wanted, he childishly latched onto wanting to be being seen as special. And when feeling special didn’t happen, the old stories came up. And then the stories got covered up by feelings like irritation and disheartenment.

The child inside me couldn’t have things the way he wanted, and my work now is to help him grow up. When he is activated, I literally pause, connect with that part of me, and hold him. That’s my job as an adult, because no one else can do this for me.

This holding exercise shows me that I’m fine, and all is well. I still have to wait at the airport, of course, but in this moment I feel alive in the flow of life. And I feel deeply connected inside, even as I hold the experience of part of me that felt disconnected a moment ago. I think this is what doing the work is about. Moving through the mundane of life while witnessing what is going on inside, coming into more truthful awareness of it, and then holding “what is” from the inner place of a grounded self.

Doing the Work : Healing Our Body, Mind & Spirit by Getting to Know the Self

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