A step beyond ego

The ego hides a vast web of possibilities in nature.

If your ego is the spider, can you step beyond the spider to become a thread on the web of nature?

If your ego is the spider, can you step beyond the spider to become a thread on the web of nature?

The nature of ego

Through ego I invent a sense of time, space, boundaries, the idea of me as separate from you.  When the crowd praises the naked king for his new clothes, ego blesses me the ability to say “you are all mad, that is a naked king.” Ego offers me the survival advantage to see and create new patterns that other animals lack. Whereas the cow will either fight or flee the predator, my ego offers me alternative solutions such as feeding the predator an alternative food.

Ego as a tool

Ego is conscious imagination, it perceives the patterns and creates new patterns.  My sense of I is my imagination of I, my empathy of you is my imagination of you.  The tool is only as good as the user.

Ego traps

Ego is easily blinded by delusion, to see or believe ideas about nature or self that is false.  If I believe I am worthless, or nature is controllable, these are delusions that trap, that enslaves me to ignorance. Through the wrong application of ego ignorance, control and hubris arise, and through these states the woes of human society.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, where mind lacks ego, thus the self is unable to filter the internal and external experiences it encounters, chaos reigns, and self identifies with all it encounters without discrimination.  No ego results in an unending disordered sensory hell.

The obvious relief to schizophrenia is nature, it is slower, concrete and stable.  Those with no ego have no survival possibilities in human society with its abstractions and two-faced manipulations, for instance the cult that love bombs hides the sinister nature of the spider entrapping a fly.  In nature the schizophrenic, or anyone with a mental health condition can heal, rebuilding their shattered ego.

A dog

A dog has no ego, it takes its reality from the moment it is born from its environment and an inbuilt operating system of “doggyness” we call instinct.  The dog does not think it is a dog, rather it experiences it is a dog, the doggyness wells up inside it from its genes, modified by its environmental encounters.  Ubuntu applies to the dog, “I am because we are”, for the dog experiences itself from the twin inputs of doggy instinct and its community, the pack, or its human owners.  If you are unhappy, your dog will be unhappy, since there is no ego separating your dog from you, both you and dog are one.

The step beyond

A small step but one of profound change, to step outside of the box.  To see the ego for what it is, the user becomes the master rather than the slave of the ego, to step outside of the box of separation that ego has created.  The paradox of a step across an invisible pin-head veil that is like a ten-mile wide abyss.  To see from the point of view of a cow, or a long dead ancestor I have to step outside of the box, to see with another’s eyes, I have to suspend my ego temporarily, to become the thread in a vast spider web of nature.  Such moments, which for me are hit-and-miss, are liberating, insightful, but dangerous as I face the task of extracting my “thread” from the “web” and regaining my sense of “I”.  For those that can step outside of the box of ego a vast web of possibilities hides behind a thin veil of the ego.

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17 responses to “A step beyond ego

  1. Reblogged this on Writing Out Loud and commented:
    Two terrific subjects, ego and dogs, and surprise, guess what, dogs don’t have an ego, or so it says. I believe it.

  2. Very well said. I relate especially to your comments about the dog. Cloro has a tiger tail, but is otherwise almost all white, and I have asked myself the question, does she know she’s a white cat, does she know she’s got a tiger tail? To extrapolate that to does she know she’s a cat? makes sense. At night she knows it’s bedtime when I lie down and she comes and purrs on the pillow beside me lulling me off to sleep with her little diesel engine idling in my ear. I have tried to imagine the world from her point of view, but it’s hard to step outside the box, we are so steeped in our own being. Ubuntu is an idyllic state, that man (European descent) can only strive to attain, because we are so self-centred, egotistic.

    AV

    • AV, it is challenging to step outside of the box, indeed it appears to be one of the great aims of some of the spiritual traditions to go beyond ego, to let go. Once you go beyond ego, a new reality emerges which allows you to understand from the point of view of your cat, or a tree, or an unhappy child. There are degrees of success in stepping outside of the box, even a partial success pays dividends.

  3. A very thought provoking post Alex… one of those that has me rereading and thinking about what you have here imparted…

  4. Alex, it’s a very profound essay and I would love to republish it on Learning from Dogs, with your permission. Paul

  5. You have blown me away with this one! It looks as if your adventures into nature have provided you with a glimpse into the unknown, that abyss that does not stare back and does not reflect, just goes on into infinity. And in those depths, we learn, unlearn and relearn about who and what we are. What you say about the schizophrenic mind is true, with its absence of ego and unfiltered perception, so, like the dog, becomes one with whatever environment by which it is surrounded. It can be liberating, to let go and join, harmonize, connect with one’s environment (especially when that environment is nature or natural), but, on the flipside, it can be harrowing and psychotic when that environment is psychotic or sick or diseased. This is the epitome of nonduality.

    Have you slept in the rain yet on your camping adventures?

    • I have slept in the rain in a tent. The British weather is a harsh task master. In the recent two weeks I have had to be cautious because of suffering a common cold.

      Thanks for your feedback. Means a lot.

  6. Your dog commentary reminds me of my daughter as an infant–we weren’t sure where she ended and I began. Perhaps the ego is learned? Anyway, thanks for the food for thought!

  7. Reblogged this on spiritandanimal.wordpress.com and commented:
    Thank You!

  8. Yes Alex the ego rears its head at every opportunity .. Once we care nought about Ego you would think we are well upon our roads, but not many warriors have learnt how to master it… Learning to live in the now and see our place in the scheme of things we can learn more control..
    I wish Schizophrenia was as easily defined as you have outlined here… Working among them, one sees how they are at a cross roads with themselves..

    A very enlightening post Alex Thank you

  9. Alex I can relate so much to this. First our canine companions over the years have always shown more of the attitude of family, or pack, member than that of another species. We knew what they were thinking from their posture or expressions. Secondly my ex suffers from schizophrenia, when he would have the most trouble staying with reality I would convince him to go for a nature hike with me. Not only did it help ground him but alleviated the accompanying depression.

    • Dogs are one of the few species which fit in harmony with humanity, due to our many shared characteristics.

      I am glad to see that nature worked positively for your ex.

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