“My mission is to teach, heal and inspire others to heal themselves by connecting to the power of Spirit within.”
- Rev. Uki MacIsaac
The human ego has been much-maligned throughout history. Christianity tells us that the seven deadly sins are based on the pursuit of selfish motives or ego. Buddhism reminds us that ego's attachments are the cause for our suffering. From the Course in Miracles we learn that the ego's projection of being separated from God causes us shame, guilt and pain. Contemporary writers such as Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle seek to enlighten us about the pitfalls of eco-centric ways of thinking and acting. None of us likes an egocentric or egomaniac person. But why do we have an ego? Is it really all bad? In Latin language the word ego simply means "I", myself. When we are born we do not yet have a sense of identity. We learn what is other than I through separation and distinction. This is a necessary stage of human development. Later in life, a well-balanced ego helps us to strive and achieve our goals and dreams. It is only when the ego is out of control that it becomes a problem. The ego is then like a fearful child that projects the worst, lives in the past or the future, criticizes and condemns and is rarely ever satisfied. Basically, it wants to protect us from harm, but often doesn't know how to go about it.
Ah, the tricky aspect of setting goals for 2014! Haven't we all gone through some aspect or other of committing to new year's resolutions, only to find the momentum fade away even before the end of February? I certainly know I have. Sometimes it seems as if only a miracle could take us through the doorway of good intentions to our wildest dreams fulfilled, highest vision manifesting, the 'impossible' coming true.
Here is a suggestion that might help. What if instead of trying to force the manifestation of our goals, which often creates a lot of pressure and stress, and maybe even unwanted outcomes, we simply aligned with our highest and best good? Prayer and meditation are proven pathways towards that destination.
Do spiritual shortcuts exist? If they do, this one must be the number one shortcut: the magical words of “thank you”. All languages, all cultures feature the expression of gratitude to someone, be it a person, circumstance, Nature or God. Is feeling or expressing gratitude a secret to happiness? Research seems to support this connection. But why not do the experiment yourself and find out? What is there to lose?
Have you had the desire to add meditation to your busy life for its known benefits, but have felt intimidated by the countless methods and 'have-to' you encounter? So many people deeply desire to access the peace of mind and calmness that they know is awaiting them by means of a meditation practice. It's a little like a new year's resolution: we start with the best intentions, and then we discontinue, because life seems to be filled with more important demands on our time. Meditation seems almost like a luxury we can't afford to give ourselves. And besides, what method to choose among the countless ways that promise great results?
We all wear masks and 'garments' that are to hide and protect our true identity. We do this out of social convention, expectations placed on us at an early age, e.g. family environment, and internalized role playing. THere's nothing wrong with putting on protective masks and wearing different hats according to what we think is expected from us. We may try on the garment of successful business woman, and like that role a lot. Coming home, it might be pleasurable to slip into the role of loving wife and mother. The trouble is, we over-identify with those roles. When the rules of the game change, for example through a layoff at work or a divorce, we are at a loss, because we have lost our true identiy, our inner self. This Self is the silent observer who agrees to play the game of the moment, but does not give up its identity. It is not defined by our outer world. Your very core is your spiritual Self, the one that has always been and always will be.
How can we drop, even just for a while, the outer selves and delve into the true Self? This short meditation might help you experiment in a playful way with letting go of the superficial identifications.
Imagine wearing a garment of heavy wool. Maybe this garment looks and feels like a coat or cloak. It is warm and comforting. At times, it is wonderful to feel the protective shield of your cloak. But at other times, the cloak becomes heavy and cumbersome. It restricts your movements and self-expression. See yourself now dropping the woolen garment at will. It feels wonderful to drop the heavy weight for the time being. You know you can always pick up that cloak whenever you wish to. For now, see yourself dressed only in a light-weight beautiful wrap of transparent fiber. This garment moves with you, flows around you, soft yet shielding. This is your soul wrap, The color of this exquisite fabric changes according to your mood. Better yet, you can change its color to affect your mood! Feeling a little down today? Notice the color of your soul wrap. Is it a tone too dark and somber? By the power of your intention, change your soul wrap to a lighter, more harmonious tone. Immediately, your feelings shift towards a higher vibration, a happier note. You move more freely, your steps have more bounce. How fun it is to play with your soul wrap! At other times, we wish to drop any and all coverings and be just in our natural costume, the way we were born. Even our skin is a protective clothing, as is your entire physical body. All serves to house the Soul, your essence. Experiment with the feelings of being naked, open to all that is. There are moments when we need no hiding, no protection. We feel safe stripping down to the bare bones. Those moments are gifts, because they reveal more of our true being. We relish these times, and we also know when it's time to dress up again. All has its purpose. The liberating aspect of this exercise is to have a choice: to wear what you wish to wear, to drop what feels inhibiting at the moment and feel safe doing so. Have fun with this exercise and know that you are never defined by what you wear, visible to ordinay eyes or not. Blessings!
Circle of Life Spiritual Development