Enlightenment, in the end, takes everything from our ego; it is a total stripping down of the narcissistic self.
No ego could ever want this, to want this, would be wanting one’s own death.
But what I found somewhere along the way, was that my ego also wanted freedom, because it thought that there was something to be gained.
I thought enlightenment meant to be free from suffering and that I would finally get to rest. As I inquired more and more into this, I saw that this is what the ego wants—to rest, and that this was a very innocent request. In a sense, we all want to stop fighting against the movement of life.
There is a tremendous relief when we finally let go, but ironically, our ego will only let go for a period of time before it reasserts its drama. Because our narcissistic sense of self maintains itself by creating drama. So even after we fully surrender, and deeply let go into our freedom, our mind will rise again; this is normal. Yet, we remain free as long as we resist the temptation to engage in our ego’s neurotic dance.
But as I was inquiring into this seeking for enlightenment, what I also found was a part of me that wanted to be able to claim enlightenment for my own self-validation.
As I looked deeply at this I saw there was still a part of me that did not feel whole, and felt that if I could claim enlightenment or hold onto to it, that somehow I would be saved. That somehow I would be a better, fuller version of myself.
This is again, another dance of the narcissistic ego, it is always trying to improve upon itself as a way of fully feeling better about oneself, yet it never gets there.
It’s like thinking: If I was enlightened, then everyone would know how lovable I am.
But again, this is another dance of ego. If we truly wake up, then we know we are lovable. We know that we are complete, right here, right now, even with all of our deficiencies.
We have some work to do.
What begins to dawn on us is that we are perfect, that we all are the living embodiment of the Divine just as we are.
The thought that we are “less than,” comes from our ego which operates out of deficiency. In a sense, without deficiency, the ego may not exist. But as long as we believe that we are deficient then our ego has plenty of room to struggle against life, and recreate itself again and again.
When we are seeking to be free it may be helpful to ask, who needs to be free? Am I following a deep impulse for truth from within, or am I following and my ego’s need to be somebody important? Who needs to claim enlightenment?
If we are truly free, we do not need to claim anything, because we know who we are, and we can rest in our divinity, and then we can relax in relationship to our shortcomings. As we do this, miraculously many, not all, of our shortcomings begin to fall away.
Editor: Brianna Bemel