Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Exposing the Ego ~ The Tricks of Denial & Projection

To recap yesterday ... we have the erroneous belief that we are Wrong, Bad, Depraved ... and Separate-from-God. We then feel guilt. We believe we must be punished for this guilt. And we live in fear of this punishment (sound familiar?!?).

Because we believe that we and God are at odds, and even enemies, we cannot turn to God for the help we need, in overcoming the guilt ... so, we do what humans have always done instead -- we turn to the ego. I.e., our inner-idol. That Which Pretends to be Us and God. We beg the ego to give us something that will numb the pain, guilt, shame and fear ...!

Our ego is only *too* happy to help us with it's suggestions ... and it has two "drugs" that we've easily fallen for. See if they sound/feel familiar to you:

- Repression, or Denial. It ain't a river in Egypt. But it sure does flood our "world". The ego suggests that we just pretend that our guilt, our sense of sin, our shame, the fear that permeates us, just doesn't exist. And if we would only push it down, waaaaaaay down, we can make it "go away." Sweep it under the rug. Hide our heads in the proverbial sand. Or, the very-popular "get busy with religious work" approach... if we get really busy doing good work for God, maybe we'll fool both God *and* ourselves in our religious flurry! We know how this works. Except ... it doesn't work. Because on some level, conscious or not, we *know* that the guilt is still there, and it's still in obvious effect in our lives. So, we go back to the ego and ask for something else ... something stronger and more effective (this reminds me of an addict who goes back to their pusher, since the last drug didn't take off the edge ...!). And the ego has "just the thing" to help us feel better, it promises us ...

- Projection. Ohhhhh, how alluringly wonderful this "drug" seems to be! Simply speaking, projection is taking something from inside of you and saying it's not really here, in me -- it's out there, in someone else. So we take that guilt, that belief of sinfulness that we believe is in us, and we say: "This is not really in me -- this is really in YOU. I'm not the bad/guilty one -- YOU are the bad/guilty one. I'm not responsible for how I feel -- YOU are." It doesn't matter who the "you" is ... anyone (or anything) will do. The point is to scapegoat someone/thing in order to dump our guilt outside of us ... and then, of course, we banish the "scapegoat" from our presence. This, we believe, will alleviate our guilt, and enable us to escape our misery. This is such a pervasive defense, that it was even ritutalized within the Jewish religion -- it became ceremonialized (& "Godified") via the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur (check it out in the 16th chapter of Leviticus -- read it with fresh ego-exposed eyes).

So, we take our "sins", and say "they are not in me - they are in you". And then we put space between ourselves and our "sins". So we think. We do this in one of two ways -- either we separate ourselves physically (i.e., moving, changing jobs, divorcing, breaking off relationships, changing churches, committing murder etc.) or we separate ourselves psychologically (i.e., judging, discounting, condescending, gossipping, slandering, holding a grudge, shunning, etc.). The latter is actually far more damaging... for it continues.

Here's how we separate ourselves from someone else, after we've "put our sins" on them: We attack them. We use our anger at them. ANY form of anger, whether annoyance, frustration or intense range (or anything in between) is the same. Anger is always an attempt to justify our guilt-projection -- it's never about what it *seems* to be about. Others cannot *make* us angry -- we USE others as scapegoats, or vehicles, to carry our sins/guilt away from us. Hear this: the need to project our guilt is the ROOT cause of ALL anger (read it again -- in case your ego just balked and said "no way!").

Now here's something that's crucial to "get": The very second we experience a personal reaction of anger/judgment/criticism ... it is ALWAYS because we have seen in that other individual something that we have denied in ourself. IOW, we project our own sin/guilt/shame/fear onto another person, and then we attack it. Because we cannot bear to see it in ourselves, and yet we MUST do something about it, to alleviate the wretched feeling that our guilt gives us. It feels "safer" to project it "out there" than to deal with it "in here".

This explains, so very clearly, what was going on with the Israelites, who declared others to be "unclean" and then banished them outside of the camp ... imagining that they were keeping themselves separate and pure ... and the insanity of imagining that God was commanding this...! It seems clear to me that we have to keep in mind that the old testament was written from the ego's point of view ... which was projected, by man, onto God. Of course, the Spirit can, and does, use the text to teach us what we need to know -- and it quite often exposes the tactics of the individual or collective ego ... we err when we think that it's all exemplary, of how we *should* behave or think...! Notice, too, how Jesus turns the tables even further when He shows up ... He comes *against* all teachings of cleanliness/separation ... He embraces those who are deemed "unclean" ... He hangs out with "sinners" ... He touches lepers. He included the "outcasts" ... He was saying, "You cannot project your guilt onto others - you must identify it within yourself, and heal it there." He makes it clear that our sinfulness is not outside, but inside ... not from "the devil" but from within our own egoic minds/hearts ... When we project, we miss the opportunity of seeing what is IN us, what is in need of healing within.

Here's the problem with heeding the ego's solutions for our guilt: When we project our guilt, and then attack another, it backfires on us. In fact, attacking another is a SURE way of ensuring that we STAY guilty. And make no mistake about it -- the ego is highly invested in *keeping* us guilty ... it's very "survival" depends on it.

But, let's back up a bit to see what's behind this ...

The ego itself is not a "thing" ... you couldn't locate the "ego section" of the brain. It's nothing more than a belief, a thought ... a belief in the reality of separation from God. It was "born" when we believed ourselves separated from God -- the ego is our false self. It's not real. BUT, as long as we believe that we are separated from God, the ego is in operation. AS soon as we believe that there is NO separation, the ego ceases to exist.

If we believe in original sin, and the separation from God -- the ego seems real, and wrecks havoc, pretending to be us. The ego depends on us believing in separation. And what teaches us that sin is real, what reinforces our fear, is GUILT. The ego has a vested interest in keeping us guilty.

When the ego is confronted with the notion of guiltlessness (i.e., one who realizes that they are free from guilt ... one who realizes that there is no separation from God), the ego MUST attack ... for that one is a threat to its existence. This is why the religious (i.e., professional egoists) came against Jesus, attacking and killing Him. Jesus was "blaspheming" against the ego...!

This also explains why those who believe in original sin, and believe it is a teaching of God, will attack those who declare that they are not separate from God ... if it hasn't happened to you yet, it will. AND, it will happen *within* you, as your own ego becomes threatened by what you are learning, and being led into...! (more on "ego-attacks" on a later day...!)

The ego, in wanting to insure that it stays "alive" in reigning, will convince you that the best way to alleviate your guilt, is to see your stuff in another, and attack it. And, for the moment, you will believe you are free of your sins, and thus feel relieved ... this relief is highly addictive, and may ensure that you attack over and over and over, justifying your anger, believing that THEY are the bad guys and you are the victim here ... but attack is the best way to STAY guilty.

Here's why: on some level, beneath the "feeling good for the moment" level, you *know* that you were wrong to attack another for your own stuff, that it was a false and hypocritical attack. Thus is set up the clever egoic-cycle of guilt-attack-guilt-attack-guilt-attack, ad nauseam. Do you recognize it? In yourself? In inter-personal squabbles? In children's fighting? In school-yard tussles? In corporate encounters? In denominational church-splits? In politics? In national wars? Do you see how truly all-pervasive this really is? How the ego truly does rule this world?

In reality, it's this cycle of guilt and attack that "makes the world go 'round" ... it ain't Love. Love is God's world, and His Kingdom is NOT of this world. But it's our calling to be Light ... to reflect Love IN this world.

But before we can do that well, we have to see this world, the ego, for what it is. We have to dare to dig deep within ourselves, ruthlessly and bravely looking at what's there, to bring healing to ourselves, and to others.

For this have we come into this world ...

(next, if you hang with me in this, let's look at the Attack-Defense cycle ... it's breathlessly revelatory!)

Shalom, Dena


Bea said...

oh boy, dena! that was awesome. i feel like you could just re-publish that post every day for a few months just so it can really marinade all of me!

i felt so drawn to it - there was much reflection of glimpses of ideas i've had in the past. so good to be hearing it again and 'getting it' more.

blessings on your day! love bea

MysticBrit said...

I'm hanging with you, my friend.

More mighty world-transforming Truth from my fave prophet.

Knowing in our hearts that we are all One with each other and God unmasks the ego as a No-Thing, and we can at last live that Life Abundant, pressed down, flowing over, which has allways been ours.

Let's live it, preach it!:)

Dena said...

I'm right in the thick of this expose` with y'all ... I get glimpses of the grandeur, and then my ego finds a "new" way to lure me back into old-thought ... which, of course, is so stinkin' familiar, that it seems "right" initially ... yet I'm aware of needing to take every thought captive ... to look at it, to question it, to test it, to experience it and see what's bolstering it ... ego or Spirit?

Like with exercising any muscle, gift, or practice, it gets stronger with use ... and intention.

The ego is a faux-body-builder it seems ... all puffed up with nothing more than hot air ... pretending to be big and strong, but in reality, just overly-inflated with nothingness. It's just our inner politician, promising the moon, and always failing to deliver ... it's only when we believe its propaganda that we do its dirty work ... when we see it for what it is, it's just a wee lil' brat, pitching a fit, jumping up and down and trying to be all self-important.

I believe that when we can look on it with holy laughter, the spell is broken...

MysticBrit said...

You write as much for your own sake as for getting it out to the rest of the world, I know, Dena. That's why I take what you say so seriously, 'cos you're not forcing it on us, but just saying, "Look what I found!" The Pearl of Great Price, worth all the blogging in the Universe.

Yup, we need to exercise those Spiritual Chuckle Muscles at every opportunity. Laughsatives for Regularhilarity... great for trapped 'spiritual wind';)

Dena said...

Yes, Harry ... that's how it is for me. I can't shut up. Not when the pearl is this gorgeous, this priceless, this all-inclusive!

It's meant to be shared ... it's very beauty compels me, even when others attack ... which is only a misguided cry for love ... (more on that concept later!).

MysticBrit said...

It's the collective ego, the Ruler of this World, which feels its own existence threatened by the beauty of this lustrous pearl. It thrives on disunity, separation, and it sees its food supply disappearing.

It's no-thing anyway, so we should laugh at it and kill it with all-inclusive Love.

So much personal attack is, as you say, a misguided, uncomprehending cry for love. The child within struggling to express what he/she doesn't have the language for, so attacking the one bringing food for the spirit.

But Love never fails.