The ego is the very notion of identity – the notion of “I,” or “me,” as separate and distinct from “other.” One of the ways the ego distinguishines and defines itself from others is it clings to ideas it finds appealing to itself, such as being the center of the universe, and belief systems which validate its desires to live forever. This is almost certainly one of the main reasons why Christianity is the most popular religion worldwide, with some two billion believers spread over seven continents. Christianity promises “eternal life” for our egos if we believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, as it says in the Biblical passage from John 3:16. With a reward so tantalizing for a price that cheap – simply believing in the idea someone else can be scapegoated so we do not have to accept the full responsiblity and consequences for our actions, it is understandable why so many sheep are led astray by the shepherds who preach this ego-based gospel of delusion. The ego simply desires to be validated in what it wants to believe. Since Christianity validates many deep-seated ego needs better than most if not all other religions, and has been very skillfully crafted to appeal to the hopes and fears of the masses, as well as the art of self-promotion through the coercive means of reward and punishment, it is no wonder its popularity is greater than that of any other religion.
The problem with clinging to an “identity,” calling ourselves “Christians,” “Muslims,” “atheists,” and the like, is we confine ourselves into a neat, little box, which prevents us from seeing Reality outside our box. These boxes are created by the ego to shield and “protect” the illusion of itself from others, and they manifest themselves as our religions, prejudices, and worldviews. Why does the ego need to create all these religions, prejudices, and worldviews, and protect its ideas and beliefs? Because the ego identifies with them, and lives for them. The ego believes it is these beliefs, because ego – which is identity itself, relies on these beliefs to define its identity. They are inseparable. Therefore, without its beliefs, the ego effectively ceases to exist, and the ego, like all manifested entities, always fights to stay alive. It is no wonder the ego vehemently defends the so-called “righetousness” of its beliefs. It has to do so in order to justify and maintain the illusion of itself.
The ego is like an animal chasing its own tail, running in endless circles of nothingness, never satisfied, always creating “meaning” to define and justify its illusory existence. It creates this artificial “meaning” by fabricating the notion of a god in his heaven who loves us and is in control of everything which happens in our lives, good or bad, by believing it will live forever, and other delusions. The ego always attempts to bring about for itself what we all truly want through the invention of these self-justifying delusions, but this entire game never satisfies us, never brings about peace, nor enlightenment, nor awareness, nor happiness. It only keeps us perpetually bound within a prison of our ego’s making we can never transcend. We are not so much bound by “sin,” as we are bound by our ego’s delusions. The ego always creates and encourages delusion, division, and strife, which is why the ego, through its identification with religions, prejudice, and worldviews, is violence.
I have written at length about the problems of ego identification and the trappings of traditional religious belief. What then, is the solution? It should be obvious to us by now absolutely none of the real answers to our deepest questions lie within the field of the ever-conflicted, dualistic ego. The ego is incapable of seeing itself and Life for what it is. It only justifies, lies, and creates endless excuses and rationalizations to defend itself. This is the entire movement of life within the ego, and we can see its insidious work in religious wars, corrupt governments, and domestic conflicts. Every single one of these issues is nothing more than a clashing of egos – of one’s opinion of life against another’s. It is sad to realize it is this pettiness – the fight over who is “right” and who is “wrong,” which enables the ever-futile movements of the ego. We have become so addicted to conflict, we simply do not know how to live without it, and so we create endless dramas to once again, justify our ego’s illusory existence – to give it “purpose” and “meaning” for its existence, even if that “purpose” and “meaning” is nothing more than conflict itself.
We do not know what it means to be free… truly and unconditionally free in the most exquisite sense of the word… to Live without the abrasive conflicts of the dualistic ego. Since hanging on to egotistical self-justification is not the answer, then what is? Living with awareness – true awareness of the Oneness of All puts an end to the shallow conflict-laden movements of the dualistic ego. When we know we are One, then there is nobody to fight, nobody to thank, nobody to blame, nothing to “do,” except be. And our being, our expressions and movements of Life become the movement of Love since there is nothing to stop the wholeness of Life’s expression within a human being who has come to an awareness of the Truth of their ego, and its place in allowing consciousness to be self-conscious… to know their ego is the center of their universe, without being the center of the universe. It is only in this state of pure awareness, where true compassion and peace is possible. All else is a ficticious substitute, manufactured by the ego as pain relief from the agonies of living within a self-created hurtful world it does not know how to escape.
Our only choice, if we want to move away from this game-playing, dualistic melodrama we call “life,” and actually Live as a passionately alive human being, is to think critically and question everything, while taking absolutely nothing for granted. This means we cannot ever assume our parents are correct, our teachers are correct, or the “authorities” we are taught to look up to, know what they are talking about. This does not mean we should not listen to what they are saying. Indeed we should. But to simply accept their words without questioning them is to rob us of our very nature as a human being to Live, not as a second-hand person who accepts the words and authority of others, but who genuinely knows what is True through our own inquiry. We may indeed discover those whom we looked up to were correct. But let us find this out for ourselves, with open eyes, instead of simply taking their word on “faith.” Faith is always blind, since faith is always a conclusion based in ignorance, which only serves to please and justify our egos. Faith is also laziness, because it is easier to just “believe,” to follow a so-called “authority,” than make our own rigorous inquiries, and search for the Truth ourselves. Strangely enough, for some reason, being “blind” in faith is looked up to by Christians as a desireable attribute, being told by Paul “We live by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7, while questioning is looked down on as a “lack of faith,” …”blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29. It is strange that in one of the most famous Christian hymns, “Amazing Grace,” we hear the words, “was blind, but now I see,” while at the same time Christianity promotes being blind in faith, while discouraging and even chiding true vision from honest, truthful inquiry. It is yet one more of the many Christian contradictions we find everywhere in the Bible, and within this fraudulent theology.
Many fear questioning, believing they may be led astray. No. It is impossible to be led astray when one is genuinely seeking to know the Truth, no matter what it is we are asking questions about. We may, in our questioning, have our beliefs torn asunder, our former view of life overturned, but if in return, we gain genuine knowledge of Truth, what have we really lost? We have only lost our delusions, our fears, our hopes, all these things which separate us from everyone and everything else – things which create conflict, corruption, and war. If indeed we were to lose these things, we can consider that a most wonderful loss, and an exceptional gain. It is a loss and gain Jesus is said to have praised in the famous passage from Luke 17:33, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” The problem is, most of us are too afraid to take this bold step into the unknown – to question all we have been taught to arrive at the Truth. We are too afraid to die so we may live. We must face our fears if we are to know the true riches of authentic, Eternal Life.
Now that we have identified what it would take for us to become an authentically alive and Truthful human being, we need to realize what things do not promote the enlightenment of humanity – things we may still be doing which are inadvertantly keeping us locked in to our self-created “boxes.”
– Promoting the “righteousness” of our personal beliefs, while judging as “wrong,” the beliefs of others which differ from ours, religious or otherwise
– Defending our egos at every turn instead of asking honest, critical-thinking questions about our beliefs when the presumed “righteousness” of our point of view is challenged
– Passing on our beliefs to others, such as our children, believing we will “save them” by promoting our agendas instead of allowing others the freedom to find Truth for themselves
We need to be encouraging others to ask questions, and challenge all they are taught – not to induce a “rebellion,” which is nonsense, but to encourage them to seek Truth above everything else. We would instead be encouraging every single human being to be exactly what they are – a fully alive human being, not a “Christian,” a “Muslim,” a “Hindu,” nor any other box the ego wants to jam itself into. To be free of our boxes, to see Reality without the delusions and self-deceptions of our ego and its need to defend and preserve itself, is what we need to be striving for as a race if we want true peace on Earth. Promoting our religious views as “right,” with all others being “wrong” has always led and will continue to lead to further violence and misery. Everyone knows this deep down, but for whatever reason, we continue down this futile road, in all liklihood because we have never bothered to question the very fabric of how we live, in part, because we are not encouraged to. The reason we are not encouraged to do this is because most people do not want to upset the status quo. Throughout history, only the very rare few have dared to question the established notions of what is, with the majority discouraging this questioning, since the ego fears change, and the inevitable destruction of the illusory “boxes” it creates.
So now we see it. Life as most of us know it is nothing more than a gigantic movement of the ego in an endless, futile game to defend itself. This is what we have come to call “life,” which is no life at all. It is a game and nothing more. It is a lie virtually everyone has bought in to out of fear. Most have done this subconsciously. Some have not. Regardless of how and why we have bought in to these lies, we must find another way if we are to live another way… It begins with us. We must ask ourselves what we want – if we truly want to be free, or if we want to keep playing games. The choice is ours….