There are facts and there are stories we tell about facts: Fact: He was late. Story: He was late because he doesn’t care. Facts create feelings only when you turn them into a story. Fact: I have x dollars in my bank account. Story: I have only x dollars in my bank account, and that should be different, and I’m scared I won’t have enough (in the future). Stories create feelings, and feelings drive actions and determine how we feel about life, ourselves, and others and where we put our energy. The ego is the aspect of ourselves that spins facts into stories, that holds particular beliefs, opinions, self-images, judgments, and desires. It is the programmed and conditioned aspect of ourselves. All stories, beliefs, and self-images belong to the ego and create the ego’s version of reality and the false self. Meanwhile, something else is here living, breathing, moving through life in a different way. It uses facts and the intellect, but it moves according to deeper drives and intentions that relate to the role we came here to play within the Whole.
There are desires that come from the ego and desires, or intentions, that come from Essence. They are experienced similarly, as drives to do or say something that will help achieve that desire or intention. The main difference is that the ego tells stories about its desires and fuels them with emotions (e.g., “When I get this, everyone will look up to me”), while Essence simply moves us to do or say something that will bring about its intentions. When we are aligned with Essence, our actions and speech feel clear and clean, and they lead to the intended result, while listening to the egoic mind often leaves us feeling confused and conflicted about what we want and how to get what we want.
The other most obvious difference is that getting what the ego wants brings only brief satisfaction and happiness, while getting what Essence wants brings deep happiness and fulfillment. You know when you are aligned with Essence’s intentions by feelings of excitement, joy, fulfillment, peace, relaxation, and contentment. These same feelings may be present when the ego gets what it wants, but they are more like a lower octave of the feelings that arise from Essence, and they don't last.
Being awake is being aligned with our natural Self, which has no self-images or a face and is not trying to be anything or get anywhere. Being awake is just being—without all of the ideas about who you are or are not, without a story about where you or your life is going, and without dreams or a desire for anything other than what is here right now and experiencing whatever is being experienced.
Being awake is too simple to be of interest to the ego. Being awake just isn’t special enough for the ego. When you are awake—when you are just being—there is no sense of a me who can feel special. There’s neither feeling special nor not feeling special, but just being as it is being experienced now. That’s a bad deal for the ego, which would rather be a spiritual me who is trying to awaken than be awake and not exist!
How to heal the world (and yourself)? Get into the flow. Do what Life moves you to do. Get in alignment with how life is already moving through you. That is what the flow is—how life is already moving. Life—this life force and consciousness that we are—is moving in everyone. It is moving us to do and speak, create, learn, use our intelligence, discover, and just be. How is it moving you now? Apparently, you are moved to read this. Then what? You don’t know until you do. That’s one of the things that’s fun about being in the flow. It is spontaneous and surprising—and that’s fun and exciting, unless you listen to the egoic mind, which is the fear and doubt-producing machinery we are endowed with as humans. This aspect of mind—the voice in our head—is our challenge, the dragon we are meant to slay or, rather, see through in order to be free and happy.
There is a natural and spontaneous quality to our Being that is experienced as responding to life in an uncomplicated (by thought) way. When we are aligned with our Being and in the flow, the intellect is used when it is needed, but the egoic mind—that noisy voice in our head—is seen for what it is: an ineffectual and hollow voice, a voice without wisdom. Meanwhile, we move naturally and wisely in the world. What most interferes with experiencing our natural state and this natural movement of being in the flow are thoughts about what “I” should do, what others think or will think about “me,” what “I” did in the past, and what “I” believe “I” need to do in the future. Each of us has an ongoing story we tell about ourselves. This story is revealed through our “I” thoughts and by the things we tell others about ourselves. The story is created by these “I” thoughts, but this story is a mental overlay on life, while life is happening simply and naturally through us and through everyone else.
When we make a choice, sometimes it’s spontaneous and not thought about, like when we jump out of bed in the morning. At other times, the options are laid out, examined, and decided on. These are two different experiences of choosing: One just happens, and one is a decision.
A decision is the result of making up our mind (an interesting turn of phrase). To the ego, questions feel like problems that need to be solved by making a decision. There’s a feeling of needing to make a decision, and almost any decision will do. To the ego, making a decision is important because that ends the discomfort of not knowing. You make up your mind. You make it up!
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