Monday, July 1, 2019

Let Go of that Ego!

I get less and less afraid of death as I age. I think what's important to me about staying alive is stuff that won't go away with this body. It makes staying alive a lot less important. However, there is a subtle goal, a kind of narrow passage for humanity that I see us trying to navigate, and suffering is the result of bumping against the walls. Keeping myself healthy and alive is a good guard against the forces that drive us off the path. 

On one side of this passage is the importance of each individual and his or her perspective. Breaking through that side creates obvious suffering of the kind that our natural fear of death inhibits.

On the other side is the experience of existence which we all feel and which is largely unaffected by the end of a single human life. We die all the time, and it's not a big deal to most of the rest of us. I feel joy when I perceive joy in others, and pain when I see it in others. Increasingly, however, the pain seems more like an opportunity than anything else.

The real cause of actual pain is always in the past. Pain which seems to be caused by the future is imaginary (which doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, just that the imagination can control it), and therefore ephemeral. The past has nothing to offer but lessons. Those lessons constitute the opportunity that I see in pain.  I suppose the past also offers us joy, but that joy can be kind of hollow.

My little sister, Anitra, died of breast cancer a few years ago. There are bits of her mind still living in mine. My mom died a few years before that, and the are much larger pieces of her mind still living in mine. There is a lot there in which I can wallow if I want to cry, but I prefer the joy I can get from honoring those pieces of them that are still alive in me.

Maybe the function of the ego is to motivate the body to stay alive long enough to show the rest of the universe that this body is useful for creating and experiencing joy. That seems to happen for most of us.  The result is that there are a bunch of people who will attend our funeral and honor our memory when we die. Before we die, but after that group of loved ones has formed, for the most part, the ego becomes a liability and just messes things up.  Thinking of those people in your life might make it easier to shrink your own ego.

If you share with me the idea that the universe exists for the specific purpose of enjoying its own beauty from as many different perspectives as possible, then you see the importance of actually enjoying that beauty yourself.  Just don't let your ego ruin things, for yourself or for others.

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