There has been more a few times walking on my spiritual journey when I woke up to a new realization. It was in the awake up, the smile of recognition that the answer had been so apparent all along. These realizations continued to introduce myself to my ego. The smiles were recognition of the prison my buddy ego has placed me.
It's taken more lessons repeated to come to the humble realization that my ego is one brilliant cat. On a personal note, I've come to see my ego as an identity builder. It works to create a better "Jim" in every aspect of my life.
Bob Marley's lyric, "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds" shines light on the aspect of our ego. It is only in our awareness that one of the most universal tasks is to come to know this about ourselves.
This lyric teaches us two important lessons. As long as the ego is in charge of our experience, we will remain trapped. The other is that it is our responsibility to free ourselves. We often see ego in other people, which becomes more fodder for our own ego to latch onto trying to free others. We free others, by freeing ourselves.
Rumi says, "Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?" It is awareness that sets us free. Here are a few conceptual tools to use to stay a step ahead of the ego.
In the movie deception, the characters were able to wake up inside of dreams. The story went deeper that they would go to sleep in a dream to drift further into a dream of a dream. At some point they would realized they could become unaware of what was reality and what was the dream. They brought with them an anchor. They would use a spinning top. If they spin it in a dream, it would topple over.
What is your spinning top when it comes to freeing yourself from an egoic prison?
For me, I realized after so many attempts to put my ego out of the picture, it would only get more clever and continue its job to build yet another identity booster. In comparason to the movie Inception, I didn't know if I'd made progress or if I truly was still imprisoned. What I came to know is that there are two paths I can travel in my life, the ego (mind) version and my souls journey. There is a distinct characteristic of the soul, it thrives on experience. It is the soul's impulse that wants to soak in the beauty of this world. It wants to experience authentic love. It wants to find the beauty of the world as the Divine has gifted us. A yearning for spontaniety is a sure sign the soul is in charge.
For most people, the ego has been in charge. It's latched onto what the collective mindset considers living a good life. It leads us blindly down a road of identity vs. an authentic expression of ourself. It is first in the realization of how the go works in our life. Then it is a practice to become aware and live knowing how to be guided by the soul (intuition). Questioning everything is by far the best solution for seeing a bigger experience.