Navigating the death and transfiguration of the ego

The following description of the process of ego death and transfiguration came through in an inspired way during and following long road trips across the desert southwest of the United States. The resultant framework can be held lightly and need not be the last word. Nevertheless, the stages and indications can help one to see where they are in the process, have a sense of the good things to come, and relax into the process.

A working definition of ego

There are many definitions of ego. Here’s one that resonates highly for both truth and usefulness:

Ego is the habitual pattern of labeling phenomena as “wrong” and repeatedly responding to that misperception and misidentification of what is actually the case, which is the process of the Infinite unfolding and learning through successive forms and experiences within Divine Imagination.

Ego is thus a feedback loop of negativity seeking to strengthen its own imaginary status as a negative-energy entity through ever more negation. At the same time, the ego is seeking on a deeper level to be released from the unsatisfactory state of lifeless denial that it has made for itself.

The ego process conjures and attempts to maintain a sense of reality based on wrongness, which forms a weak identity and worldview that needs constant protection since it is itself what’s the matter, so to speak. The attempt to maintain an imaginary self and worldview through continued negation and judgment results in exhaustion, and eventually the ego ceases to function. It is at this point, when the ego has thoroughly burned itself out, that the ego’s deepest desire is finally granted.

An alternative, and much gentler, way is for the ego to choose to surrender to a new way of being, in which a vaster sense of identity and vaster capabilities are available. Such a surrender can happen at any time.
Importantly, we are not labeling the ego as wrong. We can see it as a stage of development, with its own beauty. And as a stage of development it also has inherent limitations, which homo sapiens is discovering rather painfully. The next evolution of human is emerging now and a defining feature of this new species is that it will operate beyond ego. In the meantime, we would do well to understand the process of evolving beyond ego so that we can navigate this transformation with as much grace as possible.

Here are a few key egoic patterns to keep in mind:

  • Attachment and aversion
  • Condemnation/judgment
  • Reactivity: a spectrum of passivity to aggression/violence
  • Defensiveness and overidentification (with small ideas)

These patterns will resolve into the following post-egoic characteristics:

  • Openness, willingness
  • Discernment
  • Right, aligned responsiveness
  • Generosity

Five stages of ego death and transfiguration

Let’s explore five stages of ego death and transfiguration that give an overall sense of the journey from ego- and fear-based living to post-egoic being. Although the stages are presented in a linear fashion for clarity, they overlap and people tend to experience moving back and forth among them. Nevertheless, over time there is a shift from experiencing confusion and fear to knowing clarity and peace.

Stage 1: Initiation (disruption!)

  • Life stops making sense. (stage 1.0-2.9)
  • Confusion (stage 1.0-2.4)
  • Apparent chaos (stage 1.1-3.6)
  • Sense of meaninglessness and futility (stage 1.2-3.1)
  • One may find themselves considering suicide, or daydreaming of not being in the world, as a way out of the uncertainty, confusion, and despair. (stage 1.1-4.1)
  • What used to be motivating no longer seems to work. (stage 1.2-3.3)
  • Frequent fear, anxiety, dread, despair, sleeplessness, and/or existential terror, often for no apparent reason (stage 1.2-4.9)

Stage 2: Sense of not belonging

  • Feelings of not fitting into the world, of being between worlds, of not belonging (stage 2.0-4.2)
  • Inability to cope with the extreme uncertainty (stage 2.4-3.7)
  • Work can become difficult at this stage. (stage 2.4-3.9)
  • Feelings of profound pointlessness and demotivation can be very strong. (stage 2.7-3.7)
  • Loss of appetite (stage 2.7-4.2)
  • Dawning insight: “You are not your thoughts.” (stage 2.8)

Stage 3: Glimmers of a new way of being

  • Starting to see the light of a new way of being, although it might not make sense yet, e.g. financially or in other traditional ways (stage 3.0-4.4)
  • The limit of conventional Western psychology (stage 3.1-3.4)
  • Spiritual exhaustion, often accompanied by illness (stage 3.1-4.4)
  • Oscillation between highs of love, joy, and gratitude and lows of fear and panic (stage 3.4-4.4)
  • A sense of no longer being in the personality arises and grows stronger (stage 3.6-)

Stage 4: Lightening of the heavy burden of being someone

  • A lightening of a burden one didn’t know was there! (stage 4.0-)
  • Patterns of defensiveness and reactivity are noticeably diminished. (stage 4.1-)
  • Dawning perception of beauty in everything (stage 4.2)
  • Perceiving the perfection of circumstances on a consistent basis (stage 4.7-)
  • Growing clarity and an ability to know intuitively what to do / where to go (stage 4.8-)

Stage 5: Consolidation of the new way of being

  • A new and more powerful motivation arises: actual inspiration. (stage 5.1-5.4)
  • Consistent appreciation and seeing beauty in all are integrally established patterns of the new way of being. (stage 5.2-)
  • One begins to know and experience the true nature of Love. (stage 5.7)
  • A prevailing sense of inner peace is present and will continue to deepen long after the egoic patterns have been transmuted and forgotten. (stage 5.9-)

Summary and a call to engage

The process of ego death and transfiguration into a lighter way of being is natural and completely aligned with the next phase of human evolution. In a real sense, whatever species is to follow homo sapiens will be discovered on the other side of this transformation. It is, therefore, well worth exploring where you are on the path of becoming post-egoic. If you find yourself in one of the more challenging stages, know that there is a growing number of people who have been through this transformation and who can support you on your evolutionary journey. If you have navigated this passage already, then please consider helping others who are currently in the midst of this species-level upgrade.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Satsang for Collective Illumination

The range of spiritual practices is as vast and beautifully diverse as the cultures and sacred traditions that enrich the human family. Meditation, prayer, yoga, mantra recitation, conscious movement and exercise, and even sports can all help us to encounter the profound dimension of life and develop our spiritual nature.

The fruits of sustained spiritual practice include greater self-awareness, expanded capacity to give and receive love, reverence for all of life, healing of conflict and division, and, ultimately, peace on Earth. These benefits are realized over time as we engage with heart and dedication, and as we are transformed through the practices that are right for us. Moreover, as the Maharishi Effect and the Intention Experiments have shown, the benefits of spiritual practice can be amplified to the scale of societies, and even the whole planet, when we connect and harmonize our individual practices.

At The Enlightenment Zone, we are exploring new ways of practicing together that are made possible by telepresence technologies such as the Zoom video meeting platform. Our website and social media channels enable individuals to connect with one another and with peer-to-peer programs that use telepresence to access and help spread the enlightened consciousness that is quietly sweeping the planet. Two such programs are “Virtual Satsangs: Journeys into the Heart of Awakening” and “Living in God-Realization,” hosted by Yanni Maniates and Jeff Vander Clute. These regular online gatherings connect people from around the world using the power of Zoom and, most foundationally, the spiritual practice of satsang.

The word satsang derives from the Sanskrit words sat and sangha, which mean truth and company or association, respectively. The traditional form of satsang consists of a group of people who gather physically to associate with the true and the good by engaging in a spiritual inquiry led by a teacher or master. Satsang typically includes meditation, a discourse, and a period during which the teacher answers questions posed by the students. In the powerful field that satsang creates, participants often experience epiphanies and awakenings, and, in some cases, receive direct transmissions of consciousness and energy.

The Enlightenment Zone is building on the traditional practice of satsang – with an emphasis on experience and transmission – while innovating in at least two dimensions: (1) creating a field of liberating energy and consciousness that powerfully blesses each participant and the planet through telepresence; and (2) calling forth the spiritual mastery inherent in each individual so that they can become a co-teacher, with their peers, and offer their unique gifts into the collective. Thus far in our explorations, we have discovered that satsang and telepresence are completely compatible, and that groups of empowered peers can reliably become collective expressions of loving, awakened consciousness.

We have also found that great wisdom and light emerge through each individual, and that every participant contributes to the group’s ability to embody truth and goodness. While some people may be, or may appear to be, more advanced in certain ways (though generally not in all ways), everyone is learning and evolving, and the collective presence is on its own journey of awakening and embodiment as well. Therefore, to create the conditions for collective awakening, we have found it helpful to consider that we are all teaching and learning from one another simultaneously, that each of us is supporting the awakening of one another and the collective as a whole, and that each of us has the potential to be a leader, teacher, and spiritual master who is capable of embodying the light for the benefit of all beings.

A spiritual practice is an ongoing adventure. We practice, we deepen, and we discover new territories of inquiry and possibility. So it is with satsang. Through engaging with forms of practice that have existed for millennia, and innovating in ways that are appropriate to the times, we are discovering how to grow awakened collectives that can eventually coalesce into an awakened humanity. Thus satsang is a practice which, sustained and magnified, may finally enable us to realize the comprehensive healing and peace that we know in our heart of hearts to be the inevitable promise of humanity.

The Enlightenment Zone is an online destination for exploring our true nature where every offering has been created to transmit awakened consciousness and energy. To learn more about the Virtual Satsangs and Living in God-Realization explorations, including a schedule of upcoming events, please visit the Courses section of www.enlightenment.zone.

The Consciousness of Money: Money as a Spiritual Teacher

So often, what we resist and disparage actually holds the keys to our growth and freedom. This turns out to be especially true of money.

The deeply seated cultural beliefs that money is evil, or the root of all evil, have given rise to collective expectations about money that are playing out all around us. Even though it is virtually impossible to avoid interacting with money, most people have rejected it on some level (even if they have a lot of it) and as a result have accumulated a tangled mess of painful stories – of rejection, fear, lack, abuse, betrayal – about money. Small wonder there is so much dysfunction in society and in our personal lives. However, there is another way we can be together in this world, and changing our relationship with money is one of the most significant steps we can take to create a better life for ourselves and others.

When we relax and let go of all the painful stories and projections, set aside our rejection of money, and inquire into what money really is, we eventually discover that money is actually a most remarkable and radical teacher of life, and of consciousness. We discover that it wasn’t money that hurt us, and that if we had really understood what money is, we would almost certainly have had far more beautiful life experiences.

Money connects us with one another and with all that life has to offer. It is all about relationship. As we develop a comfortable and relaxed relationship with money, we stop pushing it away or trying to hoard it (which is actually the same thing). In fact, we open up innumerable pathways of connection, which means that money can come to us much more easily. At the same time, we learn the joy of being generous with money, as an expression of our overflowing gratitude for the magnificent web of connection that is life. In this generous flow of giving and receiving, we find that joy is ever-increasing and that life works better and better.

More radical still, we’ve discovered that what money really is – far beyond the bills and coins and bank balances that we thought it was – is an immensely powerful consciousness that yearns to reconnect us directly with our true nature and with the whole of life, if only we will let it. The more we engage with money, especially when we engage with it lovingly, the more we come to know the fullness of life, and ourselves, and the more conscious and awake we become in all of our interactions. Thus, far from being the root of all evil, money can actually heal us, and help to guide us home… to the realization of a profound inner peace and harmony with life.

I was shocked when I realized that Money is actually a spiritual teacher. That is the total opposite of so many embedded cultural beliefs and expectations. And yet these beliefs and expectations clearly haven’t worked. The world is in crisis now more than ever before. The sheer magnitude of humanity’s challenges is forcing us to revisit our beliefs and assumptions about how life works. The question of how we relate to money provides the perfect context for us to see that the truth is surprisingly different from what we may have been taught. The “shocking” nature of what we discover when we inquire into the true nature of Money calls to mind a saying from the Gospel of Thomas: “Let him who seeks [the truth] cease not to seek until he finds. When he finds he will be astonished, and when he is astonished he will wonder, and he will reign over all things!” Opening to Money as a spiritual teacher helps us to open to the wonder of our own true nature.

One of our workshop participants said it best. As a native man, when he saw past the generations of trauma, heartbreak, and abuse to the truth of what money really is, he nearly shouted with joy, “Money vibrates at the same frequency as Love!” Truly, as we learn to love money and let it love us, and as we work with money and let it teach us, we will learn to love ourselves and to live well together on this planet. We will heal, we will grow, and we will awaken. And in the process, our lives and our financial realities will change in beautiful and even astonishing ways.

Transforming our relationship with life and with ourselves, through the journey of exploring and embracing money, is the promise of The Consciousness of Money. Regardless of how much money we have, we can begin building a truly thriving relationship with money, and learning from it, right now. We can start wherever we are, with whatever we have. As such, the journey of how we relate to money can help everyone to heal, grow, and awaken. And, in particular, it can help you.

The next Consciousness of Money Online begins soon, and here is a schedule of our upcoming workshops and retreats in the USA:

Workshops

  • New York City: April 11, 2019 ~ “Transform Your Relationship with Money”

Three-Day Retreats

  • Napa Valley, California: April 23-27, 2019
  • Orcas Island, Washington: May 4-7
  • Crestone, Colorado: May 22-25
  • Asheville, North Carolina: June 6-9
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania: June 12-15
  • New York City area: June 27-30

Please contact us if you’d like to participate in one of the workshops or retreats. You might also enjoy reading Love Money, Money Loves You, by Sarah McCrum.

What is synergy, really?

Photo Credit: “Synergy” by Nick Youngson*

While preparing for a conference call about how to support more expressions of actual synergy in the world, I went into meditation and asked the question, “What is synergy, really?” Somehow the usual notion of synergy as the whole being greater than the sum of the parts felt insufficient. Intuitively, I sensed that there was more information available about how and from where this greaterness arises. In particular, I could “see” that what makes the whole more than the amalgamation of the parts comes not from some complex interaction of the parts as much as through an opening that the parts are coherently able to invoke.

Below is what came through during the meditative inquiry.

1. Synergy is a luminous expression of THE ONE behind the entire Game of Creation. It reaches from FREEDOM well into the territory of delusion as a compassionate act.

2. The constituent parts of a given system that are said to be in synergy are collaborating to create the conditions for the emergence of a truly new manifestation. These conditions are a kind of opening to the Ground of Spontaneous Being within conditioned reality. The new manifestation emerges through this opening, from the profound depths of Being.

3. Synergy is therefore facilitating direct Creation by the MOST LUMINOUS ONE, the “rays” of which combine to form the truly new creation within the bounds and conditions of that which has already been created. At the same time, this new creation overflows the apparent boundaries and evolves the conditions as an expansion of Consciousness.

4. As a technology of invocation, synergy is a siddhi – a power that lies latent within each and every one until it is awakened. This siddhi can be developed and mastered by individuals, groups, and even organizations.

5. Embedded within the Ground of Spontaneous Being there is a Light source that emanates new subtle material into the dimensions of existence. This light is always on, always searching for an opening through which to deliver “spiritual medicine” for the Mind that has gone astray.

6. This spiritual medicine of actual synergy is always unique, and is always an expression of indivisible Totality. It is a corrective, compassionate response to the sufferings of the Mind that has attempted to divide itself.

7. Looking to understand this medicine in terms of the components that have assembled to invite it forth is futile. Even though there is the appearance of causal relationships between the parts and the whole – for this preserves the veil of Maya – no formula for repeating true synergy will ever be found. Synergy is far beyond that which can be mechanized.

8. The deepest roots of synergy are beyond Buddha and the Christ, and beyond all that has ever been named. The invocation of synergy reaches all the way to the Source of Being.

9. An aptitude for enlightenment is a requirement for those who would invoke synergy where it is needed the most. Presence; discernment; willingness to serve the Whole; the capacity to listen deeply, to the point where one’s ears become the ears of Divinity; utter and total commitment to Good; and the longing for a world that is free from all delusion… These are some of the attributes that are needed. The more awakening one has, and the more these capacities have been developed, the more synergy will course through the life of the one or ones becoming thus realized.

10. Transfiguration of bodies is the by-product of synergy. Expect a miracle. Expect a new body. Expect a healed world. Expect that all of these experiences are your birthright within this lifetime. The only ingredient that has been missing is the correct understanding of what synergy is. The instant – this instant – that such information is made available, the Light that is hidden within the deeper domains of substance will begin to emerge and assume the forms that are required for the healing of all life forms and the restoration of Heaven as a lived experience.

11. Synergy is thus a miracle technology of the MOST LUMINOUS, to be wielded by those who have realized the GREAT NUMINOSITY beyond all appearances of the uncountable realms of Creation. These keys have been given on this sacred day in the unspooling of Divine Time. This ever-widening moment is indeed the long-awaited dawn of the New Humanity.

* Photo by Nick Youngson, via Alpha Stock Images, CC BY-SA 3.0

The New Consciousness

The “New Consciousness” – or “New Pattern” of activity and consciousness on the planet – is both the knowledge and experience that All of Life, and everything in Nature, is One Whole and Indivisible System of Being. This One Whole System has countless layers of individuals and collectives expressing all manner of possibilities, and yet there is only One Process going on. 

Naturally, what is one and indivisible cannot truly be separated into, for instance, Evolutionary Leaders and not-Evolutionary Leaders, even though we may speak that way as a convenience. The experience of our physicality becomes supremely joyful when we realize that, whatever the appearances, there is nothing outside of our One Shared Being, and nothing can ever be “other.” The genius of Creation is that what appears to be outside according to the five senses is always present in some form on the inside. There is always a correspondence that can be discovered, and especially when we are curious about how the One Whole System functions, our abilities to tune into Nature’s subtle, though always available, information channels are awakened. 

Since there is only a single Whole Living System, it is true that, to paraphrase Chief Seattle, “whatever we do to the Web of Life, we do to ourselves”… and this applies equally to our fellow beings. To condemn anyone or anything that appears to be outside of us gives rise to external conflict and produces disease inside of us. Similarly, to condemn anything on the inside energizes conflict on the outside as well as disease processes within. Each and every form of rejection, no matter how subtle, produces conflict within our One Shared Being. This conflict will eventually show up as challenges for our individual and collective bodies, and these challenges will be experienced in one form or another by all. All such episodes are a call to the New Consciousness; they are a means of getting our attention so that we might choose to step into the greater wisdom that is beckoning. Wherever there is conflict in any form, there is the opportunity to realize the New Consciousness more fully. And in this New Consciousness, there are much more empowered ways of transforming and healing the world. 

For one living in the New Consciousness, the richness and texture of life are radically enhanced, and there can be experiences of an almost overwhelming joy. One who lives in this New Consciousness experiences a state of vastly expanded identity without losing the beauty of individual experience or the ability to attune, discern, enjoy life, and make decisions from wisdom. Individuality is fully expressed within the New Consciousness, and at the same time one’s words and actions are naturally harmonized and aligned with the Whole of Nature, offering immeasurable benefit to the One Whole System. Thus we come to realize that there is actually no trade-off between the good of the individual and the good of the Whole. Instead, there is Synergy. The individual and the Whole are indivisible, and the well-being of one is the well-being of All. At the same time, the diverse multitude of temporary distinctions and expressions becomes the basis for the experience of… Beauty. 

From the perspective of the New Consciousness, the entire progression of human events is seen as a movement from the entrenched belief in separation and the myriad painful reflections of that belief, to ideas and experiences of interconnectedness, and finally to the direct knowing and joyful experience of underlying indivisibility. Although codes of conduct and moral injunctions have served to maintain a semblance of coherence on the playgrounds of earlier stages, these structures are successively released as one’s capacity to move in a way that is attuned and aligned with the Whole increases. Thus the individual who lives in this New Consciousness has realized the natural, comprehensive, and spontaneous harmony, which cannot be imposed or even taught, but which must inevitably awaken. Once the New Consciousness has awakened, the true and lasting Peace is finally lived as the obvious and most fulfilling choice. 

Three questions that’ll change your life forever

Three key questions have been coming up recently for entrepreneurs I work with who are “changing the game” in their respective industries:

  1. To what extent am I accepting all available help? (Shatters ego)
  2. To what extent am I providing all optimal assistance? (Shatters laziness)
  3. To what extent am I willing to steward something that could be truly big? (Shatters the comfort zone)

When I check in, I get that pretty much all gamechangers – people driven by a strong sense of mission – aren’t even close to being fully willing to steward something that could grow to the scale that changing the game requires. No wonder there are so many energetic roadblocks on the journey. We want it, but where the rubber meets the road we’re still lazy, egoic, and comfortably small in our aspirations. However, when we decide deep, deep down in the roots of our being to accept all available help, offer all optimal assistance, and be willing to play truly big, THEN we can change the game.

Since what we really are in the roots of our being is, and creates, the Totality of all that is and all that could ever be, to avoid playing big is to deny the aspect of ourselves that is absolutely vast. To pretend that we’re not bigness itself is to shut off creative power in our experience and become a victim of cosmic forces. At this point on the journey of awakening, denying any aspect of ourselves is going to fail miserably.

Being everything, we can explore the micro and meso scales of life – what we might call the human experience — and it is beautiful to do so in countless unique and individualized ways. But no one gets to say no to being/playing vast because no one is in any way separate from Totality. 

So say YES to stewarding bigness! A while back I offered the thought experiment of imagining being completely responsible for meeting Earth’s needs. It pays to imagine something that big, and even bigger. Even the universe is tiny in relation to what we are in Truth. Infinity is a microdot on your fingertip. If you can’t feel that yet, just be open to realizing the possibility that you could be so supremely vast and you will in due course.

Let us not be so stuck in our comforts! Let us not be so lazy and self-centered at the level of personal identity! Let us be AWAKE! Nothing less will satisfy. At this stage, nothing less has a prayer of bringing health, happiness, and real prosperity. In fact, until we say the big YES, the multitude of dramas will continue with our bodies, and at the personal and transpersonal levels with colleagues and loved ones, to indicate that we are still asleep.

Building gamechaging businesses is a high spiritual path. None of us knew what we were actually signing up for. But it’s too late to turn back. There can be no more refuge in the pseudo-comforts of unconsciousness.

Returning to the Country of the Heart

There is a great deal of attention being placed nowadays on the theory and practice of awakening consciousness. The truly good news of these times is that spiritual practices are proliferating that can reliably guide the soul home to the knowing and experience of its true abode. One simple and ageless practice, which I discovered essentially through trial and error, is that of showing up consistently in service, saying YES when asked to fulfill a function, often as part of a team, and then surrendering to the Grace that flows when service deepens into selflessness. This practice permeates my inner and outer work, and it has been a radical accelerant on my journey home.

In June 2017, I had the great good fortune to meet Ben Bowler at a gathering of leaders working to bridge divides between science, spirituality, and activism in this time of deepening world crisis. As we sat outside in the early-morning summer sunshine, Ben shared a vision for UNITY EARTH – a living network of people, organizations, and events with a mission of healing humanity and Earth through experiences of actual Unity. One of the events coming up within a few short months was a concert to observe and celebrate a profound healing moment for the nation and peoples of Australia: the “return to country” of Mungo Man. Ben asked if I would be interested in coming to Australia to participate, and without a hesitation I said YES.

Continue reading Returning to the Country of the Heart