So, I was listening to a video on YouTube of audio from Alan Watts, which was recommended to me by one of my subscribers. During the video, Watts was talking about how having an “enlightenment experience” is difficult to let go of. He likened it to being as difficult to let go of a drug addiction, because the experience is so profoundly good and it sets a person seeking to find that profound goodness once again. But the seeking is a barrier to enlightenment, in and of itself. So, there has to be a letting go. And a person who knows how good it is to transcend the ego, has an extra difficult time giving up the search or letting go of their notions of what enlightenment is. A person like this has experienced, and they feel like they know. But they do not, as memory is thought and thought can’t contain enlightenment. A person who’s had an enlightenment experience is no closer to enlightenment than someone who has not. This is exactly the thing I’m dealing with in my seeking, having had a couple experiences of ego-transcendence.
I’ve been aware of this attachment for a while, but until I listened to this audio, I never did anything to actively detach myself other than just to be aware of the fact that I have this attachment. So, I would notice that my desire for enlightenment and my memory and conception of what the experience of enlightenment is truly colors my experience of reality. If I’m in meditation, I catch myself checking to see if I’m “getting there” yet by looking for the signifiers of the experiences I had in years past.
Or worse yet, I would have some desire for self-improvement to come up. Then I would immediately invalidate it because of the fact that it will fortify my attachment to my identity. Or even if I didn’t outright invalidate it, I would pull my punches and water it down and lose the fire behind my motivation. Competition and identity concerns truly add so much fuel to the fire of productivity from the dualistic perspective, which is the perspective that I currently hold. But I’ve been dousing these drives in hopes of transcending the need for my identity to be more or less anything than anyone else.
So, I was in the shower yesterday, and a desire came up to learn about Quantum Physics by reading some books on the topic. But I immediately interrupted the desire and labeled it as ‘just me trying to add value to my identity’. And the desire went flat and I lost heart for it. Then I recognized this as ego repression, as I’ve spoken about before in my videos. Then I was bummed that I let my knee-jerk, misguided notions of how to transcend the ego crush my inspiration. On top of that, I was also still mistrustful of the desire to learn about Quantum Physics in and of itself, that I wasn’t sure that pursuing it was the solution to the issue or just another way to dig the rabbit hole deeper. So, this is just one example of this thought process. But it happens in various ways at least a few times a day.
But this time, I thought ‘What if I pretended that enlightenment wasn’t a real possibility?’ Since my past experiences color my reality so much, what if I pretended that they never happened and that I know nothing about enlightenment, self-deception, God, or ego. So, that way when the desire to learn something interesting comes up or even the desire to add value to myself and to my ego, I can give it an enthusiastic yes. So, I am going to ask myself in these situations “What if I knew nothing about enlightenment?” to bypass all of this mental chatter and struggle over what I should or should not pursue. I simply ask myself, “What feels best in the moment?” Then I pursue that thing, even if it’s likely to build up the ego identification. Then I bring my awareness into that activity and watch the ego process happen.
Then, earlier today, I was watching Actualized.org’s newest video about becoming a sage. If I had not gone through the line of reasoning that I had been through in the shower, I would have immediately balked at the thought of “becoming a sage.” I would have written it off because trying to become something else is often a crutch for dealing with self-hatred and a distraction from reality and putting happiness in the future. If it’s my goal to become a sage, then that’s a very egoic thing, indeed. But if I look with a complete beginner’s mind and truly get into a state of openness and receptivity, I find that I’m very inspired to pursue sagedom and self-mastery. I miss being able to buy into the idea that I can add value to myself and the inspiration and fire that comes from it. So, that inspiration is the reality. Having the desire to add value in that way to a separate self is the reality. Being identified with ego is the reality. The illusion is the thought “I should not be identified with ego, so I should resist all activities that could potentially strengthen that identification.”
So, despite knowing that I cannot add value to myself in any absolute sense, I’m going to consciously adopt the notion that I can indeed add value to myself. But I’m going to adopt the notion with full awareness of this notion’s falseness and lack of grounding in reality. So, I will put as my end goal, to become a sage and a master of my own life as opposed to having enlightenment as my end goal. Enlightenment will come, if it wants to. And I suspect it may, if I’m doing work toward becoming a sage. But that’s none of my concern because I have no direct control over it. So, I’m letting go of that goal and focusing on another goal that’s more to my ego’s taste. I’m tired of undercutting myself and my drives and work ethic with my remembered notion of the Truth. Also, if this doesn’t work, I can always make changes. But for now, this is truly what feels best to me.