“Ego remodels a house; Essence doesn’t.”
It was a small comment really, not meant to stir the dust or even invite days of contemplation, but it did. And I must admit Ego spit and spat and fumed, because Ego loves “comparison”, “competition”, and “judgment”; i.e., if Ego remodels the house, I must be bad. No one said that, but that’s where unabated Ego goes, straight to comparison, competition and judgment.
Ego’s not bad, but left unchecked, Ego can take us into pride and argument.
But Essence, when allowed to surface will take us further and deeper into perhaps some dark, unexplored area of the soul. And if left to simmer for a couple of days, some really juicy thoughts might begin to surface and hope might be the end result.
Only in a dualistic world are Ego and Essence different, one being bad, the other being good. In a non-dualistic world, they are the same – like two sides of a coin:
or two strands of DNA:
or threads woven together to make cloth:
all of which, by the way, require 3rd Force to make the new thing: heads and tails make a coin, and polynucleotide weave together to make human cells, and strands of threads weave together in opposite directions make cloth. But I digress.
As I pondered Ego and Essence this morning, I came to the conclusion once again that they also are two woven together and by some lovely 3rd Force energy, they become “I Am”.
The two shall become one.
If I deny Essence, there can be no “I”.
If I deny Ego, there can be no “I”.
If I take away one, the whole is no longer a whole but now a part.
As long as I look at Ego and Essence as two and work to decide which part of me is doing/being, I remain divided.
Which sends me to the whole of second half of life stuff: individuation, differentiation, and integration.
Individuation: to form the individual, to make distinctions, to distinguish single from group.
There came a time when I had to realize that. Sounds kind of silly, but we do have to make that discovery at some time in our lives – hopefully before the age of 50, but that’s another story. I woke up one morning and it came to me that I was not my family of origin, neither was I an American or a white girl or a Baptist or a Catholic. I was an individual separate from any group I had ever been a part of. I was ME – individual. And I was two (or more): Ego and Essence.
Differentiation: the process by which cells or tissues change from relatively generalized to specialized, to mark differently, to distinguish.
Ahhh, now that I realized I was an individual, it was time for me to differentiate, to realize how I was different from the other, what makes me, Me? Thus began the process of listening to my own thoughts, to my own ideas and discovering how many of those thoughts and ideas really were mine and how many had been passed onto me by the groups I had been a part of. This is the part where I heard the Voice inside say, “It’s a dance Sheila. You can’t ask me to ‘make you’ anything anymore. YOU get to decide what/who you will be. You are co-creator with Me.” Which can be a fun and exciting thing, or very scary. This is when I realize I can no longer blame others for what I think. I can no longer pass the buck for how I act. Now I must grow up and accept responsibility for who I am, what I do, and what I say. I can’t even say, “God made me this way” anymore. It became time to recognize the different voices speaking into my life: Is it Ego? Or is it Essence?
Then there comes a time when Integration begins.
Integration: Combining into an integral whole; necessary to the completeness of the whole.
Here’s the twist now: to leave the dualistic world behind…to leave Ego and Essence behind and become “one”.
The two shall become one.
As long as I keep looking at Ego, I am divided.
As long as I keep looking at Essence, I am divided.
Beatrice Beautreau writes in her book, Radical Optimism: “…here is where nondualism comes in, because the last dualism to go is the dualism between subject and object.” She begins this wonderful little discussion of “backing into Jesus”.
As long as we keep looking at Jesus, Jesus and I are separate, but if I turn around and back into him, we become one.
It’s the same with Ego and Essence. As long as I am regarding either Ego or Essence, there is subject and object, which deteriorates into comparison, competition, and judgment. Which one’s the right one? Which one’s the good one? Am I in my Ego? Or am I now in my Essence? I am still divided.
I’ve been pondering the “single eye” for a few weeks now. One of the Psalms mentions us as the “apple of God’s eye”, and I’ve been pondering how when I look into the Other’s eye, I see my own reflection. As the Eye gazes into the I, the two become one. The Eye sees self reflected in the I. The Eye becomes single.
Meister Eckhart is quoted as saying, “The eye with which I see God is the eye with which God sees me.”
Ego = personality self; Essence = God-Self
The two become one. I am not Ego; I am not Essence; I am more than Ego and more than Essence. I am.
So, who’s remodeling the house? I am.
Which house am I remodeling? My physical house on the Creek? My physical body that houses “I”, or my spiritual house?
Yes, I am.