We grow through the experiences and life lessons we are taught in our youth.
The bigger our ego is, the bigger the character we become. But is spirituality just “fake” in the West? It’s now becoming fake in the East, also.
When countries become Americanised we see our youth looking to models, musicians and actors as aspiring heroes.
I grew up watching movies and television, similarly to the majority of the youth in Sydney, Australia in the 1980s—and probably the majority of the West at that time also.
I idealised female actresses and became obsessed with teen dramas and now it’s easy to see at an older age how that has affected me and my ego.
When I first discovered spirituality, it came from the West; it started from my mother and our heritage—embedded in my identity as an descendent of the Aboriginal people of Northern NSW. Then it progressed to a constructed form of spirituality in Melbourne in my youth which involved reaching states of higher consciousness through experimenting with drugs and transformational festivals.
After traveling to India and exploring my own mind more in depth, I began to understand that mostly this was all fueling the ego.
The desire to create a character within this world (story).
I recently underwent a natural psychological phenomenon where I had an out-of-body experience during meditation while in California. This event stripped away the “identities” (egos) around me and allowed me to see the actual essence of how we have all been manipulated and created to be cogs in someone else’s system.
The system to sell. To make humans feel inferior or bring about a way to make them believe they are not good enough (low self esteem) and they will strive to acquire things to fill that hole. In the West this falls under image.
Image has become everything. Starting at an early age we critique small children on their external features and ignore how they are being molded to fit into this terrifying world of our fake reality.
The matrix, if you will.
Why do we send our children to school where they are taught math, languages, and business? Of course, to breed them for the system. But does that actually serve them, or are we training a nation of dummies to serve the 1%—making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Where is the place in our schools for meditation, yoga or movement classes, healthy living and good eating?
We need these connection to the soul classes.
The greatest gift we have to pass down to the youth is the ability for them to properly understand how their bodies work. How can they become strong in their bodies and ultimately become strong in their minds too?
This is how:
When we start to show each other the power of oneness we start to see a unified direction.
When we begin to put others before ourselves, and not assume to gain anything from it, we begin to move forward.
When we stop amplifying our own identities as separate from the rest of the world we begin to see the answers of the universe.
The ego is the self; it is the concept that we are separate from the world around us. We live in our minds so much it becomes hard for us to see that we are unified.
The ego will ultimately destroy us if we cannot learn to balance out the soul also.
I cannot completely free myself from my ego—to be completely rid of it, I must render myself as nothing. In the West, if I was to attempt to follow my soul I would end up homeless and with no sense of community.
How then do I create a community of people who understand the balance but lead with their soul? Sometimes spirituality can lead people to become more narcissistic—sometimes we miss the point when we say we are god and we are all one. It does not mean you are a god—that you are greater or more special than another. That is ego. Rather it means that by following your soul connection you understand that we are all god. We all have the power to be strong and withstand the complex natures of our mind.
It can often be a double-edged sword. In the West we hate to admit being wrong. People with large egos will not indulge in something unless they believe it is directly helping them. Not to say there are not selfless people who exist within this realm, but mostly they are not the people highlighted in popular spiritual trends.
I would like to take the time now to clearly point out that I am coming from my ego. To share knowledge is a sacred act and something we have done for many thousands of years. But to share on a grand scale, a mass scale like this, is more about the ego than the soul.
The soul would come from a more connective part of my mind, where I would be one-on-one or in an intimate group.
I am fueling my ego, even though I do believe this comes from a sincere place that is willing to be honest and truthful about my intentions of sharing.
I have struggled with my soul and ego balance for a lot of my life. The problem is when we act from our soul we often get left behind in the West, we’re not seen as “successful,” we can often be overlooked and criticised by the mainstream on our choices. I struggle with this not because I care what people think but because love is important to me, to my ego.
Community plays a role in my life and I am unable, at this point in my life, to completely detach from that part of me. I want to live, to be strong and able minded, but also still and silent. This ongoing journey has brought me to a place of duality. The understanding that the overactive mind will lead to self destruction.
The more active our minds become the more we consume, and the more active role ego takes to fill our desires.
Meditation can be a tool to help us understand that we do not need to indulge in all the things our mind jumps to in a habituated way.
We can instead learn to live with mother nature in mind.
The truth is we are here to co-exist, not to succeed or persist.
Author: Ella Noah Bancroft
Image: Author’s Own, Sombilon/Flickr
Editor: Travis May