The Domestication of My Ego – Part 2

In my bubble of limited awareness, I see survival as a set of unquestionable needs that must be filled. Rigid adherence to this program of need-fulfillment is what I call self-domestication.

Let’s investigate three aspects of domestication and apply them to ego.

  1. A sense of survival (needs)
  2. A sense of relationship
  3. An understanding of self in relationship

Sense of Survival

Defense is a survival program that domesticates my thoughts and behaviors. When I domesticate, I trade one understanding of how to survive for another. Thus, I adapt to a new intention.

In the case of dependence, the survival program is master over me. I domesticate to that understanding by defending it. In that understanding and defense, I am not in charge of my life – that domesticator is. That domesticator is not a person, place, or thing. It is my dependence on it! Even when the domesticator proves to be me!

Because survival has a very narrow understanding, I must seek resources to help me live and escape predation. My survival program knows nothing of options or choices because it’s strictly controlled. My mind adds versatility to consider options.

Sense of Relationship

Perhaps domestication is adaptation to the power structure in a relationship matrix of which I and others are served. In the case of a pet, for example, this power structure is represented in the difference between master and pet. This structure appears in families in the power difference between generations, and, to some degree between domestic partners. To the degree one adapts to power structures, one exhibits domestication.

In the process of domesticating animals, man and animal live by the same process of give and take to create a mutually beneficial relationship. I can do the same with my mind by accepting a different relationship with my ego. Thus, a new way emerges.

Understanding of Self in Relationship

When the ego is in charge, we both feel afraid. When the conscious mind is in charge, everyone feels more secure. Out of that relationship emerges selfless service.

Understanding the power structure of mind in relationship with ego is the beginning of realization and exercise of compassion.

The more I learn about my world, the more I am able to “know myself” as the ancient Greeks admonished us. The more I know myself, the more I am able to exercise compassion. It’s a positive feedback loop that acknowledges ego in the process of knowing self. This can free the mind from its shackles – bringing all aspects of creation into the light of compassion.

What if compassion is the goal of the game of life?

When I distrust my ego – “it’s something I have to overcome” – what am I saying to an aspect of me? What would a new relationship look like with my ego? How might I connect to my ego with gratitude, affection, and respect?

What if I were to consider my ego in a loving relationship with me – like I would a loved pet or companion?

  • What do my ego and I want/need/intend?
  • How can I relate to my ego in a way that honors it?
  • Why do I want a relationship with my ego?
  • Who am I with my ego?

“I train humans, and rehabilitate dogs.” (Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer)

What if I were to adapt Cesar’s quote to:

“As I awaken my conscious mind, I rehabilitate my ego.”

Relationship between Possession and Lack

“He who dies with the most toys wins,” has driven my world-view for much of my life. That’s because I grew up in a society based on possession. In that view, I see ownership as a characteristic of abundance and the solution to lack.

In my society, we’ve collectively chosen to view lack as public enemy number one. We’ve expended a lot of energy and resources to its eradication. In the process, our consumerism is rapidly depleting the resources of the planet.

Lack is a perception and concept. In its basic form, lack is a comparison value judgment. Possession is one way I seek to mediate the sense of lack. Still, no matter how much stuff I possess, I can still feel lack. Though there seems to be a relationship between possession and lack, that relationship may be an apparition.

Why do I perceive lack as the enemy?

I need a concept to counter wholeness in order to realize my intention to achieve it. This is a basic tenant of duality – separation from oneness. For every “this” I need a “not this” against which I can measure in order to perceive it.

How could I appreciate wholeness unless I conceive of its complement against which I can measure it?

You could say, I need lack in order to appreciate wholeness. Far from being the enemy, lack may instead be my friend. Appreciation of lack in the form of gratitude for everything that I perceive short of wholeness may be the only appropriate response to lack.

Possession does not cure lack. Nor does it equate to wholeness. Possession is merely a human contrivance that helps us order and defend societies. Without society, possession is pointless. Ultimately, upon death, I must release all interest in all possessions. I don’t even possess my own body.

I am having an experience of time and space – the result of my belief in it. I possess nothing in this world because there is nothing to possess. I experience it as I believe it.

Imagine that!

How Want Resolves a Fundamental Paradox

A fundamental paradox exists in my fundamental life intention to be whole. That wholeness represents rightness, completeness and fulfillment, in which I gain a temporary sense of it.

Within that intention is the implication that I am unwhole. Although a paradox, the intention to achieve wholeness motivates me to need to solve the problem of unwholeness over and over and…

Resolving an Intention Ends It!

Satisfaction would also end my motivation were it not for the need to problem-solve. For every thought of unwholeness, there’s a thought I generate to solve it. In other words, the achievement of my fundamental intention to be whole would end my life as I know it.

It’s a paradoxical conundrum of intention in which fulfillment of need = not dying as opposed to living fully.

So, I defend against the satisfaction and fulfillment of the very intention I seek to fulfill. I do whatever I can to NOT achieve wholeness. Thus, my ever-present sense of dissatisfaction. This gives me a sense of purpose, which drives me to defend me against wholeness in a game of separation.

Although I need the goal of wholeness, I also need to avoid it – to have an experience that validates separateness. Need satisfies this sense of validation by giving me a sense of purpose to be whole. In this way, I avoid satisfaction of the fundamental intention while feeling like I’m achieving it. It’s a paradox!

Satisfying a Fundamental Paradox

Want could be defined as a response to a desire of that which I perceive can satisfy a non- life-threatening sense of lack.

No matter what I want, I’ll tend to get more of it. That “it” is need fulfillment I call want. Those are the wants outside of survival needs. The more I want, the more want I’ll perceive I desire.

I can get all I want without ever depleting want. I can achieve a wholeness of want and so satisfy my need to be whole.

In the separation game that’s brilliant!

What’s next????

Values, Limitation, and Wholeness

In my bubble of limited awareness, my foremost intention in life is to be whole – or at least not less than… This intention sets up a comparison between me and wholeness. To help in comparing me to wholeness, I assign values that I use in making judgments. This value compared to that value.

By assigning values, I can combine value with value to create a value I perceive as the whole value. For example, me + you = whole or me + a new car = whole. It seems like me plus something or somebody adds up to more than my value towards wholeness. However, because I’m in limited awareness, the equations I create always come up short of my expectations of wholeness: me + anything < whole.

From this deficit perspective of believing I’m less than whole, I need what’s outside me to satisfy my intention. Based on my value system, I seek outward and defend whatever I feel will make me whole. That feels more in line with my intention than viewing my life as subject to pure chance or fate.

Why must I add value to me to experience the bliss of wholeness? What if I valued myself as already whole? No addition necessary?

Gratitude.

Get Serious!

All that I’m certain is right? All the judgments I’ve defended with my life? Total bullshit! Why? Because I now recognize and appreciate the ambiguity of life. A lifetime of adherence to my belief in one absolute truth and no others is absurd! Now that’s funny!

Sometimes war rages within me between “I need to defend my beliefs against any challengers” and, “I choose to question a belief.” Bridging the gulf might ease or stop that war within.

In my limited state of awareness, I judge differences in perception in terms of clarity and confusion of thought. It’s a war of interpretation. If the judgement is about right and wrong, I must interpret my beliefs through limited understanding of both. That because my limited awareness causes me to view everything as a competition of this/vs/ that. Then I defend one side against the other. That’s war!

Ambiguity and Too Many Alternatives

Of course there are times when too many alternatives can give too much flexibility and insufficient structure to my thoughts in a selection process. Yet, the extremes of my selections can reveal the nature of my biases.

I define ambiguity as being open to more than one interpretation – more than one way can be suitable. Of course, if I feel that openness leaves me vulnerable to being judged as frivolous, I might consider openness a threat. Perhaps my defense of seriousness is more about agreement than rightness, unless they are the same. This can be said of my defense of ambiguity as well.

My sense of certainty about what’s right and what’s wrong limits my scope of experience. With intention of focus and purpose, I’ll narrow my choices and experiences into one perfect misunderstanding of everything without ever knowing its alternative.

Where certainty is rightness, ambiguity must be wrongness. How certain am I about that? In limited awareness, some uncertainty is always present. In a vast universe mostly unknown to me, how arrogant of me, in my bubble of limited awareness, to think I know enough to be certain about anything? It’s absurd!

Love that Certitude!

Although in certitude I feel right, justified, and/or proper, the limitations it imposes invites a challenge to the absurdity.

Perhaps I could use the humor in absurdity to question the necessity for defense while lessening the probability of initiating one.

When I begin to recognize the ambiguity inherent in my life, some part of me may put on the doubt breaks – “Wait a second… something just ain’t right here…” As I question my certitude, the absurdity of my truths surface. I may then realize I’ve played a joke on myself.

Imagine the absurdity of all the effort I’ve put into forcing truth onto an illusion. All the while, struggling to survive based on my dogged adherence to a paradoxical belief. The joke lands when I realize the absurdity of the situation and laugh about it.

Getting Serious!

Maybe it’s time for me to get serious about embodying ambiguity – and the freedom doubt offers. Gratitude!

A paradox, sitting at the bar. One turns to the other… and smiles.