The Ego: Fascination with Form and Optical Illusions of Consciousness – Chapter 2 “A New Earth”

by Bryan Rice August 2011

Eckhart Tolle was not the only one who had something to say about the nature of the ego, mistaken for the true “I”, or reality or misperception. Albert Einstein used the phrase Optical Illusion of Consciousness to discuss the very same topic examined by Tolle in Chapter 2 of “A New Earth”. The illusion Einstein spoke of in essence had to do with being mislead into misperceiving reality. “Nothing real can be threatened”, says A Course in Miracles. The ego, blurs reality for us and in the work of A Course in Miracles, the ego must be undone to remove the blocks to the reality of love.
So, in talking about the ego, the words delusion, illusion, inflation, and erroneous come up. But before going any further with the characteristics, I want to comment on what Tolle said beginning in Chapter 2.

“Words are a hypnotic spell,” he says. Just because we know a word, doesn’t mean we know what the word signifies. When dealing with words and mechanics of perception, Tolle used the image of seeing only the tip of the iceberg to understand how the ego radar works. He is very clear in “A New Earth” and even in “The Power of Now”, that humanity is possessed by thought. That obviously is not the optimum situation for us to be in. We have to sense “beingness” found in all things and in life circles. It is hard to see the real essence of things, when we are hypnotized by the sign posts, or the meaning to which words point.

I agree with Tolle, when he said that a great miracle needs to take place – we need to experience the true self before labels were either self-constructed by our mind or by the minds of others. These labels of the mind lead to disentanglement and we thereby sacrifice creativity, wisdom, joy, and love. Getting back to words, we are not only possessed by them, but we are imprisoned by them. The funny thing about words is that they are just basic sounds assigned a meaning by the mind. These basic sounds, Tolle says cannot explain our being.

The false sense of “I” is the greatest truth or error, as stated in the book. The very existence of the ego-illusory self is a primordial error in falsely identifying the “I”.

On a positive note, if you are able to recognize an illusion as illusion, it dissolves. That should be our goal in dealing with the false identities we construct for ourselves.

Returning to the idea of reality versus unreality, it is true that the ego’s survival depends on our mistaking IT for reality. For instance, when we say “I”, we are not referring to our true self in God or Being. To understand the workings of the ego, think of a baby. He or she equates “I” with their name, then the next step in ego development they look at things in terms of “me” or “mine”. The primitive ego, unaffected by advanced consciousness and awareness represents things as their self.

The mental construct of “I”, rather the egoic self ties into gender identity, identifying with possessions, it relates to a sense perceived body, it identifies with a certain race, and also a religion.

Transcending the mind is a big focus point for Eckhart Tolle. In more than one of his books, he refers to thought as compulsive, mostly repetitive, and pointless. Most people, he says, are spiritually unconscious, meaning that they have no sense of “I” apart from their thoughts.

The voice in a given individual’s head causes one to be absorbed in thoughts, unaware of their surroundings, thinking through the intellect that as an individual who thinks, we are alive and have meaning.

Tolle clearly states that we must shift from thinking to detached, observing awareness. But so many of us are content to let the mind possess us with unhappiness. Since thinking is only a small fraction of the consciousness that we are, we need to free ourselves from compulsive thought.

To summarize briefly, the crux of Tolle’s argument about how we must undo and understanding the structure and content of the ego, centers around moving beyond the structure of “my” in relation to things. He touches on the nature of the consumer society, advertising, and how it feeds the “hungry mind” and “greed” in people. He goes on to say that there is “an unchecked striving for more and more and more, for endless possessing – this being a dysfunction and disease. Tolle compared this dysfunction with the spreading and manifestation of cancer cells in a sick person.

Lack leads to wanting. People who’s ego feel diminished will become self-grasping. According to Tolle, when you know longer feel life within you, it is easy to look for something to “fill” you, from outside of you. Detectors for the ego are signs of anger and defensiveness that one might feel when they experience the loss of something they identified with.

Being is a favorite word of Tolle, and is a synonym for God or the I AM presence. He says being must be felt, not thought. The ego, by nature, cannot know being because it is thought.
The key is, with things, is to remain detached. But, the illusion of ownership creeps in with regularity in each of us, if we were honest about that fact. Reality says that no thing ever has anything to do with who we are. Unfortunately, it is not until being on the brink of death that we examine, and realize that our truest essence really in fact wanted to be identified with being. Blessed are the poor in spirit can mean not having any identification with things. No attachments. And no mental positions.

The start of transforming your consciousness happens when you are able to say to yourself that you are the awareness that is aware that there is an attachment (to be overcome).
Tolle spent a great deal of time in chapter 2 talking about “wanting” and the “need for more”. The ego, not the true self identifies itself with having. Voices and demons that are concealed within us remain deep-seated notions of dissatisfaction, of an incompleteness, of a feeling of “not enough”. The voices that drive the ego are : “I don’t have enough yet” and “I am not enough yet.”

In essence, having is a fiction that the ego creates to give it solidity and permanence, to make itself “stand out”, and be “special”.

Wanting gives the ego life juice. Pursuing in a manner spoken of by Tolle, in a grim and ruthless determination can lead to a person’s downfall and can create hell on earth for them and other people in their life. The real thing that the ego and people identified with the ego do not want is to encounter the present moment – the
power of “now”.

The sense of lack can thereby lead to destruction and continued unconscious choosing and behaving. “No content will ever satisfy you, as long as the egoic structure remains in place.”
The last section of Chapter 2 dealt with body and gender identification. I found it quite strikingly true, the observation Tolle made about people who are afflicted in some way. The voices “I’m sick, I’m a patient, I’m a sufferer” are one way people negatively identify with the egoic structure as well.

So, the incessant compulsive thought of the ego can turn reality into a nightmare. We must move bravely past identification with form, things, and especially our thinking and wanting. Basically, hunger of the mind can lead to insatiable hunger in the body. That can be tragic, for in the body is where Being and Presence are felt.

 

Messianic Consciousness: The Way to Christhood

Eckhart Tolle was not the only one who had something to say about the nature of the ego, mistaken for the true “I”, or reality or misperception. Albert Einsten used the phrase Optical Illusion of Consciousness to discuss the very same topic examined by Tolle in Chapter 2 of “A New Earth”. The illusion Einstein spoke of in essence had to do with being mislead into misperceiving reality. “Nothing real can be threatened”, says A Course in Miracles. The ego, blurs reality for us and in the work of A Course in Miracles, the ego must be undone to remove the blocks to the reality of love.
So, in talking about the ego, the words delusion, illusion, inflation, and erroneous come up. But before going any further with the characteristics, I want to comment on what Tolle said beginning in Chapter 2.

“Words are a hypnotic spell,” he says. Just…

View original post 1,149 more words

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GNOSIS vs. GNOSTICISM: MAKING A DISTINCTION

by Bryan Rice on October 31, 2009.

(Though my views have changed since 2009 and I am not identified with radical dualistic gnosticism anymore, I thought I would re-blog this to make some distinctions that I think are worth pondering).

What is meant by gnosis? What is meant by Gnosticism?

Gnosis has many connotations. It is a Greek word that means knowledge. But in the context of “Gnostic” belief, it can refer to multiple forms of knowledge. The type of knowledge for a Gnostic is not mere conceptual, informative, data, nor analytical ideas, as many heresiologists might contend. For a Gnostic, gnosis means a direct experience of the Transcendent God, unmediated by anyone else, imparted to an individual. Gnosis is understood to be “knowledge of the divine”, or “self-knowledge”. I have come to know it as being “Divine acquaintance”. According to Elaine Pagels, gnosis means “insight”. Gnosis and the idea of Enlightenment are interchangeable. It also can mean “self-realization” or “illumination”. It is “A Way”, A “Path” one treads in an unfolding awakening process, in discovering their divine nature. The awakening that takes place through gnosis, is waking from ignorance in a person, about their divine origin, that they came from God’s Light, as children of the Light. Gnosis leads one to be anointed with the Christos, and to become a light-bearer. Gnosis also helps free individuals from the prison of matter, rather the illusion of separateness from the Transcendent God, who I have come to know as the Holy Androgyne, of not only Father+, but Mother+ too, and (not achieve) but attain Christ or Messianic Consciousness.

Gnosticism then, is a movement and a worldview dedicated to liberation from ignorance about one’s origin and to reaching one’s full potential or awakening in Christ Consciousness. According to Wikipedia Gnosticism “refers to diverse, syncretistic religious movements in antiquity consisting of various belief systems generally united in the teaching that humans are divine souls trapped in a material world created by an imperfect god. This being is frequently identified with the Abrahamic god.” There are several sects in traditional Gnostic spirituality and practice such as Mandeans, Manicheans, Cathars, and Valentinians. Roots of Gnosticism come from Zorastrianism from Egypt, from Greece, and from Jewish mysticism related to what is known as the Kabbalah. Gnosticism as a worldview typically exists in dualistic consciousness, with the idea that the Transcendent God is “illimitable” and the eternal light, and a half-creator, or Demiurge, that came from an Emanation from God named Sophia, who decided to give birth to an offspring without blessings from God. Typically in Gnosticism, the world and creation and the cosmos are seen as the doing of the Demiurge, who considered himself a god. He became known as the lesser god who after creating a “corrupt and perishable universe”, (as antiquity teaches), created archontic powers, seen by many to be fallen angels.

So, matter and light are typically in Gnosticism to be distinct from one another, despite the belief that divine sparks of light are trapped in every incarnate human. To many, Gnosticism is a reality seen through the lens of poetic mythology, metaphors, the alternative view of creation, as mentioned, and traveling a unique path of salvation, “The Way” to gnosis. The eternal, imperishable realm of the Transcendent God exists as an outward Emanation from him/her. The real God exists in the Pleroma, or Fullness of God. Emanating outward from God are “divine principles” or “faces of God” called Aeons. They extend out and down towards matter, where separation from God seems to occur. Gnosticism supports the idea that “self-realization” can lead to a second birth and a human’s spirit can become a begotten son or daughter, an Aeon, in the Pleroma. For a Gnostic, knowledge in the forms talked about above, is what saves a person from having to reincarnate back into matter in a cyclic pattern. This belief is contrary to mainstream Christianity for instance, which says people are saved from their sins because Jesus died on the cross for them. They believed that the shedding of his blood atoned for their sins and that his resurrection from the dead opened the door for humanity to eternity.

Messianic Consciousness: The Way to Christhood

What is meant by gnosis? What is meant by Gnosticism?

Gnosis has many connotations. It is a Greek word that means knowledge. But in the context of “Gnostic” belief, it can refer to multiple forms of knowledge. The type of knowledge for a Gnostic is not mere conceptual, informative, data, nor analytical ideas, as many heresiologists might contend. For a Gnostic, gnosis means a direct experience of the Transcendent God, unmediated by anyone else, imparted to an individual. Gnosis is understood to be “knowledge of the divine”, or “self-knowledge”. I have come to know it as being “Divine acquaintance”. According to Elaine Pagels, gnosis means “insight”. Gnosis and the idea of Enlightenment are interchangeable. It also can mean “self-realization” or “illumination”. It is “A Way”, A “Path” one treads in an unfolding awakening process, in discovering their divine nature. The awakening that takes place through gnosis, is waking from ignorance…

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RISE FIRST, THEN DIE: A BRIEF GLIMPSE AT THE GOSPEL OF PHILLIP

by Bryan Rice on October 31, 2009.

In the Gospel of Phillip, Jesus says, “Those who say the will die first then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.” What does he mean? What is meant by the resurrection?

According to Lawarence Caruana, author of the book The Hidden Passion: The Story of the Gnostic Christ, the idea of resurrection that Phillip speaks of in his gospel, is closely tied to the sacrament of Redemption. Resurrection is seen to be a “visionary ascent through the aeons” of the Pleroma, done to prepare a person for their “after-death ascent”. Someone being initiated into the Gnostic Christian faith would receive Redemption for the purpose of gaining gnosis or knowledge of the names of the beings in the Lower and Upper Aeons who “would receive that person during their post-mortem or visionary ascent” (A Glossary of Gnostic Terms – http://www.gnosticq.com).

L. Caruana focuses specifically on the term resurrection further down in his glossary of terms. He cites the traditional Gnostic idea that there won’t be a bodily resurrection, and that the soul dwells temporarily in the body, which he says belongs to the Archons. The Gospel of Judas and the Testimony of Truth both say that the body or flesh will be left behind.

I intuit that there is more to the idea that Jesus said, written in Phillip’s gospel. Attaining gnosis or knowledge about the Heavenly Realm or Fullness from whence we came, is integral to making one’s self ready to travel “The Way” back to the Father/Mother. It’s almost like Jesus is instructing that knowing about or having had a glimpse of one’s intended destination, according to the Will of the Transcendent God – to redeem every living thing back into his/her fold – is a necessary preparation for a soul to be “homeward bound”. Perhaps Jesus was emphasizing that experiencing gnosis or the Divine Presence was primary to avoiding reincarnation back into matter or to another life afflicted by distractions that keep a person seemingly separate from God. According to Archbishop Christian Thomas Umberger, a person must experience a second birth, the resurrection, fueled by “self-realization” to secure a place in the Pleroma as a begotten son or daughter of God. He stated furthermore, as a result of “resurrection” before death, a person can become an Aeon in the Fullness of God.

The reality that someone who doesn’t experience resurrection prior to dying, as Jesus says, they will receive nothing, I can only infer that he meant, having not attained any knowledge about one’s true identity, their Ultimate Source, and “The Way” home to the Father/Mother, would leave a person trapped, a prisoner to the flesh, remaining in ignorance. Hence they would receive nothing comparable to the ascent through the Aeons, because they remained in darkness.

Messianic Consciousness: The Way to Christhood

In the Gospel of Phillip, Jesus says, “Those who say the will die first then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.” What does he mean? What is meant by the resurrection?

According to Lawarence Caruana, author of the book The Hidden Passion: The Story of the Gnostic Christ, the idea of resurrection that Phillip speaks of in his gospel, is closely tied to the sacrament of Redemption. Resurrection is seen to be a “visionary ascent through the aeons” of the Pleroma, done to prepare a person for their “after-death ascent”. Someone being initiated into the Gnostic Christian faith would receive Redemption for the purpose of gaining gnosis or knowledge of the names of the beings in the Lower and Upper Aeons who “would receive that person during their post-mortem or visionary ascent” (A Glossary…

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CHRIST REALIZATION YOGA – DAY 13

(Inspired by but not limited to A Course in Miracles Teachings (1st Edition), Mind Science, New Thought, Metaphysics, Yogic Philosophy, Quantum Physics, Eastern Thought, and writings by Paramahansa Yogananda)

DAY 13

The sick-minded ego is deluded, making me think that I am in competition with God, which I can’t be, because God is All in All and incapable of opposition or war mongering of any kind. That being said, it is anxiety-provoking for me to consider that the world could be without meaning, as for those ensnared in separative mayaic duality, and in those who appear to be separated, those entranced in relativity and subjectivity, it is fear provoking to think that the Divine Transcendent could possibly in reality be at war with a devil. It is ultimately God and the demiurgic-devil-ego that seem to be at war within me, wanting me to assign meaning to the world based on the cases they plead. The egoic-ahamkar wants to establish its own story and dramas as important and meaningful with respect to the world, when all that exists is Heaven and a void in the Primordial Matrix-Womb out of which real life is created. Fear is insane and I now start to see the relationship of cause and effect.