You've referred to the ego-mind as a ruler, dominating and controlling our consciousness.
Yes, and even a tyrant at times. But with the growth of awareness the dynamic is reversed. Ego-mind relinquishes the reins of power and becomes a servant.
Meaning it's no longer an obstruction to spiritual growth?
It starts losing its claim to our core identity, no longer holds the championship title. As we begin to sense its essential nothingness we stop feeding its claim, stop reinforcing that title, stop letting it demand our energy and grab our attention.
Sounds like burning our bridges. Doesn't ego-mind, this self as we know it or that we identify with, provide us with solid ground in the world?
Well, it can either be an obstacle or a valuable means of expression that serves the claims of our Real Self, our true identity. We begin to realize our dual citizenship, an outer self or personality and an inner path to Self. The outer experiences a self separate from all else, a self that is essentially an imaginary nothing, while our true state is a limitless everything.
But doesn't saying 'wishing to serve your Real Self' and having a 'dual citizenship' perpetuate a sense of duality versus one of Oneness?
One stick, two ends, depends on the viewpoint. Is it One in the many or many in the One? It's more accurate to say that the wish is not ours, that it's the wish of Self awakening to Itself, and that we're drawn to this awakening through love's magnetic power.
Can you elaborate on that?
Such love could provide the kind of energy needed to wipe out our conditioned mind. The fire of that intensity could both remove who we think we are and reveal our true Self. And, no doubt,ego-mind's new status as servant would undergo revisions along the way.
Doesn't it seem that more people are getting a taste of awakening these days?
Certainly appears there's an outpouring, an extra availability of spirit, but the operative word is 'taste.'
Because many assume attainment of some state beyond that of a taste or glimpse?
In part, yes; some may have perfectly valid experiences, but then something gets lost in the translation.
You mean something is misinterpreted or left out?
Well, ego-mind doesn't necessarily just vanish overnight, and its specialty is subterfuge, misrepresentation to serve its own ends.
So one's consciousness could snap out of its usual dreaming but one could still be in the dark about themselves, their own nature?
One could experience the truth of one's own actual nothingness as a separate identity even as their ego-mind goes into hibernation, into a state of deep freeze. Out of sight, out of mind.
Then one may not recognize that their conditioned mind is laying low.
Remember, these are time of opportunity but also very chaotic times. It's easy to imagine one is spiritually ripe in this age of microwaves. It's easy to imagine one's inner alchemy has rendered a finished product in this age of fast foods. Yet all excesses eventually self-adjust or self-destruct.
Seems a harsh point of view. What sort of outpouring of spirit is this if people can be misled?
The gift is there, that's not diminished. And we can trust that nothing real is ever lost, that what matters is letting go of the false, i.e. whatever is obstructing. The best way to handle all this is with compassion toward ourselves and others, inviting the Beloved's mercy in the midst of all the drama.
Some say awakening occurs immediately as we let go of the illusion of separateness; others say it takes a lot of preparation to reach that point. Which is it?
However it happens, it's no doubt like a lightning flash, a total surprise to ego-mind's usual state. Maybe this follows years or lifetimes of practices, maybe suddenly bestowed on someone full of hidden merits and good fortune; either way a gift of grace.
What about those who feel an inward call to awaken but are lacking in follow-through?
I think most of us are in that boat. The urge to awaken is felt, but the grip of ego-mind's sleep state is stronger. Hypnotized, we lack the juice to do anything about it, to incorporate it, to maintain this contact. We lack a center of being to connect the dots of daily life with this inner connection.
Sounds like we're not up to the challenge; spiritually challenged you might say.
A first step might be seeing that who we think we are is never up to the challenge. If we start to realize our own actual nothingness as separate selves, we have a chance to shift gears to a deeper part of our being.
A very tall order for a first step. Any other options?
Cultivating a sense of humor, a feeling of gratitude for life and a readiness to explore without undue stress and strain.