The Intuitive-Connections Network

Current Update as of October 18, 2006 

Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies

Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.

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Exploring Beyond the Ego Mind

Exploring Beyond the Ego Mind

   Thinking is a great human pastime. We all think. Whether it is about our next meal, how to manage our present problem, or where to vacation, we always seem to be thinking. Maybe we even pass all of our time thinking.

But how often do we think about thinking, a thing that comes so naturally to us. How often do we consider where particular thoughts come from? Where are the limits of our individual minds? Do we ever consider that some of the contents of our minds originate outside of us?

   One thing is certain. There is a definite pattern to our thinking. By paying close attention, we can see that our thoughts are always expressing “us”, “others”, and “our world” as separate things.

Society teaches us from a very early age to identify things. And in this process of identifying, we make things separate. This is red so it is not blue. This is a car so it is not a horse…and so on. While this is all quite natural (and necessary), one can see how we are trained to see separation in everything.

Furthermore, we always see an “us” inside of ourselves, and others and the universe as “out there.” This is the condition of duality, and the mind that creates it is called the ego-mind. It is the general mode of consciousness at this point of human evolution. But what is beyond this mode of thinking?

   Both modern Western thought and the sages and mystics of past and present agree that there is more. Much more! They also agree that the move beyond the ego-mind level brings different understandings and different ways of being. There also come different realizations of the human mind within the universe.

   The strengths of science and mysticism bring us an important tool. It allows an understanding past the ego-mind. A roadmap becomes available showing us where we are and where we can go. It is a roadmap like no other.

It reveals a lovely journey, details the scenery along the route, brings one to a new home, vastly different than the one left behind, and eventually brings us to the realization that we haven’t left home at all. The journey will bring ecstatic new experience of being, yet you do not have to set foot out the door.

   Starting where we are is always best. That is the present mode of consciousness that dominates humanity. This present mode that we call reality. It is seen as reality, because it truly does dominate. We fill this particular slice of time and space that we inhabit with the ego-mind. It is fair to say that the ego-mind dominates 99.9% of what we perceive as reality. No wonder we experience so little of the transpersonal.

   So this ego-mind, what is it like? It is the seat of duality. It may even be the source of duality as it seems that the rest of life on earth does not know it. The ego-mind is intent on creating a separate self. And once created, maintenance of that separate self is paramount.

An “I versus it” mode is created. There is the self and the rest of the universe with which it must contend. The evaluation function of the human mind is perverted to create separate knowledge. Everything gets assigned qualities, this or that, as if the whole universe could ultimately be itemized, categorized, and filed away; even in the face of its own acknowledgement that the universe has no bounds.

Talk about job creation! The ego-mind creates a job that will keep itself busy forever. So this ego-mind and this place of duality would like to go on forever. It would like to go on finding and solving problems forever. But in the big picture, is that what we really want? Do we really want to live a life full of problems? Eventually we get tired of problems. A need to move on arises. This is where the true nature of human consciousness makes itself known.

   The sages and mystics all say that the true nature of human consciousness is of bliss. It is of peace. It is of harmony with the universe. They say it is intimately connected with the universe. It is part of the universe. The true nature of human consciousness is creative, it is peaceful, it is loving. It is of oneness.

Moreover, because it is the true nature, it must always be present. But somewhere things are not adding up. We have heard of all these things. We are doing the best we can. We want to experience the best life has to offer. Why, when we live our lives to the best of our abilities, are we still stuck in the muck of duality? Why do we still experience life in the “I versus it” mode?

Where is that bliss and unending joy that the gurus so beautifully describe? The reason is that all of the so-called truths carry a very small, very subtle, different meaning in the realm of the transpersonal. With these subtle understandings comes wisdom. They are also important parts of the roadmap to higher consciousness.

   Take the concept of knowledge for instance. It is commonly linked to the word knowing. Indeed when we want knowledge, we set out to know something. We might read a book, go to school, or ask questions. The resulting answers give us knowledge.

It can even become a commodity as something to sell or something to preach. Knowledge however, happens to be anchored right smack in the middle of duality. All knowledge has its pros and cons. It can be debated. It can be detailed, itemized, and categorized. Commonly, knowledge is something that is written down and stored in a book. Knowledge is also a product of the mind, the ego-mind.

After all, the ego-mind sent you out to get the knowledge in the first place. But knowledge is cold and matter of fact. It has no life of its own. It is very dead. Are we somehow more alive for the knowledge that it takes four quarts to make a gallon? So it is somewhat funny that we humans that seek, and are life, chase after something dead to fulfill us. There must be some confusion as to what real knowing is.

   Authentic knowing is much different from knowledge. Authentic knowing cannot really be owned as a possession. It can only be touched and experienced. Real knowing is actually an act of the mind. Unlike knowledge which is a product of the mind. Let us take for example a problem one might be trying to solve.

We think, and struggle, and grovel in our own muck of not knowing. Then finally there is a dawning and we have solved our problem. Sometimes this type of knowing comes easily, often when we are close and intimate with the subject. Take a gardener for example, Sally, who loves watering and tending to her own special arrangement of blooms.

The Spring flowerings have run their course and there is a spot vacant for a new planting. Standing back to ponder, gloved hand grasping her chin, Sally suddenly just knows, blacked-eyed Susans, and nothing else, will be the perfect complement. This is a type of knowing where the right answer cannot be traced back through learning and textbooks.

Rather it is a knowing that occurred when Sally’s mind was outside of herself; it was projected into her garden. It was mingling with all the other living energies in her garden, energies that themselves have something to say, and could never be found in a textbook.

   Another example of getting answers through energy outside of us might happen as we look to set-up furniture in our new home. We move in the furniture, put it in some order, and then just stand back, look at the whole room in a bigger context, and somehow know that the couch is better here, the blue chair there, and grandma’s old pine hutch against that wall.

We just sort of know in advance, what will be the best, although we cannot explain it. The true act of knowing is just that moment in time where we have made that connection. It is almost as if we were not using our mind at that moment. There was a pause in our thinking and something new came in. Our mind becomes a receptor rather than a source. One of the ways we can identify this type of knowing is through separation.

Note that when we think about four quarts to a gallon, there is a sense of separation. Two things exist, that particular knowledge and us. Now when we experience authentic knowing there is a loss of that sense of separation. For a moment, our own sense of separateness is suspended. We are somehow joined with the knowing we are experiencing.

   So the difference between having knowledge and knowing is very subtle. The ego-mind is also very subtle and tries to blur the boundaries. Constantly the ego-mind attempts to turn knowing into knowledge so it can again be in control. As a lover of antique and classic automobiles, I witness this process within myself.

Automobile designs are a funny thing. Most are a result of current trends and fashions. Most models look great when new, but after ten or fifteen years, they may seem awkward and out of proportion, maybe even ugly. How could I have liked that car! However, a few designs defy that process and are still attractive decades later.

These are the few where all the curves, lines, openings, and proportions come together with perfect balance and natural harmony. They deliver the true image the designer intended. These cars often become the classics of yesteryear. Now here is where my ego-mind comes in. There is a propensity for my own ego-mind to try to own the attraction, as if it created it.

It says, “Ha, I always knew that my attraction to the old mustang or corvette was a correct one.” My ego-mind tries to own the recognition of a nice design instead of just acknowledging that it saw a harmony of outside energies that in themselves were the place where the harmony occurred.

So if we see the subtleness, and realize that the contact in knowing is not of our ego-mind’s doing, we enhance the chances of making more connections to the greater. We start to put our mind in a more appropriate stance to the universal mind.

   When we partake in the act of knowing we go beyond the boundaries of the personal consciousness. We immerse ourselves in the sea of oneness. This, by the way, is where the mystics say true love, bliss, and pure spirit are found.

On the other hand, having knowledge is the domain of the ego. It is the domain of the separate self and dualism. Hence the ego strives to protect itself with the fences and barriers knowledge creates.

   Inspiration is another word that gets redefined in the transpersonal realm. Often we are moved to a goal or an endeavor by someone or something we admire. Maybe we want better vacations so we look for a better job.

We might say someone inspired us in our youth, so we chose a particular career. Sadly these things are a result of the ego-mind looking for satisfaction. They involve effort and toil dragged tediously through the indifferent material world of duality.

   True inspiration is slightly different. This is a type of transpersonal knowing that touches us all. When inspired we actually experience the state of oneness. When inspired we feel different, special, and somehow more alive. Maybe we feel like we have a secret benefactor.

Or the first evening star winked at us, just us, specifically, and told us that our wish would come true. Because inspiration is actually a touching of the universe, expansiveness is felt. We feel it in and through our bodies. Other feelings are love, revelation, connection to a truth, acceptance, and trust.

   Notice the difference between the two types of inspiration. The one in the ego-mind duality realm is tough, hard work. Payoff requires lengthy efforts, full of tedium. Nothing free happens here. The transpersonal realm is quite different.

Here, all seems to be a gift. There is no lengthy toil required and the gifts take on otherworldly proportions. These gifts are entirely free. There is not even a sense that there are strings attached. Truly, we must seek these types of gifts more often.

   Mystical experience is another powerful way of knowing the transpersonal. It has the potential to create radical shifts in our belief systems. Because these experiences are actually direct contacts with a higher intelligence, they bring us closer to that source. Understanding the workings of this contact helps us to engage and solidify the growth that can occur.

   First, in a more down to earth mode, let us consider this example of knowing. We will use the example of learning to ride a motorcycle. Now let us look at this as two separate lines of consciousness existing in space. The first line represents our own consciousness.

The second line represents the skills needed to ride a motorcycle. They include those of balance, coordination, rules of the road, and knowledge of the actual machine. As we strive to learn to ride that motorcycle, eventually those lines of consciousness will intersect, like an “x.” At this point two things happen.

First, our own state of consciousness shifts, to now include motorcycle riding. Secondly, our own experiences contribute to and shift the total body of motorcycle riding experiences. Part of ourselves now participates in that larger consciousness and part of that larger consciousness now resides with us.

   This same meeting, growing, and melding, of consciousness has the same workings with mystical experiences. There are many realms of consciousness. Many of those cannot be understood by the limited logical mind. Thus, they are called mystical.

They need to be understood on their own terms. By allowing, our own consciousness to intersect with modes of experience in the mystical realm, an exchange of awareness happens. By nurturing, allowing, and accepting those types of awareness, we are brought closer to its heart. We start to know its workings on its own terms.

It also deconstructs our previous belief systems and builds a new one. We then start to include the reality of the spiritual realms in our own consciousness. The engagement of spirit then is an intersection between creator and created, bringing each, closer to the other.

   It is becoming clear that transpersonal experience works differently. It is different from the normal mode of waking experience. The preceding examples of knowing experience, inspiration, and mystical experience, show characteristics of this realm that exist past the normal mode. Moreover, it is these characteristics that can help us understand, move into, and experience the transpersonal.

   One of these characteristics is subtleness. The subtleness is however compensated by distinctness. When it is finally recognized, the recognition is strong and powerful.

   As the mystics say, the modes of experience in the transpersonal are already here. It is the ego-mind complex, which is preventing us from seeing them, and there are several valid reasons for this. The first is that the ego-mind does not want you to see them.

The ego-mind enjoys being king-of-the-hill and attempts any tactic of avoidance possible. Its dominance will be threatened. Consider how difficult it is to get rid of a Dictator in those places of the world where they still exist. They demonstrate uncanny wits and remarkable staying power.

They seem to be able to draw on an almost unending source to stay in control. The second is that any new realizations are just that, new, so that experience may be easily discounted. If you were in the forest looking to spot a rare grey speckled Quail, you might not recognize it if you have never seen one before.

You are even less likely to see it if it blends with the surroundings and your attention is rapt by a troop of dancing monkeys. The third is of course the subtlety or relative power. In the transpersonal, the level of energy is much lower, while the level of energy created by the ego-mind is huge, frantic, and disjointed.

   Imagine you are in the midway of a local carnival. All about are sounds, smells, and sensations jockeying for your attention. People bump into you. Watch where you step. There a child fights for cotton candy, fingers sticky pink.

Screams and shrieks of delight are overhead, spinning wildly from dizzying rides. Neon lights flash hypnotically, and depending where you turn your ear, there is the repetitious drone of the barkers with their well-versed come-ons, or the pop-pop-pop ding-ding-ding from the shooting arcade. Not too far from this raucous midway is another type of energy unfolding.

In a tiny red boat for two bobbing in the tunnel of love are two souls. These are special souls, twin souls. After lifetimes of separation through time and space, they are together again. A single touch creates surges through the other.

Just the nearness to each other sends volumes of unspoken energy between them. They need not do anything to thrill from each other’s company. However, all this high voltage connection passes virtually unnoticed by all else at the carnival.

Such is the contrast between the energy of the ego-mind and the energy of the oneness. The energies involved in the higher modes of consciousness are barely a ripple compared to the crashing waves of the ego-mind, but once properly attuned to, are unleashed as vibrant, delicious, tantalizing energy.

   The real problem then, the real barrier to the joy and bliss of the oneness is the ego-mind. This false self, this imposter of a being, is robbing us of our true identity. We are being sealed off from tasting the larger existence by the tactics of this self-worshipping complex, the ego-mind.

Fortunately, not all that is hidden can remain so. Truth has a way of eventually winning. While the ego-mind is busy defending its home turf, it demonstrates weaknesses that we can exploit. The oneness can be realized through careful tactics of our own.

   Meditation is the most widely used tool for moving from duality to oneness. The underlying strategy of meditation really just plays into the differences between duality and oneness. Since duality exists in and is maintained by the mind, the stilling of the mind is a must.

Once the mind is reasonably stilled, attention can then be directed to the oneness. As we have seen with the carnival example, the oneness is already here, but never realized through a noisy mind.

In addition, what happens when attention is placed in the oneness, one’s consciousness is in a realm where duality and hence the ego-mind cannot exist. With continued and persistent practice, meditation penetrates further and further into the oneness, and at the same time weakens duality and the grip of the ego-mind.

   In many ways, the ego-mind is like a desperado trying to preserve himself, and that desperation can be used against it. Since the ego-mind thinks duality is the final reality, it can be fooled by asking it questions where the answer does not lie in the mode of duality. Paradoxes are great for this task.

Zen Buddhism is famous for this tactic with the use of koans. One such would be “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” By setting the mind to work to answer how two opposites can exist in the same time and place, it can be caught off guard, and new insights can slip past its censors. Sometimes just an unexpected or bizarre question can produce the same results.

   Studying the work of past masters and gurus is another powerful vehicle for transformation. All work is infused with the energy of its creator. As work from a higher level of consciousness is studied, one is drawn upwards to that higher level.

It is easily recognized after we read some especially inspired work. Senses of calmness and peace are often felt which is the energy we have absorbed while being drawn to that higher place. As well, the terrain of the roadmap of higher consciousness becomes familiar.

Since one is venturing into new territory, it is helpful to recognize a few landmarks along the way. One can spend more time on the journey instead of wondering if they are lost.

   As they unfold, the higher levels of consciousness begin to take on a momentum and character of their own. The preceding building blocks, roadmaps, and tactics, are however aspects of the mind. While they can be used to help transcend the mind, ultimately they too, must fall away. The end goal of enlightenment is said to produce a state of just being, no concepts needed.

   Since the mode of oneness is where the rational of duality does not exist, the grip of the ego-mind can also be loosened by cultivating the non-rational. Dream work has always been a classic for this type of endeavor. If we have a dream about a blue snowman rumba dancing about a campfire, roasting fat marshmallows, we might want to dismiss it as non-rational.

Snowmen do not rumba dance! Besides, he would melt from the heat of the campfire. However, just because it is non-rational to the normal waking mind does not mean it is not real. It did exist in our dream, and then exist again in the telling of the dream. We could actually picture it so it existed somewhere, a level outside of the rational conscious mind.

Following, studying, and pondering on our dreams helps to draw that energy out from the unconscious. Working with visions is similar. It focuses our attention outside the immediate sphere of the rational mind. Both these methods also serve to transcend normal time and space, as often happens in dreams. Normal time and space are features unique to the realm of duality.

   Like any journey of discovery, the discovery is more than what is found. The new frontiers transform us into new beings with different insights and different attitudes. So if we are to have new attitudes, we might as well strive for those that will facilitate the whole process.

   Participation is just such an attitude that can help. If we look at transpersonal events as something that we participate in, a better balance between the universe and us is more quickly realized. This approach also helps cure what is called spiritual maladies.

   For example, imagine you are walking through nature. You are in a beautiful forest with tall mature trees. A lush canopy full of animal life surrounds, and bright sunlight nourishes all.

Bathed in the richness, harmony, and intelligence of raw nature, you realize this is a special moment. Now instead of just standing back in awe, imagine that you project your own consciousness into the midst of all that you are seeing. Immediately your ability to experience the ongoing events is enhanced.

Further enhancement comes when you try to reduce the separate “Iness” of your consciousness being projected into the experience. This participating in the event hugely opens one to vast new experience, and the wisdom embodied within.

   So when we see spirituality as something only within our own consciousness, it restricts it to an inner experience. We also miss much of the wisdom the larger universe holds. We end up thinking that we created the experience.

The maladies that might arise can be ego-inflation, self-absorption, and spiritual narcissism. The ego-based thinking that one is trying to move past is actually being strengthened. In addition, the integration of spirituality and transpersonal events is arrested.

   The approach of participation also has benefits with events we might feel come from outside of us. It reduces the “I versus it” way of thinking that keeps us as separate beings. With this approach, it is easier to move our consciousness outside of us and into the universe.

   So this slightly different way of holding our relationship to spiritual events is helpful in two ways. At the first steps away from an ego-only understanding, the ego is reduced rather than built up. As transpersonal awareness proceeds, the outside is brought in, and the inside is brought out.

A sharing of the self and the universe occurs. Moreover, the great paradox between oneness and separateness is solved as these two opposites are allowed to both exist in the same place at the same time.

   Empathy is another attitude that oneness redefines. Traditionally we are taught to have empathy by realizing other people have problems and issues, and that we are not the only person that matters. This however maintains several distinctions, which are lovely nourishment for the separate ego-mind structure.

Note all that is separate here. There are they, that have a problem they wish to separate from, and we, who are happy to be separate from the problem, and the part of them that has the problem. In addition, our advice will usually come from our own separate mind, held a safe distance from our hearts and the other’s problem.

All of this, a thorough and complete, subject versus object, I versus it, dualism mode of being. Just think about it, we do it all the time. Perhaps Joe comes to us with his problem. We mull it over, imagine how we would react if it happened to us, and tell Joe how to solve his problem. Note how this process is completely from our minds. Furthermore, note how our own mind wants to spread its separate logic to Joe’s mind.

   Deep empathy, which is found in the realm of oneness, works differently. Setting aside fear, contact with the other’s world is allowed and even necessary. By bringing the problem into our own hearts, and even our whole bodies, the actual energy of the problem can be felt.

If the problem is viewed as one that humanity in general shares, as all problems are, that greater body of energy can be touched. The symbols and myths relating to that energy become available. By allowing oneself to become a channel for the problem and its solution, the state of oneness is encouraged.

All of the helper, the one with the problem, humanity in general, and the wiser universe, share in the same energy. The problem brings its own solution! Deep empathy then is the way one does service in the realm of the transpersonal. No longer is it “us” doing some quantifiable thing for “them.” No longer, do we see the other’s problem as a festering sore that is better they had and not us.

No longer do we allow fear to isolate us from those problems. Instead we allow the love and wisdom of the universe to flow through us, flow through the problem, provide healing to the problem, and a bit of humanity and us at the same time.

   Sexuality as well, takes on new definition in the field of oneness, and the carnival example plays especially well here. With sex being such a potent energy within the human animal, it is no wonder there is such a multitude and variety of opinions regarding this powerful force.

   The ideals about sex are vast. Much of Western culture and religions seek to allow sexuality only in the bedrooms of married couples. The extremes allow it only for procreation. Various Eastern spiritual traditions expect seekers to abstain from sex.

Many regard sex as a barrier to enlightenment. Then there are the Taoist and Tantric sources that work with sex as a path to higher consciousness. All of this however is like the noisy mind at the carnival, taking delight in the mesmerizing energies of sexuality.

   Should the mind complex be stilled enough during sexual arousal and orgasm, something else would be noticed. Something that is already here. The body’s biochemical conditions become similar to those found in transcendent experience.

Felt experience becomes magical and mystical. Deeper sharing becomes possible, and the heart softens and opens. But again, these more subtle energies are easily drowned out by the screaming energies of the ego-mind.

   As progression into the depths of oneness continues, these subtle and more beautiful energies of sexuality become dominant. Deep intimacy and sharing bring us closer both physically and mentally. Oneness with our lover becomes a real thing, and like the souls at the tunnel of love, even a simple touch brings ecstasy.

There is participation in the actual energy of sexuality, which is common to all humanity. An energy, which exists well before and well beyond the ego-mind. An energy, which exists well beyond all the opinions related to it.

   The journey from dualism to oneness is like no other. As night yields to dawn, and on to the brilliance of the morning sun, all is totally transformed. The difference between the two modes of consciousness, however, is so complete, it cannot happen all at once.

The shock to our systems would be more than we could handle. We would be left wandering, not knowing who, or what we were, and not knowing where to start. Nothing would be familiar. Fortunately, enlightenment unfolds through stages.

The challenges that growth presents are never greater than our ability to handle them. With this growth, strategies and understandings also grow and evolve. At the initial moves away from ego-only consciousness, psychotherapy is the most helpful tool.

This tool, lodged in reason, works well for subject/object type thinking. As growth continues, the mystical, magical, and non-rational are gradually touched, encouraged, and understood. Eventually the mind itself is transcended to know the oneness of the universal mind.

   So, the understanding of transpersonal consciousness is a huge and vast affair. To try to achieve a concise understanding through one method is impossible. The modes of cognition needed are just too contradictory. It seems that each level of consciousness has its own unique laws and understandings.

There is no guarantee that what works at one level will work at the next. However, insight can come from one who broadened the scope of understanding some five hundred years ago. The big debate of the day was whether everything revolved around the Earth. This of course was at the core of the religious doctrine that the Earth was the centre of the universe.

To solve this, Galileo built a huge telescope and looked carefully at only one small part. By being able to look at the moons of Jupiter and determine that they did not revolve around the Earth, a small but vital part of the bigger picture came into focus. The bigger picture had to be redrawn to accommodate this new truth.

So is it with personal growth. We travel the journey only one-step at a time. Each step changes our bigger picture in some small way. But when those steps are all added together, our thinking, our understanding of our place in the world, can be as night is to day.

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