How to Trick the Ego into Dissolving Itself
Many of us on spiritual paths have had that moment when we bury our heads in our hands and just wish our damn Egos away. All that tension and anxiety, pain and control, disconnection and isolation, resistance and resentment, we want it gone. We believe, or have faith, that an existence of radiant love, happiness, abundance and connection is possible, if only we could do away with this pesky little Ego and its inalienable thirst for its desires.
Like so many spiritual lessons teach us, we cannot begin from resistance. We can’t dissolve resistance by resisting it, and we can’t dissolve desire by desiring to do so. We must begin by allowing, and that means allowing the damn Ego.
The Ego is the belief that the self is a form: you as this body and this identity you’ve cultivated for you in this particular life, separate from all the rest of the universe. The Ego’s interest is its own security. It seeks to get what it wants, which is always safety, but appears more noticeably as the following: 1) certainty about the future, 2) control over material reality, 3) to be (and be seen as) “good,” which often means “better than something else.” It acts up and seizes our attention most often in times when we feel uncertain, out of control, and ashamed of being “bad” or “worse than something else.”
In that space of divine Source/God-consciousness, we understand that past and future don’t really exist, everything is malleable, material reality doesn’t mean anything, good and bad are simply judgments, and nothing can be better or worse because all is literally One.
And the nebulousness of this space of Oneness terrifies the Ego. So how on earth do you coax it into letting you go there?
You begin by playing its game. You begin by viewing the expansion of the mind as a pathway to the desired gains of the Ego.
1) Focusing on manifesting
It begins by focusing on manifestation, or the practice of calling desired experiences into your life. This is the realm of teachers like Florence Scovel Shinn, Joe Dispenza, the “Law of Attraction” school of thought, and so on. When it comes to the Law of Attraction, I like Teal Swan’s way of calling it the “Law of Mirroring,” because it works like this: the energy you put out into the universe is mirrored by the universe around you. When you give an energy of material abundance by believing that you exist in a state of abundance already, you are met with material abundance coming into your life. When you give an energy that love and connection are abundant, love and connection are received in your experience.
The same is also true in reverse. When you put out an energy of material scarcity, say, by worrying constantly about your finances, the Law of Mirroring would cause you to be met with material conditions to worry about. When you put out an energy of desperate loneliness and longing for love, you’re met with more reasons to feel lonely.
Manifesting does not follow a logic of “good things come to those who wait” or “good things come to good people” or even “good things come to those who put in effort,” but simply, “good things come to those who believe fully that they already have them.” When it rains, it pours.
Manifesting is an extremely attractive endeavor to the Ego. Why? Because believing in manifestation makes the Ego feel 1) that there is a degree of certainty in the future, because what you put out will come back to you, 2) that it has control over reality, by being able to call into your experience what you want, and 3) that you can be good, and forgive yourself for being bad, because being good will call in good, and fixation on bad will call in bad.
But when you start to get real down and dirty with manifestation, the Ego finds itself unknowingly in a paradox that dissolves itself. Here’s how:
2) Getting real with the energies
To give the energy you need to manifest something, you have to feel that energy truly. To call love into your life, you have to focus on the love in your life. To call abundance into your life, you have to focus on the abundance in your life. To call success into your life, you have to focus on the success in your life. You have to start looking around you to all the possible sources of that energy, and focus your attention on them for what they are: sources of love, abundance, success and so on.
There’s no faking the funk with manifesting; you have to start actually noticing what you want to call in already there, around you, focus on those things, give that energy and radiate it outwards, in order to manifest it further. Affirmations that are not grounded in your own understanding of what is real do not work. For example, telling yourself repeatedly, “My crush Seymour loves me back” when Seymour doesn’t love you back will not call love into your life. Spending a day giving love and care to all the people you do love, and basking in the feeling of their actual love for you and giving gratitude for the love you already have — that’s what manifests more of the love stuff.
In manifesting an energy, you start to recognize that that energy comes from all over the place. It’s around you in so many different forms. As you manifest, you start to notice that the energy comes in to your life through extremely unexpected forms. That material abundance you thought you were calling in with a promotion? Well, it came to you from an unexpected asset being left to you in a will. That lover you wanted to return your affections? You forgot about them, because a new lover waltzed right in and swept you off your feet.
This is where our attachment to form (individuals, events, actions, particular details of material reality) can hinder us from manifesting: we may not notice that our wish is being granted, so to speak, because it’s being granted in ways we never would have thought of, through forms we wouldn’t have expected. When we don’t see it coming back in the form we expect, we feel powerless and scarce. But if we want to keep the ball rolling on the manifesting front, we start releasing our attachment to forms — otherwise, we won’t be able to continue authentically feeling the energy we’re trying to manifest.
And so, the forms we thought these energies would manifest through stop feeling as relevant, because we begin to recognize the energies for what they are: energies. Feelings. The way things are experienced, rather than the way things seem in form. The “how so” and the “what from” stop being as relevant. The form doesn’t matter when the energy is received.
And bit by bit, life begins to look different. Forms matter less. Energies matter more. What we put out energetically with our being matters more. What that looks like matters less. Our relationship to life gradually changes: relationships to experiences become more important, and the particulars of the experiences themselves matter less.
3) Form fades, and the experiencer takes precedence
As the process goes on, our identity gradually becomes more aligned with “the one who relates to these experiences” rather than the experiences themselves. We begin to feel ourselves as the giver and receiver of energies, not as caught up in the forms they come from or through. The “what” and the “how” begin to fade.
Yes, we do attract the better forms our Egos want, but it stops mattering so much whether or not we do, because we’re perpetuating a cycle where form becomes less and less necessary to give and receive desired energies. Yes, it does begin to fall into place, but the form that takes feels less relevant. It falls into place because the form feels less relevant. Because we aren’t as attached to form. Because we’re beginning to awaken, little by little, to the reality that the love and abundance and beauty and connection we want is all around us, and within us. It moves through this Ego form, from us, because we are not this Ego form. Because we are the energies that move.
And with neither a bang nor a whimper, with a simple satisfied dissolution as though into warm water, we find ourselves in the place we wanted to be: one, whole, love, clear, in the unendingly fresh expanse of selfhood beyond the Ego.