It's been well over a year since I last visited this blog.
My life continues to be calm, rational, very serene and sane. People all around me are struggling with pain and disease, loss, never ending financial problems, conflicts in the workplace, a government that has left the rails, and even religious zealots claiming that God only recognizes their brand of religion.
It is of course, all perfectly insane.
Tolle, in his book " A New Earth" identified the human ego as a false or illusory sense of self. Here is a summary from wikipedia which really captures the essence of what I would like to touch on today.
In his book A New Earth, Tolle defines the term ego as an "illusory sense of self" based on one's memories and thoughts. Tolle says that when studying history "it becomes obvious that the human ego in its collective aspect as “us” against “them” is even more insane than the “me,” the individual ego, although the mechanism is the same. By far the greater part of violence that humans have inflicted on each other is not the work of criminals or the mentally deranged, but of normal, respectable citizens in the service of the collective ego. One can go so far as to say that on this planet “normal” equals insane. What is it that lies at the root of this insanity? Complete identification with thought and emotion, that is to say, ego."
How prevalent is this false sense of self? It is almost as common as two arms and two legs. That virtually every man and woman on the planet is driven by a false sense of self- is not particularly newsworthy. What is newsworthy is that virtually none of them are aware of it. That is the mind boggling and frightening part.
Here is a fantastic quote I have used many times. It dovetails nicely here.
"Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends... ...when millions are slaughtered, when torture is practiced, starvation enforced, oppression made a policy, as at present over a large part of the world, and as it has often been in the past, it must be at the behest of very many good people, and even by their direct action, for what they consider a worthy object." (The God of the Machine)
So the destruction that has become a way of life on this planet, is actually done by our very best people. Could that be?
Several years ago, I actually cursed Tolle. Not because he was wrong- but because he was so extraordinarily correct. I found myself absolutely surrounded by ego maniacs. People willing to fight and argue over every ridiculous idea. Why? Because their egos demanded that they defend some archaic belief or opinion that they had long held as a matter of fact.
The reason that I cursed Tolle was two fold. Tolle's opinions became prima facia evidence when you view how people act and behave. People do what their false sense of self demands of them. Whether it is some material demand of buying the biggest house or landing the most prestigious job- the ego's role is to let the world know that individually- each person believes that they are special, unique, or smarter than everyone else. The ego has a remarkable and dominant presence here.
The other problem of course, is that we have to find a way to deal with all of that insanity in a constructive way. It is here, it is everywhere, and it is real and formidable. That's what this blog is all about. I had been heavily influenced by insane ideas and opinions- things that most people think are normal and rational.
Mostly, people don't think there is anything wrong with them. They all have one common thread. They think their problems are all the fault of something external. Therefore they reason, the solution must be external also. That is ego. That is where the whole thought process goes awry.
I repaired my life here. Years later, my life is still calm and serene. My serenity requires varying degrees of vigilance and maintenance depending on my emotional health and the disturbances in my life. I have conquered the bouts of depression I used to have by applying sound emotional fixes rather than self medicating so that I can sleep at night. I sleep just fine now.
You can do this too. I think you will find that your life will improve just as dramatically as mine has.