The Alchemy of Ego and Shadow in the Name of Communal Freedom
The work you do to become enlightened (or enlightening) may come via a process of purification, or transmutation. Insofar that there are many mystical avenues to explore if you wish to consider becoming free (in the true sense of that word), stemming from various spiritual roots, one is nowadays confronted with many choices.
For instance, the work can be done shamanically with a soul retrieval, or from the heart when learning to release relationship fears linked to your childhood, or egoically when repurposing certain egoic parts (like those outlined in the Kartmann Drama Triangle).
I’ve done it often in the body-mind when transmuting traumatic experiences, or with the soul, as when I’m contemplating a mystical symbol, or what’s considered the Word. In all instances of metanoia, which is defined as a change of mind or lifestyle, or as repentance, energy is moving and making way for something that replenishes.
This kind of healing can be thought of as an alchemical process because the contents of your mind are related to the health of your soul, as well as the extent to which you allow divinity into your life or not. What happens to your soul is deeply transformative so as to elicit deep and abiding metanoia.
Sometimes, even as Reality out there rolls on as usual in the interim, these unconscious reactions like ego and shadow phenomena often feel good to be in when enlisted in order to fuel a sense of separation between ourselves and others, let alone within ourselves (or with God). We are used to this.
When we catch it in the act, we usually release ourselves from the drama we’re in, and this frees us for the time being until the next round opens its doors again, perhaps with something new, perhaps with a recapitulation of the same exact thing. The goal, in the end, is to transmute all inner illusion.
Egoic, defence mechanisms are reactive habits that are, unfortunately, popularly encouraged from early childhood and promoted in a dominance-oriented, fear-based (or draconian) culture like ours, which Mia Kalef calls out in her powerful book, The Secret Life of Babies.
As can be expected, more and more people are calling out our consensus culture at this time, those individuals who, for example, have honed their eyes and ears to see and hear our system for what it is, with respect to its fruits and whether they are rotten or not. Many of us are beginning to see how, with respect to the Kali Yuga, how it is making way for the Dwapara Yuga, and what that implies astrologically.
As you can imagine, as the encrusted darkness inherent in this fear-based system of ours begins to make way for grounded spirituality and freedom as a contending, consensus culture (or reality), things may start to become very exciting in the world, where a large number of soul-filled people heal on a grand scale like never before.
A healing modality like SEAT can offer someone some well-needed space to shine some light on certain sources of discontent, which also will include a connection to Great Spirit (or God) in the name of self-actualization. Incidentally, SEAT was thought an apt acronym for this kind of healing work since Rene Descartes dubbed the third eye “the seat of the soul”, which is also what the bible refers to as “the lamp of the body” that, when lit up, fills the body with light (as opposed to darkness when it is suppressed).
It’s literally liberation from a mind programmed to fear since your inner nature, or higher self, begins to be commonsensical as a solution to your mental quandaries, especially when it is guided by a power like Great Spirit, which is much more sound than what passes as authoritative voices in this kind of troubling system.
With regards to integrating or repurposing the ego as a subject for healing, the task began in earnest around four years ago while working assiduously with healing techniques for the mind, like with IFS (Internal Family Systems) or dramatic recapitulation, with repentance or story-telling, etc. With something like IFS, one is guided to make space for each and every ego and shadow part imaginable, to break bread with all of them so that ego weakness becomes ego strength, or rather, higher-self strength.
Through this process, you may discover that shadow is only one’s ego shamed, and that once that this kind of bitter flavouring is removed through the power of understanding it for what it is, more wholeness can quickly gain ground in your life as you start to reclaim it in a space of acceptance, of love with judgement and learned condition.
And so, as you rediscover the choice to enlist your mind this way so that it resonates with you, you learn how to put a wedge between your higher self, your godself, and an egoic part that calls for healing. Further on, as your higher self progressively becomes a consensus reality for you, the more your lower self will become the elephant in the inchoate room of your mind. It’s where you may get to explore how both realities feel for you (and how it feels for others, that is, if they’re courageous enough to let you know).
At the moment, we live in a world that too often perpetuates the drama triangle, with its harmful parts like the victim, saviour, or perpetrator, which the major patriarchal religions know and preach by heart, as opposed to matriarchal spirituality or religions and their inherent track record with peace.
There are parts we’ve developed from childhood, like the pleaser, protector, or inner critic that, if triggered in a space of the higher self, may be likened to a proverbial snake we can catch by the tail (if we’re alert enough) and examine its scales, all by confronting it head, even as it makes us feel some measure of discomfort. We then can shine light on what is hidden, and this is enough to make an illusion vanish.
A solution like this for mental suffering is found peppered throughout all perennial wisdom traditions. Many call it the soul, like C.G. Jung did, whereas R.W. Emerson called it the higher self after the Vedic atman, as did Robert Assagioli, and various Hindu and Buddhist non-dual traditions, like Zen, call it the Witness, or the Observer.
All spiritual and religious traditions have a mystical branch even if their mainstream elements make it seem like their tree is rotting, and yet despite this, we find at the core the purification of the individual. Partly, it is about arriving at a state of total non-reactivity to the world once everything “within” has been resolved in order to make space for the impermanent and unpredictable wonder of “without”.
In this process, instead of taking space with the ego, you make space by letting go of all defences, and the result is a more open heart to what life brings you, even if pain is involved momentarily, from time to time. Instead of “you” happening in the world, the “world” happens to you, and one discovers how vast and exciting the world is by virtue of becoming excited about the world again… while becoming progressively exciting as an individual to boot!
As the law of correspondence puts it much more succinctly, As above so below, so within so without.
One of the goals of the path, then, is to have your consciousness expressed through where you consciously place your attention, a radical presence in a world wishing for you to be repetitively distracted, disempowered, and distant. This takes a tremendous amount of courage, for as Anthony de Mello once noted, Love is the total absence of fear, and since it is love that we mostly fear, it takes guts to experience the scope of the be-all and end-all that is Love.
He also defines Love as a sensitivity to every portion of reality within and without, together wholehearted response to that reality. Now, whether that reality is devoid of pain and suffering is another question altogether, but given that Love is the thing we fear the most, it stands to reason that wounds will be re-opened at times and scabs re-scratched in the name of healing.
Many of us have had to deal with conventional “mental health” modalities with regards to our own mental suffering. I struggled for many years to resolve various ailments like a mood, personality, or attentional “disorder”, with only patchwork solutions offered for processes that required deep metanoia.
I’ve discovered that we don’t live in a system designed to heal you, but rather, to make you sick, to paraphrase Nisargadatta Maharaj in his spiritual masterpiece, I Am That. He points out the following with respect to a student being confused about the world:
“Maharaj: To see the universe as it is, you must step beyond the net. It is not hard to do so, for the net is full of holes.
Student: What do you mean by holes? And how to find them?
Maharaj: Look at the net and its many contradictions. You do and undo at every step. You want peace, love, happiness, and work hard to create pain, hatred, and war. You want longevity and overeat, you want friendship and exploit. See your net as made of such contradictions and remove them — your very seeing them will make them go.”
Healing is then the most radical thing you can do in a system based on contradictory values like compliance, profit, and disease, to name just a few, and, like John Paul Gatto once noted in a slew of books about the public school system, on dumbing you down.
While everything on the spiritual path becomes grist for the mill, as Ram Dass once put it, which means that nothing can be left out from analysis and integration… despite being painful at times, one discovers that the process is most rewarding in the long run.
You may begin to usher in holistic freedom for yourself by knowing yourself fully, which means owning all of your truth behind inner and outer illusion, and then sharing that beauty with first yourself and then others.
Enlisting your awareness for this kind of work is a process of enlightening the mind and beyond. One stage to attain on the spiritual path is what those in Western esoteric and alchemical traditions call solar consciousness. As Damian Echols reveals for mainstream culture in episode 3 of Midnight Gospel, it’s even about moving past enlightenment and working on our light (or rainbow) bodies once we’ve attained this kind of consciousness.
In the Tibetan Buddhist teaching of Dzogchen, when attaining this kind of grace, there are two imperatives to consider. We must first root out all poisons within the mind, such as pride, lust, or envy, or ubiquitous states like competition and comparison, which is what fuels our schooling system and society at large.
The second imperative is to then also take care of one’s karma in its totality, which is obviously not a walk in the park for the naive. My spiritual path, or, initiatory path, has allowed me to work out these two imperatives in a way that’s been strictly esoteric in nature until recently. I foresee much being unveiled to the world heading into 2021, which will be a year of initiation, according to the astrologer, Kaypacha.
Some Tibetan Buddhists also call solar consciousness the luminous mind, and it is the great secret that our fear-based institutions don’t want you to know. It is the alchemical process of eventual human deification where heaven and earth come to marry inside your body by housing an integrated soul aligned with Spirit. Here, one learns to surf on the high wave of what true Love is in its many-splendoredness, and mental suffering diminishes continually.
The process is infused with presence to offer you a heightened sensitivity to all of life without the ego filtering it through its unconscious lens. The goal is to experience life with the eyes of God, that is, your higher self or your connection to Spirit, and it’s done by transcending all beliefs, attachments and egoic defences that keep you stuck when disallowing life from flowing through you. As you can imagine, surrender is key, and the more you do it, the more easily any resistance is weakened until it is dissolved completely.
In the bible, Jesus recommends we become like children so that we may enter the Kingdom of Heaven, where the birds and daisies are contemplated for their own sake. He says to become like them, to forgo any sense of past or future. Thus a sense of Lila, or divine play, returns to you upon doing this work. There have been countless interpretations offered for this passage found in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, but I’ve come to understand it as becoming egoless, or as having the utmost in ego strength, like a grown child left alone by a system too intent on yoking it with its unnatural purity codes, conventions, and regulations.
Curiously enough, if we examine this aphorism up close, we can also conversely enter the Kingdom of Heaven and then become like children as a result, which you may witness when an individual suffering on a mental level literally enters the presence of one who has attained solar consciousness. The result is a sort of quickening or levelling-up, which then offers anyone a sense of freedom by entering such a space… where you see just about any room literally light up, even ones with deeply ingrained darkness.
And so, to become like a child requires a new mind, and, to paraphrase Anthony de Mello, Spirituality is all about unlearning… and imagine if we didn’t have to unlearn anything! I often think humorously that this planet’s system is a bit like going to the supermarket, or even the public school system, and asking for something that’s good for us, and then being directed towards the aisle devoted entirely to “junk”, with chips, chocolate bars, and candy as common fare to go with your glass of cow’s milk on the curriculum.
You then are instructed to do it over and over again with a smile if your intuition is offline, which this system promotes ad infinitum, since it wants you to lean on its contradictory “expertise” rather than yourself… and then purge it if your body rejects it. We are taught to hardly consider what goes into our mouths or minds, to say nothing of what comes out of them, just to quote Jesus again (if we give his words a literal bent rather than their usual figurative one) when he tells us to care more about what comes out of our mouths rather than what goes into them (Matthew 15:10–11).
We can all encourage each other to do the hard work of healing ourselves to the core, to truly “re-establish” ourselves by remaining fearless in such a crucial endeavour. As noted brilliantly in Kalef’s book, in this legalistic system of ours predicated on dominance rather than emergence (the CIA calls their philosophy full-spectrum dominance, just to give you an idea of the kind of world we live in), which is not based on concepts like respect for nature, intuition, and true love. Rather, it’s based on the depletion of nature and intuition by virtue of fear-based ideologies, where many of us rush “feet-long” into life to become “adults” and lead “adult” lives.
It all eventually becomes a detriment to ourselves, others, and the planet, foregoing all manner of intuitional morality, or sense of right and wrong, which could arise as a result of re-establishing a deep connection with the soul, hence, to Spirit. In perennial philosophy, this is known as abiding by natural law in the name of harmony, as opposed to man-made law, which is egoic to the letter when it perpetuates the supremacy of soullessness, rather than soulfulness.
Our culture would prefer we lean on it for just about everything, including healing, but as I’ve discovered, once you leave it behind so that it becomes a thing of yesterday, all your “todays” start shining more and more so that all of your “tomorrows” can take care of themselves. And when you stumble upon the sun rising yet again in this new kind of life, you may come to embody a trust in the goodness of love and a faith in miraculous change… within and without.
As you come to see through yourself fully, once you’ve shadow-hunted all of your darkness away with your eye of awareness, you’ll be able to compassionately guide others and your community to do the same, since it will only elicit a proactive and grateful spirit from you. As many of us on the path have been hinting at for quite some time, this work for the self is definitely needed in this hegemonic culture promoting self-denial or ego weakness, rather than self-actualization, or ego strength.
After teaching in a public school for a few years, I’ve discovered that the proof is right there, that it’s often in the pudding, and it is becoming past due, even if it’s still on the shelf. As a result of this, one’s enlightenment is the greatest gift anyone can offer the world, and it is attained through any healing process that removes all inner barriers and limitations between oneself and a peace that sustains you.
In the process, you can also bring forth your deepest gifts linked to your soul. Jesus nails this formula in the Gospel of Thomas when he encourages us to bring forth what is deep within us, for then it will save us, because if we don’t, it’ll destroy us. Unlike the ancient Greek philosophers telling you to know yourself, this fear-based system passing as our consensus reality preaches and promotes ignorance at every turn, and it’s somewhat like fruit rotting inside you, when seen up close. Shockingly enough, we discover that this system teaches you to be rotten, rather than ripe.
Again, enlightenment is not an attainment, it is a process, and it is available to all who wish to do the work. It requires rooting out all darkness with the help of the light of awareness, and as such, the word is closer to “enlightening”. Lynn Andrews calls enlightenment the expulsion of darkness, and I’ve discovered the process to be well worth it.
And so, as you decide to step lovingly into the change you want to see out there today, even if this is, for the most part, in a patriarchal paradigm bent on dominance the last few millennia in the form of greed, control, and the banal and twisted ways of supremacy, may we also keep an eye out on the goal that’s waiting to be worked out, which is a world based on matriarchal values, or what Mia Kalef refers to as emergent culture.
May we also become experts at dropping our false ideas about ourselves and others, simply because, according to Anthony de Mello again, it is what is needed to truly love others. When we learn to see through ourselves and the manner in which we’ve enlisted our minds to explain the world to us through distortions, we may learn to see through other people. And when we do that, he says, it’s then that we may truly love people, for here, it becomes our unadulterated heart that radiates its vibrations for an other in the name of spiritual freedom, which may now give of itself for the sheer joy of doing as much.
If you follow the trend, a matriarchal culture like this will be based on what is natural and not artificial, on collective intuition and inner gifts rather than collective compliance and inner ignorance. Rest assured, I can confidently ascertain that this kind of world is forthcoming, as it is prophesied in various spiritual traditions, such as in indigenous, gnostic, and mainstream religious writings (to say nothing of personal revelation).
As far as I’m concerned, the inner work that we do on ourselves, and then guide others into, is the most pressing work we can undertake at this moment in our collective history (or amnesia), if you consider what we all need to reclaim regarding truth in order to strongly be in the world from the heart.
It is also by offering others an example of freedom that others may free themselves, since they may be able to see by your example that it’s not the end of the world, after all, to feel free, where reactions like resentment, anger, or envy don’t necessarily have to repeat themselves (despite previous conditioning).
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Rather than fitting circle pegs into square slots, which is erroneously ubiquitous in something like the public school system, this kind of healing work ensures you reclaim the fullness of your well-rounded uniqueness.
I see it as part of the global project to prepare ourselves to herald in and steward a new, emergent world, one that may turn out to be a kingdom unlike any our humble planet has ever seen before. And who knows, it may be one that garners the attention of the whole, infinite cosmos!
One may foresee us heading into a sort of terra nuiluis, a no-man’s land, where one will be able to love their neighbour wholly after healing oneself wholly, and as a result, become a carrier of love, as opposed to something like the Wetiko virus, which Paul Levy wrote about in his book, Dispelling Wetiko. This is the indigenous view of what we are presently seeing on the planet manifest as destructive selfishness, duplicity, and rapaciousness, one that’s threatening to bring us to horrifying conclusions if we don’t shape up soon.