Welcome to my blog-site dear relatives, extended relatives and friends. This site is a work in progress: ‘quit ego’. I plan to expand on this, starting as a brief narrative and maybe turn into a book later. When I look into the individual life of relatives, friends and patients (instead of patients, even clients do not suffice as they help me heal. Maybe colleagues in the experiment of life is a better term). One is always at a crossroad in everyday life, the demarcation line of which is measurable. However this yardstick is often unbeknown to us. I subscribe to ‘quit ego’ and I hope to transmit to my fellow sentient or impermanent beings (all life is temporary or impermanent, there’s nothing to hold on to). I recommend removing the ego or self identity in our awareness as a permanent life-style. Our lifelong self assigned self image is what we have nurtured throughout our life up to this point. I recommend a departure or the opposite (to these natural tendencies of identification with our self-image, ego, or egocentricity).
Why is the ego necessary and what are the disadvantages of the ego? .
Once we no longer identify with our self imposed identity, this new awareness, the egoless person emerges. No more filters of the past anxiety. They’re no longer relevant to the present. And no longer influenced by the anticipation of future worries over death and other parallel horrors that are associated with this primordial or ‘the mother fear’. This new set of vision forces us to focus on the one and only real thing in life: the present, the continuous everlasting and narrow here and now. English author William Somerset Maugham called this ‘the razor’s edge’.
We become enlightened, we feel light (as in the innocence and creativity of the young child), and we become free of the burdens, and energies that are associated with pain bodies, the sub-part of the ego where all negative or heavy feelings of anger, hatred (protracted anger), depression (anger turned inwards), remorse, alienation, jealousy, paranoia and frustration – are kept in our mind.
The term ‘pain bodies’ was coined by the author Echkart Tolle. These emerge as the consequence of supporting and maintaining the never-ending and always incrementally building demanding needs of the ego. It’s universal to all, meaning we all have these without exception. It varies in amount, density from people to people. It tends to be denser (higher in density) with women. Pain bodies has emerged as having a mind of itself, just like the ego. Pain bodies exert effort in us to perpetuate itself like a ‘virus’ of the mind, and it wants itself to be spread around to others like an ‘infectious agent’. It thrives on causing pain.
A person with heavy pain bodies evolves like this: during early childhood, he or she reacts to the dominant opposing parent either as part of the pain of natural growth or more so (as the growing evidence shows e.g. psychotherapist Alice Miller, author of The Drama of the Gifted Child) as a consequence of the cruelty of his or her parent/s. In other words, any parent would naturally have pain bodies as everyone else have their own issues usually from their parents (or our ancestors). In course, the child’s ego (whereby he or she is the hero) in reaction to the dominant parent turned the parent into the anti-hero. And this starts the drawing of the line across the sand in a long journey of action-reaction not realizing by each party who started the ball rolling in the first place. This means the child’s alienation to the parent in turn feed backs to the parent reinforcing one’s suspicion and cementing each other’s position that their alienation of each other is justified and thus creates the love-hatred relationship. Love triangle is the usual setting. Only people looking from the outside ‘see this scenario’ as the 2 principal players are too close to see, too blind to see.
Pain bodies may lie dormant, but it can always be triggered to surface by the right circumstances. Here’s a primer about pain body. And here’s a link to a discussion about pain bodies: Echkart and Oprah: an example, “Not getting sucked in by the pain bodies of an alienated mother”. And the “Lack of power over us by thoughts from the past“. “Stillness. Presence.” Being present is intrinsically there in our life already. One need only be aware. Get rid of the repetetive compulsive thinking by the egoistic mind. Your thoughts and beliefs may be good as pointers, but these should not be confused as identical to one’s mind.
Echkart & Oprah: Breaking Free Of Worry
The egolessness state according to expert teachers of the zen subject believe is difficult to achieve, maintain and kept permanently. It behaves elusively as the displaced (Mara, the demon or the) Ego in the background would want to wrestle out the enlightened part. Glimpses of egolessness when once experienced would be best set as a good beginning into one’s journey of always coming back to it. One can liken it to a good clean addiction.
Resistance to any change or adherence to the status quo is the position that many of us will normally choose, as the journey to the egoless state will be full of pain and difficulties. One has to travel back to the path that has caused the original trauma in our psyche in the first place. The bridge we broke off past our path has to be rebuild up before we are able to cross it. It is like “putting a knife deeper and moving the knife side to side sadistically causing more unbearable pain”. In Filipino, “dinudutdut ang sugat” or crumpling over a (painful) wound. Daniel Mackler author, filmmaker, psychotherapist of New York City covered this as the first of the 4 stages of emotional growth or healing starting from the most primitive way to highest development: 1) Dissociation or splitting off 2) Depression or suffering 3) Grief and 4) Enlightenment. Mackler did several youtube videos dealing with this subject. He likened childhood trauma to having swallowed poison and we protected our psyche by splitting off from the conscious mind to one side, the unconscious or subconscious mind. This is what Mackler called the first stage splitting off or dissociation. In order for one to get over the permanent dysfunction caused by the childhood trauma, in order to get over the poison in the body, one has to relive the life experience he or she went through earlier in life or as in the parallel, one has to vomit up and out the poison he or she had swallowed. This is the most critical concept regarding mental and emotional health whereby one’s course in life as to whether he or she gets over this dysfunction or not.
The Bell Curve ( With its Phases ) as above 'Product Lifecycle'. Or One's' Life Cycle'. 'Pain Cycle'. Any Event-cycle.
The journey towards egolessness follows the typical bell curve: the first part up-curve is the critical moment which when at this stage will feel like as though it’s forever and where most people would freak out and retreat. Retreat is when one stays in the limbo state of dancing at the crossroad or fork of the road waiting to choose between one route over the other. It’s my opinion that the majority of the world are in this stage and another group, the equally large group which is the stage of ignorance (of the need to know who we really are). Remember the quote “ignorance is bliss”? And some people stay here forever some till death and some eventually choose to finally face the upcurve (journey to egolessness) so late in life, actually at their deathbed. The journey towards egolessness is met with the reaction no different from any passages through life: as in the time of death of a loved one, or the “flying tire moment” (each of us will have this moment I’m told) or when you receive a bad news of you having a terminal illness like cancer.
Stages in the face of death or near-death: the usual stages of 1. stage of awe or surprise or “I can’t believe this”. 2. stage of resistance, denial or “this cannot be”. 3. stage of contemplation or “I am getting convinced, but I’m not ready”. 4. stage of acceptance “I am convinced”. 5. stage of relapse (into the earlier stages below stage 4).
THE BELL CURVE COURSE OF THE JOURNEY TO KNOWING WHO YOU REALLY ARE
Before reaching the peak, the moment of near peak phase is so critical the mind or the person-hood in it’s instinct (or no instinct) to survive may choose to die, to get insane or to survive it. I recommend to most survivors (of trauma and most of us are) that you employ someone with more experience or be guided by one who is enlightened at this moment because of the serious potential consequences.
The peak stage is when the pain is experienced to its fullest, and there is no returning or retreat; that the only recourse would be to surrender or give in or give up, as though one is ready to accept the ultimate or death.
Post peak stage: then one survives. This is the beginning of the downcurve stage. Nirvana. A feeling of inside happiness. Elation. One feels light. The energy that we carry (the baggage we hurdle or lug with us all our life) associated with the ego and of the pain bodies are lifted off our shoulders. The burden has been lifted. One sees things without the bondage of the ego. One is free. One feels the timelessness. One sees things as they are, the “Such-ness”, or the “Is-ness”.
John Lennon from John Vondracek's FB site
The late Beatles John Lennon had seen the ego-eccentricity of our society. He expressed this in his songs like the classic “Imagine” and in “The Revolution”. During karaoke sessions, I often sing “Imagine”. I’m always moved because of the love lyrics, the beautiful melody, and the combined melancholy and at the same time the hopeful thrust of his message. The Revolution was commented on in an article I found by Google’ing ‘egoless’ and ‘John Lennon’. Henry Vyler wrote this thesis precisely with the same thoughts I have in mind in elaborating this lead blog article. Because of Vyler, I did not have to write it myself (or reinvent the wheel). Henry Vyler’s article: Egocentricity of our Society. (Microsoft Word .doc format). Pdf file article in pdf file.
I hope the above is not seen as too radical or wild. I believe happiness on earth is actually achievable through this route. One need not wait for a future ‘better time and place’. True happiness happens now, and not as promised in the future time and future place.
I plan to expand on the following:
1. UPCURVE PHASE: Evolution side: what happened, how it happened, how it hurts. Teaching: symptoms of dis-ease, descriptions, definitions.
a. Love (and attention) as an addiction. This is what one can never have enough of; one of the ‘big set-ups’ in life: the blind side. Self discovery’s blind side: we never can see the way it is until others feed-back to us. Its importance, how ‘one cannot live life in an island’. A good example is the Scrooge character of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. The Ghost of the Past gave him feedback by reviewing how he became cold-heart-ed up to that point in his life.
b. Artificial environment of our family in childhood as opposed to the real world (outside of the first family), another of the ‘big setups’. This baseline creates one’s bar of expectation from the world. The original angst, everybody gets trauma and suffer their own post-traumatic experiences. In the equation ratio of stress or Happiness Index: what one expects (numerator) / divided by… the event, or what life gives or what is (denominator).
One seldom sees her or his participation of the numerator and therefore blind to the fact she or he is the author of her or his own dissatisfaction and emotion. A parallel: After the ecstasy (of childhood), the laundry (the tough or difficult part of adulthood).
after the ecstasy, the laundry (courtesy of same titled book by zen author Jack Kornfield)
c. Emotional growth; emotional IQ (or emotional intelligence). The ‘frozen’ stage versus moving on to a higher stage of (emotional) growth. The Wiki definition: the ability to monitor one’s and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. Another way of defining this is: the first part, the ability to sense one’s own feelings as well as other’s (feelings) she or he’s engaged with. The second part is to use these informations as feedback to one’s own thinking and actions. Here’s one instructional video link to a primer (by Marcus Freudenmann).
d. Emotional phobia or the fear of negative emotions. A direct quote from Miriam Greenspan: “We all want to sit at the happiness banquet and feast on the bread of contentment, the wine of joy. We’d rather skip the emotional food that doesn’t go down so well. In life’s many meals, not everything is equally palatable; but it all needs to be digested. We can’t laugh heartily unless we know how to cry. We can’t be fearless unless we know the taste of fear. We can’t be happy if we’re afraid to feel sad. Our faith is not faith until it’s tested. To be at peace, we have to be at home with all of our emotions, to get comfortable with vulnerability.” She wrote the book “Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair” and there’s more in an interview on this. A blog writer Ronna Detrick wrote a good review on Miriam Greenspan’s book. The readers’ feedback shows ordinary people’s reaction to the book.
In my opinion, taken to the extreme, a person afraid of having negative emotions develops a complex equal to the anal retentive: one who tolerates only the outward appearance of positive image and good life, without conflicts or any reminders of negative emotions. She or he would live in a very controlled, sterile and a glass-like house or living environment. There would be lots of rules in the household or in one’s relationships to maintain such high bar of expectations. The subject most often is unaware of such stiff requirements. There wouldn’t be spontaneity in his or her life, as everything is preconceived and calculated. There would be very high anxiety and high maintenance in this character. There’s a lot of energy spent here as the basis of the character is the anxiety-driven-response for survival. This tendency to deny natural negative emotions in my opinion will paradoxically be overcome by what one had always been afraid of and had been running away from. I agree with Miriam Greenspan that one has to live (as Nature’s way) with full vulnerability. To be dogmatic with rigid rules to achieve security against negative emotions creates lots of negative consequences to one’s relations. The topic in itself could fill a whole book.
I remember very well the character of Mary Tyler Moore for study here in the Robert Redford’s 1980 movie Ordinary People. I understand the character’s self protective instinct for survival must have worked well to a certain degree to the point of becoming totally immersed in that life and be convinced that one was on the right tract, reinforcing and justifying his or her original position.
Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton
I’ve seen characters lived this way and were and are unaware of this condition until someone gives them a feedback. Usually the subject would have already been through or in the middle of a depression that would be difficult to understand and or difficult to shake off. After a feedback, it is not easy to change one’s character overnight, if at all.
The negative modeling against such upbringing in my life brought me the affinity for the opposite: to be laid back, easy going, relaxed, spontaneous, often vulnerable to all range and extremes of emotions (from not withhold crying in sad movies at the risk of being looked down on like a child, to the other extreme of laughing out loud to my hearts delight to humorous events or jokes). I’ve been called lazy, messy and dirty, disorganized. I now realize, to my relief that it was not all those. It must have been all a rebellion against the rigid rules, the domination of these rules and expectations over me. A reaction to an action. My first impression was the spoiled and protected upbringing me and my siblings had. I think it’s more the former reason rather than the latter, if not a combination of the two, but tilted more on the former. The above discovery may be a part or glimpses of a state of egolessness.
Another movie example is the 1978 Woody Allen’s “Interiors”. The mother character, Geraldine Page is well portrayed here, as well as that of the first born daughter played by Diane Keaton. Geraldine Page played an interior decorator and to me was a classic anal retentive whose life followed the usual course of having the husband get alienated, graduated and moved on with another partner leaving her depressed and suicidal. She never realized she got it coming. And Diane Keaton’s character was an artist who was also in the same mold as her mother’s.
Interiors (1978) by Woody Allen
e. Hyper-extension; protecting our soft part; or shield; the shell of resistance. Author of Zen books Pema Chodron wrote about this in “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times”. Thomas A. Harris wrote best seller book “I’m OK, You’re OK” in 1972. I loved this as this was the first attempt to demystifying psychiatry (called Transactional Analysis) using lay people’s language complete with labels, diagrams. Assertiveness training. Author psychiatrist Eric Berne followed this with “Games People Play”. Life as a ‘past-time’. Upmanship. The emergence of all addictions. Coping mechanisms against our feelings of discomfort, tension, or stress: here’s a complete list. Mythology as resource for parallels.
f. Promising: the unique-only-to-humans quality; and the life scripts that we make.
g. Learning to learn, obstacles to learning. Heuristic. Biases. All or nothing, black and white. Overflowing Cup of Tea:
The Zen Master poured his visitor’s teacup full, and then kept pouring.
The visitor watched until he could no longer restrain himself.
“It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” the Zen Master said,
“you are full of your own opinions and assumptions.
How can you learn truth until you first empty your cup?”
h. The nature of the mind; the unwisdom of what’s been taught by good intentioned parents, institutions and society. A few memorable quotes related to instutuional teachings.
Dogmas–religious, political, scientific–arise out of erroneous belief that thought can encapsulate reality or truth. Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of “I know.” Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks.
Religion, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending of violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion. They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves “right” and others “wrong” and thus define their identity through their enemies, the “others,” the “nonbelievers” or “wrong believers” who not infrequently they saw themselves justified in killing. Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth.
A corollary relating to the difference between Nature teaching versus Ideologies teaching (of good versus evil, right versus wrong), from the movie Avatar…
Avatar: Jake Prays To Eywa, The Great Mother
Jake Sully: [as Jake pleads for Eywa's help in attacking the "Sky People"] If Grace is there with you – look in her memories – she can show you the world we come from. There’s no green there. They killed their Mother, and they’re gonna do the same here. More Sky People are gonna come. They’re gonna come like a rain that never ends. Unless we stop them. They chose me for something. I will stand and fight. You know I will. But I need a little help here.
Neytiri: Our great mother does not take sides, Jake; she protects the balance of life.
Jake Sully: It was worth a try.
i. Feelings. Thoughts, Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). Emotions. Verbal and nonverbal communication; body language; mind’s antenna; cues. Premonitions. Intuition. Action and Reaction. Energy or force.
j. Drama queen; drama king. Narcissism in our life. Equality and non-equality, the root or seed of narcissism. Superiority complex. Narcissistic parent. Child of narcissistic parent alienation. Narcissistic predator. Narcissistic pet or favorite child and the non-favored child. Prey or victim; the martyr or proxy. Messiah complex.
2. Peak phase: Self versus self side: the drama, what’s happening. Teaching: dramatization, “getting it”, role playing, the learning proper.
a. Paradoxical intention; a mind-boggling approach; outside the box move. The buck stops here. Where one needs the ‘leap of faith’. Surrendering to the now. Feel the pain. The bell curve.
b. True responsibility as defined by the zen or dalai mind science.
c. Self love. The golden rule.
d. Forgiveness, the power of forgiveness. As in the Lord’s Prayer “as we forgive those who trespassed against us”. The forgiving of ones’ self (for being a victim of trauma) is more important than forgiving our violator/s. Quote from the movie “Good Will Hunting” (psychiatrist to Will): ‘It’s not your fault!’. Here’s a teachers group’s take on the review of the film. From this blog site is a notable direct quote:
“Good Will Hunting traces the successful treatment of Will’s attachment disorder, providing an excellent basis for studying the origin and treatment of this psychological condition. Filled with wisdom and compassion, the movie shows the power of talking therapy and gives an example of the life-changing insight that can be provided by psychology. The film is also a springboard for discussions about the role of dependence, independence, and interdependence in human life and the importance of love and consistency in parenting.”
“The movie also shows the young male culture of cruelty and demonstrates that the need to be tough, to never show vulnerability, weakness, hurt, or sadness, leads to a dead end. (The underline is my emphasis). Will’s friends are loyal and want the best for their friend — the essence of a caring friendship. The film can also reach some of the several students in every class (as many as a third) who have been physically or sexually abused.”
From the same mentioned movie, post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD effects are demonstrated as ‘Will Hunting Syndrome’: the incessant fear of abandonment. Avoidance of long term commitment or love as a coping mechanism (surely subconscious or unconscious to avoid being hurt by the treat of a future abandonment). See in this scene when girlfriend Skylar played by Minnie Driver was about to return to California, the breakup.
e. The journey, not the destination. Task oriented, the goal oriented.
3. Downcurve phase: After learning side: what’s next. Teaching: how “getting it” feels, after “getting it”.
a. Nirvana’s guilt; reaching out; teaching seminars. the business model patterned after Werner Erhart’s EST of the 1970′s-1980′s. Erhart on Wiki. The kursilistas (Cursillistas) model.
Warner Erhardt and EST 1970-1980's.
Enjoy some of the articles I have written since starting in early 2009.
The Art Of Karaoke DJ'ing
FAAUC Picnic 2011
Karaoke 2010 at the Park
40th Wedding Anniversary of Tito & Ludy Valarao
Reprint of Newsletter Regarding Mommy
Spider Fighting: Filipino Kids' Hobby
Open Letter To Diane Rehm of NPR...
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