The Mountain of Enlightenment – Transcending Duality and the Ego Self (Part 1/3)

Liberation from maya's illusions of duality, Self-Realization

Waking Up

Within the radical realization of ‘enlightenment’ the gift of consciousness is realized to be a part of an indescribable nonduality of Divinity that is truly ineffable and indescribable. Its stunning obviousness yet utter profound nature is all encompassing of one’s sense of reality and therefore the entire perspective and context of existence is forever changed. The realization of the true Self is infinitely formless and eternal as that which is all-present, all-knowing, all-powerful and the Creator and Source of All That Is (All that is Conscious). This Creator we are not separate from, hence the Father and I are one. Buddha, Krishna, and many other enlightened mystics have all reported this realization to the world in their own ways to assist humanity in understanding our true nature. The need for these illumined beings to teach is due to humanities ‘fall’ into perceptual illusion thus spawning the entire ego belief system of duality and separation. Due to misunderstanding our sensual experience and becoming blinded by it, the layers of ego identity become rooted, reinforced, and then requires extreme refinement and eventual dissolution in order to restore eternal peace and the Truth of our existence.

The following is a discourse regarding the human evolution of contextual awareness often referred to as ‘self-inquiry’. The process is primarily a matter of releasing attachment to the sense of duality and thus all belief in having actual control over life, the notion of causality, and the belief in being separate from the universe/life. When these limiting beliefs are relinquished it allows for the ‘return’ back to the illumined state of God-consciousness – sight restored, nonduality/Advaita realized, and all suffering, death, and fear dissolved forever. (For more information regarding the evolution of consciousness see the Transcending the Themes of Consciousness series)

The Illusion of the Ego and Duality

Attachment to the illusory, dualistic self is the ultimate and only barrier to all growth within conscious awareness and the path of salvation and enlightenment. The ego self is incredibly cunning and constantly shifting and changing in order to maintain control and keep consciousness blinded by attachments to illusions of duality, and separation from Truth, i.e. Nonduality. However, Truth is completely self-existent as the Sun that shines always and forever, it is only the clouds of illusion and unawareness created by the dualistic, perceptual self that block the Sun’s light. Thus, to uncover Truth one must liberate all notions of illusory ego control in order to discover one’s True Nature as the Divine Self free of all limitations. This process unfolds in concordance with the progression of conscious awareness and seemed to be based in four primary identities, the body, the intellectual mind, the spiritual ego, and finally the essence of consciousness itself and beyond. Therefore, it can be extremely helpful and assistive in the awakening of Truth to understand the formation of the ego and its layers of attachment to these limited identities of duality. As consciousness emerges in human form the first attachment inevitably arises as the body and its concordant animal nature/tendencies.

Transcending Duality and the Ego

Self-Identity as the Body

As the sensation of a personal self attaches to the body in the earliest themes of awareness, the body then becomes seen as the sole source of all fulfillment through glorifying its sensual pleasures. In the most unaware realms it is completely primitive and animalistic in nature in that all others are seen as ‘enemies’ and there is a constant need to protect one’s investments – the body and whatever else it has deemed as valuable or ‘mine’. The attraction is to all things passionate and pleasurable to the senses and therefore the ego is completely selfish and impulsive in nature. The most basic examples are the desires for food, water, sex, shelter, materialism, and physical domination/power (alpha male/female).

As a result of this primitive outlook the ego self as the body will then do absolutely anything to maintain control, dominance, and feed its addictions to the passions of the body including addiction to victimization and suffering itself. One can most easily think of these levels of awareness as extremely immature human beings that have no possible comprehension of selflessness or love and are striving for narcissistic survival and ego inflation only. It is the level of intense and absolute selfishness, greed, addiction, sadism, rage, hate, aggression, self-condemnation, and an overall complete rejection of true lovingness due to not being able to fathom caring for someone else. This level of awareness is concordant with sociopaths, psychopathic killers, thieves, serial rapists and killers, megalomaniacs, ‘devil’ worshipers, and all other notions of narcissism.

The egoic self during these states is completely animalistic (selfish and vain) and therefore feeds off negative emotionality and reaction. There is very little thought involved and it is more so about satisfying the senses and most immediate desires only. This includes the desires for power and manipulative control over others such as the before mentioned, alpha concept. A more civilized expression is that which is constantly immersed in the drama of life, seeking attention, and therefore indulging in the emotions of victimization, helplessness, apathy, spite, anger, judgment, and superiority. The primitive ego is the epitome of negativity and inability to accept responsibility, be humble, be peaceful, or even remotely open-minded.

The Mountain of Enlightenment: Transcending Duality

Attachment to Form and Insatiable Desire

Next the ego begins to primarily attach to the world of form and what the body has, such as physical prowess, status, materialism, and sophisticated knowledge or spiritual information (e.g. ‘the one and only true church’, or occult, secret knowledge). Before this the body and its narcissistic needs and emotionality was sufficient but now the importance becomes what the body ‘owns’ and ‘havingness’. This however is still extremely limited because with any attachment to form, needing to have more and better, as well as worrying about that which one already does have, becomes the source of all anxiety and fear due to the realization that all form can be ‘lost’, taken, or improved and therefore satisfaction is always elusive. The self as the body therefore places all importance on what one has and goals are materialistically oriented due to the fact that we think that all sense of fulfillment comes from the world of form since after all the sense of self is the form. Therefore everything is about having more form based ‘things’, whether it is, sexual mates, sexually attractive body, money, materialistic attractions, force/dominance, control of others, or otherwise, all of which are in hopes that it will somehow make one feel ‘right’ and lovable.

However, this eventually becomes exhausting and with honesty and self-reflection all form is revealed to clearly be limited, fleeting, and transient in nature. Furthermore, one eventually realizes that this pursuit of form-based fulfillment is endless, it has innate to it a never-ending cycle of wanting/craving that is infinite in scale. Therefore one must inevitably, humbly realize that quite obviously, all things of the world of form shall pass. Accordingly one starts to realize that no matter how much one has it ultimately is limited in satisfaction for there is always more to be had and it can always be lost as well. A clear example of this is megalomaniacs, such as Adolf Hitler or Alexander the Great, which literally wanted to ‘rule the world’. However even if any tyrant wanting to ‘rule the world’ did succeed, the desire would eventually shift, due to discontentment, and then they’d want to ‘rule the galaxy’ or some other ridiculous quest for control. Ultimately the pursuits of desire are endless and always unfulfilling because there is never a sense of contentment or feeling satisfied. Everything is always about having more, better, or something other than exactly what is already present. It is ultimately the complete inability to just be content and happy with exactly what is. If happiness is elusive now it will most likely always be elusive.

Thus the ego in these limited themes of awareness as the body/form is wrapped up in constant desires and neediness. It is constantly seeking external fulfillment that will never come. All fulfillment, satisfaction, love, happiness, joy, and all other desirable qualities of life only come from within as an inner decision and devotion to love, humility, and gratitude. However the limited ego is ignorant of this and thus it invests all happiness and sense of fulfillment externally such as into the body, materialism, and sensual pleasures that concordantly fosters guaranteed anxiety, worry, and fear of loss. The fear of loss arises because one has invested all sense of identity and happiness into that which is subject to loss in the first place. A good example is money.

Money comes and goes and is ultimately an illusion of happiness as a transient always changing material form. Again, all form shall pass and ultimately is completely unfulfilling anyway and therefore is ultimately irrelevant to genuine happiness. However, to the personal self of the body and form, money can become one’s sense of identity, pride, and satisfaction with life because of its perceived value. In the world of form it tends to be all about money (potentiality of power) and therefore it is easy for the ego self to become completely enamored by it. However, all form is equally irrelevant, fleeting, and unfulfilling and thus whether it is money, vanity, or materialism, the world of form is completely transient. Thus the ego self spends all its effort at this point trying to constantly accumulate more and more and trying to be ‘some body’.

What is meant by this type of desire to be successful is someone of pompous wealth, status, or someone important/famous (vanity). However all attachment and investment into the world of form is disappointing and unfulfilling for so long as the ego is attached to form it will inevitably always be subject to fleeting happiness and contentment without exception. As long as the ego self is attached to form its unhappiness and sense of lack will be inevitable, infinite, and eternal. There is never enough and someone always has more no matter what it is. With reflection one can realize this is a complete waste of time and perhaps there is more to life.

The Beauty and gift of Life

Investment into the Quality of Life

With this realization the self begins to transcend materialism and refines its attachment to the quality of life such as the health and vanity of the body. In my experience this came in the form of constant desire to workout and perfect the body’s fitness, physical abilities, and desirability. However, this also eventually became obvious to be limited due to the endless limiting factors of form still involved. For example, I couldn’t help but notice no matter how ‘perfect’ I got my body’s health to be, there was always someone else with more favorable genetics whether it be more athletic, more aesthetically attractive, more powerful, taller or shorter, bigger or smaller, the list of unsatisfied physical comparisons is endless.

Furthermore, the body is subject to aging and death and therefore is ultimately transient in nature no matter how healthy or beautiful it is. Therefore, it becomes self-evident that all attachment and investment into the body is pointless as well. There are infinite limitations within genetics and biology, and ultimately it will all fade no matter what. With this understood eventually even the body became quite obvious to be limited and fleeting in satisfaction and fulfillment as a source of identity and happiness. The notion then arose that there are many gifted bodies and materialists but not all have the development of talents and skills.

Investment into ‘Doing’

Next arose the attachment to what one could do and the self rates others and itself based on what one does. The investment then is primarily in the development of skills and talents in order to be unique and more talented than others. This creates a pride that is based in one’s abilities in whatever particular realm of life, whether it be one’s career, artwork, academic performance, sporting activities, accomplishments, hobbies, or otherwise. It ultimately is irrelevant what the content is; it is the fact that the personal self is getting all fulfillment from the nature of its ability ‘to do’ things. Once again there is a discontentment with anything that isn’t the best and one realizes that yet again there are an infinite amount of gifted ‘doers’ in the world. For example in the realm of sports one begins to realize although the personal self may be gifted and extremely talented there are many others who are extremely talented as well, many are even more so. This notion of others being more gifted in abilities now becomes a source of discontentment and once again ignites desire for improvement, which ultimately is an endless cycle.

The personal self is still invested in the body (form) and therefore it is technically still limited, fleeting, and completely transient in nature thus it holds no real lasting value. In other words, it is subject to loss and inevitable change. Eventually, emphasis on the ability to do is disinvested in by once again reflecting on the fact that it is still limited and unfulfilling in nature. Therefore there must be something that can provide more lasting fulfillment. The notion then arose that many are gifted as ‘havers’ and ‘doers’ but not all are gifted thinkers. Thus the intellect becomes the new source of satisfaction and fulfillment as the sense of personal self shifts to the mind and its development.

The Mountain of Enlightenment: Transcending Duality

Attachment to the Intellect

In my experience, this transformation was taking place simultaneously while also still remaining invested in the body as a doer, as well as remnants of investment into having (although eventually materialism was completely abandoned as a dependency of happiness). It is important to note that we are still aware of the lower levels of attachment we just simply think we’re now ‘better’ than them or ‘above’ them. In other words, as one transcends the desire for materialism the personal self then secretly gets pleasure and pride knowing that it is beyond desire as perhaps a ‘wise minimalist’ or ‘green/eco-activist’ or some other identity that is suiting. However, this is still a limitation of an identity of duality and therefore is still completely unaware of Truth.

The sense of self as mind then becomes the ultimate savior and source of all happiness and it seems to have all the answers. The mind is capable of endless pontificating through its perceived ability to think and its abilities seem infinite. Accordingly, reason, logic, and science quickly become our God and atheism is often likely at this stage. Thus the mind becomes one’s source of all satisfaction and fulfillment as the self seeks to glorify itself through learning as much as possible in order to be seen as smarter and wiser than others, or if lucky, it is done purely for the joy of learning and acquiring knowledge. The personal self as the mind represents the height of arrogance as well as genius of humankind. For the mind is capable of great feats of science and discovery but it is also the greatest barrier to all Truth by seeking to glorify itself in place of Divinity. This is the classic barrier throughout all evolution, mainly arrogance/pride  or humility/gratitude.

The glorification of the mind represents the peak of the ego’s arrogance due to its claim to be God through a rejection of spirituality and the truth that all thoughts are gifts from the ‘Divine Mind’ rather than any personal ego. The mind seeks to replace Divinity by subtly or even overtly claiming that it is the source of life’s experience rather than being humble and accepting a spiritual reality. This arises from believing that it is the mind that experiences the senses of the body and that subjectivity happened to arrive on this planet by chance through biological evolution. The intellectual being therefore is viewed as the most evolved being on the planet and thus feels it has ‘dominion’. Furthermore, it is believed that without the mind the body could not be and therefore it is quickly seen as the source and creator of the human experience. The personal self as mind evolved as follows in my experience:

The mind was first seen as all powerful and the ultimate deliverer from the limitations of form by having all the answers through the powers of reason and logic and knowledge of science and medicine. Also, by investing in the mind suddenly no matter how beautiful or gifted the body was it was irrelevant since how smart one is becomes the source of fulfillment. Thus the mind seeks information in order to feel intelligent and smarter than others due to its accumulated knowledge. With humility the pursuit of knowledge becomes personal/internal and is simply because the ego becomes enamored with its own ‘acquired’ knowledge that it claims as ‘mine’. Eventually when the mind reaches the higher levels of education and intellectual prowess it realizes that there are many other genius and gifted minds and thus it runs into the same limitations as before. Even the most humble and grateful of geniuses are nevertheless trapped by the intellect and its limitations of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Eventually through deep introspection I couldn’t seem to figure out why I kept reaching these barriers of unhappiness and inevitable discontentment. Instead of surrendering to Divinity at this point I then continued to seek an intellectual answer on my own and became intrigued with psychology and the nature of happiness and fulfillment within the human condition. I then realized it is not the content of the mind that is its power but rather the ability to choose how to perceive reality (context) that is truly remarkable. In other words it is not life’s circumstances that make us happy, such as having or doing, but it is how we perceive these things that establishes all relativity. Something ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is simply our own creation. This is the theme of highly evolved ‘self-help’ books, programs, and organizations of the world. The goal of these teachings is to help us at this stage realize that we can learn to control our happiness as an internal creation of perception. This ability suddenly seemed to have all the answers because I realized happiness, satisfaction, contentment, love, and peace are a choice coming from within me and so they are always available. The mind then reaches higher states of awareness as the inner decider and perceiver of reality. Yet this is still limited by duality.

Nevertheless, at this point I developed talents and psychological discipline to choose happiness and fulfillment regardless of circumstances that inevitably led to an incredible increase in happiness. At this point happiness and fulfillment with life became extremely elevated in comparison to the lower levels of awareness and I felt as if life was completely under my control. The mind as the sense of self feels completely in power and beyond possible downfall because it perceives itself to be in absolute control over its perceived reality. It is the sense of being master of one’s world. The mind at this point had learned how to control its perceptions of reality and therefore was able to manipulate situations and others as it chose in order to get what it wanted. Seduction and charisma became perfected as I secretly glorified my incredible psychological and metaphysical talents. All of life seemed to be up for grabs and I was able to maintain a seemingly infinite happiness regardless of circumstances. Eventually however, there arose the unexpected dark night of the soul/‘hitting bottom’ in which I, as the mind, was confronted with a situation I couldn’t seem to control or overcome thus plummeting from pride.

Liberation of Humility

Liberation Through Humility

It was through the dark night of the soul that the mind learned that its arrogance was its downfall and thus pride truly comes before the fall. For it was in the high state of confidence and arrogance of the personal self as mind that an event triggering utter hopelessness was karmically aligned, forcing a complete surrender to Divinity as that which was beyond the mind. The mind had created a reality of complete control that was ultimately an illusion. In fact this represents some of the highest levels of arrogance within the intellect and usually requires something of an extremely powerful nature in order to transcend it. Examples of what may occur due to needing to learn the lesson of surrender and humility is a near-death experience, dark night of the soul/‘hitting bottom’, death of loved ones, loss of career, loss of possessions, or otherwise major karmic shifting event. The Biblical story of Job is a good example.

In order to transcend the illusion of control the mind had to be given something that would crush its sense of power, control, and ultimately arrogance of thinking it’s God (nothing higher than it). Thus when we are confronted with the karma of our arrogance we realize the egoic mind must be surrendered or else continue to suffer. The personal self as mind then can choose death, suffering, misery, and reject the spiritual karma that presented itself and then rebuild pride and ignorance of control and therefore only set itself up for another fall. Or on the other hand, it can choose to surrender to Divinity/Love/spirituality for guidance and as a new source of happiness and fulfillment. By surrendering to Divinity/spirituality the mind is humbled and realizes that it doesn’t have the answers to everything and thus it surrenders its sense of ‘knowledge’, control, and arrogance. It is this act of surrender that is absolutely vital to all progress. For as the personal self surrenders to Divinity is able to then provide a higher perspective that is spiritually liberating and beyond the mind. As a result, the personal self shifted to a mix between the mind and spirit.

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Blessings from the Liberated Lotus

So long as a dualistic, limited self/false ego is invested in and identified with, suffering is inevitable. Thus the process of self-inquiry is the process of liberation from all negativity, illusion, suffering, fear, or death. To find lasting, eternal peace, fulfillment, and happiness in life we must surrender our core of existence and control over to Divinity. The ego believes itself to be the source of this existence and actually responsible for survival  yet this is its con that is not even remotely true. The ego is an illusory identity that formed out of the misunderstanding of the gift of perception and the ability to form contextual awareness (e.g. a ‘me’ vs. ‘you’ amongst a ‘this’ or a ‘that’). All satisfaction in life only comes from the ability to establish a context of life’s events and thus it is our greatest power if understood correctly. The ego deals on the level of content while the sincere seeker is attracted to understanding our deepest, most fundamental context for which All That Is arises. The ultimate context is to realize the Nonduality of Divinity, the dawning of the light that the Creator and the Created are one and the same.

Namaste my dearest love

Mathew Micheletti

~You shall know Truth by the happiness, joy, and peace it brings~ Go within and start knocking on the Door.