Contemplating god/the gods is an excellent practice. It structures our perception of our narrower lives in a useful way. Even if your highest principle is an abstract notion, it serves the same purpose.
When it becomes habit to throw off the “Who I thought I was” then ego just becomes a cramp that you shrug off without effort. Just a sensation, and no longer any limitation.
For me, I have a neural quirk there. I can’t form the patterns that congeal into “habits” very well. So to have any sense of self at all, I have to keep rigid routines. I have learned the art of keeping my habits very loose and flowing. But it makes people think me very weird, because I often can’t “self” for them when they expect it. This creates a social alienation. What I can do, and what I have learned to do, is adopt the habits of others temporarily. Adopt their metaphors, and I learn to communicate in their metaphor very easily.
I was identified in school as being gifted in language. I wasn’t so skilled by any effort of mine. It was just how my consciousness works. Why do I share this? Well, what I do consciously “happens” to you even though most people try not to let it happen. Your friends and loved ones integrate you into their metaphor. Their view not only of the world, but of themselves, and you might be surprised how very little it actually has anything to do with you. They aren’t being abusive to you, because you are doing the same thing too. Not only to them, but to yourself. But you don’t have to.
Are you saying that people relate to others only from their own point of view? Yes. Some get a little bit past this with a religious or spiritual practice. Some develop that capacity for empathy, but still fall back into their own metaphors, because they can’t reconcile their sense of matter and self to their sense of the other. Your sense of matter and your sense of self are one and the same. The mystery of the other is what escapes people.
Sometimes though, doesn’t the mystery of another attract? It can, and the attraction of the mysterious other isn’t necessarily bad, but in the end repels unless you get out of that loop.
I often think we should talk to the homeless person on the street more. They could very likely have direct experience. Yes, the immediacy of survival is mind altering, and is why so many generalize and say homeless people are insane.
Can’t you become a captive of this mystery? You can. I have been meaning to show the way out. As the doctor in the television series “House” says “Everybody lies.” Everybody lies. I do. You do. We all do. The secret is to accept the lie, not reject the lie. Don’t reject the ego. If someone seems egotistical to you that’s fine, accept their self image. Accept, but you don’t have to believe, and you won’t make them believe differently either. But when you accept, you embrace the language of their ego, of their “world”.
But an authentic person would be real and vulnerable. Not presenting himself that way? An authentic person will admit they make things up. Their personal truths are all false. There is no individual truth, only the virtually true. When I say everyone lies, I don’t mean everyone practices deceit. Totally different.
I have seen the movie, “Invention of Lying”. Before people learned to lie in that movie, they just say things like “Ohh, your baby is so ugly” , “I just went to the restroom, what would you like to order sir?” Indeed, good point. These falsehoods are ok. We don’t have to dispel them. We don’t have to become upset by them. We don’t have to believe them. In a sense, we need our lies, but we do not need deceit. Deceit is an aggressive act. To practice deceit, you have to recognize that all truths are virtual, and then deliberately deface one or more. The deceiver is a vandal where the liar is just a person.
Lying is the origin of all meaning and truth in our life, and there is truth, but the truth is alive, changing. It can’t be expressed in any one statement or small set of statements. Ever hear of that character called Jacob the liar? Jacob the liar was an old Jewish man, and was known for spinning tall stories. He lived in an old ghetto with his people, and they were the ones who called him Jacob the liar. Something bad happens in their community, and for all his “delusion” he is the only person who knows what to do and say to make things right. The “fool” saves the day. This actually happens a lot in stories does it not?
Twelfth Night? And Mid Summer Nights Dream. There is a fool there who is the actual hero. People become egotistical and stuck in their egos to the degree they entertain the idea that they are anything other than a fool.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.One World class participants. Thank you!)