These questions came to me as I listened to the words of Adyashanti, one of my favorite teachers, from his CD "The End of Your World."
It seems that the longer we follow our spiritual impulses, the more our ego dares us to play a game of "Chicken," like Buzz in the famous racing scene with James Dean in "Rebel Without A Cause."
Will we have the nerve to make the jump to complete awakening, or bail out before we get there? I ask this question because I see this doubt reflected back to me from many practitioners of Busting Loose. Can you really never worry about money or taxes? Can you really create anything you want and do whatever you want to do without limitation? Can you really always be in a state of bliss?
The ego is betting that we won't have the nerve to go all the way to find out, and it's got a lot riding on the outcome.
But what is the ego, exactly? That gets tricky. Robert Scheinfeld would probably say that it's simply another false construct we've created in the hologram and given power to. And he would be right.
In Adyashanti's words, it's the false sense of self that we carry within us. It's the aggregator of all the beliefs, opinions, concepts and thoughts that make up our identity, which manifests in a body at a particular point in space. And he would be right.
Our ego likes the body. It gives the ego a sense of solidity and reality that the mind alone could not. And by collapsing the wave form into this one possibility, it keeps us from all the other possibilities. In truth, we are everything and everywhere. The ego just makes us seem separate.
As we've learned, beliefs, thoughts and bodies are illusory. The ego knows that, too. Its answer is to just keep us thinking, worrying about the future and trying to make itself indispensable.
To do that, our ego ditches our true self in line to make sure it gets first crack at filtering and interpreting everything we experience.
"When we hear someone speaking, we actually hear what we think about what they're saying." Adyashanti states. We don't actually hear what is, until maybe two weeks later when we have that V-8 moment of realization.
When we feel ourselves losing our sense of reality, the first thing we usually grasp for is a thought, like "This can't be happening, I'm Donald Trump." A thought. Think about that. That's as ridiculous as the Donald's combover.
When we have doubt, that's the ego speaking to us. Even Robert relates his "dark nights of the soul," when the ego let him know in no uncertain terms that the journey was way too challenging, intense and overwhelming. Fortunately, he persevered.
As Adyashanti describes it, enlightenment -- the extended version of awakening -- is no longer believing what you think. By extension, if you are no longer believing what you think, then ego disappears, and light can enter, at least until we believe another thought. But do that enough times and ego really gets upset. That's why we seem to engender obstacles as we get closer to breaking through the cloud cover.
What does unbelief look like? How can we remain undefined by thought and still live? Don't look at me.
I know that at this point in my Phase 2 journey, no matter how many experiences I have of the process having an effect, I still want another one. I still want to be convinced. I still don't trust. I'm still grasping on to old beliefs. The ego's got me right where it wants me, for now.
But I always know there is hope. I remind myself of what Robert says, that we're not here to exchange beliefs, but to exchange beliefs for the truth, by doing the process. In the meantime, we can't do anything wrong, no matter what the ego tells us, and some day, I'll just sit back and marvel at what a great creation the ego was.
Adyashanti has a slightly different take. "Part of being awake is being willing to be crucified," he says. "The threat of death can't control an enlightened being."
Either way, we have to be fearless, or we're just going through the motions.
Speaking of V-8 moments, perhaps this scene from the end of "Thelma and Louise" of the girls going over the cliff in their Thunderbird is closer to the spirit of what I'm talking about. After all, Buzz didn't really want to take the leap. His sleeve got stuck.