The Garden of Eden myth imagines the birth of human consciousness. Adam and Eve chose to break the law by eating the apple. Consciousness is the awareness of having a choice.
Nature’s laws do not require consciousness in order to be obeyed. They come in the form of archetypes, the programs that automatically determine the actions of sentient beings, and the entire cosmos, without any need for conscious deliberation in order to activate.
The archetypes are nature’s commandments, constructed through many painstaking trials of evolution, that become encoded in the genes and developmental patterns that govern a species. The introduction of the possibility of choice in the Garden, prompted by the snake offering the apple, was the birth of the ego, a center of consciousness having the power to override instinct, as it thinks and chooses for itself.
As a consequence of their disobedience, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden and thrown into the desert, left to fend for themselves, with their naive and inexperienced egos in charge of making decisions that would impact their survival. This predicament forced the ego to become an imposter of competence, as the responsibility for leadership fell upon an inadequate ego, which had to pretend to be competent.
Before we get too down on the ego for all its inflated pretense of ability or disability, perhaps we should have compassion for this little prince, abandoned in an unknown world. What other choice is there really but to fake it until you make it? The ego never asked to be born without knowledge; it truly is the recipient of its ancestor’s original sin of skipping over nature’s laws and acting through conscious choice instead.
Ironically, the birth of the ego, with its ability to make decisions, was actually nature’s plot to advance humanity to consciousness, an evolutionary trial to improve on nature’s decision making speed and efficiency. After all, Jung would often ask, who put the snake in the Garden?
The coldblooded snake of Eden is indeed kundalini at the root chakra of the human body, pushing itself upwards toward union with higher consciousness at the crown chakra. To be in human life is to experience the trials and tribulations of growing consciousness as it journeys back to the Garden, the crown jewel. The ego is kundalini’s plaything, companion and student on this adventuresome path called human life.
Currently, the ego has become the number one culprit in planetary mishap. The ego is currently mired in narcissism, caught in the lower chakra dramas of self-importance, possession, competition, and domination. This is mirrored in our polarized world with its charismatic leadership.
Within the individual the ego struggles with nature in the form of powerful needs and emotions, as it worries about survival. The higher spiritual chakras of refined love and interconnectedness are far from the consciousness of the needy ego at this stage, consumed as it is with the challenge of its own survival.
Nature, at this current time, is depositing new snakes in our messy garden, in the forms of viruses and climate crises, to prompt the world ego to rise to new heights, particularly to the heart center, where it can shed its narcissistic wrappings through the fire of love. The ego’s work, at the heart center, is learning to make decisions of right action that then rise to expression through word and deed at the throat chakra.
If nature’s experiment of making the conscious ego the agent of prudent decision making is to advance planetary survival, the ego must arrive at a place of humility, able to acknowledge both its innocent ignorance and its narcissistic leanings.
Fortunately, higher levels of consciousness are readily available to guide a humble seeker. Our time is replete with ethereal bodhisattvas, channelled by earth angels throughout the world, sharing their wisdom and guidance to receptive heart-centered egos.
In any moment, ego can ask spirit guides for signs and affirmations in nature, as it contemplates the right direction of a decision. This includes asking the body for guidance as well, where sensations of all kinds might suddenly respond to a thought, offering either affirmation or cause for deeper reflection.
The body also presents itself as nature, ready to evolve under enlightened leadership. An ego that has lost its self-importance, and incorporates the principles of right action, can suggest to the body new rules of functioning that both heal and lead toward deeper fulfillment.
Acknowledge not-knowing with awe versus shame. Assume full responsibility for leadership despite innocent ignorance. Humbly ask for guidance from the crown, then act in full consciousness with refined love.