Tag Archives: gazing

A Day in a Life: Shedding Ego Of Its Egocentricity

My ego makes an appearance in dreaming. It wants to be selected to participate in a cross-country ski race, sure it will win. It is not even considered, though it makes itself known, insisting that it be picked. Someone else, however, is selected for the team. The selection committee does not even notice my ego, in fact seems to be ignoring it on purpose despite its loud and obnoxious attempt to be seen and heard. My dreaming observer self is aware of how ludicrous the ego’s insistence is because I am totally out of shape for such a feat, have not skied in years, and I don’t even own a pair of skis. None of this matters to my ego. It inflates and inflates, totally ignoring all the obvious truths.

Can I shed all that I perceive I am in service of a higher self? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Can I shed all that I perceive I am
in service of a higher self?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

My ego, which keeps a pretty low profile in waking life, must have needed an outlet, for it surely came to life in my dream. I have to laugh at how big it was, how insistent in spite of the truth! Perhaps far better to let it play out its issues of inflation in a bardo dream, especially designed for its drama, allowing waking life to be relieved of its struggles.

About 14 years ago, when I was doing my recapitulation, I had a sadly deflated ego. It was all I could do to wake it up and make my way in the world. A little too deflated, it rarely stood up for me, rarely was so insistent as in my dream. I worked on it and got it into alignment with the life I was building, a post-divorce, post-recapitulation life where I needed a well-rounded ego and a good sense of self-worth. Since then I have discovered that the ego comes in many colors, wears many costumes, and makes many appearances.

A couple of weeks ago in my blog entitled Gazing, I wrote about being guided to understand that if one is to reach a true place of love, compassion, kindness and to experience the oneness of everything, one of the most important things is to shed the ego’s self interest. It’s a constant process because, as my guidance explained, everything is egocentric. Even my writing this blog and hoping that someone will find it helpful—a good intention—is egocentric. But this is what I do, it’s part of who I am, so I will continue to write this blog, but then I will let it go and move on, no attachment to outcome. That is one way to deal with ego. Do the job before you, do it impeccably, and then move on. There is rarely a need to turn back if the job is done right the first time. This is our ego serving the needs of the higher self.

Often my ego is sluggish. It refuses to do certain things, only wants to do what it wants. It’s pretty annoying then. Such a time is not a time for shedding, but instead a time to pry it out of the mud and get it moving. Only after missions are accomplished, fully, is it appropriate to retire the ego. We could not function in the world if we did not keep our ego in good shape.

So, how does an ego in good shape act and feel? Well, an ego in good shape is in alignment with our spirit’s intent to live an ever-evolving life. It isn’t too inflated or too deflated. It resides in alignment with our spirit, inside and outside, within the natural ebb and flow of our life. It’s pliable, eager to learn, and yet also sometimes recalcitrant as all heck. Whatever the ego presents is probably a true picture of where we are in our lives, what our key issues are, and what we must work on. It’s a pretty good barometer of how we are really feeling from day to day too.

At some point it becomes appropriate to turn our back on our ego and join our spirit... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
At some point it becomes appropriate to turn our back on our ego and join our spirit…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

An ego in alignment and balance knows when to act, when to react, and when to back down. It reads the energy of a situation and makes a decision about whether or not its worth a fight and why. Often the ego may jump ahead and do something before thoughtful contemplation has a chance to intercede and that might cause issues. Other times it’s not quick enough and that will also cause issues. All of this takes time and attention before the ego is naturally in balance with spirit all the time, which might take most of a lifetime, or many lifetimes. I know, I’m still working on it! These are just some of the instances that might arise as the ego navigates the outer world. The ego in the inner world is another creature altogether.

This ego, made up of thoughts, ideas, voices, is often connected to the child self, the unfulfilled self, the negative or positive self, the happy-go-lucky self, the unstoppable self, the fearful self, the demeaning self, or any number of alter egos. This ego is the judge, the one who makes decisions and keeps a running commentary going, who criticizes and gets angry. This is the ego that speaks volumes as well, who notices every little thing that’s right, that’s wrong, that’s gone unnoticed, unappreciated, or is perfect and should not change at all. It is not shy about pointing all these things out either. This ego can get us into as much trouble as the outer ego because it contains all the same parts, known and unknown, freed and held back, expressed and unexpressed. As the guidance in Gazing told me, everything is ego attachment, and thus eventually everything needs to be shed.

Such advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Far better to have ego imbalance than to shed too much too fast. When we are ready the shedding happens naturally. When I was twenty-one I sure needed an ego. That age is a time of ego-building in the world, as one sets out to find out what life has in store, as one learns about the world and how to live in it and survive.

Everyone experiences life at their own pace, equipped with whatever they have when they start out. Some people are gifted with healthy egos right from the start, others less so, but all of us must strive to get them in balance. As I learned, a deflated ego was as detrimental as an overly inflated one. I was always quick to notice a big ego in someone else, but did I feel any more superior because of not having such an inflated ego? Not in the least, my self-esteem was in the pits and it never afforded me much compensatory feeling. I was still who I was, no matter who someone else turned out to be.

And so, as we build our egos we also learn how they tend to be approached, treated, admired, defeated and even trampled on. If we are aware of the work to be done, determined to get that ego into alignment so that it does not always feel so bruised, we are open and ready to take everything as a learning ground. We pick ourselves up and go out again and again into the world, even if we don’t want to, because we know we have to. We know we are on a journey that serves a higher purpose.

We all have to grow up, and part of that growing up is presenting our egos to the world. It’s in the outer ego’s trials and tribulations that we temper and tame the inner ego’s judgments, criticisms, and outlandish ideas. Between the two, we have everything we need to succeed at getting into alignment with what our spirit has in store for us, to eventually evolve into beings of love, kindness, and compassion.

Eventually, a nice blending is achieved... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Eventually, a nice blending is achieved…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

If we are to become such evolved beings then, yes, we must constantly attend to and relativize our egos. It is the role of the ego, as an independent entity, to serve the spirit. And so, aspirations independent of spirit need to constantly be shed.

In other words: just as ego is the parent of the child self, so is ego the child of the spirit self. And just as the child self must merge with the ego, so ego’s will must be merged with spirit. This is true shedding of the ego. Once that occurs we become the gentle, nonjudgmental, kind and compassionate beings that we all really are, spirit beings, who are not only believers of love but are love, loving beings all the time, to everyone and to everything.

This emergence of spirit self is, in the end, the true shedding of the ego self. And then, when we shed the body, when we are ready to meet the infinite, we will glide right on into the oneness of everything, for there will be no ego stopping us, arguing with us, afraid or concerned. We will be in total alignment with spirit, with all of life, with the natural easing out of one form and into another.

Always shedding,

A Day in a Life: Gazing—A Self-Realization Technique

Chuck and I recently read about a rare, little-known meditation technique* used by Tibetan monks to train young monks in more quickly gaining lucidity. It involved sitting and gazing into a highly polished wall of various metals, chiefly copper, as well as a mirror. Gazing into one’s own image sets a series of hypnagogic images going.

Chuck and I have used a similar technique many times, both gazing into a mirror to see our own auras, as well as simply gazing into each other’s eyes. What transpires, and usually rather quickly, is just that, a series of fleeting images. Sometimes animal, sometimes human, they tell us a story of who we are, where we have been, and who we are to become. It is both a challenging and an enlightening process.

In all the fleeting images I was always recognizable! - Detail of artwork by Jan Ketchel
In all the fleeting images I was always recognizable!
– Detail of artwork by Jan Ketchel

Twice this past week I decided to engage in Gazing. Just as I presented Netting—An Energy Clearing Technique in last week’s blogpost, I share my experiences with Gazing as an effective means of self-realization. First, I present the processes I used and then the insights that inspired me to share this with you.

The first day I tried Gazing, I stood before a well-lit bathroom mirror, fairly close, so that my face and shoulders were clearly visible, about a foot and a half away. With softened gaze, as if looking through myself, I stared into my eyes reflected in the mirror. My intent was to see myself as energy, as waves of energy. It didn’t take long before my image in the mirror began to shift. It took a while to keep my focus, to hold a steady gaze, but the longer I stood there the better I got at it. In the bright light, I watched as my face began to vibrate and eventually crumbled into mere particles, as I became older and older and eventually began to disappear altogether. In the bright light I saw my eyes clearly as they held the gaze, as they became penetrating rocks of light. I noticed that although the rest of my image shifted and changed, my eyes remained steadily the same. Except for changes in their color they did not alter. I stood there for perhaps 30 or 40 minutes. During this time I became completely unaware of my body. I was out-of-body. I was consciousness only, awareness gazing at the image that I perceive of as “me” in this life. A lot of other things transpired as well, but that was the gist of the experience.

The second time I did Gazing, I sat on the floor in a dimly lit room before a full length mirror. This time I was about 6 feet away. Most of my body was visible, though in the subdued lighting not as clearly as it had been in the harsh bathroom light. This time I asked for access to my High Self, to be able to see it and, through Jeanne and our guides in the universe, to be granted the means of “seeing” myself through my many lives.

This time I gazed at my third eye, the spot between and slightly above the eyebrows. I was repeatedly directed to bring my gaze back to this spot, to use my peripheral vision to see the rest of me and what was going on. Before long, just as the time before, things started to shift. My intent was to just have an experience, so I was pretty open to whatever happened, but of course the mind tries to control things, wants things to happen. I learned rather quickly that it wasn’t going to work if I got in the way, if my ego got in the way. And because I had asked my High Self for help, I began to receive messages to aid me in the process.

I was repeatedly told, let the body relax and be empty... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
I was repeatedly told, let the body relax and be empty…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

“Relax, shed the ego, you are just an image,” said my High Self. “Everything is possible. Just be.” And so began another out-of-body experience. Once again, I became consciousness only. As I gazed into the image of myself in the mirror it began to shift. It was as if slide after slide was being projected onto the mirror, images of myself throughout this lifetime, from earliest days, through youth and midlife, to now and then they went beyond. I saw myself age in rapid succession and when I asked to see my High Self I was granted a glimpse of who I have been talking to for so long in this life, a man, a wise old man in a turban, with a beard! He looked so familiar I could have picked him out of a group photograph rather easily. But then he too shifted and I saw another image, a shaved head. “Oh, is that you too?” I asked. “Yes,” came the answer, “even your High Self has evolved, coming from many traditions.”

At times I would think about my body, as I sat there for about 45 minutes. But once again I noticed it was practically non-existent. I did not feel it or any attachment to it. It was empty. I noticed my breathing was very slow. I knew I would return to my body when I was done, but it did not matter at the moment, and so it was easy to leave it and go back to conscious communication with my High Self. Once again, I had many other experiences, but that is the gist of the second experience.

I noticed similarities and differences in the two experiences. Gazing in light may produce one effect while gazing in shadow another. In both instances, however, I experienced myself as energy, lots of energy, and I was invigorated by the experiences. I experienced flickering images both times, and the answer to my question that naturally arose, “Are they all me?” was “Yes, they are all you.” Now I move on to the insights I received.

First Insight: All thoughts are ego; shed the ego. I heard this over and over again, every time my mind drifted or I thought of something. “Shed the ego. Shed the ego.” It became a mantra that my High Self spoke repeatedly. Not only are thoughts ego, I learned, but everything else that we attach to is ego as well. Even attachment to the shifting images was ego. Illness is ego, fear is ego, depression is ego, doubt is ego, judgments are ego, hungers are ego, attachments to body image are ego, desires are ego. The High Self has none of those qualities. The High Self is pure, unadulterated, egoless wisdom. It waits for us to finish our work of the ego and join it. “Shed the ego.” That is a very important insight. It opens the door to being able to access our High Self more fully and allows for useful access to the idea that “everything is possible.”

You are also your High Self... What does that image look like? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
You are also your High Self…
What does that image look like?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Second Insight: You are an image projected into life by your High Self. As the Bible tells us: God created man in his own image. Our High Self, the God particle that we are, created us. We are an image that we created, an image of an idea manifested, a thought form, no different from an image in a mirror. Our High Self selected and gave us form. We decided a very long time ago what we would look like and we have lived as that same image throughout our many lifetimes. I did notice that in all the fleeting images I saw of myself I looked pretty much the same. My facial features were always recognizable as me, even the male faces. I have always looked like this, like me! This, I believe is how people recognize us from previous lives. Have you ever seen someone you felt you knew intimately, but just could not place? Or been approached by someone saying they know you? Perhaps it was from a previous life. This insight leads to the next one; the two are inseparable from each other.

Third Insight: Learn to love yourself. The image that we are is the image our High Self, our Soul, has selected. We must learn to love it so we can shed it too and evolve. We will only advance by learning to love who we are, every part of us. That is our challenge in our life, in every life, to learn to love who we are. No matter what we may “think” about ourselves, it doesn’t matter, we’re only an image. Keep that in mind as you learn to love yourself: You are only an image. As an image, that YOU created, you also have the power to alter that image, to play with it in any way you want. You can change it! You will always be you, your facial features will remain recognizable, but you are in full control of the image you live your life in. Now that is pretty powerful information!

To follow through on that insight, don’t get all tied up in, “I can’t!” That’s ego. Shed it! Instead, begin to work with your image. What character does your image want to play today? What costume does your image want to wear? What lines will your image speak? What actions will your image take? Will you be the usual image you reflect, or will you choose to go out of character and dare to alter your image? And keep in mind, that your image was created by you and you can do anything you want to it, with it. You are totally in charge. But first shed the ego of course!

There is a distinct difference between ego play and spirit play. In learning to play with the image that we are, we must shed the ego so that the door to spirit opens. And when spirit takes over, that’s when things begin to change. We must open a dialogue between our High Self and our consciousness, that part that we are outside of our body, the part that I experienced and you will too as you do Gazing. This is the self that is fully aware and can fully detach from the body self and the image self. We must be careful to discern and recognize real consciousness because ego too is consciousness. Ego that identifies itself as spirit, however, gets in the way of pure consciousness. Ego that has shed its inflation is pure consciousness, and this is what the first insight guides us to.

I saw a cardinal and wondered: Did his High Self create his image? - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
I saw a cardinal and wondered: Did his High Self create his image?
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

The message I got was, have fun! Your High Self is eager for you to explore who you really are. And don’t forget: You may not be what you “think” you are! Remember, that’s ego!

Try Gazing. Be patient. Relax and let it happen. Breathe. I also found that if I held my breath things happened more quickly, because if you hold your breath you can’t really think, and that’s the whole point to this exercise, to stop thinking and just go for the experience. See what happens!

As always, with thanks and gratitude,

* Thanks once again to Dr. Elmer Green for his brilliant work, The Ozawkie Book of the Dead, where we read about this meditation training process.