Meditation: Going Beyond Ego Barriers

Co-authored by Jan Jennings & Dr. Darryl Luke Pokea

The first step towards the release of outer world conflict is the release of our own conflicts within our own inner mind……Meditation returns us to the instance before thought, the timeless moment of being where there is a suspension of all wanting, all will that precedes thought. ….A sacred awareness in the continuum of consciousness where we clearly know that we are both Spirit and the melody, both Spirit and the words, both Spirit and the images and perceptions of all experiences in mind and body…..

In a twist of positive irony, by managing our interior, we become masters of our exterior.
Ramone G. Corrales

Growth takes place in a person by working at a deep inner level in a sustained atmosphere of silence.
Ira Progoff

We are dominated by everything with which our self becomes identified. We can dominate, direct and utilize everything from which we disidentify ourselves.
Roberto Assagioli on the process of “disidentification” (letting go of self)

The divine eternal fullness of life can be gained only by those who have deliberately lost the partial, separative life of craving and self-interest of egocentric thinking, feeling, wishing and acting.
Aldous Huxley

The ego doesn’t let us see what really needs to be done because it sees only its own mirrored sphere; a bubble filled with the projections and reflections of its own limited reality. If you surround yourself only with yourself, that is all that you will be able to perceive.
Dr. Darryl Luke Pokea

Maturity is a series of shattered illusions.
Levar Burton

“Meditation” painting by Jan Jennings, artist

This author views meditation and relaxation as essential to healthy survival in our painfully chaotic, often insane world. The events of 911 and continuous re-generated fear of further terrorist attacks and multi-country world conflicts can be overwhelming for even the most mature adults. A mind congested by fear can easily slip into the habit of fragmented thoughts and loss of objectivity. The mind continually chattering in response to our deepest fears may become so loud, that it drowns out the gentle, calming whispers of our Creator’s Spirit.

The habit, of turning fear immediately into thought and action, leads to a defensive trap that snags our humanity. The trap paralyzes our will to connect with and be attuned to the guidance of our spirit and our Creator. Fear can dominate thought and create a spiraling cycle to “do something”, “escape,” or engage in old familiar patterns of self-destructive thoughts. Too often the known, even if destructive, is preferred to the unknown. The ego wants us to fear the unknown, the unfamiliar, even when there is a way out of habitual patterns of thought and action. It does this by creating a division between “what is” and what it wants us to think things “should be.” This dissonance keeps the mind in an overactive, continually problem solving state of consciousness. The solutions that present themselves in this state of mind, lead to a vicious cycle of more repetitive thought and actions. The actions temporarily relieve the body, but leave the mind prone to search other means of future escape. This increases the drive for more activity and offers no real solutions. Endless, purposeless activity eventually leads to helpless feelings that perpetuate another cycle of more meaningless thoughts and actions. In contrast, meditation is a process of observing all experience, including the ego’s escape tactics through thought and action, with a relaxed and quieted mind that opens to spirit-guided solutions.

The choice of meditation for breaking the cycle and quieting the mind may be met with obstacles. As we allow the mind to begin the natural journey back to quietude, a multitude of fears and distractions may surface. They create the illusion that we cannot escape the trappings of the fear-driven mind and frustrate us so we are inclined to retreat to the familiar noisy, chattering mind habits and fear-driven actions. A “busy” mind leads to “busy” actions from which the conclusion is drawn, “I am too busy to meditate.” “I don’t have time to meditate when so many problems must be solved.” Without recognizing these illusions perpetrated by the ego, with all its luring verbal expressions, one can be disconnected from even beginning to meditate. As a result, the potential of meditation to help the mind reflect, recreate, and heal, suffers.

A further distraction that the ego presents to obstruct the mind is to ask many questions about meditation. The ego wants to assure its control through pseudo-understanding as it asks the questions: What is Meditation? How is it going to do something for me? These forms of questions illustrate the ego’s dominant fear expressed through “investment strategy” illusions. Underlying the surface logic in both questions is the ego’s automaton control, as it robotically tries to understand the details of what meditation is. The ego wants to know everything is profitable in life before investing any time and energy. We can learn to relax the mind and directly “look at” the traps that the ego sets to snag the mind and prevent meditation.

Meditation may be “experienced” not “defined”. The process of meditation may be “discussed and guided”, not “taught”. The ego becomes more agitated in its loss of control because it cannot limit or compartmentalize the process of meditation. Meditation is an infinitely changing experience characterized by a gentle unfolding of layers of understanding in each our own personal evolution. It returns us to a state open to the presence of the Creator in all experience, “now”.

Meditation directly contrasts with the ego’s desire to know. In meditation it is more important to “now” than to “know”. The ego is quick to exploit the left-brain’s processing style to “know” through complex and involved matrices of past and speculated future events. It keeps us pursuing endless thoughts in its attempt to predict the future from past events. The left-brain has veto power in inhibiting right brain processes. The ego uses the left-brain to suppress the right brain’s natural proclivity towards the present, the “now”, of the moment-to-moment meditation experience.

We can remember in our mind that the ego only wishes to “know” in order to “no” this experience. The ego is vested to avoid the experience of meditation to maintain a fragmented mind. Its basest illusions are inserted into the mind as it promotes a “fear of unknown territory” in meditation consciousness, urging us to stay safe with the familiar. The ego utilizes fear as its rationale to support its “certainty principle”. It lures us to rationalize that we must be “certain” and understand all aspects of an experience and its definitive merits (profitability), before we “risk” letting go. Through pseudo-logic, the ego creates the illusion of safety because of our fear that we “might lose control”. In this manner it attempts to thwart the first inclinations we have towards a meditation experience. It is this: “I must be certain before I experience something new and unknown” that is at the root of the ego’s fear-dominant robotic logic. The media of our society, citing investment disasters and new investment strategies, plays upon the ego’s “certainty principle”. If we quiet the mind, we can observe that the thoughts being inserted into our consciousness are motivated by fear and are accompanied by this parallel desire for “certainty”. This “desire for certainty” drowns out the whispers of Spirit with the ego’s noise.

One cannot have healing without embracing that which needs to be healed. Meditation provides a pathway in the mind to observe the multitude of painful thoughts and emotions that we all carry that keep us separate from the One and one “an other”. The states of consciousness available through meditation, allow for objectivity, so lucidity can shine through the ego’s darkest illusions in daily living.

The highly conflicted outer world may be viewed with a highly conflicted inner mind. This geometrically increases the suffering of the viewer. There may be profound pain in this existence, but there does not have to be prolonged suffering. It is only when we avoid facing our pain that we prolong the pain experience and suffer. A fragmented, conflicted inner mind is sensitized to viewing every unresolved shattering conflict in the outer world, perpetuating unnecessary suffering.

The first step towards the release of outer world conflict is the release of our own conflicts within our own inner mind. A type of imprisonment results as images of the world are shared with images in the mind. This may take the form of a narcissistic illusion: “mirror, mirror on the wall, I see my mind on the world, and the world mirrors my mind in all. This must be reality because they both look the same and both are loaded with pain.” These imposed and self-imposed cascades of fear-driven thought lead to an unhealthy dis “ease” of the mind and contribute to dis “ease” in the body.

Meditation is being the observer and that which is being observed. They are one and the same. We can become one with each experience flowing into consciousness. This quiets any movement or influence from past and future events so we are free to experience continuously detached observation and listen only in the ‘now’. In meditation we do not ignore the outer world, as that is merely another form of escapism. Seeking only the transcendent, to the exclusion of what “is” immanent is just another lure into duality where the ego suggests that we try to escape from life’s pain.

“Detachment” is not indifference or separation, but a process to view all the beauty and crassness in both the inner and outer world with a gently focused observation. Practicing detachment removes any desire for change in the outer world. Simultaneously, the more deeply we clearly see and understand the limitations of the outer world, the more deeply we can travel inward in meditation, where there are no limits. The chaos we think we perceive on the outside is merely a mirror of the chaos that we still have to deal with on the inside in our own personal evolution. They are the same. Detachment includes releasing any desire to have “an experience” during meditation. We simply “let go” of effortful analysis and “let happen” effortless observation. Perceptions then dissolve into gentle understandings.

Perhaps in reading this, the ego may introduce dissonant thoughts that this experience in consciousness is impossible because we would have to spend too much of our time meditating to achieve this. How clever the ego is in using the left hemisphere’s proclivity towards logic and time, to focus on outcome, past, and future events. The ego, in desperate fear, attempts to squelch the right hemisphere’s present orientation and its capacity to observe simultaneously, both images of the outer and inner world.

It may not be that we need to meditate more, but rather, that we never leave the meditative state. ‘Being’ as virtuous as possible in daily living is remaining in a meditative state. The Buddha sited the importance of the “Eightfold Path” and Christ the “Eight Beatitudes” in daily living. Meditation without virtuous living becomes merely a trick to control the mind and emotions, a form of distorted self-hypnosis. Meditation is seeing all that presents, without fragmentation, without separation, without the distortions of one’s own personal fears. Living truly virtuously in daily life is the meditative state of constant observation and listening. Observing all of one’s reactions to the cacophony of prejudices, preconceptions, conditionings, socializations, images and past experiences in others and ourselves is meditation. As we recognize the crassness of these discordant noises and illusions, we can participate again in the symphony of creation and hear the whispers of our spirit.

Meditation returns us to the instance before thought, the timeless moment of being where there is a suspension of all wanting, all will that precedes thought. This wordless acknowlegement of “Thy Will be Done”, ranges from single to infinite moments, that we are illuminated by indwelling Spirit. A thoughtless but lucid knowing that we are home “Om”. This is the pure experience of Spirit in the spaces between1 the melody, between the words and between the images and perceptions of all experience. Simply, Spirit indwelling both the mind and body concurrently. Conscious that neither Body & Mind nor Spirit are separate. Both are home “Om” at once. A sacred awareness in the continuum of consciousness where we clearly know that we are both Spirit and the melody, both Spirit and the words, both Spirit and the images and perceptions of all experiences in mind and body.

Meditation is a freeing expansive experience where the impermanent noises of the world pass and the eternal vibrations of spirit surface in the quietude. In this heightened consciousness we can experience the silent flow. For healing of the body, and restoration of the mind, meditation requires the deepest quiet intelligence to observe this same intelligence in the body, mind and from our spirit. The quieted mind in the glow, experiences the gentle, ever-healing, symphonic flow.

1 The etymology of “between” is be (“am”-ing simultaneously) + twEnonum (two or both). Literally “be both”

Thoughts are energy and attention sends energy to aid the body’s healing process. So too is that true with psychological pain. When we can get past the immediate impulse to deny it, to run away, blame someone, or sugarcoat it with positive platitudes, then we can allow ourselves to feel the pain which is actually healing. The mere act of feeling the pain is sending energy for healing. We can then open ourselves to the inner lessons, so passion, and understanding that come from deep within our self; to see the big picture from an elevated perspective. If you deny what is happening, if you run away from it, it festers and becomes infected. It grows in the dark and controls us in ways we don’t realize because we don’t want to look at it.
Jan Jennings

“Why Knot”, a satiric play by Jan Jennings, artist

Negative thinking narrows thoughts that can manifest in habitual self-destructive behaviors. This may be thought of as “karma”, that we pattern within our daily lives and occurs when we simply do not realize what we are doing to ourselves.
Dr. Darryl Luke Pokea

Jan Jennings, artist

Listen to “Think Fit: The Power of Your Mind”:

Additional Reading:

“The Surprising Science of How Feelings Help You Think”

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