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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cogito

     It means, "I think," in Latin. No, I am not trying to remind you how smart I think I am. I just have a thing for Descartes. It's not what I think, after all. It's that I think... and therefore, I am. "Cogito, ergo sum." (I think, therfore I am.) Okay, so maybe it is a bit pretentious of me (I slipped on my ego for a minute there), but as you will see, that's sort of my point. I was going to entitle this post, "Check Your 'Big-Ego' and Roll to the Church in Your New Tuxedo." And while I'm sure Young MC would have been delighted that someone, anyone, remembered enough of "Bust a Move" to cleverly butcher his lyrics, I much prefer to honor Monsieur Descartes for the influence his philosophy has had on my own sense of ego. That's what I want to talk about. Ego. The essence of "Cogito" is this idea that each of us has a self, and the only thing we can really be sure of in this world is of our own thoughts, our own existence, our own sense of self. I know...  but before you tune me out like Charlie Brown's teacher, let me start with this:
                                                                   It's hard to be human.
     What does that even mean? Being human. I often say that we are divine beings having an Earthly experience. We are capable of so much and limited by our human bodies. We have this massive beautiful mind that we only use 10% of. I often feel trapped in my body. Like if I could just escape it and let my soul free I could soar throughout the universe and explore and learn so much. But here I am. And there you are. Separate from me. Separated by our bodies. I am me. You are you. We are each an extension of God's divine energy, and yet we are separated by flesh.
The Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Salvador Dali
    The ego is a manifestation of this separateness. My body separates my soul from yours, therefore, I must be different from you. My body also creates this illusion that I am separate from God. This idea of who I am is the ego. The ego is not divine. It is the exact opposite of it, actually. It is the part of us that is the farthest away from God. It is the animal in us. The human animal. It is our most basic instincts. It tells us that we have to control every situation. It tells us that we only have two options, fight or flight. It tells us that we have to be the alpha male or female. It tells us that if everyone loves us, we will be in the best position of power and therefore we will be happy. It tells us that happiness is having lots of stuff. It tells us that being (or at least looking) young is imperative to our survival (old is weak, young is strong). To live a life of pure ego makes us no different from any other pack animal. And yet, we are so much more than that. 
     We are God's children, are we not? We have a divine spark. A soul. The soul is not the ego. The soul tells us that happiness comes from giving and receiving love. The soul tells us that peace is an option. The soul tells us that age brings wisdom and that physical appearances are not important. The soul doesn't care about the accumulation of stuff. The soul knows that there is no need to compete with others because there is always enough love to go around.
    The soul is the ego's biggest threat. The ego is based in fear. The soul is based in love. The soul gives you confidence to let your inner light shine in the face of darkness regardless of anyone else's opinion. The ego gives you arrogance and a constant need to receive praise. The ego needs a spotlight. The soul makes YOU the light source. Being human is hard. We are constantly plagued by ego. It tells us we are not good enough unless someone else thinks so. It deludes us into thinking we have to wait for someone to show up with a spotlight, and that that spotlight is the most important thing. But what happens when you stand in a spotlight? You can't see anyone else. The light is on you, but all you see is darkness.
     If you can squash that ego, just a little bit. If you can tell it to shut up for a minute. If you can ignore the lies it constantly tells you. If you can embrace your own inner light. If you can start measuring your success by amount of love given instead of by adoration received. If you can live a life where things matter little and people matter a lot. Then your light will shine. It will shine so bright that you will realize that you are not alone on the stage. You will be able to see. And you will see that you are surrounded by many beautiful lights, many beautiful souls, creating a beacon that destroys the darkness. And in this light, there is no place where I begin and you end, and love and happiness can fill us all.
     I know. It seems really hard, doesn't it? Do you mean I have to stop wearing make-up? I can't stop wearing make-up! (You don't have to stop wearing make-up, Mommy. It's Okay) No one is completely without ego. (Especially, me. Remember "cogito?" It's a constant battle.) We all suffer from our egos. If you could stifle it all together, you would be divine, a saint, a buddha, a prophet. Most of us are just humans struggling to live normal lives. Just start paying attention to it. Try to recognize its voice. And when it starts to creep up on you and tell you that you can't, know that you can push it aside. Focus on the love in your life and remember what's really important. Remember that all the bad things in life, anger, fear, jealousy, pride, arrogance, self centeredness, lust, avarice, guilt, violence... they are all manifestations of the human ego. They do not come from God. Not in you. Not in other people. And if you can remember that everyone of us is struggling with ego. If you can remember that being human is hard for all of us, then you can understand forgiveness. There is a reason why they say, "To err is human. To forgive is divine." You can undertand that we all fall prey to our egos sometimes. You can forgive those who have hurt you because they were caught in the throws of ego and you can find the hardest form of  forgiveness of all... forgivenss of self.
I pray that you find your divine light and embrace it without fear.

Love, love, love, love...... >3

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