I have a lot more theory to learn but I need to start practicing. My first year at Burning Man made me see how far I still have to come. And I think I got a little freaked out, and I still am but I’m understanding it more now. I get that you can’t do Burning Man every day, but you can try to live it. And my ego’s putting up a pretty brilliant fight to get me to give up and go back into the land of blind comfort (endless suffering?) of the never ending quest to fill its never ending desires.
But without the ego, the quest becomes dharma. And without the ego, you are no longer a victim of the world around you, but one who suffers with intentions of love. You accept and learn from your problems, realizing that every personal trouble is a divine teaching in disguise.
My main problem is that I’m worried that I’m able to rationalize with myself to believe, in the words of Ken Wilber, my preconventional desires are postconventional motives. When intention is pure and universal morality is being employed, one is able to read their emotions as divine signals. This is because emotions are free of attachment at this point. Which is I think my main problem.
My professor said something about the distinction between commitment and attachment. Which is the whole thing about putting correct intention or complete commitment into your actions, but letting go of emotional attachment of the outcome of your endeavors. Which is hard, because you have to put so much thought into why the endeavors you choose are the right ones, which is dependent on the expected results of such endeavors actually happening. So you’re supposed to know what you want to happen and try to make that happen, but not care whether or not it happens. That’s hard. And that’s because that requires you to silence your ego.
Your ego is the one that cares about outcome, because ego has learned to value itself based on the success or failure of its attempted actions. The ego thrives on emotions because they’re personal and relatable to “me” and what it means to be “me” in any given moment. The ego, which is itself empty, can attach itself to emotions and define itself by them. “I am sad because….., I am happy because.” And that “because” requires us to qualify our emotions based on our cultural understandings of the causal relationship of emotion to reaction. And somehow, our emotions have transformed into a very easy tool to use to victimize ourselves.
I do it all the time, “that person made me feel inferior and therefore I am a victim”. But when I’m busy complaining about my victim status, I’m just retreating back to ego, which thrives on that label. If I ignore my ego, my emotions no longer have anything to attach to. They just become tools to inform my present moment. For me, instead of “I like” it becomes “I’m enjoying”. Like somehow implies emotional attachment. Enjoyment implies an appreciation of something without dependency on it for identity.
I guess I try to make most of my emotions mean something about me. Which is this ego-y thing. I want to read them all as signs and lessons on my journey. But I think I found the problem right there.
This, I think, is the part of my journey where I transition from my journey to our journey. I have awakened to see what is, that I am at one with the divine and that I have the power to realize divine love through my self. I have learned enough to start moving with others, I have seen what’s possible when human creativity chooses to manifest itself through group efforts. This is miraculous.
It is time I join the miracle creators to help us evolve into making choices based on what the collective needs as opposed to what I want or what other people may want for me. It is time I become the manifestation of myself I can see that I have the potential for. This means no more “me”. Just us, and what’s best for us, despite what might please my ego. I have to ask, do I want that for me? Or do I want that for us? Do I not want that to happen for me? Should I maybe let it happen because it’s us? Where are my motives coming from when using my emotions to base decisions? That depends on if the intention is pure and whether or not the ego is involved.
I live in this culture that is dependent on egos, a culture of victims. We’ve almost come to define ourselves in terms of how we’ve been victimized. And when you’re surrounded by victims, it’s easy to want to become ‘victim chic’. It’s not as easy to say that although you acknowledge that there are some oppressing forces in the world, you not define yourself by the way they have affected you.
To do this, you must be willing to detach yourself from your emotional attachments, which allow you to claim yourself as victimized. One can practice love and full commitment of faith not when they are a victim of oppressing forces out of their control, but when he or she is a humble servant to the loving service of God=Us.