What if I told you I could show you the value of your ego in your spiritual development? If I said that following your ego will help you to discover your own sacredness, would you believe me?
The ego has become misunderstood in recent years. Harkening back to the Freudian concept, the ego is the part of your mind that balances your desires with what is reasonably attainable. It is the part of your mind that can truly be called “the self.” It is within this self that the deepest and most important of the sacred mysteries wait.
Many modern spiritual practices tell you that you need to free yourself from your ego. They espouse that you must be liberated from its blinding effects in order to join with the oneness of the universe from which you came. I encourage you to look past these words and see the truth: If these modern gurus had liberated themselves of their own egos in order to reach their sacred status, they would not seek out bigger audiences and larger pools of media though which to transmit their messages. No, they have embraced their egos. They follow where their egos lead them — to a place of spiritual, financial and personal success. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Embracing the ego
In order to begin this process, you must first learn who you really are. With all of the divergent spiritual roads spouting different messages, it is easy to get lost in the pseudo-spiritual din. One bit of advice from the ancients that must be adhered to is to know yourself. There really is only one true road to your spiritual liberation. That road is your own.
Only you can decide what that road is and where it takes you. Take the time to sit in contemplative introspection. Let yourself be the focus of your meditations. As you calm your mind and search deeper within your own being, you will begin to connect with your own higher being. This deep connection will guide your words, your deeds and your desires. Let yourself follow these inclinations, for they will never mislead you, nor will they bring harm to another. It is not in the nature of one’s higher being to bring unnecessary destruction or suffering to any other being.
One of the greatest tools you can use to embrace your ego and let it be your guide is your will. The will is the ego expressing itself. It is what draws your awareness to certain events and people that are in alignment with your being and your higher purpose. Your will is what drives you and motivates you to fulfill your ego and achieve your dreams.
It is only through second-guessing and trying to appeal to outside forces that we engage in suffering. If you try to appeal to another’s will or try to follow every teaching of today’s spiritual leaders, you are not following your will. It is time to accept the fact that only you know what is best for you. In order to discover what your ideal life is, you must first discover and actualize your ideal self. So sit, contemplate your being — your whole being — and allow yourself to connect with that inner, greater awareness that guides your life to ultimate elation.
Identify your subtle ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses
This introspective communication is just the beginning in your journey of true self-identification. However, it is a necessary one. We all have been trained to lie to ourselves. This behavior has allowed us to fit in with people we did not initially align with, or has allowed us to adapt to situations in order to simply survive them. If you find agreement with what you have been reading, you are ready to begin to break free from the self-taught lies and the lies imposed upon you by others. It all begins by identifying the truth within.
This process is incredibly simple. Take an object, such as a writing pen. Tell yourself that the object is really an apple, and then notice how you feel inside. You know that the object is not really an apple, and you will have an internal sense of untruth about what you just told yourself. Become aware of this feeling of untruth. Next, holding the same pen, tell yourself that it is a pen and notice the sensation of truthfulness in your being. Notice the place in your body or energy field in which that sensation originates.
Repeat this same process with several different objects. Allow yourself to feel the sensations of untruth and truthfulness and become intimately familiar with them. These seemingly simple sensations will become your inner guides to discovering even more truths in your world.
Determine your will in your world
As you master your ability to discover the truth within, it is time to discover the truth of your world. Notice, I did not say the truth around you, or the truth of the world. You are to discover the truth of your life and your being.
As you make your way through your day, begin to ask yourself if the action you are about to take is in alignment with your will. Notice the sensation within your being. Is it the truth you are stating, or is it an untruth? You may choose to make mental notes or journal your observations. No matter your choice, all you are doing, for now, is observing what in your world is in agreement with your will or not.
When you are ready, you can begin to choose to take actions that are in alignment with your will. You can also choose to do the things that are not in alignment. Maybe you will even begin to remove things from your world that you identify as not resonating with your being. What you will find is that the actions and situations you choose to take, that are in alignment with your will, get easier and easier to perform. The more you do them, the smoother the bumps and hazards in your life will be and the more you will attract your own sense of abundance.
Please note, I am not advocating a complete upturning of your whole life. That will serve no purpose other than to cause disruption and discontent. Any drastic and rapid change will be temporary and result in the loss of direction. Each step must be taken in its own time, and in its own way. Allow yourself just enough perturbation to cause positive change. All the while, remember that lasting contentment leads to complacency and stagnation. Change, even positive change, is initially uncomfortable.
Free yourself from the expectation of results
This may be one of the most difficult steps to master. We have been trained to expect results. So much psychotherapy today is goal-oriented. We have come to expect specific results from specific actions. This constant expectation of results can be misleading and can lead to disappointment.
As you grow accustomed to determining your will, you will be further empowered to pursue the direction your will guides you. When you feel the tug of your will and you have validated that it is your will pulling you, then go where your will takes you. Do not question it; do not hesitate.
To question your will is to doubt yourself and mistrust the sense of inner truthfulness you have gained. You are getting in touch with the truth of your inner being, and that truth is trying to express itself in your world. Allow it to unfold before you, without question and without hesitation. Your will knows where it is to go — allow it, using your inner sense of truth, and you will find your greatness.
Identify your spiritual capital
The pursuit of your wealth is paramount in becoming a sacred being. Another untruth of the world is that wealth erodes spirituality and desecrates the sanctity of being. This simply is not true. Wealth of all kinds empowers one’s being and enables you to accomplish your will more easily. However, wealth, in terms of will, is different for every person.
For some, the pursuit of monetary gain is part of their spiritual process. Others may find knowledge to be their spiritual capital. Using your sense of truthfulness, determine what wealth means to you. Is it communing with friends, teaching classes, writing or painting, or is there some other activity that fills you with a great sense of satisfaction and well-being? This is your source of wealth.
Just with financial investing, spiritual investing has its returns. When you give yourself over to your will, you will gain returns far greater than your investments. This is how you build your own wealth. Identify what your spiritual capital is, then pursue it with all your being.
The ultimate takeaway from all of this is that you must accept yourself for who you really are. As you identify yourself, you become empowered to allow your world to become a reflection of your inner being. This is the realization of the Hindu idiom “Atman is Brahman.” No longer will you be guided and misled by outside forces. Your own ego, when embraced and empowered, shapes your world and your spiritual being in a way that is truly beneficial for you. Thus, in following your ego, you will discover your sacred self.
Kaedrich Olsen has guided seekers on their own sacred paths for over twenty years, using techniques such as transpersonal hypnotherapy, shamanism and spiritual counseling. His book Runes for Transformation, released with Weiser Books in 2008, laid a foundation for revealing deeper universal mysteries hidden in the world around us.