Long. A little technical, maybe complicated. I’m OK if you skip it and go on to the next article.
As living, breathing beings, while in human form (as opposed to angelic form), (1) in my view, we create ourselves.
Some people call what we create a “personality” or an “ego.” (“Ego” means “I.”) I think of it as a constructed self, a product of our own conditioning.
As human beings, we don’t act by stimulus/response. Because we’re cultural animals, (2) we act by stimulus/thought/response. I think of thought as the cultural gap.
The way we condition ourselves is that we observe the stimulus, in the cultural gap, make conclusions about it, and decide how we’ll respond now and in the future. Then we act.
If we were lions, we’d never catch anything. We’d probably sit around and talk about it.
Some of these components may happen in a fraction of a second. What we decide becomes the planks out of which we build our personality
Every element of what I’ve just said deserves separate study.
The stimulus of our thought and action – the motivator – is usually our feelings. The Buddha called the principal troublemakers the polar opposites “craving and aversion.”
Like/don’t like, love/hate, want/detest decide the matter and then we ransack Heaven and Earth for “reasons” to explain and justify why we just thought and acted the way we did.
Meanwhile we go back and forth between avoiding what we don’t like and getting what we like. Life becomes a continual cycling between the two.
Trauma-based reactions I’ve called vasanas, (3) to link it up with Vedanta (4) generally and Sri Ramana Maharshi in particular. (5) Vasanas (VAH-sa-nas) are our core issues, old baggage, resentments, gunnysack, whatever you want to call our unfinished business.
These fear-based responses, especially, chisel the form of the statue, our David, our masterpiece, that we become. (I think I’m a master at being me.) Some like our creation; others don’t.
You may call the self we project onto the world the personality, the constructed self, or the ego. It’s all about survival.
As it works its way through life and the world, it creates a self-serving story of its own exploits and misfortunes.
It tries its story out on all and sundry, modifies the parts that don’t fly, and then presents the final product to the world.
“Here’s why I didn’t get my Ph.d. at the University of Toronto. Here’s why I didn’t get my Ph.d. at the University of BC. It wasn’t me,. Empirical materialism. Couldn’t live with restraints. Went on to write many books.”
We glorify ourselves in our own story. Where we vanquished our foe, our input was crucial. Where we faltered or lost, we couldn’t help it. Praise us; under no circumstances blame us.
Blame us and you “cross the line.” You’re now not a friend but an enemy and we switch to a different protocol.
How much learning can there be in a life constructed and constricted in this way? How much real love, which doesn’t show up in a lie? How does such a life line up with the purpose of life?
I’ll come to the latter in a moment.
I notice that we spend our conscious years undoing all these conclusions, decisions, and constructions that form our personality. Try something new, the Company of Heaven invites us. Creak, creak, creak. We move painfully in that direction.
So there I am, a walking stimulus/thought/response machine, constructing his self-serving story telling the world how he saved it from its peril. I explain my misfortunes as the subtly-implied incompetence of others and the group’s rise to success and fame as a result of my own contribution.
Ah me. Another day, another douleur (pain … in the rear). (6)
How to break this cycle and become a free and spontaneous human being? Well, first of all, fear not. Ascension will do it and every day we draw closer to that.
So, as with so many other things these days, we’re only talking about the time between now and then.
What to do?
Remember what Krishnamurti said: “Without first knowing yourself, how can you know that which is true? Illusion is inevitable without self-knowledge.” (7)
He wasn’t talking about Self-Knowledge. He was talking about getting to know the ways of the personality, the small-s self.
Because those are what you are not.
On the path of awareness? Watch. Observe the ways of the personality. It can be fun. “Oh, here I am being self-serving. What will I say this time?” (8)
What else to observe? One critical thing is our vasanas – our trauma-based reactions, as I mentioned earlier.
Vedantists like Sri Ramana consider vasanas to be the seeds of future action (karma).
Ascension, which is Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi, burns those seeds to a crisp. We’re freed from our karma or need to act.
Without observing and understanding the personality or constructed self and its ways, there’s no way to be able to distinguish the real Self out from it when we encounter it.
Krishna said: “Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.” (9) Why would he say that?
I said we’d come to it: Well, what is life’s purpose? To realize who we are. Why? When one of us realizes its true identity, in that moment, God meets God. And for that meeting was all of this created. (10)
If that’s life’s purpose, how is it accomplished? Well, in the tradition to which Krishna was directing his remarks, he was saying that we accomplish life’s purpose by discriminating between the Real and the unreal (neti, neti – not this, not this), detaching from the unreal, and attaching to the Real.
We begin to piece together the “seeds” of our action. We begin to see the personality, the statue, the constructed self and its modes of operation. That is not who we are. Neti, neti. Not this, not this.
In a moment of our seeing and distinguishing it out, I predict we’ll realize the Self behind the personality. (11)
One desire does not hurt us, Krishna says:
I am all that a man may desire
The law of his nature. (12)
When we desire God and contribute that to the makeup of our constructed self, it frees us rather than restraining us. By the Law of Attraction, we draw closer and closer to the One and Realization.
We help that along by first discriminating between everything unreal and the Real. Life helps us do that.
We discover a very well-planned life, with soul contracts and missions, (13) that keeps us moving toward Self-Realization and conscious Re-union with the One. (14)
That’s the spiritual alternative to dressing up our created, constructed self, selling our story of its accomplishments to the world, and having a “very good life.” Going this route, we may never awaken to the alternative.
Hopefully we’re leaving self-servingness behind. When we’re washed by the love in the higher realms – the real River Jordan – we’ll forget about it completely.
(1) Divine Mother: Let me be clear. There is not one being – human, starseed, hybrid or earthkeeper – that is not one of my Angelic Beings. And it matters not whether you belong to the Legion of Michael or the Tribe of Uriel, the Praisers of Metatron or the Truth Speakers of Gabrielle. It does not matter your colour, your hue. You are my Angels, birthed from my being – birthed not only from my womb, but from my heart. (“The Mother’s Clarion Call to All of Humanity!” April 20, 2020, at https://goldenageofgaia.com/2020/04/20/the-mothers-clarion-call-to-all-of-humanity/.)
See An Explosion in the Meaning of Humanness at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/An-Explosion-in-the-Meaning-of-Humanness-11.pdf
(2) As a cultural historian by profession, I define culture as an organization of ideas, manifest in act and artifact though consisting of neither, by means of which Third-Dimensional humans make sense of their world and take purposeful action.
(3) On vasanas or core issues, see Vasanas: Preparing For Ascension by Clearing Old Issues at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Vasanas-Preparing-for-Ascension-R2.pdf.
(4) Vedanta refers to the Vedas, the non-dual portion of the Hindu scripture, the Upanishads.
(5) See for example “Vasanas (Latent Tendencies)” at https://goldengaiadb.com/index.php?title=V#Vasanas_.28Latent_Tendencies.29
(6) I have to stop saying that. That’s probably how I got arthritis in the hip in the first place.
(7) J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living. First Series. Bombay, etc.: B.I. Publications, 1972; c1974, 1, 20.
(8) I love the icebreaker exercise group leader John Enright used in his workshops: Turn to the person on your right and tell him or her how you’re going to manage your impression in here today – what manipulations you’ll use, what qualities you’ll project.
(9) Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 42.
(10) See The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Purpose-of-Life-is-Enlightenment-3.pdf
(11) Not like I have any basis for predicting such an outcome. I am not an enlightened man and hence not a spiritual teacher. I just love to write.
Sri Ramakrishna compared the situation of an aspirant who chooses an unqualified teacher to a garter snake trying to swallow a frog. The garter snake cannot swallow it but won’t let go; the frog is not swallowed and they both die.
However, if a king cobra (a qualified spiritual teacher) comes along, it swallows the frog in one gulp.
(12) Sri Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita, ibid., 71.
(13) See What is a Soul Contract? at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/What-is-a-Soul-Contract.pdf
(14) As if we could ever leave the One, where would we go?