I can distinctly remember the moment when my ego was born.
Well, perhaps not as dramatically as that, for it doubtless spent the previous time assimilating information & getting its bearings in the novelty of the new environment - ex-utero.
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Born into the world at some time previously, equipped with a mind that incessantly craved understanding - constantly, but subliminally making its own sense of life and living, endeavouring to create a stable and balanced psyche - from all the available evidence.
The physical body had done pretty well up to this point - it had been fed and watered, trained into various habits, it even managed to raise itself to its legs and master at first walking, then running at speed.
Now when I say understanding, I am referring obviously to the simple things - the basics - it was rather too early for quantum physics or landscape painting.
All this understanding gradually consolidated itself - forming a world which revolved around the nuturing of a mother, the strength of a father, the constant company of a twin sister - all unquestioned presences in this new world.
A world which assimilated itself according to how it appeared, to how it felt, to how it smelled and tasted.
Yes - I was entirely sure that the world and myself were solid, convinced by the inevitable falls during the learning process. The food that gradually replaced my diet of liquid also felt solid within my mouth, and required chewing and swallowing. My companions and the world they inhabited also showed all the signs of being as solid as I felt I was.
This was my world, in conjunction with a natural flow of happiness and sadness - instantly expressed with laughter or tears - a world which contained tiredness and sleep - daylight and darkness.
I had also learned by this time to utter noises, to shape noises into those I would hear, I learned that these noises represented things - different things.
My learning of this was encouraged and rewarded by the most positive reception - I learned that this was "good" - in fact I learned that I was "good" when my behaviour coincided with the wishes of those teaching me, of those nurturing me.
Of course, I was most happy to please.
On this momentous day - I remember being sat in a green armchair - daydreaming - when slowly it dawned upon me that I was actually the name that I had been given. It was an amazing revelation at the time, because this really had not occurred to me before. I realised that this name was referring to myself - that I was this person - and it was the same as this name. Quick subliminal calculations later, and I had it all worked out - that the same applied to my sister - and all my freinds.
I didn't speak to anyone about this at the time - but how clearly I remember this happening.
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Of course, what that name was associated with - was the solid, bouncy person - living in his solid world.
Still assimilating & accumulating, still naturally inquisitive, curious & craving understanding - as we all instinctively are - being satisfied and educated constantly, by all the evidence available to our sponge-like minds, and all sharpened to a point - the point indelibly etched at the base of all further learning - that I must be good - I am expected to be good, in all of its shapes and colours - goodness, in the eyes of others, is what life is all about.
I know this, because even my nurturing mother and father withhold their love, they change into angry, nasty people - if I am not good.
Of course, this is all happening in a cloud - a drifting bubble of easy happiness and playfullness. Every horizon presents itself as infinite, the colours of the world are vibrant and undiluted - every experience is a mystery of novelty - and I have not learned to care or worry - I am living at full tilt, with all the energy I could ever need.
Soon I am whisked away from the homely comfort, from the warm nurturing nest - to meet teachers, other children - to learn about reading and writing, numbers, playing in sand, strange tasting and smelling food - and being good.
I am me, my name, a solid body amongst numerous others now - all learning that everything we are taught is part of being good, including lessons about God, our heavenly Father - and how He also wants us to be good.
It's quite fun learning to write, playing with paint and colours and sand - I have lots of friends - and I'll soon be home again.
Very soon I am a product of good, I have a head that is stuffed full of being good.
Very soon, this being good starts to sap my energy - in fact, being good is starting to become tiresome - I'm starting to get my own ideas about what being good really is.
It's friends and fun and laughter - pretty girls, climbing trees, cycling downhill at speed, keeping secrets - occasionally being bad.
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A split has started to appear in who I am - the first of many growing contradictions - cleaving my world apart - contradictions which take sides - either with the rewards of being good, the love that is shown, or the fear of disobeying, the spectre of anger and disapproval - and of course all my badness creates within me a secret shadow of shame.
Such a deep secret that I am able to cover it up, and pretend, all the while, even to myself - that I am good.
All painted upon a human canvas, based on the evidence available.
What else can we do?
However, our jigsaw of understanding is stressed by being forced into producing a complete picture - when there is one crucial piece missing.
When that ego descended, and drifted into activity, what was really going on?
It was an immaculate misconception - at that point in time specifically, but also everything leading up to that moment.
The piece of the jigsaw that was missing was awareness - not awareness in itself, or I would not be able to have the experience or remember the experience - but an awareness of awareness.
All of my life had preceded that moment with awareness at its very heart - and proceeded after that moment also - but what was missing was the acute and conscious recognition of that awareness.
Its essential silence and transparency was lost amidst all the noise - but what was not lost was the constancy, the sameness central to awareness - the sense of "I" associated with all the experiences of that life.
It was always there - it didn't change dramatically from moment to moment - it didn't change at all in its invisibile & silent, subliminal presence.
It was the one constant factor amidst all the change, but it wasn't recognised for what it was - and so this constancy was unconsciously mis-attributed as belonging to the character now blossoming within the mind.
This sense of self, of being "I," was associated instead with the name, with the solid feeling body - and gradually the whole host of experiences encountered in life became attached around this association.
A picture was being painted of a life, a glorious technicolour picture deeply entrenched in the mind - of the life of a person answering to that name.
A real life, crammed with real feelings, imaginings, real experiences - present and past - were all being attributed - according to an incomplete knowledge of what was actually responsible for it - yet all the while, the real master, the silent one, the one who genuinely felt all the suffering and delight of being - was held to ransom, forced into obedience by an imposter ignorant that the master was even there, not acknowledging his presence at all.
Held hostage by a shadow, a reflection - a pitifully small version of what he truly was.
No wonder at all that there was pain and unaccountable frustration in that being - no wonder that there were contradictions accumulating between the master, already liberated, during his imposed imprisonment.
Maybe his crying will be heard - that's all he can hope for.
Fortunately there is a strange synergy, perhaps in ways similar to the well reported Stockholm syndrome, between a hostage and his captor - and the hostage can reclaim a useful influential power.
Secretly, stealthily - according to the pleasure principle - often conducted in the enemy territory of "the bad" - the master makes his crys heard - louder and louder.
A chance meeting here, chemical experimentation there, an interesting and captivating book - slowly & imperceptably - the master casts his spell - his one & only wish for recognition.
The jailer falls for his irresistible and convincingly persuasive charm, and starts to lend a sympathetic ear.
I shall stop extending this metaphor about liberation and bring in some pictures instead.
The circle represents experience - our entire world as perceived through our senses - our thoughts & our emotional existence - everything we have been and ever will be - is entirely enclosed within experience.
That is our reality - there is no outside to that reality - it is all internal, and circumscribed by the length, breadth and depth of our own experience.
Everything we have ever encountered, we have done so by experiencing, all of our learning, our understanding, our perception of ourselves, our perception of others - our entire lives - are contained by the fundamental of experience.
We may wrongly ascribe phenomena as arising outside, but they do not and cannot arise to perception other than within our circle of experience.
This circle is our inner world - of which we are the centre.
Our past, our present, all arises to that central point of "I."
At the root of all experience is awareness - it is awareness which allows experience to happen.
Our lives are one enormous canvas of undifferentiated awareness - onto which we paint the detail.
As explained in the tale above, we generally mis-attribute our sense of "I-ness" because we are consciously unaware of the presence of this awareness being causal to all experience.
This is only natural whilst it is the only perspective that we have.
Consequently, we believe ourselves to be according to the detail that we have painted - attaching our just and rightful values to the detail, rather than the blank canvas of infinite potential.
A confusion of differences - painted upon clarity.
We are aware of a constant and consistent presence in our life, but attribute it to a conceptually fixed and static persona - rather than the fluid potential of absolute liberty, constantly supporting and allowing our being.
Our lives consequently are described in terms of a multitude of experiences, of varying shades and colours - which they are, secondarily - but primarily our lives could be described as a singular experience - the constancy of being aware.
In a profound sense we are living in an Alice In Wonderland world, where we mistake the reflections for reality - and reality as merely a reflection or shadow.