Me, Myself, and Ignorant Ego.

There’s much said about ego, but I really like this Buddhist take on it.

“The ego needs activity in order to exist. Like and dislike, attachment, aversion, greed and hatred are the main overt activities of the ego. The more desire and aversion we have the more alive we feel, the more real and concrete the ego seems. In reality, the ego depends on desire, its life-blood is desire. The ego and desire are like the two sides of a coin — one cannot exist without the other. The ego is projected desire, and desire is projected ego.”

I supposed, with the above, I can’t really delve into ego until I jump into desire.  Desire has many levels of intensity but it’s always about the abandonment issues of ego-identified self.  A grasping for something that will always, more than likely, be just outside attaining.  If it is attained, well, there will be other desires to drive us to the facade of purpose.  Who am I if I am not my desires?  After all, it is desire that pierces through the chatter of the crowded mind and once its gone can you live with the echo?

I’ve been told, on several occasions, that I write a lot about the past and the future.  Certainly, I’ve been known to hide away in those places observing their contrast.  Something as fleeting as a smell can project the liveliest of person from my past onto the white-wall of my mind leaving me to rewrite a riding-into-the-sunset moment where the future is more aligned to the happy ending of today.  The problem becomes that no matter how I approach time with the knowledge that it is not, in fact, linear, my ego constructs linearly against me.   For an intelligent person, I’ve got an ignorant ego. The strength of that ignorance is quite astounding at times, but luckily for me I’m not really the clingy type, which allows me to break free – even for a short while – from the stronghold of “I”.  But, the realization of this division leaves me weak and wanting to prevent ego-death.  Who am “I” without the illusion of “me”?

Even in scanning this post the paragraphs – separation of thoughts and ideas – begin with “I” and ends with “me”.  The muck I must go through on my journey won’t be easy to clean off my boots, but there is a soul at the door of delight that begs to be touched standing on a humorous welcome mat.

“It follows that in this surface or desire-soul there is no true soul-life, but a psychic deformation and wrong reception of the touch of things. The malady of the world is that the individual cannot find his real soul….” -Sri Aurobindo “The Life Divine

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A letter to a friend sent from my false self

Dear T***,

Do you ever have moments where you truly don’t know who you are?  Almost like a sinister version of yourself doesn’t want sunshine or happiness to be in your life?  Does everyone have this or am I currently what is considered lost?

Well, I hate this person and I’d like to make sure she doesn’t come around, but facing her is considerably frightening.  Who is she?  She’s been hanging around and trying to conjure up trouble around here.  In fact, I remember her from back in the day except back then I thought she was the coolest part of me.  She was a rebel, drinker, joker, adventurer, and drama queen.  She was cocky, attractive, interesting, complex, and irresistibly flawed.  She drew people in and could hang out with just about anyone, but she never could sustain anything with meaning.  Is she my false self?

My false self always seemed so much more attractive and relevant before now.  She hurt so many people who passed through my life, and I resent her for that.  However, she was such an important part of my growth that I’m also very protective of her.  Perhaps I also see this in others, which is why I’m so quick to forgive?  My false self has no accountability much to the detriment of my true self, who is left with the blame and abysmal guilt.

Well, there doesn’t seem to be much room for both of us, and I’m far too old to hang out with my false self anymore.  I should confront her one last time; truly I should send her on her way.  You see, other people would say ‘kill her off’ but realistically I’m afraid I may be addicted to her, and her psychological prowess requires premeditated measures.  Hence, this letter that serves as a vague pondering of the strength of my attachment to her and my ability, or lack thereof, to ignore her entirely.  I’ll keep you updated on any progress.

If I know her, which I do, she’ll simply watch from afar and check in with me at times she thinks I miss her; opportunities to influence.  All I can do is be true to myself and hope the charisma of my false self is never as real as the energy of my true self.

You mentioned your disappointment in my absence from ink, and between the lines of the letter you wrote you asked how I was.  How’s this for a letter? Until next time…

 

XOXO,

A.O.

 

 

 

 

When 31 isn’t cool…

Being a big sister has been rewarding in many ways, but mostly I was different than all the other sisters in the world; I was cool.   In college my brother proclaimed, “I’m going to live wherever you live when I get older, sissy.”  His loyalty ballooned my heart and helped me catch my breath in various stages of my life.  There was always this little guy that thought I was the coolest person in the world.  When my bruised ego pushed my shoulders to the ground, there he was–I was cool.  When I felt I couldn’t love anymore, there he was–someone I truly loved. 

While I did the college thing at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK, my little brother tagged along a couple weekends as I visited the local hangouts.  When I lived in Dallas, Texas during my Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out phase, he was sent to stay with me and get me out of the Tie Dye.  After fame and fortune left me like a one-night stand, he came out to New York City to let me know that I was a star in his world.  There hasn’t been a place I’ve lived that my brother Blake hasn’t visited. 

This visit was different and as my place in life had solidified over the past few years,  his was changing in every way every single day–adolescence.  In fact, for the first time in his life I wasn’t cool.  I suppose I thought I would always be the cool big sister and never that old fart that referred to his uber bass levels as too loud or the uncool old hag that couldn’t point out cool truck rims from regular ones.  Even working at MTV wasn’t cutting it in his world since ‘MTV hadn’t been cool in over a decade’  and Maplewood, NJ was a suburbia he didn’t think he could live.  For the first time in my life I had moved from an era of cool into 31 is not cool.

As he walked out the door this morning from my New Jersey Colonial  to head back to Oklahoma after a visit to my first laying of roots, I knew our dynamic had shifted.  No longer would life send my little brother to check on me and lift me up, but rather I would be sent into his to return the favor. 

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Soul Thinker

When I was younger I used to think the Great Thinkers of Greece had the best life setup. As my ego overcompensated for the latent insecurity, I fully resolved that truly ‘making it’ in life was to have light bulbs illuminating you to the world. After the resentment of the non-famous trickled into realization, I wallowed in self-pity and I was pretty sure life sucked.

Once I got over the fact that fame wouldn’t come and knock on my door, I gazed long enough into the abyss to understand Nietzsche. I might have believed all of his philosophy but unlike him, my search for something great was inescapable.   It wasn’t until my brother left my life that I let go of all the above, picked myself up, and looked through new eyes.  The colors came back to life and I realized that sometimes you’re not meant to think so much, rather let your mind sit shotgun to your soul.

enlightenment

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