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March 26, 2013

“…the experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego” C.J. Jung

Ego Dissolves by Coyote Johnnie

Ego Dissolves by Coyote Johnnie

In my last post, I listed six writers whose work is useful in helping to understand aspects of the experience with Madre Ayahuasca.

One of the key themes that each of these writers is exploring is the relationship between the ego and what can be variously called – depending on one’s spiritual discipline, theoretical orientation,  and/or personal preferences – the right brain hemisphere, larger psyche, higher self, creative imagination, anima mundi, God, the numinous, Gods and Goddesses, oversoul, underworld, otherworld, spirit world etc.

In this post, I want to approach this same theme of the restricted nature of ego consciousness by using a more personal voice – that of a piece of writing I did in January this year.

“I am trapped, imprisoned. I know this because occasionally I have glimpses of a world beyond the confines of my prison.

I have visitors. People to whom I am obliged. My children, friends.

There is strong and effective censorship in the prison. All information coming in and out is carefully monitored. Occasionally, however, something happens, very fast, quicker than thought, and the censor is evaded before he can take action. These experiences leave me shaken, awestruck, pondering: did that really happen? Was it a figment of my imagination?

I have to be careful about communicating these experiences. They could find a way back to the censor and help him refine his methods.

I try different strategies of escape. “Trust your feelings”, but as a line in a song by Leonard Cohen I heard once said: “Inner feelings come and go”. They are not reliable. “Trust your body”. But the body too is treacherous. I know for example that one of my hands is working with the censor. It grasps, sends him messages and he uses them for his own purposes.

Distinctly Melting Time by Coyote Johnnie

There are consolations at times. I have read, for example, of a man who turned into a giant insect. I know therefore I am not alone in my predicament. But I feel alone. “Is the soul always alone?” I once asked someone, who I thought might know. Her answer did not strike me as satisfactory.

The prison is constantly changing. Sometimes I am buried in a cold, wet dungeon deep underground, feeling the weight of the earth on top of me. Other times, I am in the very model of a utopian, open prison. I can come and go with permission – the guards bid me good morning as they open the gates for me. I go to the cinema, visit restaurants, eat well and drink wine.

In fact, part of the ingenuity of the prison is its ability to change form, according to the circumstances.

I constantly dream of escape. I consider practical strategies: organizing a rebellion and storming the citadels and watchtowers of the prison (when it takes this form) shouting a cry of liberation; tying sheets together and slipping out of the high tower at night; a tunnel, of course; getting smuggled out in the car that arrives each morning to collect the laundry. The options are endless.

But then I realize that thinking of escape is just another way of remaining in the prison. The censor and his associates are fiendishly clever in that regard.”

Both images in this post are of artwork by Coyote Johnnie who has kindly granted me permission to use his work.

For more of his great work see:

From → Ego

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