A New Earth, Chapter 4

Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego

The roles we play are often a part of our “unconscious” life.  We are not aware we are playing a role, we mistake it for who we are.  Unfortunately we then lose our authentic self in the playing of the role.  Roles can come in many forms and in the early days of civilization roles where assigned based on the family you were born into.  When Jesus and Buddha came along, they challenged this idea that we are the role that we live.  They tried to get the message across that roles are based only on thought forms and physical form, but that our true authentic self comes from within and is eternal.  It is not temporal as are all thought and physical form with which we identify.

Roles can be the parent, the victim, the caregiver, the peacemaker, the doctor, the priest, the general, etc.  There is no end to the number of roles we play.  Roles are not bad; it is only when we lose ourselves within the role that we have problems.  When our whole focus stays on the outer world we do not get re-connected with our true selves.  We become our story, and often the story is fraught with problems.  We begin to take life and ourselves very seriously.  We lose joy and spontaneity in our lives.  True authentic interaction is lost and we feel disengaged.

Ekhart says don’t look for happiness, look at the feelings behind what is making you unhappy.  Start to see the link between your thoughts and your emotions, once you are aware that it is your thoughts about a situation that are making you unhappy, not the situation itself, you can do something about it.  You are now starting to be the awareness behind your thoughts and emotions.  You can now seek freedom from unhappiness.  Doing this will bring you back to an inner peace which is the true source of happiness.  (pg 96)

To give up playing a role “is an essential lesson in the art of living that each of us is here to learn.” (pg 106)  “You become most powerful in whatever you do if the action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect, enhance or conform to your role identity.” (pg 107)

“A person in the grip of ego, however, does not recognize suffering as suffering, but will look upon it as the only appropriate response in any given situation.” (pg110)  The ego does not see the needless suffering it inflicts upon itself.  When we spend time being angry, resentful, envious, we are holding others responsible for our pain, we see it as “outside induced”, we do not see the ego as playing the role, we see it as others are doing this to me.  (pg 110)

“Anger and resentment strengthen the ego enormously by increasing the sense of separateness,… creating …a mental position of “rightness”. (111)

Listen to people’s stories and they could all be entitled “Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now”. (pg 115)

“To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment.” (pg 116)

“The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life.  It is also more than likely that you will make life difficult for others.  But, of course, you won’t be able to see that.” (pg119)

“Those who are exceptionally good at what they do may be completely or largely free of ego while performing their work.  They may not know it, but their work has become a spiritual practice”. (pg 121)

“In order to attract success, you need to welcome it wherever you see it.” (pg 123)

“So, there is no such thing as “my life”…I am Life.  Life and I are one.  So how could I lose my life?  How can I lose something that I AM?  It is impossible.”  (pg 128)

This is a great chapter, so much in it, if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so, as I just picked some of the topics to address.

Next week we will meet at Indra’s Grace at 1PM.  September 28 there will be no Book Club as many members will be attending the Pranayama workshop.  See you next week when we will be discussing Chapter 5, The Pain-Body

Have a wonderful week.

 

 

 

 

 

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