• Valentina Poletti

Illusion of the ego

The illusion that we are separate from others is quite a persistent one. The ego is an extremely useful tool, in that it allows us to see and to express the desires we experience in this life and body, our particular preferences, our needs and wants. But often this particular experience gets confused with who we actually are. We start to identify with our desires and needs, we start to identify with our feelings and thoughts, to the degree that we lose our greater perspective and sense of self. We forget we are all connected, and we are all part of a grand scheme of things in this universe, and we start to believe that we start and end in our experience. We mistake our thoughts for reality and our feelings as unique. We forget that we are innumerable different perspectives of the same thing. We forget that ultimately, we are all made of exactly the same stuff, star dust. When we are caught up in this process, it is easy to start to identify with 'good' feelings and to disidentify with 'bad' ones. We might pick on the feeling of being loved that a certain person triggers - such as our child - and chose to identify with that feeling, and even chose to identify with that person. We might chose to disidentify with a 'bad' feeling that another person triggers - our 'enemy', and thus chose to disidentify with that person, and to create a separation between the self and that person. We create labels such as 'bad' and 'victim', and 'aggressor' and 'good'. We create a thinking story to justify such labels and such separations in our minds, and chose to believe that story in order to avoid the feeling. But these illusions are always temporary and brittle. As we keep searching for ways of boosting our identification as we like - our ego - we lose a sense of who we really are, and we abandon ourselves and our true desires. The world becomes full of enemies and we forget our common nature. Worse, we deprive ourself of a chance to expand using those feelings that we chose to disidentify with, and thus to grow our consciousness.

I am no exception to this, and for the longest time I have unconsciously tried to disidentify with the feeling of 'shame'. This feeling, that was rooted in the way I grew up and in the way my childhood was suppressed, recently kept being triggered by one of the people I dated in the past as well as by my mother. It was easier to see those people as 'bad' and to not deal with them, than to confront this feeling. But today, as this feeling grew, it became unavoidable, and instead of escaping it, I decided to let it overwhelm me. I let it take me to my childhood, and to the moment when my mother, smiling with resignation, told me that one day I would start to please my abusive father, just as she did. Due to her own childhood, she had completely abandoned herself, her values, her worth, her truth, to the point that she was actually hating herself so deeply that her own body had turned against her. However she could not see this: her shame blinded her so much that she chose to desperately hold on the the identification of 'victim' and so to encourage, please, serve the very person that abused me and her. When she tried to project this onto me - as she identified herself in me - at the thought that I could become like her I felt so ashamed and so disgusted at myself, that I started to turn against myself in turn. It took a long time to reverse this process, and realize that her identification was not mine. So, when you chose to label someone as bad or the enemy, ask yourself why, what feelings are you afraid of feeling, what are you resisting?

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