Unlike subjective perception, objective awareness is the ability to experience reality without the intrusion of egocentric needs, expectations, or preconceptions. This perception is one where awareness and reason remain clear and unobstructed, where emotions are experienced then let go, where the interconnectedness of the one with the many and with the environment is obvious.
The eventual outcome of objective awareness is the ready application of reason and a tranquility that’s in harmony with one’s circumstances, community, and environment. This harmony exists independent from circumstances, relationships, or economics. It is harmony, after all, that is the fundamental element most of us strive for in our lives.
This is not to suggest that objective awareness is devoid of emotional experience or expression. It is not the exclusively logical experience associated with the fictional character Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Egolessness simply removes the attention to and value for the self from the experience. Emotions are felt and expressed honestly and fully, but without the exaggeration fueled by ego.
In egoless objective awareness, there is no need to bemoan the loss of ego-pleasing messages of pride, satisfaction, flattery, self-esteem, admiration, and the like. When one recognizes that it is the ego that desires these ego-enhancing pleasures, the subversive, self-serving nature of the ego becomes obvious. In the absence of an ego, no loss is perceived. In place of these momentary ego-soothing pleasures are tranquility and marveling at the specialness that surrounds us.
One needn’t be born a musician to play a musical instrument nor an artist to paint a canvas. Similarly, one needn’t be born a shaman, mystic, or guru to transform one’s perception from the subjective to egoless objective awareness. With time and practice, the brain can remold itself to confer to the individual this new view of the world and self. As with learning to dance or to speak a new language, it all comes down to consistent practice, day after day, moment to moment.
The remaining chapters in this section present the structures and functions of the brain responsible for the illusion of self and support my assertion that ego is a mental habit ready to be abandoned. The material here will show that ego should be viewed as a transitional stage of mental maturation, which by persisting interferes with or suspends further mental development.
There are several terms that are used here whose meanings may be different from those a casual reader or someone schooled in psychology may hold.
Psychology defines psyche as the center for individual thought, emotions, and behavioral motivations at the level of awareness and beneath (conscious and subconscious). Classical psychology delineates three elements of the psyche: id, superego, and ego. The id is that element that defines and drives self-satisfying priorities. The superego is that element that defines an individual’s moral imperatives, which are largely learned from cultural and social experiences. The ego (as defined in psychology) is that element that projects the self and defines a satisfactory compromise between the two other elements, id and superego.
Analytical psychology divides the psyche into different parts. The ego is that element that interacts with reality. The subconscious is that element that is beyond awareness but which influences thoughts and behaviors. The self is considered the fundamental element of being, analogous to the psyche.
The term ego, as used by me and other writers dealing with the topic of alternate states of consciousness, most closely approaches what psychology calls the psyche, the combination of id, superego, and ego, or the sum of the conscious ego and the subconscious. The single term ego is used here to encompass them all because, though they manifest different influences, they are all acquired layers of thoughts in the form of memories, emotions, and drives that intervene between awareness and reality.
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