The Death of the Ego

I’m a bit nervous about writing a blog, afraid that for whatever reason I won’t be able to come up with something to post. I suppose I needn’t worry though, as the universe always seems to provide me with an idea. Hopefully that will continue to be the case.

In order to facilitate this attempt at communication with others, I am trying to approach my writing from a more detached place, hoping I will begin to discover the words coming more from my heart and less from my head. This endeavor provides me with an important side effect, in that it enables me to feel less pressured and stressed by my new commitment. The reason for this is that when I take my head out of the equation, I’m functioning from my center; thus, my level of anxiety (I have an an off-the charts anxiety disorder) is reduced substantially.

Since living life from this “internal” state is heartily encouraged by my spiritual practice, it only makes sense that I need to be able to work from that sublime space deep within me in order to ultimately reside there at all times, in all situations. This is, in fact, the goal for me—complete emersion in the boundless depth of the heart.

In order to actually be less in my head and more in my heart, what I have done lately is sit at my desk, as though on my meditation cushion, and begin to meditate. When I become completely empty, invariably, at some point an image pops into my mind.

Last night I was sitting in my chair in front of my computer, blissfully enjoying the freedom from my mind that meditation provides me when just such an image did, in fact, flash into my awareness. It was an image I have in my head of Denver, Colorado, where I lived on and off (but mostly on) for many years.

I didn’t grow up in Denver though. My early years were spent some 700 miles to the southeast in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a small, oil-rich municipality, back then known as “the Oil Capitol of the World.” My father was a project engineer for a large energy firm, and as such he traveled a great deal when I was growing up.

We could have lived together as a “normal” family (husband, wife, children, dog), but that would have required frequent moving, and though the company always provided housing, the project site was sometimes far enough away from populated areas that living in a mobile home would have been the only answer.

Once, though, when my father suggested to Mother it might be good if we all went off on a job with him, her incredulous reply reverberated throughout the house “I’m not living in some trailer in the middle of nowhere!!!

As such an overt display of emotion was quite uncharacteristic of Mother, my father, realizing the futility of broaching this particular subject at all, quickly acquiesced, leaving Mother happily pondering her next visit to Iverson’s Dress Shop, one of the most upscale boutiques in Tulsa at that time.

Well then, that particular issue seemed to be resolved! It appeared we would be living in a “proper” house in Tulsa, rather than going on the road with my father.

As a result I was relegated to spend only summers with my father; but what summers they were! Some times we would go overseas to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but for about five years Dad worked in western Canada—Alberta and British Colombia.

I was still young enough I didn’t mind sometimes spending the summer in trailers or Mom and Pop motel “suites” in the hinterlands of western Canada, far from any interesting cities or towns. Besides, the company usually had top-notch catering companies preparing the food, and it was considerably cooler there than in Oklahoma.

The second summer Mother and I made this trek northward to be with my father, we drove through downtown Denver in our new, sea green 1953 Chrysler New Yorker. I have only one single, solitary image in my mind from that visit to the Queen City of the West. It was a big old mansion and it had a sign in the front yard — “FUNERAL HOME.”

Why is this particular memory the only one I have of our brief stopover in Denver? I was certainly old enough to remember more about this city at the foot of the Rocky Mountains that everyone said was a mile high. Furthermore, it wasn’t like I’d never seen a funeral home before! We had funeral homes in Tulsa, of course, and Mother and I passed by them often in our travels about town.

What made the image of that particular funeral home unforgettable was that as soon as I saw it, it was as though my mind and body briefly, but completely, merged with my surroundings. In other words, I became “one” with everything. Since I didn’t have a context for this type of event back then, the depth and profundity of this unusual occurrence quickly faded, but I have never forgotten that image.

In the past, whenever that mental impression has manifested for me I have asked myself, why do I only remember a funeral home? Why don’t I remember eating lunch at the old Cosmopolitan Hotel downtown? So yesterday afternoon I was meditating, and once again the memory of this incident drifted into my consciousness. I won’t say I let it in, but I did observe it, and this time I didn’t even have to ask the question! Suddenly it was so clear to me; what else could it represent? Well, in my mind there’s no doubt whatsoever that the funeral home represented the death of my ego. It’s worth noting at this point that—interestingly—thirty years later, I met Babaji in Denver, less than a mile from where that very funeral home was once located (it’s no longer there).

What I find particularly interesting about all of this is that right now I am in the throws of a death and rebirth cycle that has been going on for a few years, which, in fact, began in Denver in 2011 during a brief visit to the Denver Ashram. Though I live on the Big Island of Hawai’i now, I was in Colorado visiting Babaji’s ashrams and seeing some old friends. That night in Denver I was meditating in the ashram’s shrine room when I began to feel more of a tingling in my crown chakra than I normally did.

Babaji had done “psychic surgery” with his shakti-infused hands on me earlier that day at Eldorado Mountain Yoga Ashram (just outside of Boulder), but it wasn’t until I sat down to meditate in Denver that I noticed the top of my head was experiencing a significant upsurge in energetic “sensations.” I knew in that moment my life was never going to be the same.

These last few months I’ve been working diligently, both on my meditation practice and my book, Growing Old With Grace. I’ve had some quite amazing spiritual experiences during this time and incorporating the energy behind these realizations has resulted in my practice feeling stronger and stronger with every new day. In fact, it would appear that the energy has built to a point where I am close to having a significant breakthrough in my level of consciousness.

By continuing to work in this manner, thereby experiencing such profuse infusions of Shakti (spiritual energy), I hopefully (if I work properly), will evolve (in a few more years) into a state where my ego has lost most, if not all, of it’s power over me.

This most recent death/rebirth cycle has at times been an agonizingly painful one. (In fact, the old expression “dark night of the soul” distinctly comes to mind.) Even though I’ve had some wildly esoteric experiences in meditation during this period, my deepest and darkest fears have arisen with an intensity I never quite anticipated, always threatening to derail the process of my spiritual growth.

Not only has this death been arduously difficult at times—it has adamantly refused to give up the ghost (no pun intended) with any sense of expediency whatsoever! It will, therefore, be a most welcome death when it comes—one I may have had a vision of as a young boy way back in 1953 in downtown Denver, Colorado.

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