“All we crave is a simple order. One day and then the next day and then the next after that, if we’re lucky, to be the same. Grief is chaos. Death or illness throw the world out of whack. The drum’s order is the world’s order. To proceed with and keep that order is a gesture of desperate hope. Protect us. Let our minds remain clear of sorrow so that we can simply praise the world.”
I found these profound words in a novel tittle, “The Painted Drum”. Several months ago I had included this quote in a blog that I had started in a semi-hearted fashion. Of course it went nowhere because I had no drive, no real desire to send it anywhere. So I posted it in cyberspace and forgot it. This morning I bumped into to it–you can imagine my delight when drifting and meandering through the clouds, low & behold, there was a blog that i had written to inspire someone and I was inspired…
Maybe that was the essence of my life’s work. Maybe this has all been an effort of inspiring myself. Maybe that was the nature of God’s plan for me. Maybe the the Universe wanted me to be enlightened or awakened first so that I could continue to do the work of the Universe from a humbled position. Well, God, if that was your plan you succeeded! I have been humbled, my ego has been shattered and my anticipated dreams have turned to dust. At least the dreams that were all about form have turned to dust.
The nest-egg which guarded my narcissistic ego was dismantled. It left my ego/egg without a nest. Thank you God, for one more gift of desperation. I needed that.
Here is my theory of narcissism in an egg shell: As human beings we evolved an ego in order to win and maintain dominance over the rest of creation. This ego evolved out of a strong instinct to survive, as a psychoanalyst I called this the life-drive. It also goes by the name of Eros and is attached to survival through the pleasure principle. In fact, the ego derives all of its power in our psyches by attaching itself to all we desire. We would have remained as monkeys in the the trees had it not been for our ego’s evolving capacity, for example, to become linguistic. We are indeed the talking ape.
Our human mind developed over time an executive function that allowed us to do everything from perceiving, to walking, talking, ordering, categorize the world, name things, and synthesize ideas. We became pretty smart and the smarter we became the more we wanted more knowledge. This is the Adam & Eve syndrome. Not remaining satisfied with paradise, the original jungle from which we evolved, we decided as a specie and as individuals that more knowledge was the answer to everything.
Let me personalize this, if I may. My ego is my individualized capsule. It is my microcosm of the universe, my little corner of the world. As I developed, I characterized things as either me or not-me. If it was “me” it was good, if it was “not-me” it could be a threat. As I continued to develop language and insight, I separated myself from the universe from which my ego grew. In that separation I found that I could compare myself to others and that I had the possible capacity to make myself better than my brother. This grew my ego even larger.
I grew in such a way that it became imperative for me to defend who I was (ego) against all that I was not. I developed defenses and hardened the shell of the egg to prevent anything from entering my space. Much like the little pigs of the fable if my house was made of straw or of wood it could easily be destroyed, so I had to erect a concrete shell between me and the world to stay safe.
Although this worked very well for the intended purpose, it had the unintended consequence of locking me inside the egg. I drew and painted and decorated the inside of my shell until it was everything that I wanted it to be…my ego.
Then one day someone bumped into my egg at a very fragile point in its construction and a crack developed from which I could get a glimpse of the outside of the egg world. One glimpse is all I needed, I could not get away from that window. The entire universe was colorful, active, fragrant, alive with drive and vitality. All that I needed to do was break through the shell and the whole wide world was waiting with its abundant gifts for me to re-enter paradise.
Here is quote from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, “Although we have the same inner nature as Buddha, we have not recognized it because it is so enclosed and wrapped up in our own individual ego. Imagine and empty vase. The space inside is exactly the same as the space outside. Only the fragile walls of the vase separate one from the other. Our Buddha mind is enclosed within the walls of our ordinary mind (ego). But when we become enlightened, it is as if the vase shattered into pieces. The space inside merges instantly into the space outside. They become one: There and then we realize that they were never separate or different. We are all the same.”
Cracking the egg of narcissism and gaining a glimpse of the universe beyond the one that we individually constructed is a “trip”. How small is the narcissistic world compared to the wide expanse of everything else. The possibilities become endless and where there had been judgment about what was not me, I can now find compassion. Compassion and gratitude are the angels that guided me from within to the greater more abundant universe without. And all it took was one glimpse to entice the Buddha nature.