Anyone on this proverbial Spiritual Path is acutely aware of the term “Ego Death” and “Dark Night of the Soul”, more accurately Dark Night of the Ego in my opinion. We understand this as the process of Spiritual freedom or growth. Whereas we overcome/ release fears, pain, limitation, etc. Hence allowing our Soul/ Higher/ True-self to embody our moment to moment lives. To Divinely guide us along our life path. The predominant concept being the Ego is the enemy preventing the Spirit from flourishing. Death to the Enemy.
I always struggled with this notion. We all have a unique awakening process. Mine was marked by many pinnacle life decision. One specifically shifted my reality overnight. The intense fear that ensued was not soothed by the articles of Ego Death and the Dark Night of the Soul. I literally felt I was going to inevitably face a situation where all my past/ present relationships, memories, experiences/ overall life was going to end and I would become something different entirely. Needless to say this did not ease my anxiety about what lay ahead. I ultimately embraced this notion but clung to that which was most dear to me. My method was simple. If the idea or notion of doing something produced anxiety then I did it. I just forced it and allowed my mind to realize “oh! that wasn’t so bad”. I combined this fearless living mentality with objective (judgement free) introspection as my empathic or sensitivity to my emotions increased. I now can see the concept for its intended meaning and have loosened or abolished many archetypes, thought patterns and beliefs that were not of love/ self-limiting.
The reasons I do not resonate with the Ego Death/ Dark Night concept. It implies we must reject, deny or separate from our Ego completely to grow spiritually. At least that was my initial impression. The idea of killing the Ego prevents us from the promise of insight, knowledge, understanding and Wisdom. Which, for me leads to forgiveness, compassion and integration of Self. For you who are doing “self-work” and are effectively aware of your emotional bodies, then you may be able to relate/ identify. My present intuitive process is as follows. First I probe. I ask question pertinent to my present issue or blockage, something I would like to change about my reality etc. I wait in a state of calm mindfulness (either in silence or meditation). I feel/ allow that emotion to surface. They now feel different/ unique to me. For example shame feels different than fear and of coarse the intensity varies. This includes “positive” emotions. I recently learned love has a different intensity and feeling as well. When intently thinking about my Twin I feel a type of love that is more dense and potent centered on my heart/ chakra. It is literally a love that is beyond description. Despite the emotion it is important to practice on holding it objectively. Detach your mind from it as it will and can consume it and distort it’s true nature. What has helped me is to talk to it. In your mind ask it. What are you? What secrets do you hold? Why do you linger/ remain? Do this gently and wait for the insight. The insights tend to come more rapidly with practice. Utilize the mental state of forgiveness and compassion at this time as you will find the emotion will yield with less resistance. Then shower it with love and acceptance and integrate it through visualization breathing etc.
This is what Ego integration and Ego love is to me. You see the Ego is not the Enemy deserving of death. The Ego is you. It is your past faults and errors. It is simply a projection your mind has created with one primary objective. To protect you. In it’s need to protect you it has controlled and caused you to run form pain/ healing etc. You want to kill it for doing its Job. Consider it an overbearing Parent or loved one who only “wants what’s best” for you they know not the pressure and expectation they place on you to be something you are not. Nonetheless, their intentions were noble. By forgiving and loving the Ego you are forgiving and loving yourself. Thus integrating the old with the new and remaining balanced and grounded.
I compare it in another blog to Fear was once the Lion Consuming me. I now see it as the kitten scratching at more door. It simply wants to be acknowledged, cared for and loved.
Hope this helps you on your Spiritual Journey!
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Love and Empathy
Dan McGinley RN BSN