And then the politician’s mask slid off, revealing the snarling monster underneath.
And then the snarling monster’s mask slid off, revealing the frightened little child underneath.
And then the frightened little child’s mask slid off, revealing the whole entire universe underneath.
And then the universe’s mask slid off, revealing unconditional love underneath.
And so many hungrily yearn for a direct experience of the divine while adamantly refusing to consider the possibility that they are already currently having one.
And so many long to meet God while forcefully shoving away the question of whether they are in fact meeting God here and now, undisguised and unhidden.
And so many look for truth with truth’s eyes, listen for truth with truth’s ears, pray for truth on truth’s knees, ponder truth with truth’s mind.
It takes so much effort for us to keep concealing the self-evident from ourselves. We are herculean Olympians. They should give us all medals.
Anne looked forward to five o’clock so she could go home and alter her state of consciousness, not noticing that she was already currently doing so. Egoic consciousness is an altered state of consciousness, and it warps and distorts our natural experience far more than any substance we could ever ingest.
What we long for is an unaltered state of consciousness. Our natural state of consciousness. A state of consciousness wherein we are no longer fooling ourselves, where we are no longer pretending to be something that we are not. Where we are no longer pretending that our fundamental identity is wrapped up in this tiny finite ape mutant and the stories rattling around in its skull.
Among the more heroic contortions we do in our desperate everyday evasions of self-knowledge is dressing up our true underlying desire as other, different desires. We pretend we desire approval, fame, fortune, success, romance, power, loyalty, control, when really what we desire is to be what we are.
And of course that sounds silly; we can only ever be what we are. But we desire to be what we are consciously. Knowingly. Our real underlying desire, beneath all the clown costumes, feather boas and Groucho Marx glasses we dress it up in, is to consciously be what we are. To know our true nature and have that be our lived experience.
And really this is what human problems generally boil down to: a lack of consciousness.
A lack of consciousness of our true nature beneath the theater of ego and false desire causes us to suffer and miss out on the inherent joyfulness of life.
A lack of consciousness of our inner processes and unhealed trauma causes us to move unskillfully in the world with ineffective coping mechanisms and conditioned trauma responses.
A lack of consciousness of how propaganda operates in our society causes us to continue being manipulated by it.
A lack of consciousness of racial and sexual inequalities causes unjust societal imbalances.
A lack of consciousness of how our economic systems abuse people causes that abuse to continue.
A lack of consciousness of the horrific realities of imperialism causes public consent for its perpetuation.
And that’s all we’re really seeing with all attempts to bring health and harmony to our world: an effort to expand consciousness into areas that are unconscious.
Self-enquiry is an effort to become conscious of your true nature beneath the distracting shimmering of ego. You pursue the question “What am I?” until consciousness is brought to a wildly different perspective you hadn’t previously known was possible.
Meditation is an effort to become conscious of how your inner processes are operating. You sit and become quickly conscious of the fact that your life has been tyrannically ruled by compulsive thought patterns over which you have no real control. You sit longer and you gradually become aware of what internal dynamics have been giving rise to those thought patterns. You sit even longer and you bring so much consciousness to those dynamics that they vanish altogether, unable to reconcile their existence in the full light of conscious perception.
Therapy is an effort to become conscious of the way events in our past have influenced the way we operate in the present. You mention something offhand to a good therapist and they’ll say “Tell me more about that.” Then before you know it you’re talking about how you haven’t called your mother lately because you’re pretty sure she’s always kind of hated you and you kind of hate her too, and unpacking the way various manifestations of this interplay in the past connect to your relationships and difficulties functioning today. And then you have a chance to consciously re-parent yourself into a healthier approach to life in those areas.
Activism is an effort to bring collective consciousness to injustices so more people understand their reality or look closer at them than they previously had. Black Americans begin holding demonstrations in southern states to draw more awareness to the injustices of the laws there, public attitudes begin to shift, and the laws begin to change.
Countering propaganda is an effort to bring public consciousness to the fact that we are being manipulated by the powerful into consenting to an abusive status quo. If enough people become aware that we are being manipulated at mass scale toward the normalization and acceptance of power-serving military, societal and economic agendas which run against the interests of ordinary human beings, ordinary human beings will no longer consent to those agendas, and the possibility of revolutionary change opens up to us.
Humanity’s story in the appearance of time is the same battle no matter what scale on the fractal you zoom in on, from the tiniest neurological flickerings of a single person to the sum total of our behavior as a species. At every level, we are simply trying to become conscious of what’s real and true. Imperialism is just egocentricity at mass scale: an unhealthy and untruthful flailing arising from a desire to control things.
That’s all ego really is; an unhealthy and untruthful movement to control. Our true nature is the boundless, formless awareness from which, to which, and as which our field of consciousness arises, but because childhood is a frightening and confusing calamity of trauma in a world full of crazy giants there’s an energetic contraction around a conceptual “me” arising from a desire to control things. Life is scary and out of control, so our little primate mind creates an ego, a “me”, to come in and manage things under control. It calls in the manager.
At mass scale it’s the same thing: a power structure wants to control things because it fears what will happen if it just lets the world be as it is and do as it wishes, so an imperial manager is conjured up to bash everyone into alignment. The world does not need a manager, but the manager is called in anyway.
Ego is the cosmic Karen. It can’t just let life be as it is, can’t let the people in our life be as they are, can’t let that nice Black family enjoy their barbecue in peace, can’t let that impoverished nation in the Global South work toward its own prosperity in whichever way seems best to its people. It’s got to get in there and start managing everyone. Managing the people. Managing the situation. Managing the narratives.
The egocentric Karening ends when consciousness is brought to the forces which gave rise to it, whether you’re talking about an individual or an empire. That is our adventure here, playing out on all levels of our existence. We are trying to bring consciousness to the illusions and untruths which gave rise to the cosmic Karen, so she can go wherever deleted files go and we can let life live on its own terms.
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