“Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment.” ― Chögyam Trungpa
I’ve crudely borrowed the title of this post from the last few pages of Michael E. Gerber’s stunningly insightful book, The E-Myth (see pp. 253-258). If you haven’t read it, I implore you to do so. Not because I say so. No, because it may change your life. That’s certainly what happened to me.
The point is this. All of us are shadowed by an illusory self. We think it’s us, but, in fact, it’s a product of our mind — our thoughts, feelings, perceptions and past conditioning. In effect, we overlay our true self (the ‘I’ in our ‘I-amness’) with egoic delusions to the point where we no longer feel what it means to live, unless we do so wholly and exclusively out of our thinking mind.
Even if this feels a bit way out there, what if I said that when we unlearn what we thought would make us whole, we come to realise that freedom (in its broadest sense) can be achieved only when we live for and live out an existence where we seek to become who we truly are. And I don’t mean we scale another career ladder only to realise how little we’ve changed.
What I’m driving at is asking the more profound question like What’s my purpose? and then spending the rest of your life trying to understand the import of the question and living it at the same time.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke
It goes without saying that this purpose-led existence is no ordinary existence: it means questioning where our attention’s focused, and if that’s the highest purpose we should be pursuing to make the most of our lives.
You’ll be relieved to know, there’s no universal approach, notwithstanding what certain Gurus would have you believe. But there’s one thing at stake, which you have to be prepared to face.
Your old life.
You have to dig deep. You have to go gut-wrenchingly deep to the point where part of you dies.
If you want to awaken to something more magnificent than the life you’re living now, you can’t expect to tinker with the edges, i.e. the job you do or changing the people you know. You have to question your very existence: Why am I here?
With any change message, there’s a significant risk that my ego and the egos of those that have come before me, are merely trying to scam you to my/their point of view. I/we could be. But, whilst we live in a world filled with hate, greed and self-interest, liberation from our egoic tendencies (which sadly corrupt everything) is surely worth more than a cursory investigation? If not, what exactly are you living for?
Another day of more?