When the Bible speaks of transformation I believe it talks about the necessity of a spiritual change. However such a change can mean different things for different people but both directly affect how we allow the Ego to influence our response to others and even ourselves. Kabbalist Yehuda Berg writes ‘the Ego is not just someone’s inflated view of himself or herself. Yes, conceit, self-importance, and over-confidence are part of ego. But ego also includes low self-esteem, shyness, and feelings of inferiority. The ego creates extroverts and introverts. Ego makes you feel you are the best, and it makes you feel like you are the worst. It grows when you feed it, and then it converts its energy into feeling of conceit or feelings of inferiority.’
Regardless, Wayne Dyer reminds us ‘It is our Ego that prevents us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.’ How frequently do we allow the ego to control our life? Well, again according to Yehuda Berg, some 99% of our everyday behaviour follows the dictates of ego. Is it any wonder then that the world today remains in such a mess? Have you ever wondered why after almost fifty-eight hundred years of Judaism, two thousand years of Christianity, and fourteen hundred years of Islam our major world religions have failed to bring us the peace we all so desperately desire? You guessed it. It is the ego that prevents us from rising above our self imposed limitations. It is the ego also called the adversary, Satan or the devil that supports our false belief systems. It is our ego that keeps us locked in fear of life itself. It is the Ego that calls for separation and war. It is the Ego that is responsible for so much pain and suffering in this world. It is the Ego according to Dr. David R. Hawkins, that thrives on shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride and prevents us from experiencing our True Self. Only courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, and enlightenment will return us to our God driven True Self. While most enlightened people today recognize the destructive influence ego’s have in our relationships we (including our religious institutions) find it more convenient to keep on operating at the 99% level causing the fall out and suffering to continue on a worldwide scale.
Marianne Williamson’s latest book ‘The Age of Miracles – Embracing the New Midlife’ (2008) provides a perfect insight of how the Ego constantly creates a false image of who we really are and keeps us painfully imprisoned despite the fact that God desires nothing more than to set us free. The following excerpt from her book reveals how we can begin to transform our ego based False Self to a healing experience of our God given True-Self.
THE FEAR-BASED EGO GATHERS EVIDENCE AT EVERY TURN, making forgiveness hard. The ego is obsessed with two big cases: one against everybody else, and one against you.
Sometimes the face at the center of your bull's-eye doesn't belong to anyone else. Yours is the name on the docket of the case you feel compelled to prosecute—you, for your past errors; you, for your past stupidity; you, for your past immaturity; you, for your past irresponsibility; you, for just being you.
Prosecutorial witnesses are everywhere, and the courtroom is in your head. The ego is not on a search for justice but for guilt, for that is what it feeds on. Its case against you is not just based on the notion that you did something wrong, but that in some fundamental way you are wrong. That's a hard rap to beat. Who could ever sleep well if convinced that everything about them is just wrong?
You feel you've blown it on so many levels, in so many ways, and on some nights for whatever reason it all comes back so clearly. . . . What a lovely life, having 20-year-old bad memories shooting through your brain like bazookas from hell—which, in a way, they are. And you have nowhere to put them except in that big fat file called "All the Ways I Screwed Up." How can you feel that there's goodness ahead when you feel that in the past you have been so bad? How can you have much hope for the future when your take on the past is so relentlessly vicious? And how can you really defend yourself against a ruthless prosecutor who is an aspect of yourself?
You know the religious image of "burning in hell forever"? Well, now you know what it means: anxiety and guilt and self-hatred without end. It wasn't God who sent you there, but rather the enemy in your own mind. The ego, the fear-based self, the shadow—whatever name you choose to call it—is on active patrol to burn down your peace of mind.
The reason for faith that you can and will escape those flames is that God guarantees your fundamental innocence. He created you innocent, and what He creates is changeless and indestructible. Have you made mistakes? Who hasn't? But God's will is to correct our mistakes, not punish us for them. We are punished by our sins, not for them. It's the ego that both sets us up to do the wrong thing and then punishes us savagely for having done so.
An all-merciful God has already dismissed every case against you before the ego has a chance to mount it. Your mistakes, no matter how bad you might think they were, did not emanate from your self as He created you. That's why remembering who you truly are is the key to deliverance from the flames of self-condemnation.
You're no better or worse than anyone else. No matter how much you might regret your past, there's someone out there who regrets his or hers more. The path to happiness is not determined by whether or not we made mistakes in the past. What paves the way to happiness is whether or not we turn our mistakes into catalysts for personal growth and illumination.
Think of everything you've ever been through, and try to reinterpret it gently. All the love you ever gave was real. All the love anyone ever gave you was real. Everything else was simply an illusion, no matter how bitter or cruel it might have been in your experience.
I'm not going to insult you by saying, "Just forgive yourself." God forgives you, because He never saw you as anything but innocent. Your mistakes did not change the ultimate truth about you or alter the permanent nature of God's universe. Your ego is not that powerful. Truly atone for your errors, make amends where possible, and you'll be free to begin again.
According to A Course in Miracles, in the moments when you were not your best self—when you didn't stand up as the most loving you could be—then all the good you deflected is being held in trust for you until you're ready to receive it. God will return to you the years that the locusts have eaten. And the past as you know it shall be no more.
Wherever there was fear, love will ultimately prevail. Whether in response to your own mistakes or to the cruelty of the world, God will always have the final say. And His say will always be how very much that you are loved.
Williamson, Marianne ‘The Age of Miracles – Embracing the New Midlife’, Hay House, 2008
Hawkins, David R. M.D., Ph.D., Power Vs. Force, Hay House, 2002
Dyer, Wayne W., M.D., Your Sacred Self – Making the Decision to Be Free, Harper Collins,1995
Berg, Yehuda, The Monster Is Real, The Kabbalah Centre, 2005