From Miranda’s talk at the Living Grace Global Sangha in August 2021 – click here to subscribe for Audio Membership and receive future downloadable teachings each month.
One of the things that I think we need to be very aware of at this time of great polarization and uncertainty is the feature of ego that I call position-ality. It’s a made-up word, of course, but what I’m speaking to here is something which we really need to be awake to – a tendency to lock down in a fixed position. It’s interesting that we’ve all been used to that term ‘lockdown’ which means to kind of close in and protect and, obviously, that has been important for us all over the last 18 months. However, in this context, I’m talking about an activity of the mind – part of our ego activity that has both a phenomenological and also a psychological component to it. Phenomenological means it’s really just part of the machinery of our humanity. Every human being has it, regardless of what they’ve personally lived through. But, of course, the psychological component represents how those phenomena manifest personally in each of us based upon our conditioning.
When I talk about a position, this is really a mental fixation. It’s something our ego does with its view on reality. Wherever we are in our experience, in our consciousness, there’s always a view, but there’s a big difference in our view when we are very much enmeshed in some hurt from our childhood that hasn’t quite been liberated yet. You might know this from your own experience when you get reactive and caught in something. The view on reality that comes when you’re scared, for example, might lead you to see the world as a dangerous, scary place, and other people as untrustworthy. Whereas in deeper experience, such as in meditation, when you really drop into your deeper nature and you start to feel that great peace, then you might notice the view on reality is a lot more spacious and open and trusting. That’s an example of how where we are can so powerfully affect the reality that we see.
It’s not necessarily a problem that we have positions because they emerge inevitably out of our view on reality, our experience. The problem is that when we become overly attached to our position, when we identify with it as an absolute or only truth, then we are closed to new information that might turn out to be crucial for our collective wellbeing. One of the features of ego is that we tend to become very attached to our view on reality as the only right one. Inevitably this means that when we encounter someone who has a very different view and they’re equally attached to their view, we come down to this war of “I’m, right and you’re wrong”. All wars start from that because we’re very powerfully attached.
And then we start to defend our position – even in the face of new information – when it becomes objectively apparent that our position doesn’t quite hold water anymore. This is now happening in pretty much every spiritual community that I know about. It’s easy to get caught up in it. What I’ve been curious about as I’ve watched all of this happening is sitting with the questions –
What I’ve come to see is that our ego identity isn’t actually a real somebody even though it feels that way. I have written extensively about this in ‘The Way of Grace‘. That sense of being a separate somebody, the one that we tend to take ourselves to be until we come to let that dissolve some, is always insecure at the core. This is because at the core it’s a structure, it’s not an actual real self. And so, it’s always looking for some way to shore itself up, use its positions to do that to shore up our sense of “this is who I am, and this is what’s real.” It’s the way to reconstitute itself. Your ego activity—the things you tend to default to doing egoically—are ways in which you’re trying to shore up your sense of familiar self, to defend usually against the wobbly dissolving feelings. It takes a bit of practice to learn how to let these dissolve.
In confronting some of my own positions over the years and certainly recently too – as I found myself in difficult spots with friends or loved ones who have a very different point of view about the vaccine than I do – have found in myself many layers. These are usually ways that I say, “Well, I’m a spiritual person and I’ve been walking the spiritual path for many years so therefore I’m right, my point of view is superior to yours” or, “I’m better educated on the subject than you are.” Those things may be true but the problem is the way that they’re being used – ego locking down on whatever it can to reconstitute a sense of “this is me, and I’m right.” Of course, you can see that this activity reconstitutes separation and it can manifest in many ways – it can manifest into personally, but it can also manifest spiritually. For example, for many years I thought, Boundless Love was it! And Boundless Love is absolutely one dimension of God. However, if I held too rigidly to that being the only true way to experience the Divine then further realization such as the one that came in Ramana’s cave and subsequent realizations wouldn’t have happened.
I’ve noticed that tendency in locking down in a position myself always has something to do with looking for merged support. Given that our egos always have that sort of feeling of insufficiency or deficiency or anxiety, they’re always looking to shore themselves up. One primary way that humans do that phenomenologically is by joining with others who share the same point of view as us . This helps to shore up our position. We want to be awake to this because joining with others is powerful and beautiful but it can be a double-edged sword. In this Global Sangha we are joining together as mighty companions with a purpose to amplify our practice, to give and receive support with a sincere intention to become more fully mature, and awake, and to live Grace in our life. That’s one way that merging is very useful. But, when we join with others over a judgment, over “right-wrong-good-bad”, it has a very different effect. It’s okay to hold views and to look for support. This is natural. However, we want to be aware of the ways in which we are clinging and why.
Whenever I have genuinely confronted any position that I have noticed I’m identified with – that I’m attached to and want to find merge support for – when I’ve been able to challenge that in myself, inevitably what I’ve gone through is another layer of dissolving. Allowing dissolving of ego structure always comes with a kind of a gate that we pass through when we feel vulnerable. We feel all the things that we were seeking to not feel by trying to reify into a position and get merged support for it. Inevitably, when we confront our positions, we tend to feel the vulnerability, the somewhat unmoored-ness, the lost “I don’t quite know” feeling which can be a shakiness. As I’ve described before, when the structure of self is dissolving, for me it often feels like having no bones or being kelp bed in the ocean – things becoming kind of wobbly and amorphous.
I name this just to help you to befriend those feelings if and when you encounter them because it’s usually evidence or a good sign that some dis-identification with something that you’ve been clinging to in a way that might not be truly helpful is happening. What’s key always when dissolving out of a mental fixation is happening, is to remember that it’s really only our self-image within our ego structures that can dissolve. Who and what you really are can’t dissolve because it just is – we only ever fall out of a mental structure, even though we thought it was real. What we fall into is deeper Grace.
This is an extract from the teaching which I gave to our Living Grace Global Sangha in August 2021. If you would like to receive a downloadable audio recording of my new teaching each month plus mantra, meditation and inquiry questions then why not subscribe for Audio Only Membership ? The monthly cost of this is only $9.99 to ensure that even those of you on restricted budgets can benefit from brand new teachings and inquiry practices every month. You can save even more by subscribing for a full year for only $99. Click here for full info and to subscribe at any time.
With love to you and peace to our world,
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