by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
But why this war of self against self? Because there is something in self that is not-at-peace. There is something dysfunctional in the very essence of self. There is a snake in this garden. (Forgive me, snakes, for I do appreciate and affirm you for the wonderful beings you are. I use you only as cultural metaphor.)
We call this ego. “I am”. This emergence of self-awareness has led, perhaps inevitably, to a belief in the existence of a concrete, personal identity. And this is something to which we have become inexorably identified: We are this identity. Or soul. We are Someone and thus have Something to lose.
Death becomes the Great Thief, the greatest evil. But in the meantime, this quasi-reality of identity has its hands full trying to be the something it is not. It is no-one, but it wants to be Someone.
Thus, it nurtures a self-image which requires constant assertion and vigilance against the predations of events and others and even its own self which brings judgment upon itself. But the best defense is often a good offense, and so it finds security and substance in opposition to others. Another’s fault is my strength. Yes, it grieves me to have to say this, but my Tao is better than your Tao.
So, if the ego-self is the mother of dysfunction, why should I not oppose it; why not engage in spiritual warfare against it? My reply is two-fold.
Firstly, because the opposition is itself an expression of that selfsame dysfunction. Only ego-self opposes ego-self. War is not the way to peace. Peace is the way to peace. Ultimately, the only means to an end is the end itself. The end must be the means. When we embrace the totality of our experience in thankfulness and trust transcendence happens. Growth happens. This is the efficacy of non-doing. This is doing what happens.
Secondly, I suggest we should not declare war on the ego-self because it is a given of Nature. It is what is. It has not been foisted upon us by some devil. It is not the creation of our own evil nature.
If there was no Fall in some mythical garden, if the Universe is not a vast battleground between the Forces of Good and Evil, then the way humanity now finds itself to be is the Tao of Nature. Acceptance, always and ever, is the surest way to transcendence and transformation.
For Tao, whatever It might be, is always manifest in this phenomenal world as endless Transformation. And enlightenment, if there is such a thing, is or will be a purely natural transformation. Perhaps all humanity will one day transcend this bondage to an ego-driven existence. Perhaps individual human beings have already experienced or will experience this liberation.
If so, it will be a transformation arising out of the givens of Nature and thus an affirmation of things as they are.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.