There are moments when we arrive at the cusp of a spiritual shift, and in those moments, we can feel uneasy as we start to tip over into an inner space that is new to us. If we make it past the cusp and drop into this spaciousness, a whole new world of understanding can unfold. That understanding or those understandings aren’t necessarily intellectual. There are many levels of understanding that arise when we cross a threshold within ourselves, and while it usually feels good at first to open into this new level of spaciousness, deeper and subtler ego levels get revealed in this level of freedom. And they start to get uneasy.

Exposing Deeper Ego Structures

It’s important to see the ego as a structure with many layers, and I’ve spent a bit of time on this spiritual blog outlining different levels of issues. Too often, people think they are deeper in their inner work and awareness than they are, and that kind of misconception is often a reason people get stuck on their spiritual journeys. It’s like the ego decides that it knows enough and has dissolved enough of itself, and so it rejects any further discoveries. Reading this sentence shows the problem in thinking; the ego cannot make such a decision. It is the problem. It is what is being dissolved.

Yet people make this error all the time. They make a decision and try to somehow credit their ego conclusion to Divine nature.

The best way through all of this is humility. That helps us to stay open and receptive to anything we find within ourselves, and it’s all part of continued dissolution of deeper ego structures to which we’re unaware.

The Humbling of the Ego

The Arising of Subtle Unease

As someone rests in a new sense of spaciousness, they tend to drop deeper into a human experience of inner peace. It’s important to understand that this is an experience and not the true stillness of the observer. The true stillness is always there, observing all of our experiences. Meanwhile, our human experiences constantly change, and any experience of peacefulness and spaciousness will change too. That’s okay. It’s okay if these enjoyable experiences go. That’s part of embracing the reality of human experience. Life has plenty of things that will come and go and disturb us. The nature of hunger is to disturb our bodies so that we get food. That will continue to arise and pass. It’s a useful tool to know when and how much to eat. But this disturbance doesn’t need to be met with ego resistance or upset.

So, someone drops deeper, and even as they are deeper relaxed, something gets exposed. The peace is disturbed as something uncomfortable is revealed. A new layer of unease in the subtle ego is discovered. This happens regularly in my one-on-one Skype sessions. A person is so deeply relaxed in the space of presence that their more hidden issues and attachments are illuminated. And those issues don’t like it much.

Hidden, Subtle Levels of Physical Fear and Agitation

The Ability to be Unskillful at any Time

The ego has the ability to be unskillful at any time. Many people who have done a lot of work on themselves will be good at dissolving their ego until they hit some point. Where that point is is different for each person. But it happens. It turns an ego-dissolving pro (if there is such a thing) into a whiny, self-indulgent child in an instant. This, in and of itself, is illuminating, and it is humbling. If it happens, this is fine. You simply come back to being aware of this experience.

Certainly, these responses happen all the time for people new to the process of ego dissolution. Since they aren’t fully prepared to dissolve their ego or deal with their own uncomfortable reactions, it’s easy to identify with their reactions. This makes the discomfort worse.

Of course, the experience of spaciousness is long-gone if someone is reacting, and the deeper issue is now buried under reactions. It’s why we have to learn to continue to surrender. It’s through continued surrender and dedication that we gain access to these deep ego structures and primal fears and desires. And it’s through really sitting with them in deep acceptance and love that they finally dissolve themselves.

5 Misunderstandings About Surrender

Enduring Powerful Ego Responses

There’s no doubt that there are deep responses in human beings that don’t dissolve quickly or easily. That’s why dedication and patience are vital. If someone simply hopes that things are going to go away, that hope is in the way of the process. If they are waiting for things to be finished, that waiting mentality is in the way. Truly surrendering means placing all your energy and focus into the present moment. Be here and nowhere else intellectually, emotionally, and energetically. Of course, your body is always here and now, so there’s one thing you don’t need to worry about.

Then you endure. You endure the parts of you that don’t want to be here and now. You watch the continued response that you have no voluntary control over. You continue to be with it until either an issue emerges that needs engagement or the unease dissolves. Usually on the way to dissolving, it gets worse; it crescendos; and then it dissolves. People seem to miss this point, and many–including long-time spiritual seekers–misjudge the worsening as a sign that they are doing something wrong.

But I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stick with it and to have no expectations. The minute you think you know how things are going, you’ve added another ego layer back in. You’ve stopped the process of dealing with these deep, subtle ego issues.

How to Access Subtler Unconscious Energy Fields

The Dropping of Unease and Renewed Expansion of Spaciousness

Then, something drops. Maybe a new realization comes, maybe not. A lot of these deeper shifts change us profoundly, and it can be some time before we really understand what happened. By and large, the dropping of these deep ego structures and maybe some piece of a more primal issue leads to greater ease, clarity, love, humility, compassion, understanding, and all sorts of other lovely insights.

It’s a powerful space.

But there are a lot of layers as you work away the deeper elements of the ego. The ego, too, is not the most basic part of us. There are the primal animal drives in human beings that the ego is built upon, and to deal with our most basic fears and desires is powerful work. It’s work that is accessed through this profound surrender and these moments of spaciousness. So each expansion is a gift that gives you the ability to go deeper into these instinctive elements within you and to skillfully engage with them. As you do so, you can come into connect with levels of inner freedom and peace that you can’t possibly imagine.

The 2 Pillars of the Ego and the Human Animal Body


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.

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