Several people have written me lately asking, basically, “What’s the point of living if all we’re doing is acting out the ego’s story?”
I figured I’d post part of my answer. Here goes:
As best I can figure out, the point of life is to live to the fullest, learning to understand how life operates, so we can make the best of it.
Let’s say you’re living in Miami and you’ve never seen a car in your life before and somebody hands you the keys, and says, “Here, drive to New York City.” Would you quickly be able to successfully and pleasurably drive to New York? Hell no! Same deal with these bodies of ours and this thing called life on Planet Earth.
The point of the ego is to help you successfully navigate the first part of the journey. You learn to communicate with “others,” you learn how to keep the body safe, you learn how rich and varied and difficult and confusing and painful and beautiful and boring and exciting life can be. You learn about your “self” and have all these confusing ideas about what that is and what you want it to be. You feel a yearning within you to be MORE and don’t know what that”more” looks like or how to attain it. So you spend 30 years or a thousand lifetimes (whichever comes first) trying to “be” somebody, be a Big Wig, cramming more life, more food, more sex, more drugs, more money into your life. Maybe that will fill you up. Maybe that will satisfy the itch.
Basically you’ve just driven from Miami to Atlanta.
You’ve realized that everything “out there” ultimately fails to satisfy and that your desire for MORE can’t be filled from outside. Now you start the inner search. You read books like mine. You reach out. You want ANSWERS and you want them NOW! Because we’ve been taught to always have the right answers and it’s comfortable when we think we do. Super comfortable!!! Then we don’t have to work anymore. No more searching! Maybe you stumble into the “right answer” of Christianity and relax knowing Jesus will save you. Or maybe you are attracted to Zen Buddhism and spend a lifetime trying to figure out the “right answer” to what the “sound of one hand clapping” is. You exhaust hundreds, thousands of different pathways searching for what will give you MORE. You have brief tantalizing flashes of it. You feel intoxicated and expanded and exalted and at peace and for the tiniest instants feel “AHA! I’ve got it!” and then whatever you had blows away and you’re more confused and lost than ever. But you keep searching as this cycle repeats itself over and over.
This is the journey from Atlanta to Washington DC.
The brief flashes of peace and wholeness begin to extend themselves. You realize that your interior climate is totally up to you to manage and that feeling pleasant and unstressed and undriven feels really really good. You realize you are not at all who you thought you were. You understand you are not your body, or your ego personality. Through meditation and various practices (some of which are written in The E Word) you come to know that you really are connected to everything and everyone. That life is more beautiful and more precious than you had ever imagined or seen before. You begin to feel complete in your self, just as you are. No need to be anything or anybody. It is enough that you are alive. The most mundane tasks begin to take on a luster and grace. It is enough that you are alive and breathing and here on this beautiful planet. You begin to orientate yourself more and more towards helping others and helping this planet. And the more you do, the more pleasant your life becomes.
Now you have made it to Philadelphia.
The rest of the journey can’t really be written about. Along the way the remaining sense that you are separate from life itself just kind of fades away because YOU ARE SO INVOLVED WITH LIFE THAT YOU BECOME LIFE ITSELF.
This is the journey. And the ego and the body are vital parts of this journey—the launch pad, as it were, to becoming that MORE we sense and dream of.
Hope this helps!