At the top of the chain of causation is identification. How you interpret things depends, in the last analysis, on the answer to the question, "Who do you think you are?" We're not talking about whether you are a doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief. The choices at the causal level of identification are: ego, or Spirit?
One reason it is so hard to have perfect conviction about who we are is that our nature is a bit complicated. Man is a creature who is comprised of aspects both animal and Divine, and who is motivated by both egoic and spiritual impulses. At any given time, the degree of identification with and commitment to egotism or Spirit may vary -- but whatever it is, it colors ALL our choices on all lower levels of cause and effect.
Ultimately, we must conclusively decide between these two poles of our being -- and spirit must prevail. However, that doesn't mean that ego is eliminated. It is a common misunderstanding of spiritual life that the ego must be given up. The esoteric truth of the spiritual teaching about ego is that EGOTISM must be given up, not ego. EGO is the conceptual root around which each unique human personality crystallizes and exercises its sovereign free will. As such, ego is an eternal creation of God. EGOTISM is the unnecessary habit of focusing to a problematic and exclusive degree on the experience of smallness, separation, and vulnerability that we mistakenly infer from the fact of personality uniqueness. Unlike ego, EGOTISM is both dispensable and destructive.
Stages of Growth | Cause and Effect | Levels of Practice
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