Everything changes. Even rocks, are being slowly eaten by worms, or worn away by wind or water. All of the atoms that constitute everything that is, and that surrounds all that is-not, just keep roiling and recycling and reconstituting until they are born into some new form which our egos will give some new name. In this way, ordinary carbon becomes a diamond.
Despite the obvious flow of change seen in cycles of the seasons, or with our own human births and deaths, our egos maintain a critically important, selective blindness about incorporating the flow of change into their model for reality. Real world examples include the fact that few people ever see a divorce or job loss coming.
It’s worth noting when we’re completely shocked by something that happens to nearly half of marriages. Knowing that, shouldn’t we have been extra-vigilant about maintaining ours? Divorced people reading this are good people who got married sincerely. What makes so many people miss all the signs that later often seem so obvious?
Brains have a lot to do. They constantly have to learn new things and add more and more and more information on top of the information they already have. And if we’re healthy, it all cross-pollinates and creates hybrid ideas.
In then end, as Calvin and Hobbes found, a modern adult’s days are just packed. When looking for efficiencies, we do as our ancestors did. Our brains assume that patterns will repeat. And in doing so, without anyone ever intending it, major portions of our lives can become unconscious habit.
This isn’t our ego’s fault. As noted, we have a lot to think about in the modern world, so the patterns help. But our soul isn’t created from our thoughts like our ego is, so it’s generally immune to the ego’s form of habitual blindness.
This may make the soul appear superior from an ego’s perspective, but in reality it is the yin to the ego’s yang. Our soul works with our ego’s blindness in order to create a life.
If we look back on our biggest periods of growth, it will usually be when we were undergoing involuntary change, or a change that at least felt involuntary. Those moments of clarity and bold advancement are when our soul steps in and takes over with all its wisdom.
During times of stress, our egos will fill us with thoughts about broken patterns, and their nature will be to start hammering away in an attempt to get that reassuring pattern back. Meanwhile, unsurprised by the change, our soul can maintain its balance and find novel solutions for old problems or new circumstances.
Egos need routine. Change is the enemy. But to our souls, change is challenge, and challenge is growth and an expansion of capability.
When we say someone is ‘good at their job,’ or ‘a great spouse,’ or ‘an effective coach,’ or even a ‘wise parent or leader,’ what we are noting is the person’s skill at moving between their ego and their higher self.
Each of us carries this innate ability to often (but not always), balance our egos need for expectation and routine, while still maintaining a portion of our attention to be reserved to observe, but not judge, the present moment.
That sense of presence is what most of us perceive as a form of wise, confident, strength. In our finest moments we have felt like that person and that makes sense, because that version of us lives in perpetuity within each of us.
Egos use words to try to figure things out. But our soul uses the silence of our ego to find its way. This is a very clear and handy detection system for which state of mind we are truly in.
If we’re filled with words and are talking to ourselves, our ego is creating a self-debate. And that can be very helpful for a lawyer or scientist. But for life, if we are seeking the wisdom of our highest self, we will find it in the sound of silence.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.