It’s all in where the ellipses are. (They’re those … ‘s that indicate that part of a statement is not included). It’s their location, not their existence that counts. The universe is just one giant forward-facing set of ellipses. In the beginning God created heaven and earth…. After the Big Bang….
Despite the direction the universe flows in, our e
gos try to define their value through what it became, or through our reach for future titles we can later say we became. We want what’s after the ellipses.
“…And then they chose me as Vice President.” Or, “… then we were named champions.” Or, “…after all those courses and tests, she had her Masters.” Or, “…and that amazing journey was what lead them to be parents.” Then, were, after and led. Past tense.
Egos create their illusory label-identities from the past. And our ego’s futures are dictated by ‘our’ efforts to create an admirable past in some presumed future. If we stop to think about it, most of our self-criticisms refer to who we became that we later wish we hadn’t (addict, older, heavier, abused, someone in an unhappy marriage, or even someone financially bound to the wrong career etc.)
Egos want to say that we successfully became. We say, I’m the Vice President. I became that year’s champion. I have my Masters. I am a parent. Our egos see that label as who others perceive us as. That becomes our reality, and that becomes so important that we’ll torture our soul to serve that illusion. We’ll stay in a bad relationship too long just to avoid becoming someone labelled as ‘single.’
Rather than focusing on past achievements or future goals, our soul is interested in what is happening in the moment it’s in. To it, all the value is in our uncreated future, so it wants the ellipses on the other side. It’s unconcerned with our defined value; with the end of our sentence. Our soul is here to experience the openness and possibility of our story in each new moment.
“Sasha was born…” Or, “With the divorce completed, she was now officially single…” Or, “Now that he had retired, he finally got to…” A mysterious and tantalizing future is always available.
Our soul is here to dance with us through life’s experiences. It needs a partner, and our egos are flashy, emotional, dramatic partner in this yin and yang tango. Once we find the rhythm that can exist between these two selves, the dancing can be as fluid and graceful as it is exciting and bold.
The point of a dance isn’t to finish it, or name it, or to get a trophy for it, or to be recognized for having done it. The point of a dance is to have the experience itself. Yet look at how much of our life is about what it gets us rather than what it is in real time.
Life is made of filling in our ellipses. It is worthwhile for everyone to occasionally stop and review life from this perspective.
Who are we busy trying to become? And do we recognize that a ‘negative became’ like ‘fired,’ or ‘divorced,’ or ‘widowed’ can also have the ellipses flipped over to the opportunities that exist going forward?
The shift from ‘…got fired’ to ‘Looking to start a new career….’ is the difference between suffering due to expectation, versus thriving in anticipation. That is also the shift from ego to soul. We all have the freedom to make that move.
Our ego is focused on employing a ‘became’ or obtaining a ‘became.’ But our soul is focused on the very act of becoming. It has no definitions, it is not a bucket in a river, capturing some static idea. Our spirit flows, always forward; an infinite work in progress. Optimism is appropriate.
All this being the case: why don’t we place our name behind them instead of trying to put some achievement in front of them? Let us all take today to walk out into the incredible possibility of our own ellipses….
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.