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The self-contraction


The full pattern of non-stop egoic activity controls and binds our energy and attention in every moment: searching for this, defending from that, etc., to the point where we do not have the free energy and attention left over to find and receive God, even when God is appearing bodily in the same room, in the form of the Spiritual Master.

Therefore, Full Awakening from the dream also requires self-understanding understanding of the activity that is the ego.

What is this "ego"? How is it organized? How can it be undone, Melted, and how can we, ultimately, be Fully Awakened out of the dream? Figure 1 provides an overview of the complex ego-pattern.

The Structure of the Ego
FIGURE 1: the structure of the ego

We conventionally view “me” as a given; it simply goes without saying. "Obviously", there’s “me” here, there’s “you” over there, etc. And somehow, “me” is associated with a human body, “my body”. Consequently, the survival and defense of the body-mind becomes equivalent to the survival and defense of “me”. And the feelings associated with the body-mind are “my feelings”. If they are pleasurable then it is “my pleasure”; if they are painful, then “I am in pain”.

We can refine the notion of “me” in all kinds of ways, even thinking we’re being “spiritual” to do so. We can wonder if “me” survives physical death. We can give a name to the part of “me” that survives, and call it “soul” or “spirit”, and concern ourselves about its destiny, since that is a part of “my destiny”.

And on and on. “ME” is the focus of all our lives. And yet how often do we question this “me” presumption? How often do we consider, what is the source of the sense of “me”?

We function on the basis of this presumption, even organizing our entire life around it, and don’t often stop to ask: What is this “me”?

From the viewpoint of the Awakened State, it is clear that all the “me”s in the dream have no ultimate reality; they are dream characters, and the only Real “Me” is the Divine Being, the One who is dreaming and living all the apparently separate “me”s. Furthermore, from the Awakened Viewpoint, it is also clear that the reason “me” seems and feels in every way to be an absolute reality — despite the fact that it is not — is because of a primal activity of separation that each of us is doing unconsciously all the time. Literally, we are re-creating our “self” in every moment through an activity of “contraction” that is something like making a fist. Whatever else you may want to say about the occasional pleasures that can be experienced within the “me” capsule, they are nothing compared to the “open hand”, the Bliss felt when the sense of separation is transcended.

The primal self-contraction is located at the right side of the heart:



 

The feeling of relatedness, or the self-knot, can be felt all over the body. But if you feel it at its point of origin, it's on the right side of the heart. The right side of the heart is not simply the domain of Divine Self-Realization. It's the root of egoity. It's a knot that must be opened. You have to get back to that Door, by releasing energy and attention to do so.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Method of the Siddhas

 


But the primal self-contraction also creates secondary “knots” throughout the body, some of which are directly recognizable by many people, such as the “vital shock” or knot near the navel or solar plexus:


 

The usual man or woman lives in what I have called “vital shock”. This shock ultimately includes more than the vital. It operates even on a very subtle level. But its most obvious and motivating form is the sense of shock in the vital being. Ordinarily, the vital, at its chief center in the midst of the body, is contracted, and one continually feels it, even physically. One may feel a kind of cramp, this tension in the midst of the body. And everybody tries to relieve it continually through various experiences, pleasures.

The vital center is like the shutter in a camera. Like the shutter in a camera, it curls in on itself in order to close, or else it unfurls in order to open. It is like your hand. If you clench your fist and hold it together as tightly as you can, it begins to become painful. Just so, this vital center is alive, sentient, and when it contracts, like your hand, it causes a sensation. It causes not only a physical sensation, but also many other reflections in life and consciousness. Therefore, when this contraction occurs in the vital, you not only get a cramp in the stomach, but you have a whole life of suffering.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Method of the Siddhas

 


the circle of the body-mind
 

The natural flow of life and Spirit in the circle of the body-mind

 

In fact, not only the vital center, but all of the chakras or energy centers in the body-mind (identified in the Indian tradition and other traditions) are knotted up by the primal contraction, and cease to allow the full, natural flow of life and Spirit in the Circle of the body-mind.

 
Dali, The Metamorphosis of Narcissus
 

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus
Salvador Dali
(click image to enlarge)

Narcissus bent over the pond
(and resembling someone
holding an egg between thumb and forefinger -- it's time to drop the egg!)

The self-contraction is not only a contraction of feeling and energy, but also of infinite Consciousness, restricting it to what we are familiar with as our ordinary limited awareness, or attention. Avatar Adi Da Samraj uses the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus to bring this point home, particularly the image of Narcissus, bending over the pond, consumed by his own image. The self-contraction “bends” attention onto self compulsively. The consequence of this endless unconscious obsession in all of us is the conviction that “I am a separate self”.








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