The problem of false authority

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

Many of us on the path try to extinguish the ego without fully understanding what causes ego to arise in the first place. I think ego is like an arrogant, foolish and rebellious child, not knowing which way to go yet believing that it knows, too proud to stop and ask for directions. It is a blind guide based in fear, a defense mechanism we adopt to protect ourselves against subjugation to false gods. What we fear most of all is surrendering our will to a higher authority, only to have that authority abuse us, mislead us, ignore us, or use us for its own narrow purposes. Thus ego is born.

Growing up, we are under the guidance and control of our parents. They protect us and provide for us, and also teach us everything they know about the world and how it works. We come to see them as god-like figures, creatures of great authority and importance. As we get older we realize that they are not gods, but mortals with flaws and shortcomings just like the rest of us, trying to make it in the world. At a certain point we come to feel that they are more of a burden than a blessing, imposing arbitary rules and restrictions on us. Disillusionment then sets in, followed by rebellion and rejection of the parents. We cast ourselves out into the world and begin looking for other, more legitimate authority figures to guide us along life’s journey. We come across leaders and authorities in many fields who show potential, but one by one each of these figures either exploits us, lies to us, manipulates us, or leads us astray in one way or another. We see that they all have their own private agendas, and we are objects at their disposal. We come to distrust all authority and reject anyone who tries to place themselves above us. Our life becomes a constant struggle to cast off the chains of false authority and finally achieve liberation from all forms of control. The end result is that we become our own authority, our own parent. The ego is crowned king.

It is at this point that we get stuck and our spiritual development slows to a crawl. Not knowing where to turn for guidance, we get trapped in repetitive behaviours and addictive cycles. Refusing to submit to false authority of any kind – politicians, scientific experts, business leaders, media moguls, law enforcement officers, religious figures, gurus, etc. – we close up, put on a shield of armor, protect ourselves and retrench into our individual minds. In doing so we sacrifice communion with other souls and with Spirit. This makes our lives into sad, dull, depressing, repetitive drudgery, going through the motions on a daily basis, without hope, curiosity or destination. Deep down inside us there is something that knows that there must be more to life than 9-to-5 slavery followed by the idiocy of television and the occasional interruption for family matters, yet we have lost our vision and cannot see how to move forward, how to escape. We are stuck in a trap of our own making.

This can be likened to climbing a mountain with no experience, no map, no light our sound to set our bearings to, nothing to direct our course. We are wandering blindly in the dark. We fear the sacrifice and discipline a spiritual path entails because we do not find any guarantee that all of our efforts will ‘pay off’. This is an example of linear, rational (ego) thinking, always seeing choices as transactions with a defined sacrifice and a predictable payoff. Spiritual paths are not like that. It takes faith and courage to release our concrete trappings in order to make room in our hearts and minds for a richer, deeper, more refined way of being and to sacrifice our personal will to Spiritual will. Those who expect guaranteed rewards will find this path hard to follow. Yes, others have led us astray in the past, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

The Way Out

Escape is possible, and the way to do it is by asking a higher power to come back into our lives – whether you call it Spirit, God, higher self, or anything else – to give us personal guidance and point us in the right direction. We cannot be our own parent, our own guide. Though we may be parents to our own children, we must always be children to a higher authority.

Adulthood does not mark the end of growth or development. It is another stage, one where inner work becomes important. To let God in, we need to let go of the idea that we know everything, that we know what is right or best, that we know where we’re going. We do not know these things, but God does. The only door that leads out of the maze is the one that goes straight to the highest authority of all. God speaks to us through our inner voices – conscience, heart, instinct and intuition – and also through the outer experiences of life, the events and people we come across. If we listen to those messages we can move forward along our journey. It helps to be like a child, curious and with an open heart and open mind.

All rebellions and revolutions must eventually transform or else they are doomed to fail by betraying their original purposes. This is because once the enemy has been defeated, we now occupy their former position, and must take on the role that they used to play. Rebellion always begins from a ‘down’ position in terms of power, authority, etc. and, if successful, ends up in an ‘up’ position. The critical question then becomes: do we continue to look up and strive for ascension, wisdom, guidance and liberation for all, or do we look down on those left behind and exercise power over them, becoming the authority barrier we fought so hard to displace? Assuming the parent role, do we let go of our childish curiosity and ambition, or do we keep and cherish it?

Barriers to Happiness

Why are we seduced by the ego’s devices: power, plans and rules? Because we have been hurt in the past at the hands of other people. We have been abused, oppressed, neglected, suffered injustices of all kinds, and we see power, plans and rules as defenses against the unjust rule of illegitimate rulers and authorities. However, once the revolution is complete and illegitimate authority has been overthrown, we must give up our power, plans and rules and surrender to a higher power, otherwise we will remain unsatisfied. The life lived according to the ego’s devices is inherently unfulfilling, because it always ends up in dead-end repetitive cycles of behaviour. You will never find happiness as long as you try to design your own experience. When you imagine an end state and try to create it, even if you succeed you won’t find much joy. True joy comes from discovery. Our hearts yearn to discover that which is unknown, and this can can only be done in a mindset of humility, receptivity, curiosity and attentiveness – child qualities. This goes far beyond the desire to feel pleasure and contentment. The most rewarding experiences are those full of surprise, mystery, wonder, novelty and learning. The least rewarding experiences are those where we repeat old patterns and habits, like a record stuck in a groove, struggling with the same familiar challenges without learning.

False power means bending other people and events according to our individual will, whereas true power means giving up all desire to control evens and people, surrendering to divine will.

False plans mean linear schemes and plans made by the individual mind, whereas true plans mean letting Spirit direct our lives, taking one step at a time and focusing on the moment at hand.

False rules mean living out a script, putting life into a box by ‘deciding before you have to decide’, setting hard limits and guidelines, whereas true rules mean getting human judgement (good/bad) and labels out of the way, observing the laws of nature and Spirit, making decisions as needed, moment by moment based on context and the necessities of the situation.

In sum, we are not in control of the big picture. We cannot see the journey that has been laid for us. Nevermind that – all we have to do is take the next step and pay attention to what we find.

The Nature of Authority

The false authority helps preserve existing values, structures and material. It is useful up to a point, by helping to prevent a slide into chaos and ruin. It also is a kind of leader, but one that leads us in circles in a dead-end loop. It finds security and control in the known, but cannot take us into new territory because it is essentially fear-based and faithless. It appears strong but is built upon weakness of character. It does not know how to leave home and take up an adventure because it is a barrier to acceptance of true authorty, true wisdom, which is God. Its perspective is limited and thus it is blind in the ways of spirit.

Authority shows up whenever we put ourselves or something at risk, to prevent harm and question our motivation. The only way to transcend the barrier of authority is to own its power by becoming it. We must absorb and include the protective nature of authority and put it in its place, allowing us to dive fearlessly into the cosmic mystery of life. In doing so, we let go of the need to know and control our situation, our future and other people, and we follow our natural instincts toward unlimited love, freedom, play and joy. Our strength comes not from defensiveness or force but from vulnerability and openness to an intimate connection with true power which comes from God. We don’t need to see too far into the future because we have faith in a grand vision of which we know only a part. We know that whatever arises we will meet it without fear or doubt, having the skills and resources we need in the moment. Knowing who we truly are, we do not cling to the body, money or possessions, but allow those things to be used and passed on when they are no longer needed. We ride the waves of time and space and surf the cosmic energy, giving and receiving easily and without resistance. We see ourselves in each other person and accept the value that they represent without any need to fix or control them. We feel instinctively when things need to evolve, change or transform, and when they need to sit and digest. We allow the divine will to be done through us and the divine wisdom to present itself to us. Improvisation, playfulness, lightness and freedom are the modes of our being. We cling lightly to the body identity without artificiality. Our spirit is released from the bonds of time and space, and we lose all predetermined agendas and fixed beliefs. Eternity is us.

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~ by spiritualseeker1 on January 19, 2013.

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