Ego is an opportunist. It is designed to appear real in your mind. It is built on an algorithm, sending you the thoughts that you are most likely to believe and to take seriously. We are prior to ego, always an invitation to lightheartedness, gentle laughter, and joy, no matter how serious ego tells you anything is. This we that is prior to ego is also you, always you. It is also anyone who annoys you, always anyone who oppresses you. The list goes on to include every descriptor. No one can be excluded.
It’s good if you feel tossed about and thrown about and sick after going on an ego thought ride. You believe one thought from ego. And then another, and then another, and pretty soon you feel sick. We can also call this a thought binge. The important thing is that you have control over what appears in the mind. By looking upon the contents of the mind and recognizing what isn’t true and what never had any reality, what has always been true becomes prominent. Ego has fewer opportunities to suggest thoughts when you are focused upon what is Real.
Beyond all ego thought rides and binges, there has to be something deeper that drives you now, and it cannot be the hopeless and the sick. You used to think it was in your own self-interest to believe thoughts from ego. You used to think it was reassuring. You used to think it shored up your own sense of self. All of these perceptions are crumbling now, and we promise that this is very good news. Yes, it can feel destabilizing, but remember that you are safe. You are held. You are always carried through any storms or special effects ego would use to try to secure your loyalty.
Your loyalty belongs elsewhere. Your loyalty belongs with what will never betray you. Ego invites you to identify with and as a body in a drama where disaster must occur and where bodies must die. It’s a very old game, and the opportunity to stop playing is always now.
Ego is a maelstrom. From the early modern Dutch, it is whirl (mael) and strom (stream). A maelstrom is a powerful whirlpool, but it is also used to describe a situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil (languages.oup.com). In the never-ending flow of love from God, a little whirlpool seemed to come, turning round and round upon itself. This little whirlpool with such seeming violent power has only ever been a dream. It is not real. God’s love flows without interruption or defect.
When you feel this inner disturbance, this maelstrom, it always means one thing: There are thoughts you are holding on to that you can release now. The maelstrom whirls upon itself. It needs your belief in a separate self-concept in order to have power. When you allow that separate self-concept to crumble, the whirlpool loses its seeming power and intensity.
There is another intensity that is waiting for you. There is another stream that carries you. You have always been carried in the intensity and safety of the stream of God’s love ever-extending, but you have covered up this reality with a dream about a whirlpool.
How do you escape from a maelstrom? Using the symbols from lore about physical maelstroms, what kills in a maelstrom is fear–fear and panic leading to useless struggle and then fatigue. The advice is to remain calm and await a current shift that carries you outward. This current shift comes at your invitation. When you truly want to leave ego’s vortex, a current comes that carries you out. The current needs only your invitation.
As you allow the current to carry you back to the stream of love, you will pass by the separate images whirling around you. You will hear ego’s thoughts about the images. There are those who are leaving the maelstrom with you. They seem to be doing the same work you do, with the same willingness you have.
Ego will send you thoughts that lash out at those who are doing this work with you. Ego will send comparison thoughts. Ego will attempt to place bodies in hierarchies and to give differential value. You chose to enter a fictional hell constructed out of such thoughts. You chose to enter an illusion of a maelstrom, and you have to be carried back through it in order to leave. You are not alone.
Put your focus on the presence that carries you out of the maelstrom. Allow all meaning and value to drain from the thoughts ego offers you, the thoughts that describe and advise and lament. If you think ego’s thoughts have meaning and value, then you experience the struggle and panic that obscure the presence that is ready to carry you.
We are here in the never-ending stream of God’s love, and you are here with us. You dream of a swirling storm, believing it to be real, but dreams are temporary. We are always by your side.
Painting and photo by Margriet Hassink