Sooner or later, life lays us bare. Life makes us humble. It exposes our vulnerability and puts to silence our attempts to glorify ourselves, or to belittle ourselves.
I had an intuition about this, and I’m sure most people do. Trying to appear great, superior and important for the wrong reasons always made me feel slightly insecure. And trying to appear small for the same reasons also made me feel fake. By wrong reasons, I don’t mean moralistically wrong or right. I mean everything that is based on temporary things which were not my true, enduring reality: wrong identification with self as a limited being – aka, ‘ego’. This doesn’t make ego bad, for indeed, we all have a role to play that is temporary and we can’t deny its existence. All I mean is the attempt to base our sense of self entirely on these temporary ideas. I didn’t know how to deal with this dichotomy that the ego is temporary and yet I must carry it, so I usually tried to paint a false humility (a self-deprecation) over my identifications in order to show the universe that I was aware this is not my true self. This then became a habit of fear and insecurity in itself – a superstition to try and protect my vulnerability.
The letting go comes when we are finally willing to be burned by truth. It is a maturing: we know we will be destroyed anyway, so why keep playing this mind game of trying to keep up an appearance and protect this appearance from perceived threats? This is not in regards to the body phenomenon, which requires its basic care and protection, but more in terms of the mental constructs we have believed in and created around the body we inhabit – ideas like “I am clever so I must always appear intelligent”, but “if I appear too clever people won’t like me so I mustn’t show off”, “I must be liked too”, “I must be brave” etc. These are not easy to let go of, we feel the emotional reverberations of these ideas in quite a physical way. Even if these ideas no longer reside in our thought processes, if we have tendencies towards thoughts akin to these, we can pick up their emanations from other people. But if we are aware of this, then we can begin to let them filter out rather than holding on to them. The body has solidified these ideas in some way and takes time to let reactions go, but the body without these emotional residues must be a very different experience than one encumbered by identifications. I feel this is what Eckhart Tolle means by “pain body”.
So, letting loose all our mental vulnerabilities, to expose them and allow them to lessen the egoic grip on our true self may not seem like something we want. But sooner or later, it becomes something we truly need. And it begins the process of revealing our Beloved to us – the true identity beneath the veneers of pretense.