“It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead. If I think too much I can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live our lives with death over our shoulders. Want you to know that should I go I always love you, held you high above too. I studied your face. The fear goes away.” – Eddie Vedder

heart_clipart_loveWe do not know when we will take our last breath on this planet during this go round and we hardly think about it. And if we ponder the subject of death too much, we begin to worry about every single thing we do.

 We live our lives with this knowledge close to the surface, but at other times we live with reckless abandon. We see death very differently at the beginning of our lives as we feel invincible as children.

Children are closest to the truth of knowing that we are eternal. But as time goes on our egos develop, and we learn to be in the world, and then we realize that as human beings we have an expiration date. And while we realize this with our human minds, ours souls cannot fathom it.

 Did you ever notice that it is impossible for us to imagine we will not exist? Just like we cannot conceive of infinity—though we know it intellectually–we cannot integrate the fact that we will cease. Our human brains simply cannot comprehend that one day everything will stop. And this is because the truth is that everything will not stop. Our essence will always exist.  We are infinite. Our higher-selves unconsciously takes that knowledge to the forefront by prompting us to live each day as if it will never end, which is why we know deep down in our souls that life doesn’t end.

 At the beginning of this post, we quoted lines from Pearl Jam’s Sirens not to accentuate that death looms closely, but to demonstrate the solution for the quandary: Love takes the fear away. We see that as the message underlying the lyrics. Death does not destroy love. Quite the contrary, love laughs at death’s door.  

While the song focuses on death, it actually calls on our inner knowing about love. Love after all is the healing life force we desire, and the fragility of life simply reminds us of its importance.   

Angelina Jolie’s Decision

No matter what you think of Angelina Jolie’s decision to remove her breasts preemptively, know that this is a very different decision than for someone who has breast cancer. Breast cancer forces one to act. Most act quickly. Some do not and lose their lives. But the decision made by Angelina was proactive and not reactive. She had to let go of some of what the ego wants. She had to lose some identification with her body in order to opt for this procedure.

Cynics would suggest that this is another publicity stunt associated with Camp Jolie, but the truth is it takes a lot of self-love, and a lot of courage, to go through surgery that for most would be significantly life-changing. For Jolie, this is one of many unpopular decisions she has made probably through following her intuition.

Choosing radical surgery due to a genetic predisposition seems to be laced with fear, and lopping off breasts does not guarantee a cancer free existence, but fear does not seem to be at the root of her decision. Look at it this way: one of the most sought after women in the world made a decision to disfigure her body. That requires a tremendous amount of self.

Love her or hate her, this is a person who made a decision that challenges her relationship with her ego. To go through with this from a position of love and not fear, she has to be connected with her inner guidance. So it is really not for us to judge. We should all do what is right for us, no matter the consequences and no matter what other people say. Jolie is a shining example of living by your truth, something we wrote about in our last post Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way.

Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way

Understanding yourself at the core level is knowing yourself as both your inner self and your ego. It is this self-knowledge that allows you to not only make the best decisions for your life, but it provides you permission to laugh at yourself, to make mistakes, and to live with uncertainty. Knowing yourself completely nurtures your confidence so when you go forward with your life, you understand that you are equipped to handle anything that comes your way.

The ego is the part that you recognize as your body and your image and all the concrete identifications you may come up with. It prompts you to feel unique and separate from other people. It creates needs, wants and expectations in relation to the outside world. It reinforces the illusion of the human experience, making you believe that it is all there is. The ego is there to dictate and rule your world, and it will as long as you let it. If you are oblivious to it, your ego will make your life miserable, but it is only a part of you. The other part is the higher self.

The higher self is the part that whispers. It breaks through often unexpectedly in situations where you feel conflicted. The higher self is that quiet voice you will easily miss if you don’t pay attention. Your higher self is also equated with intuition. Sometimes, the higher self manifests as a feeling of peace and love that overtakes your entire being for seemingly no reason. It is the juice of creativity, where you feel alive and passionate about what you are doing. It is that undeniable knowing coming from an unknown source that guides you forward. Its job is to prompt you to recognize the oneness with the world, making you feel connected with everyone, and to nudge a realization that love is the most important thing there is. It infuses you with the desire to give more and act in a loving way towards the people around you. The higher self creates magic, cementing an instant and intrinsic understanding that we are part of one another. Your needs, wants and expectations change because it is not just about you anymore. As a result of this connection, your world expands.

We all have a higher self, but it is hard to connect with that beautiful, spiritual energy all the time. Also, we would not want to be without the ego anyway. The ego manages our outer functioning, prompts us to forge solid experiences in the world, protects us from what it perceives as harm, and directs us to protect our things. It is our shell, the image we project to the world. We don’t want to do away with it. We just want to tame it enough so it will not block us from experiencing our inner selves.

We know who we are, and of course the ego helps define our desires, but the inner world feels so right when we can access it, and it is where we want to be most of the time anyway. So how can you experience your higher self more often? First, you need to know that this part of you functions in opposition to your ego. If the ego reacts, the higher-self shuts down, at least momentarily, but if you allow your higher self to shine through more often, simply by connecting with it purposefully, you will know that nothing is ever really threatening. Your inner self is the peace and strength that when accessed, allows your ego to take a break. When you are able to connect fully in this way, the ego can relax because you no longer need protection.

There is really nothing to fear, not ever. You, as a spiritual being, will live on and nothing can stop that. Living by the light of your higher self fosters this comprehension. Understanding the difference between the ego and the higher self, and learning to recognize the ego in life situations, stifles reactivity. When you are more aware of your higher self, you respond to situations in a more positive way. Think about it. Many people often react to what is in their environment, and they do not tap into the positive energy that will release the grasp of the ego and allow spirit to flood in, or when they do, it is too late. The situation has passed, and they regret their actions.

Many times, situations are caused by our inability to cope with our feelings, but if we can set aside the transient emotions, we will be able to experience a true unearthly connection. This is not easy to do, and no one is able to do this all of the time, but the sooner we recognize that the ego is the trickster that makes us feel as if we are separate in our human condition, the better we can connect to source. When we allow the connection, we regain consciousness and revel in the peace of our higher selves.