Joy, suffering and the ego

I read today a view that the ego will always attempt to suck us back into a state of suffering. Without resistance, we begin to blur our sense of separateness and the ego needs us to see ourselves in terms of separation and difference.

From the egoic point of view, it’s vital that we remain in conflict to some extent, and that’s why, when we look at the world around us, we see so much conflict among human beings.  (Adyashanti: Falling into Grace)

This prompted for me that the realization that joy, at least as I perceive it, is rarely if ever ego driven, existing most profoundly in the moments when the barrier of ego-separation is breached by a sense of connectedness, of grace.

So for me, part of the purpose in consciously working to develop the capacity to access joy is to provide myself with one of the tools with which to combat the pull of the ego and the resultant ‘suffering’, the fall from grace into being a part of conflict.

 

7 Replies to “Joy, suffering and the ego”

  1. I have been wondering how this relates to art if we assume art has to do with self expression? I’ve actually found more joy in the last few years in listening and observing rather than thinking I am being creative. I am still working at finding more balance between being grateful for what is with wondering what could be. I agree that feeling intimately connected brings the utmost joy…..I’m so lucky and happy…..

    1. I have been working, in my meditation course, with the concepts of abundance and manifestation. I came across the following:

      Manifestation “has to do with the movement from invisible to visible and back again in the great unfolding and returning of things. . . . Therefore, it is a type of art, the art of manifestation. This takes us into a very different realm of art-making than that of making objects to show to other people so that they will think we’re good or okay or to validate our existence. It takes us, rather, into a deep communion with the stuff of our lives.”

      This struck me as connecting very obviously to your comment. It is also part of my own struggle with the creative process as I recognized very early the contradictory quality inherent in being a creative artist. On the one hand is, I think, for many artists, a joy in creativity that contains a sense of spiritual connectedness. But on the other is that ego demand to be ‘good’ and to be recognized as such. Therefore the source of joy can also draw the artist back into ego pain, rather than feeding the connection to joy and wholeness. Perhaps this is why there seem to be so many tormented artists. They have a connection to spirit, yet get caught in the ego experience of the ‘art object’.

      Is that balance you are looking for (as I am) more about living creatively, from a deep connection with what makes us who we are, than in about creating an artifact?

  2. I have been working, in my meditation course, with the concepts of abundance and manifestation. I came across the following:

    Manifestation “has to do with the movement from invisible to visible and back again in the great unfolding and returning of things. . . . Therefore, it is a type of art, the art of manifestation. This takes us into a very different realm of art-making than that of making objects to show to other people so that they will think we’re good or okay or to validate our existence. It takes us, rather, into a deep communion with the stuff of our lives.”

    This struck me as connecting very obviously to your comment. It is also part of my own struggle with the creative process as I recognized very early the contradictory quality inherent in being a creative artist. On the one hand is, I think, for many artists, a joy in creativity that contains a sense of spiritual connectedness. But on the other is that ego demand to be ‘good’ and to be recognized as such. Therefore the source of joy can also draw the artist back into ego pain, rather than feeding the connection to joy and wholeness. Perhaps this is why there seem to be so many tormented artists. They have a connection to spirit, yet get caught in the ego experience of the ‘art object’.

    Is that balance you are looking for (as I am) more about living creatively, from a deep connection with what makes us who we are, than in about creating an artifact?

  3. That is the greater part of the issue indeed. In addition, as designers, we have the professional obligation to add to the public realm that which helps to improve lives. Thus as a professional, I think that the artifacts we produce need to produce some kind of connectedness, to the earth, to others and to the individual and herself….to life!!!! Thanks a LOT for the thoughts above….that really helps!!!

  4. Um um sure…better to dialogue in person, but perhaps without FB we would not have this connectedness…so I guess as my mom always said, let’s count our blessings……lol!!! BTW, I do see art as manifesting who we are and serving as a kind of mirror to reflect upon and to improve. For a designer it is similar…..the artifact manifests an idea and then through experience of that artifact, we develop a dialogue with ourselves and with others.

  5. I agree. The artifact can and should manifest the idea. The problem I can’t quite get over is the distortion of that in our contemporary relationship to ‘the artist’. There is the same problem for anyone in a position where they may be in some way revered. I’m sure this lies partly in our relationship to what we do. I know that the sense of ‘flow’ is greatest for me when I do what is authentic yet remain non-attached to the outcome. So it is not the creation that is the problem, but the danger of being swept up into ego driven perceptions of value and ‘desired result’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.