Holes of the soul
You may have noticed that, every so often, you feel as though some inner quality you ought to have has gone missing. Sometimes it might be a very clear sense of what’s absent, and sometimes it might be just a vague feeling that our lives really should be better than they are.
For example, we might feel as though we just don’t value ourselves enough, and that if we could find some value to fill that empty place, our lives would be much smoother and happier. We’d have better self esteem, and love ourselves more. We wouldn’t constantly doubt that we measured up to our own inner standards.
We might try to tinker with ourselves and add some of the value that’s missing. But even when our self esteem is boosted by repeated affirmations or things well done, the glow soon fades. We may spend many years trying to gain value with these things of the world, only to finally realize that the only true cure is to connect with a value that is permanent and indestructible.
We eventually understand that these empty places we find in ourselves are actually holes of our Spirit, or Essence. They can seem to be holes of the ego, but ultimately what’s missing is the infinite beauty, value, love, power, peace and capacity of who we actually are.
How do holes happen?
We are all born as pure expressions of Essence, undimmed by the constrictions of ego. However, as infants we cannot self-reflect; we have no capacity to see who we actually are. So we gain a sense of self, not from our Essence, but from our parents mirroring back to us what it is that they see. And that reflection is distorted by our parents’ needs, issues and holes, no matter how much they love us. For example, Essence is genderless, but even before birth we’re being related to as a boy or a girl, with all the reactions and expectations that our gender triggers in each of our parents. So inevitably, we take on the reflection that is given to us, and create a self, or ego, from it. We lose touch with the Essence we were born with.
The particular ways that we lose contact with our True Nature depends on our history. Sometimes we are profoundly separated from a particular aspect of Essence, and sometimes we are just a veil away. But each loss of contact creates a hole of Essence.
We build an ego to compensate
These holes are extremely painful, and Essence, in an act of great kindness, allows the ego to compensate for each hole with a facsimile of the lost aspect. For example, we lose contact with our true Strength, and the ego creates the closest qualities it can, which include anger, false strength, and pushing through life. These ego qualities then become the foundation of our personality and ego structure.
If an ego quality is not acceptable to us, a further layer of ego, often its opposite, is added to hide that quality. For example, if our anger is not acceptable, we may become depressed, which effectively hides our anger.
Ego becomes the portal to spirit
The wonderful thing about our ego is that, although it separates us from Essence, it also provides a very precise pathway back to the particular aspects of Essence that we have lost. All we need for this journey of recovery is a willingness to be present with the truth of where we are right now, a curiosity about that truth, and compassion for what we discover.
If we start with where we are, sincerely sensing our state, no matter how difficult and unenlightened, understanding about its qualities, underpinnings and history starts to arise of its own accord. For example, as we truly feel our depression, we start to understand that, deep inside, we are actually quite angry. If we are willing to truly acknowledge and sense our anger, without judgment or inhibition, this then continues the process of uncovering and understanding deeper and deeper layers of the ego, and we eventually arrive at the original hole of Essence. This is a scary place, but again, if we are willing to just be there and truly experience that void, then sooner or later it opens into Essential Strength. This inexhaustible Strength then fills the hole. It’s alive and clear, giving us a flexible, unassailable autonomy that has no need for anger.
Since every quality of the ego is a compensation for a particular aspect of Essence, there are many pathways back to Essence, and eventually we travel most of them. Very briefly, some of the more common are; powerlessness and hatred leading to true Power; agitation and numbness leading to true Peace; hurt and pity/sympathy leading to true Compassion; grief, flatness and happiness-seeking leading to true Joy; and willfulness, control and compliance leading to true Will. And so on.
The way forward
Traditionally, the ego has been seen purely as an obstacle to Essence, as something that needs to be ignored and transcended. It’s certainly true that it is an obstacle, but it is also a portal, and if we can embrace it with compassion and curiosity and the desire to understand its truth, it will automatically lead us back towards our True Selves. There are many different methods for doing this – meditation, therapy, various psychological and spiritual paths – but whatever method we embrace, if we bring curiosity, compassion and desire for the truth of who we are, our understanding will inevitably move us closer and closer to Essence, and to who we truly are.
With gratitude to A.H.Almaas, Diamond Heart Book 1, Ch 2, and John Davis, The Diamond Approach, Ch 6.
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