Ego, Rigidity, and The Land Beyond Duality

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“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. 

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”

This is a quote by Rumi, the Sufi mystic and poet.

We as humans often get caught up in dualistic views like right vs wrong, black vs white, stupid vs smart, or hard vs soft.

This is how our brain processes and categorizes information. 

It has to analyze input data, compare it against our stored knowledge database, and determine how to categorize and make a conclusion about it in the mind to fit our narrative. 

This happens instantaneously, often without realizing it. 

I want to discuss ego-mind rigidity, the problems that occur from this, and the field beyond.

My argument is that if we could rest more in the field beyond, it would help solve a lot of problems and we would have a healthier world and personal life. 

The Rigid Ego Mind

All of us have a personal sense of self and ego identity. It’s an important part of being human. 

Although this identity is constantly changing throughout life, it allows us to define who we are as a person, our interests, and how we fit into the world.

I see there being a healthy version of this self and an unhealthy version.

The healthy version is when we cultivate healthy competition, quality friendships based on mutual interest, respect for ourselves and others, the ability to nurture and love, a sense of humor including of ourselves, and other characteristics that allow for growth and collaboration.

The healthy version of self is fluid, dynamic, and vibrant. It’s willing to change and die when necessary as well.

The unhealthy version of this ego-self is when we start to defend, protect, criticize and condemn, divide ourselves and others in the world, boast, and close ourselves off.

Usually at the root of an unhealthy ego-mind are the powerful emotions of fear, shame, anger, and the sense that you are disconnected from the world and need to protect or separate yourself from other “lesser” people. 

The unhealthy ego identity is trying to protect us from our most vulnerable emotions and it truly makes you feel separate and afraid that your life is going to be in jeopardy. 

This unhealthy ego-mind can also be triggered not only individually but on a collective level. 

The time period we are living through is a perfect example. Since the political tension and COVID health crisis started you can see the magnification of this rigid ego-mind on a collective level.

A lot of people have become unable to discuss topics related to politics without losing their shit.

Sadly, people in society started to divide themselves based on their political views, vaccination and mask-wearing views, views of what’s right and wrong, and ideas of who’s smarter and who is dumber or less respectful.

The media also plays a huge role in feeding this rigidity. That’s how they make money.

This only exacerbates the problems and leads to more tension, delusion, and suffering.

When the ego-mind becomes rigid, its main job becomes protection. When this fierce defense kicks in people are unable to see the world and problems clearly.

Instead, the goal of each side (and person) becomes a job of proving themselves right instead of finding out what’s true and how the best way to proceed is. This is because the rigid ego-mind is protecting you from feeling your most vulnerable emotions.

If someone admits they were wrong or decides to change their views in order to support the current reality, they face shame, criticism, guilt, fear, and condemnation by the people around them or from themselves. 

They may have built their entire life reputation or business on their view.

So instead they decide to propagate delusion to protect themself and the power structure they created. 

We see this in scientists, government officials, corporations, and the general public. 

Once the ego-mind has built itself up in a negative way it’s hard to have a healthy fluid view of the world. 

Everything becomes black and white. 

If someone isn’t wearing a mask they are a scumbag. If someone is wearing a mask they are a coward. If someone believes in God they are ridiculous. If someone doesn’t believe in God they are evil. 

We instantly divide ourselves from other people.

Scientists and laypeople look at the sources that prove their view and they dismiss other sources that are in opposition to their view. They only run studies that can support their narrative.

The unhealthy ego-mind is a powerful dictator. When it becomes too rigid, it causes problems.

How The Rigid Ego Mind Causes Problems

As discussed above, when the ego-mind becomes unhealthy and rigid it causes a lot of problems personally and on a collective level.

We lose our sense of creativity, openness, joy, and connection.

We forget that all people, plants, and animals are dependent on one another. 

The trees and plants provide healthy air, food, and medicine.

The animals support our biodiversity, provide love, and awe our minds. Some even sacrifice themselves for your nourishment. 

The sun gives us heat and energy. The rivers and streams are our fluids. 

The “tough guy” down the street with the trump flag may have driven a truck to deliver your food to the grocery store or fought in a previous war for your freedom. He wants the same things as you; he just has a different way of going about it.

The computer nerd in his basement might have contributed to the development of the internet or provided the information that solves your problem.

The “soft guy” may actually be the most courageous person in the room during times of violence, providing peace and reassurance, keeping his calm to help mitigate the effects of fear and hatred. 

Whether you realize it or not we are all intimately connected. Everything supports everything else. We all have a role to play.

The problem is our rigid ego-mind distorts this reality.

When we watch the same news channel each night that makes money from feeding this it’s no wonder we automatically judge every person who walks by us. 

They claim it’s us against them. If we don’t act now it’s all going to shit.

Or if we get sucked into our social media feed we build up this intolerance as well.

Social media companies thrive on confirmation bias. They feed you the same types of ads and people who support your views.

When our mind becomes too rigid it divides everything and makes us think that everything opposed to our beliefs is wrong. It gets scared and starts to protect you from others. It automatically fights back without consideration.

This naturally leads to division, greed, fear, and the inaccurate view that you are separate from the world and need to protect and conquer everything else. 

It makes you forget that most of the time, things aren’t black and white.

The Land Beyond Ego Mind

There is a place beyond division and ego protection that words have a hard time describing.

In this place, you can see the world for what it is: vibrant, diverse, awe-inspiring, connected, flowing, containing many problems but still somehow beautiful.

When the rigid ego-mind calms down, we get a glimpse of this truth. 

Remember a beautiful sunset where time dropped away or a time when you rescued a dog. 

When you’re resting in the land beyond, you notice the trees on your walk and the clouds in the sky. In fact, they become miraculous and resonant.

In this place, people can say “shoot, you know I was actually wrong about that. Let’s try this and see if we can get a better outcome.” Or “damn those people are crazy, but maybe I can learn something from them.” 

In this place, we aren’t as worried about proving ourselves right but instead concerned about getting the best outcome no matter what that means. We also aren’t as concerned with our ideas of what’s right and what’s wrong. 

We see that all points of view have a place. Words and ideas are just words and ideas. 

Healthy actions and outcomes are the only things that matter.

This is a land where we can let go of our protection mechanisms and trust that if we let the world flow as it should we will end up ok. 

You still take action, but it’s not based on fear or protection.

This is a land where we can rest, catch our breath, see problems clearly, and have a healthy view of the world.

A place where we can get along with people who think differently, where we can be present more often in tough situations. 

Where we can let the beauty of life flow including all of its tears and trembling, trusting that other people will open up in response. 

This is a land where personally and collectively we need to find our way back.

Why It’s Hard to Rest in The Land Beyond

Why is it so hard to rest in the land beyond rigid ego duality?

I think it’s simply due to the way human civilization developed alongside our modern technology. 

I’ve got nothing against the way the world has evolved, I just see it as very limited right now.

Human language has a hard time describing what it’s like in the “land beyond”. 

Our brain is a prediction machine that analyzes, processes, and compares data to make conclusions. 

It has to fit everything into a black and white conclusion in order to be used properly in human communication. 

We are also hardwired for survival. This has allowed us to accomplish many amazing things in the world in order to propagate our species, but it does come with a significant cost if it’s done without healthy regard.

Also, our modern economic system works in a way where manipulation and gaming the system can still produce monetary winners. I’m a conscious capitalist myself and think it’s a good system, but I do see the faults that need to be fine-tuned in order for it to work better.

Lastly, a lot of us are afraid of being vulnerable. We have to maintain our power, status, and image in the world and we don’t want anything to disrupt that. 

All of these reasons explain why it can be so hard to see outside of our own rigid ego identities. 

Everyone gets caught up in the animal behaviors of survival and duality. Sometimes, we are all just trying to protect ourselves and achieve our goals.

We forget about the land beyond.  

How do We Rest in The Land Beyond & What Would That Mean? 

You might be thinking, “this is another utopian viewpoint that has no basis in reality”, or “it all sounds great but the world still runs on money and power”.

As of now, I actually tend to think that we are moving towards this “land beyond”.

A world where there is more peace and connection. A healthy thriving world economy where everyone plays a role. Less war, hatred, and violence. More sharing of knowledge and collaboration to solve problems and improve our quality of life. Less division and more seeing in a non-dualistic way. 

I think it’s the only way we can really move over time. The game was rigged to move towards this destination, it just takes a lot of time and setbacks to get there.

It’s a slow purge.

So how do we rest more in the “land beyond” and what would this mean?

We need to glimpse more of the truth and trust in our inherent goodness despite the current hardships and temptations.

We need to have the courage to open ourselves up. To acknowledge our weaknesses, increase our awareness, and let go of our grasping. To see the adversary as ourselves. To take a chance on love instead of hate.

When more people can directly experience the land beyond and have the insight that the way you treat others and the planet is literally the way you treat yourself, the world will start to move faster towards this land beyond.

It’s a false view that if we give up our ego identity we will experience less pleasure and peace.

Instead, the opposite will occur.

Since we will raise the harmony of everything else, it will in turn multiply our joy and peace immensely. 

But, there’s no doubt that this slow change will be painful and challenging. The ego-mind is a tough son of a bitch. It will scream and yell, pound and twist, and make you feel like a coward. 

The way you view the world will probably be uprooted and it may seem scary.

On a societal and personal level, it will take time. 

Systems will be disrupted, industries will change, world boundaries will be less solid. 

Overall, the end result of this slow change will be a better world. We will be able to rest more in the land beyond where the world is alive, peaceful, and magical.

The way it was designed to be.

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Josh is a writer and entrepreneur who runs a small digital content publishing business. His main interests are in topics related to developing personal and financial freedom. When not working he enjoys reading, yoga, surfing, being outdoors, meditating, exploring, and hanging with friends.