Watts said something like there’s nothing that makes your ego stronger than trying to get rid of your ego. If I remember correctly, he was explaining Lao Tzu’s (or Confucius) saying how it’s like beating a drum in search of a felon. For all the years I’ve listened to and studied all the different facets of mind, reality, personality, psychology, philosophy, and whatever else…I still have perpetually felt the way Alan Watts described – this… The more I try, the less I do, the more I want, the less I have, the more I try to get rid of my ego, the bigger ego I get…etc. It is a weird inverse correlation with reality, or is it? All this tends to play out in my head, so it’s difficult to say what’s real and what isn’t.
It’s like you become aware of what a shitty person you are, so you try to be less of a shitty person. Inevitably, I feel like you become a fake person tho. Some amalgamation of plastic and varying brands of woo. Whether it’s religious woo, woo woo-woo, it doesn’t matter. It’s just better words to describe the same problems. And what are the problems?
What is the ego? Is it synonymous with problems? How does one integrate their ego and their problems, since that’s apparently what you are supposed to do. What is integration? More words create more words, aaahh!
Jung would say that the problems would be the shadow, or unconscious mind. Yet the more I try to find and solve problems, the more unconscious I feel. It’s almost like, there’s a perceived ideal that I work towards, but that ideal isn’t real. Let’s say I become this super fit, non smoking, yoga guru whatever the fuck – is that more me than the me I am now? Is the me I am now the real me, how would I even know the answer to either question, and at what point does life just get perfect and I can just chill? I mean, I guess the ideal me is some combination of The Dude, some hot yoga instagrammer with my foot on my head and my ass blossoming like a summer rose, Maria Brink from In This Moment, James Hetfield, and like 508342876 other musicians, and I don’t know, I would be in a band even tho I do nothing with music beyond listening, I’d be a comedian, I’d post yoga shit, I don’t know. It’s weird how writing didn’t even make this list, yet somehow I’m supposed to be the next Stephen King or Rumi. Depending on how I feel that day.
And that’s the thing… I change every damn day, what I want today is not necessarily what I give a shit about tomorrow. Is that what the ego is? Sam Harris said the ego is like trying to see outside but you’re caught at the reflection of your face in the window. I kinda get that. I feel like I’m caught in a lot of nonsense, illusion even, just…stuff that is neither real, nor does it actually matter. If I were to answer genuinely about anything, I guess it would always come back to the truth. I want the truth, I want to be truthful. I always feel like a copy of myself or a bad actor in the stage of my life. So when do I stop being a Jackass Pinocchio and become a real girl?
All of this, all of it – it’s like aspiring to be cardboard. Any of the things I listed are either copies or fakes. Not the people, I can’t say anything about people I literally don’t know, but… none of them are me. I’m clearly not Maria Brink or James Hetfield. I’m clearly me, and I constantly feel like me is wrong. I think me is wrong is the ego, yet trying to find me creates a better ego. So, I keep working towards ideals that aren’t even real trying to figure out how to become real while following fake shit everywhere.
Does that even make sense?! Like these are the journeys I go on in my head and inevitably, I find myself always back where I started. Nowhere, nothing. But I guess I’m just tired of always thinking and never doing. That’s something Watts said and it’s starting to gain traction in this landslide that is my brain. You can’t think about shooting an arrow before you shoot. You can’t shoot a gun thinking before you pull the trigger. You can’t dance if you think about dancing. So then okay okay, the ego is the thinking part. I get that, I’ve gotten that, but I keep listening. How do I stop listening to the chatter inside my head? Like, I’ve had some seriously transcendental experiences when I really get this idea that I am not the noise in my head.
If I am not the noise in my head, and the noise is just the noise, who or what am I? The only answer I ever get is the direct experience I am having. There’s no words. There’s no thought. In writing, it’s best if I am typing faster than I think. If I type what I think, it’s egoic chattering babble. I can see the patterning in my writing. If I type what I think, I type shit that’s inauthentic garbage. If I type faster than I think, I tend to type shit that seems cool on one level, and terribly crazy on others.
And that…is me. Cool and crazy. I think I need to just accept that. I know that the very thing I resist is the very thing that makes me special. I guess the ego is just that – the resistance to who you actually are at any given time. It’s like every movie trope the weakness that becomes the strength. In every hero’s journey, acceptance of self, embracing unique blah blah blah, but it’s true dammit. I guess that’s really all integration is too. Like, we go on all these great whatevers trying to overcome the very thing that we had all along. Dammit why do all the movies have to be right?
What does my brain sound like if I’m not criticizing myself? Is it possible to stop? Is it possible to live in such a way that you act and speak without thinking? Do thoughts have any merit whatsoever?
The bitch is there’s never going to be some hard and fast rule and anyone that says they have one is full of shit. It’s like the entire spiritual, philosophical, and psychological world is riddled with those who genuinely want to make a profit by creating a pyramid scheme to convince you that they can help you fix yourself. It’s a lie, because it works differently for everybody. Some might see the rantings of a lunatic on here, and others might find something that gives peace. But either way, the moment I try to write, my writing sucks, and that’s the long and short of it.
It is so hard to not try to do something, but Bukowski is right. Don’t try. The more I try, the more I suck. There’s something to effortlessness. And you know what the most effortless thing in the world is for me? Writing. I just submitted my poems to a publisher. kids poems actually. I’ve wanted to be Shel Silverstein since I was little. Figured chasing that dream was a good place to start (again, and again, and again…)