The War of Art – An Ego review

Ego. Short word. Major depletion.

“Ego is a shame”. “I’ll tell you how little and dirty you are by the number of times you name yourself.” Hellz yes. “Ego is the cause of all your sufferings”.

I had a tough time with my ego. Everything seemed to be wrong with him. I housed every deadly weapon I could use against him.  All the self-help literature I’ve been through rejected it as a plague.

At that time, no tangible options were left but to fight against myself. Resistance increased, until I felt paralyzed. No thoughts were allowed to knock at my mind. No person was worthy to talk to. There was no possible way to salvation, except silence. It had a name. I’ve ignorantly labeled it Asparsa Yoga.

I set up everything by myself. I marched toward an inspiring future, envisioned from the Saints I was following. I’ve never felt so unhappy and alone.

After I met Buddhism, the practice eased a bit. “Sit with the enemy and have a cup of tea. You’ll discover it is not so bad”. It worked.

I remember how catholics stared at me while reading Feeding Your Demons. And yet the message was vital: I had the power to heal my worst and most hated parts by giving them full attention.

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Steven Pressfiled is very rude with Ego.

We demolish the Ego to get to the Self.

Not to be overwhelmed by fear, these words might be useful. But I do not consider them a cheerful way to better understand who I am. Pressfield describes the Ego as if it were the worst of our enemies.

Ego believes

  1. Death is real.
  2. Time and space are real.
  3. Every individual is different and separate from every other.
  4. The predominant impulse of life is self-preservation.
  5. There is no God.

He enumerates Self principles as well:

  1. Death is an illusion.
  2. Time and space are illusions.
  3. All beings are one.
  4. The supreme emotion is love.
  5. God is all there is.

I believe death and birth lose any key role once we experience the flow. Sometimes ago, I pretended to live entirely in the world of Ideas. Time and space weren’t real to me. Actually, I was wandering like a homeless. After a 35 days fasting, I very much appreciated that there was something solid to swallow.

I believe Ego is just the most scared part of us. He needs compassion alongside with incitement. We don’t demolish him to get to the Self. We encourage him to flourish, to become the Self he’s already. Ego is part of us. “How are you?” – that is how the Ego feels. Because “All beings are one”. If I hurt my Ego, I hurt myself.

Self-preservation or love? Atheism or divine service? Todo Nada. Todo Nada.


 

I can’t describe who I am. There is no bottom line, and there shouldn’t be one. It is anyhow crucial to set some milestones along the journey. Being someone who deals with artistry, Pressfield’s work is still a masterful piece of advice:

The professional [artist] identifies with her consciousness and her will, not with the matter that her consciousness and will manipulate to serve her art.

To believe in geniuses and Muses is very useful to separate who I am from what I do. I like to consider myself a channel. The Muse inhabits me and acts through my hands, speaks through my mouth. Doing doesn’t belong to me. Letter H is a suitable symbol of the human condition. It defines us as a bridge between two dimensions. We are not the origin, nor the ending.

Words are so feeble, though. There is a superhuman strain to go further. When Upanishads assert “You become what you think” – it is all true. It happens at that very moment.

I’d leave you with one thought.

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