In the beginning, as the ego develops, it slowly starts to have the illusion that it can be the master of experience. The ego becomes the center around which experience forms. What we call trauma is that state when the ego and all its defenses are overwhelmed. In trauma, one can no longer think or make meaning. We are radically exposed, put in touch with a profound vulnerability and helplessness. There is profound disorientation and distress, a violence of emotion that can lead to psychic numbness, dissociation, and deadness.
Something similar happens in waking up, in spiritual progress. But this is really a very different process if one can open to it. It involves "a sacred destruction". What does that mean? Perhaps it means that the ego is dethroned, moved from the center of everything, stripped of its illusion that it can be master. This involves an experience of "shattering" for some and it may feel disorienting, and like one is somehow dying, or breaking down.
But, this kind of shattering also lets in the light. And what is this light? There are many different words for it. First of all, it is not a conception. It is an experience. It is a realization. It is beyond words.
Being. God. Buddha-nature. Dharmakaya. These are some of the words that some people have used. The ego is not destroyed. Rather, it is transformed by taking a new place, in a new context, where, now "the light" takes the center, where the ego once was. To rewrite Freud, ala Bion, Where ego was, now O shall be!
Now the ego can form its intention and attention around learning how to relate to and perhaps even serve the mystery of this luminous ground of being, this inexplicable source of mystery and creation that is so often pictured as light. The ego no longer "fabricates" but instead "observes" and "intuits" and finally becomes a vehicle for direct nondual experience. The ego recognizes itself as part of the light.
The "center" of attention then is a luminous sustaining mystery that is all creation. This is partly what Bion meant by the notation "O". It is important to realize that O is not a thing and it is not distant. O is immediate and present and is the mystery of who we are and who we are becoming. The ego's belief in its own centrality is an obstruction to perceiving this basic radiance and beauty of a creative process of evolution. All the pain in this world and this life is part of the partially glimpsed mystery of creation, a profound mystery symbolized by moments like Jesus on the cross or Buddha's encounter with the forces of Mara.
Mike Eigen advised me to find "the center of my center". It is a beautiful provocation because it involves enduring the sacred destruction of the ego as master and learning to discover the ego as servant to the adventure of "following the ribbon of beauty".
Slowly slowly the path keeps unfolding. What grows is awe at the mystery of life's complexity and beauty despite its enormous pain and violence and cruelty. What grows is experience with O and the impossibility of showing O. One has to be O. That is, one has to become that which one already always is. That is why we tell stories-- to help contain and communicate about that which is beyond showing. We should not get lost in our stories. Stories bring us together and alienate us at the same time. This is part of the challenge.
I have greater and greater respect for all those people who are opening to O, whatever form or path they travel to do so. I believe the healing we took birth for can only deepen if we tolerate the sacred destruction of the ego so that it can reawaken as a servant to the mystery of the unfolding creation of the universe.