Purusha and Ego

by Ross Bishop

Pretend there is a magnet at your core, unknown to you, silently pulling you towards a place you have read about but have been reluctant to go yourself. You see, you live in a space managed by your ego. It’s not an entirely peaceful space, but you’re accustomed to it. You have lived in this place since you were a child. And moving to this other space means giving up that which has been familiar. 

The Hindus refer to the magnet I speak of as “Purusha,” and it silently pulls you toward unity with the divine. The Hindus consider purusha to be the “the cosmic self,” the home of the non-perceivable laws and principles of The Universe. We don’t have a model for Purusha. The closest analogy we have in the West might be our concept of “soul,” or perhaps “The Holy Spirit.”

There is an inherent conflict between purusha and the ego. The ego is dedicated to emotional survival. Its priority is to limit your exposure to emotional risk. It holds you back. The purusha on the other hand, seeks to free you from the ego’s control so that you can be free to develop your higher consciousness.

The problem is that the space the purusha is pushing you towards is unfamiliar and scary. People talk about it, but actually doing it is another matter altogether. This place cannot be visited without surrendering your ego protection and that of course, leaves you feeling vulnerable. In the new space you feel open, compassionate and connected to all things, and for most people, that is terrifying. The Purusha urges you to leave fear and self-centeredness behind and experience gentleness and peacefulness. But you fear making that step. In the past when you let your guard down you got hurt. And so long as you can be hurt, that makes you vulnerable.

But, to live from the ego is to live on a slippery slope. It takes a lot of personal energy to cling to your present life and resist the pull of The Universal. You must constantly protect yourself from slights, rejections and other forms of ego (damage). The hope is that you will eventually realize that you cannot actually be hurt, tire of the struggle and surrender to the peacefulness of The Universe. But in the meantime, you must live with your damaged sense of self. We call this feeling unworthiness, psychologists call it shame.

The thing is, the tug of war between The Universe and your ego goes on largely outside of your awareness. But you do feel the conflict because it affects everything you do. Move out of harmony and you feel tension. Do something selfish or dishonest and you’ll feel stress. 

The purusha is constantly urging you to surrender, to quit fighting with it, but your attachment to your ego urges you to persist. And this state of tension is all you know, so you assume that this is the way life is, even though deep down, you dislike it. And you are left with a sense that you are out of alignment, “doing it wrong,” as it were. And that’s not entirely untrue, because the tension from the conflict will eventually move you to embrace the light.

So what to do? The ultimate solution is to find a good, properly trained shaman and deal with what we call “soul loss,” that will quench the negative influences and allow you to enter the place of peace and joy that your purusha has been urging you toward.

In the meantime there are some smaller things you can do. Work on stretching your boundaries. Make someone’s day. Talk, really talk, with a homeless guy. Find the limitations in your relationship and go past them. Identify any barriers that you can, and take the risk to let them down. But then, call a good shaman.

Jiddu Krishnamurti said:

In oneself lies the whole world

and if you know how to look and learn,

the door is there and the key is in your hand.

With thanks to my colleague, Dr. Selena Whittle for her assistance with this article.

copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2019

Leave a Reply