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Daemon, ego, and transformation: spiritual expansion from Hinayana, to Mahayana
excerpted from OM, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self, by Jack Haas
In fact soon after my shift eastward began I had another dream in which I was told that the ego kills a person if it thinks he or she cannot, or will not, evolve further in this life. The ego in this case is not our identity, but rather our daemon, which is the invisible force within us which compels us towards our highest destiny. The daemon is necessary and ruthless, often requiring from us an ongoing inner metamorphosis. For if a snake cannot or will not shed its skin it must die from the claustrophobic strangulation which comes from its own inability to transform.
In this case our worst enemy is our own self, and the only way to defeat the inner enemy is to keep growing, keep changing, keep expanding and shifting into the next stage.
It is impossible to get away from such a mandate, because you are the mandate. There is no chance of escape from the law of transformation. Change or leave, that is the law. And so you have to keep dying and being born again in life, if you want to avoid being murdered by your own inner God.
As I said, I had gone as far as I could go along the occidental highway. I came to the end of the road and a great chasm opened up before me. As I stood there, teetering on the precipice, not knowing how to go onward, the ego- my inner daemon- began nudging me from behind, and I was left with only two options- to fall into the space and be killed, or to die into and become the space.
I was pushed but I did not fall. Though neither did I fly. I dissolved. And in that dissolution I expanded beyond the chasm laid out before me.
Until such an inner expansion as this occurs, an individual is confined within the worldly paradigm of existence. There is no way out, and there is not supposed to be a way out. Life in this world is an alchemical vessel- an enclosed laboratory wherein newly created entities can be tried and tested- and it is only by confining the individual's drama within a limited paradigm that the greater forces can choreograph the necessary situations and events which manifest transformations within the soul. It is for this reason that life in the world feels often so wretchedly painful and claustrophobic- because it is. Without such limitation the soul would not evolve into the perfection of which it is capable; just as a fruit tree must be pruned so as to bear the most fruit possible, so too the individual must be spiritually 'cultivated' by the cosmic gardener, so as to bring to earth the greatest bounty possible. However, after having arrived at one's furthest paradigmatic actuality, the soul can no longer find room to grow within the worldly paradigm. That is when the inner dissolution, expansion, and liberation occur. That is when the walls of this realm which had in the past been confining the individual, now become diaphanous and permeable membranes through which the soul can depart and return, at will. The expanded soul can now deliver its new macrocosmic existence into the field of the microcosm. In the words of the Buddhists, the soul has gone from being a Hinayana, a lesser vehicle, to a Mahayana, a greater vehicle. The cosmos has accomplished its intent. The imprisoned soul has been liberated. And through this individual expansion the entire interconnected universe has grown.
by Jack Haas