Then around age 2, we start to feel that something's amiss, off, not right, as we start to create & perceive a 'self' (ego) as separate & different from the people & things around us. This model or concept helps us function somewhat independently, and allows each of us to have our own unique, distinct conscious perspective on reality.
Healthy, wise, sustainable individuals/societies have quiet egos. Such evolved individuals are productive AND collaborate, for their own benefit AND for the greater good. This is the very essence of a 'civilized individual,' and 'civilization.' The left- and right hemispheres are working in harmony - the right hemisphere being the master; the left hemisphere having an important, but subservient role: https://channelmcgilchrist.com/
However, balance easily devolves to imbalance. When individual egos attempt to dominate ('noisy ego', narcissism, hyper-rationalism, left-hemisphere dominance) at the expense of the common good, such devolution cause the collapse of the Greek & Roman civilizations, AND we're in the same mess now. Those causing the greatest immediate threat to humanity's survival persist doing 'whatever it takes' to become the richest, most powerful, most armed, most defended, most self-centered individuals & nations, though this brings only suffering.
We can, at least briefly, regain our original sense of intimate connection with the source of all, while retaining our individual conscious capacity to supply our unique perspective & co-creative force through the process of 'awakening.' See: http://www.johnlovas.com/search?q=entheogen
Most people have mystical experiences, yet our spiritually-impoverished society tends to consider these as nonsense, or even pathological, so we tend to keep it to ourselves & even suppress these.
"Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry asleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.”
Anthony de Mello. “Awareness. The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.” Doubleday, 1992. p5
"I hope there is no human being who has not had one moment, at least, when they stood in the world, undone by awe & radiance, and the small self vanishes, and you understand the world as immense and yours, and not yours."
Jane Hirshfield – The Fullness of Things – On Being with Krista Tippett
“Leo Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilych, originally published in 1886, tells the story of a middle-aged man who is suffering from a terminal, yet undiagnosable, kidney disease. The stress of his illness and impending death has left him in deep personal anguish and despair. Remarkably, after much suffering in his last few days, Ivan has a spontaneous mystical breakthrough:
At the end of the third day, two hours before his death…Ivan Ilych fell through and caught sight of the light.... It grew clear to him that what had been oppressing him and would not leave him was all dropping away at once from two sides, from ten sides, from all sides.... ‘How good and how simple!’ he thought. ‘And the pain?’ he asked himself.
‘What has become of it? Where are you, pain?’
He turned his attention to it.
‘Yes, here it is. Well, what of it? Let the pain be.’
‘And death…where is it?’
He sought his former accustomed fear of death and did not find it. ‘Where is it? What death?’ There was no fear because there was no death.
In place of death there was light.
‘So that’s what it is!’ he suddenly exclaimed aloud. ‘What joy!’…
‘Death is finished,’ he said to himself. ‘It is no more!’ He drew in a breath, stopped in the midst of a sigh, stretched out, and died."
Bradley Lewis. “Mindfulness, Mysticism, and Narrative Medicine.” J Med Humanit DOI 10.1007/s10912-016-9387-3 Published online: 10 March 2016.
“There is a beautiful passage by an anonymous writer of another age that is sometimes read at the end of a funeral service: ‘For life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only an horizon, and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.’
The passionate longing of the human heart has always been to press beyond the boundaries of the known, to break through the limitations of our understanding. This is perhaps our most fundamental and essential freedom. Now, more than ever, we need to honor that longing and welcome those pioneers who can unveil new horizons, new possibilities of understanding our nature, our potential and our destiny.”
Anne Baring, in the forward to, Betty J. Kovacs, “The Miracle of Death: There is Nothing But Life” Kamlak Center, 2020, pxiii
“A single force, love, links and gives life to infinite worlds.” Jordano Bruno
"I began by asking myself, “What do I want out of life?” And the answer was happiness. Investigating further, I went into the moment when I was feeling happiest. I discovered something which to me was startling at the time. It was when I was loving that I was happiest. That happiness equated to my capacity to love rather than to being loved." Lester Levenson
"But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption;
the end is the creation of the beloved community.
It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age
into the exuberant gladness of the new age.
It is this love which will bring about miracles
in the hearts of men."
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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