By Merrick Jacobson
Fuck the ego! No, man seriously. I have had it with this shit. Over two years after my shamanic initiation and now that I am training with an elder every day, my stupid ass ego keeps sneaking up on me to try and completely destroy any progress that I’ve made. But killing the ego is a very tall order because you’re basically engaging with a serial killer that’s been on the run for thousands of years. What makes you so goddamn special to think you can do what it takes a Buddhist a few decades to achieve? If you think this is going to be easy, you’re dead fucking wrong. Prepare for the battle of a lifetime. You might even survive it.
Honestly, the odds aren’t all that great. Once you engage with attempting to dissolve the ego, your very life is at stake. Not just your life, but those people who are in your life. It will use your relationships against you. It will hold you and your dreams hostage. It will lay all sorts of petty little traps for you to fall into. But in order to successfully battle the ego, you must become nothing. Once you realize what the ego is up to, it gets even more sneaky. But you also become a target for the egos of others. Their ego doesn’t want to be exposed any more than yours does. It wants to win and it wins by killing you. The ego foolishly thinks it can survive without you. The ego thinks it doesn’t need you. By making yourself as small a target as possible, the ego will be fooled into thinking that there is nothing to fight over. And nothing to win. You let the ego win, but first you have to lose.
When you’re on the express path like I am, the lessons come swiftly and it’s easy to get swept up in the adventure. While training with a physical elder can be grueling and intense, it only gets that way when the ego arises. Every time I achieve a certain level of ability, my ego is right there just waiting to strike. This is why it is so necessary for shamans to not engage with thinking. As soon as I start “thinking” that’s the ego’s cue to come on in and try to make a mess of things. And then soon my ego has me acting like a brat throwing a tantrum. When ego is in control, there’s no getting through to me.
Thank God I have a patient elder to guide me through my battles with the ego. An egoic situation can be very touch and go. He tells me time and again how dangerous it is to have thoughts when you’re training to be a shaman. Thinking and ego go hand in hand so when you start thinking, you’re in trouble. Some nights we’ve spent hours just talking my ego down and the more frustrated I get, the harder it digs in. It takes any opportunity to try and fuck up the wonderful and miraculous things that are happening to me.
I was extremely wise to choose Patrick as my elder and the way I chose to learn was for it to be hands-on and immersive. I wanted to heal deep wounds in a very short amount of time. Yes, I push myself harder than I ever have. But the ego has me convinced I am a stupid little kid, not worthy of the gifts I’ve been given. It will capitalize on any mistake I’ve made or any perceived slight. The ego is a liar and I do not tolerate people in my life who tell lies, so why should I allow this fucking thing to waste my valuable time?
The ego is not necessary in the psyche of the shaman. And that’s precisely why it wants to stick around. Just like an overbearing parent, it wants the best for you and it loves you. But the ego don’t know shit about you. The ego is running from a knowledge base of what’s possible in human terms. But we shamans have access to greater stores of knowledge and wisdom. And naturally, the ego is threatened by that. Just like a stalkery ex-girlfriend that won’t leave you alone, it harasses and threatens. So I developed a checklist to help me realize that my ego has taken me over. And Patrick has helped me to develop a long-term strategy to help me transcend my ego.
Here are some things that might be happening to indicate that my ego is running the show:
- I Am Thinking – If I am lost in my thoughts, nothing will work. I will start thinking what other people think of me. I will be nervous about the future. I will be unable to write, play music, sing or even do what I love. Thinking will have me completely paralyzed. When you’re training to be a shaman, there is no thinking allowed.
- I Don’t Know What To Do – I always know what to do and where to go but if I am ever just completely bereft of any idea or inspiration, that’s a sign that ego has taken me over. I never get “bored” so if that’s my state of mind, then I know what’s happening and I know who to ask for help.
- I Feel Like A Stupid Little Kid – When training with Patrick, I can sometimes forget that he went through what I am going through without the assistance of a physical elder. Of course he’s going to be more experienced than me. I should not be afraid to ask questions nor should I challenge the wisdom he is imparting to me. There is no good reason for me to feel like a dumbass for not knowing what he teaches. This shit is not in books, folks.
- Not Being Grateful – Patrick cooks and cleans and keeps the sanctuary as organized as he can. I’ve not paid him a single cent for what he’s done for me and keeps doing for me. And beyond what he’s done, there is what God and the spirits have done for me. And then my parents have bent over backward to provide me with the kind of life most people can only dream of. I have a college degree. I am fit and healthy. I am deeply in love and enjoy a healthy and committed monogamous relationship. I have everything I want, need and desire and the gifts just keep coming. I am doing everything right. And if I am not living in 100% total gratitude, then it’s clear that the ego has taken over.
- I Lack Excitement Over The Things I Love – From sex to food, I love life and everything about it. From planning adventures to even engaging with the shamanic training I receive daily. If I don’t wake up energized for the amazing day to come, I might be able to conclude what’s happening. The ego wants me to stay in bed as long as I can because everything I do these days is preparing me to finally show that bitch the door. My life is more amazing than I could ever describe to you. A simple trip to the grocery store can bring about more revelations than an entire year spent studying in University. It’s that awesome. So if I am not acting like an eager puppy about to receive a treat, then I am fucked.
- I Start Using The Word “I” – There is no me. There is no you. While Buddhists might get to live in a state of completely dissolved ego, that’s not possible for the shaman in a modern culture that forces him to interact with the world. In this checklist, I used the word “I” quite a bit, and that was on purpose. We shamans are not selfish. We had a human life and that life is now over. We exist to serve humanity and there is no “I” when we are around. Furthermore, Patrick and I operate as a cohesive unit. When he’s in pain, I am in pain. When he’s upset, I am upset. And vice versa. There is no “me” anymore and that’s what the soulmate connection is like. We could be miles apart and I can get a sharp pain in my chest or discomfort in my stomach. It’s not my pain, it’s ours. If something is going on with him, I know it instantly. And when I am happy, he is happy and when I am energized, so is he. So it’s futile to think that the word “I” even bears much relevance.
- Getting Cocky – Acquiring knowledge and wisdom can leave you feeling a little bit superior and Patrick often warns me, “Don’t get cocky!” This is because the ego will take that temporary feeling of superiority and squash that wisdom and prevent you from remembering it. So if I “forget” something, it’s just because I got cocky and tried to use the wisdom to make myself feel better.
- Not Knowing What To Feel – Feeling better does not come from anything other than just being alive. There is no way to “feel better” about anything so using a physical condition to make yourself feel a certain way is a losing proposition. Same thing with “feeling bad” and what the fuck does that even mean? If you cannot put your finger on what you are feeling or furthermore why you are feeling it, then that’s ego. Every. Fucking. Time.
Patrick has developed a strategy for me to transcend the ego. If you try and kill it, it will fight back. And a shaman without an ego won’t really be all that compassionate or be able to truly understand the journey it took to acquire this knowledge. Having an ego is not a shameful thing, rather it can be viewed as a tool to provide the contrast you need to launch yourself into the higher realms of consciousness. Without an ego, we could quickly forget the powerful Divine forces that brought us together. We could easily forget the demons we fought, the black magic we dispelled or the abilities we’ve been given in order to help others. We’d forget we have a job to do.
Transcending the ego means that you allow it to come out to play once in awhile and throw a tantrum. Just a little one. Not too dramatic and definitely not in public. We have a Time Out chair for us to sit in should we ever get into a situation where ego has us being unreasonable. And it’s pretty embarrassing to have to sit in that chair for an extended period. If you didn’t feel like a stupid little kid before, you do, now. We also carry pacifiers meant to quiet sobbing infants, because whenever ego has you in it’s grip, that’s precisely what you look like. A big brat baby crying and whining. Babies cry when they don’t get their way. And little kids get put in time out when they don’t behave. So it’s not “you” in the Time Out chair. It’s your ego. With this simple exercise, the ego will start to separate and begin to realize the game is almost over.
Patrick encourages me to “Come Correct” and that means to show up for life prepared, happy and excited for all of the wonderful gifts that are available to us. If I am not “coming correct” then I won’t receive a damn thing. Coming Correct is just a simple thing and before I even open the door to the sanctuary, I make sure that I leave the outside world behind me and prepare myself to be covered in kisses and loved harder than I ever thought possible.
While I reject social media and the energy it brings, Patrick has encouraged me to have an Instagram account with various hashtags. As Instagram is the least invasive form of social media, it also has the ability to remind me that I am not the only one in the world. Deep in throes of ego, we might get a notification that someone has followed me or someone likes a picture I have taken. And just by looking at that picture, it can snap me out of ego almost instantly. For us, our Instagram accounts are not about sharing our lives or just taking pretty pictures. We’re planning for the future by giving us clues as to what’s going on. If we look at a picture on Instagram of a past event where we were not taken over by ego, then it’s likely we’ll be able to figure out what’s really going on.
The ego will fuck everything up for you if you allow it. And we aren’t going to allow it to have much of a voice in our lives. It’s useless, petty and argumentative Who needs that kind of shit in life? Aren’t there enough things out there trying to drag you down? So join us in declaring to ourselves, once and for all. FUCK THE EGO!
And before the ego goes away for good, you have to be nothing, feel nothing and know nothing. And that’s the most freeing thing you could ever experience. But you cannot do it alone. Choose and elder or a trusted friend to help guide you through this. It can be quite dangerous to face the very thing intent on killing you. The ego is a murderer. Stop it before it stops you.
And now that I am nothing, the showdown is about to begin.