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What You Seek is What is Seeking - God is Closer to You than Your Self

Meditations on Ego and Enlightenment - by Eric Allen Bell


Over a long enough period of time, the survival rate for your body is zero.  Contained within the body is the brain and one of the functions of the brain is the ego.  The ego is the self concept of the brain-body organism and it does not like what was just said one bit.


And there are different states of consciousness than just ego.  The ego is like a dog you bring with you on a journey. Untrained, it will run off, bite others and come back to bite you.  But trained and disciplined it knows its place. It can sense things, warn you of danger, protect you.  As the saying goes, "Ego is an excellent servant and a horrible master".  


On the journey, to confuse yourself with being the dog that runs alongside you, is to be lost in a profound hallucination. Such is the nature of the egoic mind.  It knows nothing of the true self and is driven only by its need to survive.  No reason to make it feel bad though.  Better to pat it on the head and every now and then – throw it a bone.


Demonization of the ego is the result of ignorance.  This idea that we must smash the ego comes from those who do not understand the ego - their only understanding is that they fear it.  As the world becomes more and more afraid of itself, this brand of so-called “spirituality” becomes ever more popular.


Smashing the ego makes about as much sense as removing an eye or cutting off your arm.  It is barbaric, not necessary and in fact very harmful.  And insofar as the brain-body organism is concerned, as the body navigates through material space, a self concept is better than no self concept.  Ego is that branch of self concept that concerns itself with the survival of the brain-body organism that often thinks it is you.  It is only harmful when it is misunderstood or when it’s forced to go underground in order to survive.  Take good care of it and it will serve you well, but never allow yourself to serve it.  This road goes in circles and leads to a certain kind of madness that passes for normalcy in our society today.  The insanity of ego identification is still the social norm at this early stage of our evolution.


In the human state we experience the full range of human emotions.  We are having the human experience.  To be captured entirely by the human experience is to lose site of the reality that this human vessel is a very small fraction of who and what you are.  It’s part of the ride, it won’t last, and there is really no sound reason not to get all of the action out of it that you can.  In retrospect, when one leaves the body, it will likely be remembered as a crazy day at the carnival, looking at the fun house mirror. To believe that what you see in that fun house mirror is you, is to forget who you are and where you are.


There are teachers, teachings, books, seminars - so much available to tell you who you are.  And one can incorporate these teachings into a belief system.  But a belief system is a cheap substitute for direct experience.  A belief system is a map and compass that one can never be sure is reliable until you are truly lost.  Only then does one find out that the treasure map you were sold was at best, only a rough estimation of where you are and where you are going.  If your belief system came from the religious establishment, then it was purchased at a novelty shop. 


When we are not misidentified with the ego, belief systems lose their importance as one turns to an inner voice, the voice of the Soul.



As with all words, when speaking of spiritual matters, the word "soul" is only a rough approximation of what we mean.  Incidentally, all matters are spiritual matters and the word "soul" refers to that which transcends the limitations of ego, but contains the higher dimensions of self. 


So what is Enlightenment?  There is certainly no shortage of charlatans out there, auditioning for the role of being the one who can answer that question for you.  As it turns out, there are “enlightenments” along the journey.  As the awareness of Self expands and expands, these are enlightenments.  The many merchants of so-called “enlightenment” would have you believe that enlightenment is a finish line that you will arrive at if you follow their treasure map, their belief system.  For many of us it takes falling for this hoax over and over before we are willing to take the responsibility and find the courage to look within.


I can tell you that what it means to be a “spiritual person” is to know that you are everything and everywhere. You are the world; you are every person you meet.  You are the moon and stars and galaxies and the universe and the multi-verses and you transcend space and time.   And if you take my word for it, and incorporate this into your belief system, it is not the same thing as seeing it directly.  It won’t work to hitch a ride on someone else’s experience.  And besides, what if I am blissfully walking off the edge of a cliff, looking up at the sky?  Don’t settle for hand-me-downs.  Seek the experience with more passion and commitment than anything else in your life.


If anyone tells you that in order to find God you must turn away from the world, they are speaking out of ignorance – more than likely parroting words from a belief system which their ego found comfort in.  After all, it is the greedy ego that seeks to find and seize upon “abundant bliss” and then be acknowledged and respected and praised for it.  That which is truly you, already knows bliss to be its true nature.  So to turn away from the world is to find God, but also to turn towards the world is to find God.  How can God be missing?  God is all that is and all that is not.  That which seeks to find God is only suffering from a self-induced state of Amnesia.  Simply put, you are that which you seek.  But don’t take my word for it.


Pay close attention to nature and you will see that nothing really dies.  It merely changes form.  The only thing that dies, when a tree falls and rots, is the mental concept of a tree.  In fact what is taking place is merely change.  Every part of that tree becomes something else.  All of existence is in flux, expanding and retracting, evolving.  That which looks out through your eyes is part of this evolution.


As you move from Amnesia toward God Realization, the Soul evolves.  Your perception broadens. Your experience deepens.  To memorize anything that has been said here will only serve as a form of imitation.  To hold up any word choice to careful scrutiny will only reveal that none of these words can be relied upon.   Everything I have told you here is a complete and absolute lie.  And hidden within each lie contains the jewel of enlightenment. 


That which does not evolve - dies.  But even that which dies serves a purpose.  It becomes the fertilizer of new life which seeks to evolve.  Nothing is wasted on the journey, nothing is lost.   And in that circle you find yourself, you lose yourself, but what remains constant is self.


Even in the deepest darkest depths of human emotional experience, when one really goes into the darkness deeply, you will find illumination.  It is everywhere you seek it, always hidden in plain sight.  Whether you are chanting a mantra or explaining to the landlord why you do not have the rent, every act is holy when done consciously with conscious intent.


What you have just read is a letter, that you wrote to yourself and asked me to hand deliver to you when you are ready.   The light switch is on a dimmer.  It’s in your hands now.




Eric Allen Bell


Eric Allen Bell is Founder of
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Comment by Eric Allen Bell 11 hours ago

Many years ago, when I first sort of discovered that you could go sit with gurus and ask them questions, one of them said something that really stuck with me.  And of course, they probably heard someone else say it: "One of the biggest pitfalls along the spiritual path is the mind's ability to imitate, to say I've got it."

To me, that coupled with something Krishnamurti said really go hand in hand: He said that the nature of intelligence is inquiry.  And that when inquiry ceases, so too does intelligence. And that this was the danger in becoming too comfortable with our conclusions.

It's difficult.  In a world where it seems nothing is conclusive, we want things to be conclusive. We want there to be a Heaven or a Hell at the finish line.  Or else, we want there to be this permanent thing you achieve called "Enlightenment" which occurs in time and then you're done.  You've got it.  You're perfect now.

And all of this comes out when there is a spiritual dialogue or a spiritual community.  We see how we dress up our limited thinking with fancy robes and mystical ideas. The challenge, I feel, is to not stop there.  Best to able to laugh at ourselves, but not beat ourselves up over it, and then just continue to inquire, to dig deeper, to ask the difficult questions and to question our assumptions.  And then there are "enlightenments" along the way.

Comment by Elia A. Sinaiko, PhD 15 hours ago

Yes.  You cannot continue in the present form because he keeps repeating the same attack.  I think the trick is to change the form, though often I don't know how to do this.  And Jack does not respond to me, so my efforts come to nothing too. 

I really like your phrase "people who engage in dialogue around spirituality can often become the most difficult version of themselves." 

Perhaps change the reply to something akin to active listening as in "Tell me more." ?  Ignore the adhoms and only ask questions as they arise in his inquiry.  Not easy.  I am not sure I could do it.

Comment by Eric Allen Bell 19 hours ago

Elia -

To answer your question, it seems to me that consciousness seeks to evolve and that evolution usually occurs in response to crisis.  So probably most of us come to the spiritual inquiry through some kind of crisis point.  Most are just looking for a quick fix, such as the lies told in the book, "The Secret" but for others the deeper questions are more persistent and a lifelong inquiry is set into motion.  So yes, people who engage in dialogue around spirituality can often become the most difficult version of themselves, in that moment.  The ego fears dissolution, although I feel that there is plenty of room for the ego to come along on the spiritual journey. So if someone is attacking me personally, I may or may not continue with the conversation.  In the case of Jack, I feel that the inquiry is sincere, but the methods are now at a point where I'm not sure I can continue with the conversation, in it's present form.

Comment by Elia A. Sinaiko, PhD 22 hours ago

I had another thought about speaking with evangelicals.  I tell them, as was explained to me by one years ago, "When God decides I am ready for him to reveal himself to me, he will.  It is not up to you nor I to make this decision."  That seems to confuse them for a minute or two :-)

Comment by Elia A. Sinaiko, PhD 22 hours ago

Hi Jack!

As much as I can feel your good intentions, I have to agree with Eric.  You are positively persistent  and challenging, but also negatively obsessed and rigid.  Obsessed because, as Eric rightly points out, you do not know him but repeatedly make assumptions about him.  Rigid because you repeat the same theme over and over.  Eric calls this dogma and I have to agree.

I am a psychologist with thousands of hours of personal "work": psychoanalytic, primal, psychomotor, psychodrama, and others.  I spent hundreds of difficult hours in groups trying to find "self understanding".  It was not easy, still goes on, and I do feel I have made a lot of progress. So I do think I continuously engage in the process that you describe.  Even so, I would not presume to accuse anyone of personal failure in this regard, exactly because our process is personal.

I do agree that there must be demons lurking beneath Eric's understandings, only because I assume, like I think you do, that we all have them.  And, reading back a few posts, I see that Eric completely agrees.  But they are his, he has never shared them with me, and I do not know them.  I do not believe that Eric's meditations are a basis for knowing them.  Nor do I have any indication that he has or has not come to terms with his "pain of past trauma" that he says we all have.  He has not told me and I have not asked.

Jack, I have had a few clients (we don't use the word patients any more) who asked me straight out "How can I get better?"  My answer was always the same: "You can work from the inside out or from the outside in.  Both ways are good.  You can come to understand yourself and you behaviors will change as a result, and you can change your behaviors and come to understand yourself as a result.  Perhaps the best way is to do both."  For example, I would explain how they might understand the source of their fears and so relieve them, or just confront the things they are afraid of and so do the same.  Your argument with Eric has a similar inside/outside dimension.  I suggest to you that Eric's way and yours, but not the obsessive part of "yours only", are fundamentally positive.

Two more thoughts.  I wonder why Jack does not answer and engage with my comments.  And to Eric, I do find Jack difficult, but isn't that part of the spiritual challenge?  You must agree because you are willing to engage with him in spite of his hard head.

Comment by Eric Allen Bell 23 hours ago

Jack -

During the process of this dialogue it has become clear that you are obsessed with promoting a doctrine which relies heavily on a lot of assumptions about what you imagine a person's background to be.  This is not a sane or rational conversation.  It goes in circles.  Nothing I have put forth has been responded to, only the repetition of this pop psychology doctrine.  For me, to go further with this dialogue is pointless.  There is no exchange taking place, just you beating home one central idea: that I am using spirituality to avoid feelings from my childhood.  You don't know me, you don't know my process, where I've been, or really much of anything about what you assume.  I'm not interested in defending myself anymore than I am interested in trying to convert you to my way of thinking.  If what is being put forth on this site doesn't resonate for you and you find it objectionable, why are you here?  You are no different than the Evangelicals on my Facebook wall who continually tell me that I need to get right with Jesus.  Dogma, by any other name, is still dogma. I find it not only limiting but boring.

Comment by Jackaranda Rainbow yesterday

Hello Eric,

 Your compulsion to repeat religious ideas is, for you, a means to avoid feeling your terrible  hurts. There is of course nothing against exploring the nature of spirit, or god, but you seem to have given up on the process of self understanding (the basis of healing) in favour of spiritual ideas. As I said before, these are not separate concepts, they are one. The best means I found of connecting spirit to flesh is to start with self and work towards the light that way. Starting with god is like beginning construction of a new building with the top storey. It is a pretence, an idea, because we are not there yet.. That is what Islamists and other religious compulsives do, they dare not look inwards where so many dark surprises can lurk in us, is that not so? To face the vast sly beast within demands sometimes more from me than I can bear, but I can see the road and I know where to go.

GOD IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK: A concept compulsively promoted by Christians for centuries.


 GOD IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK is exactly the same or very similar to the statements made  to their millions of child victims by deeply pathologised christian childbeaters around the world for hundreds of years. In my view, such compulsive statements are indicative of deep hurt resulting in compulsive behaviour in the individuals who make such statements, even though they might not be christian, or might be emotionally rather than physically, or sexually abusive. I've heard the same thing from Hindus many times. Do you think religious ideation could be a defence for you?

Comment by Eric Allen Bell on August 25, 2014 at 10:04pm

Jack -

There is really nothing one can use to avoid feeling the pain of past trauma.  It's there, in the room with us (so to speak) whether we are acknowledging it or not.  It's part of our human experience.  To write off all spiritual inquiry as really just another device to avoid feeling,such as an addiction, is absurd.  The consciousness seeks to awaken, to evolve.  And evolution generally occurs in response to crisis.

Jack - Is there anyone who does not suffer? Are you suggesting we must all heal from our suffering before we can inquire into the nature of consciousness?  Not only are your ideas extremely dogmatic, but they seem to also be totally irrational as well.

Comment by Jackaranda Rainbow on August 25, 2014 at 9:54pm

You are not on a spiritual path to heal past trauma? Are you kidding?.  It is precisely because your ideas about god have nothing to do with your abuse trauma that you so relentlessly pursue them. It is a means of avoiding emotional issues arising in abuse which still hurt you. In the light of such suffering your ideas about spiritual paths are bullshit.

Comment by Eric Allen Bell on August 25, 2014 at 5:22pm

Jack -

Here is where I think you're making an enormous assumption.  I don't feel that any type of spiritual experience erases past trauma.  I don't expect it to.  I am not on a spiritual path to heal past trauma.  We are all on a spiritual path, whether we acknowledge it or not. But to become aware of this only to somehow "improve" oneself, I feel, is to miss the point entirely.


Eric Allen Bell




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Meditations on Ego and Enlightenment - by Eric Allen Bell


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