One of the most difficult barriers to overcome on the path to spiritual growth is extracting yourself from the tenacious grip of the Ego Story. Unsuspectingly, many people are mesmerized and possessed by this mental illusion. Possessed like some demon possesses a poor, hapless soul. They are ignorant of their ignorance. They do not realize they are separate. They believe that they are the Story.
The robin, on an early spring morning, spies a worm burrowing into the soil. Two creatures - the bird and the worm. One sees the other. Two. One seeing the Other.
Finish this sentence: "I am a ..."
Looking through the robin's eyes - we see the worm. We see our beak, we feel the lust for something to eat, the warmth of the morning sun on our feathers. We experience all that the robin experiences. There are Two. We which see, and the robin's experiences. Two. That which sees and That which is seen.
Did you finish the sentence? "I am a..." If you answered anything, then you too are possessed. You too are under the dark influence of the Story. You too are identifying with what you experience instead of that which is experiencing.
You are not a man or woman. You are what is experiencing the man or woman's life. You are not a worker. You are experiencing the life of a worker. You are not the robin, but that which is experiencing the life of a robin. Two things. The Experiencer and that which is experienced. Two things, that which sees and that which is seen.
The mind often confuses the thoughts with the Self. Concepts become the Identity. I am a man, a writer, a photographer. I am sad and alone. I am content and happy with a full stomach. My mind is deceiving me. My ego is possessing me. Since I can see these things, then I must be that which is doing the seeing.
Look! Look at these words. See the ink on the paper? What is experiencing the seeing? Not your eyes - they are the tools to seeing. Not your mind - it is the tool to interpreting. What is "hearing" the interpretation? What is experiencing this moment? What are you?
When you start to see the Story as something separate from yourself, a cool thing happens - you stop taking life so personally, so seriously. That dent didn't happen to your car, it just happened. All those plans for the weekend didn't get ruined, they were just thoughts in your head. That guy didn't just insult you, he insulted what he thinks is you.
What is behind noise? Can you hear silence? What is behind thoughts? Can you experience nothingness? It can't be seen, yet it is everywhere. It can't be experienced, and yet, it CAN be sensed. From this Emptiness, everything arises. From the Stillness, every moment is born. From the Nothingness, all Life.
As you distance yourself from your Story, you see just how insubstantial that Story is. It exists solely out of memories. It is, in fact, no more real that the story of the Great White Whale in Moby Dick. You can't touch it, you can't see it, and, when your brain goes to sleep, it ceases to exist. It simply isn't any more real than a nagging and persistent thought.
With everything that is seen, there are Two - You and what is seen. With everything that is experienced, there are Two - You and the experience. If You can see it, it can't be You. If You can experience it, it can't be You.
On the path of the Spirit, the farther you travel, the less there is of you. You become less important, less the center of things, less... solid. You start to fade, shrink, melt. And, with persistence, one day you may completely disappear for awhile and paradoxically, when that moment happens, you suddenly leap from this tiny, little speck of a self, to the One and Great Universal Self.
What lies behind your eyes? Where do your thoughts come from? What is feeling the tension in your body? What are you?
Does one apple equal one orange? No, of course not. Does one apple equal one apple? No, there are two different apples. Does zero apples equal zero oranges? Yes, zero apples does equal zero oranges. Zero always equals zero, and zero of you is equal to a zero number of Universes.
Emptiness here is the same as Emptiness over there. Nothing between the atoms of your little finger is the same as the Nothing between the atoms of a star in a distant galaxy. That which sees out my eyes, is the same as That which sees out yours. Zero = Zero = Everything.
There is nothing to take seriously. Nothing to take personally. Nothing that needs doing. Wake up and enjoy the experience. Wake up and enjoy your Self.
Wayne Wirs is the photographer and author of Fading Toward Enlightenment - Life between the Ego and the Ethereal. For more information about Wayne, his writings or his photography, please visit