Getting out of my cage changed me fundamentally, giving me both a new freedom and a sense of being grounded. It gave me both a basis, and the strength, to act in new ways. No longer from within the vicious cylcle of identifying with my cage, where I believed I had a “weak ego” and felt a black hole of depression always waiting to consume me. But from some beginning (oh, but joyful!) awareness of what Buddhists call “original nature.” I have been able to accomplish what were formerly undreamed-of feats.
For example, up comes my habit of identification with fear and despair, so familiar it seems ancient, unquestionable, bedrock reality—and sometimes now I can remember that it is only a habit of mind. I can hold those hateful feelings in awareness: watching, watching with compassion—knowing that just the watching, just the awareness, will loosen their hold on me.
And I can even sometimes think and act in useful, positive ways even while I’m feeling like I want to go hide in a hole.
For the first time now, I have been really able to
- admit the validity of criticism
- see how I project blame, and take back the responsibility for my anger
Because I know I don’t have a “weak ego.” That’s not who I am any more. Having once stepped through and out of that cage, I am free… to be empty, to be full, to be Buddha, to be aware, to be real. I’m excited.