What’s In It For “ME”?
Continued from yesterday…
The earliest stage of human development is what we refer to as egocentric (the “me” stage) because, at this stage, one cannot take the role of another or walk a mile in another’s shoes.
This step is necessary for human development. When a baby is born, the baby doesn’t have a concept of “me.” There’s no distinction between what’s happening on the inside and what’s happening on the outside. The newborn doesn’t have a concept of their body in contrast to what they see and hear. It somehow is all one.
But as the baby grows in the first few months, she gradually begins to distinguish between “self” and “non-self.” During the next few years, the concept of “I,” “me,” and “mine” develop in the child — an essential step in human development.
Of course, some children, often where parents’ love is absent, can make camp in this egocentric consciousness. The structure through which they observe reality remains at “me.” They are oblivious to other people’s feelings and thoughts. They act in their own best interest and have very little awareness of how others perceive things. They falsely assume that other people are on their stage of consciousness and question the motives and sincerity of anyone who claims to sincerely care about others.
A person held back at the egocentric stage often thinks, “Whatever is right for me is what matters,” or, “I don’t care about her—I’m doing what’s best for me.” Narcissists, who lack any empathy or compassion for others, demonstrate the most extreme displays of egocentric consciousness. Many are even capable of heinous crimes and violent behavior.
Of course, it’s possible to have an experience with God (a feeling of unity, love, and wholeness – an awareness of a sacred Presence deeper than thought) at this stage of consciousness. But that experience is viewed and interpreted through an egocentric spiritual intelligence.
In the same way, a toddler is drawn to magic to make sense of the world, the view of God becomes primarily magical. God performs miracles to bless and enhance “me,” often at the expense of another. A subtle self-serving undertone that makes “me” stand out from others — to appear as more spiritual, more anointed, and more successful because miracles follow “me.”
At this egocentric stage of development, we project on God our limited worldview. We like to be recognized, stand out, and adored. When someone opposes us, they become our enemy that we attack and insult.
So God then is viewed through the same hidden structure of consciousness. There we unconsciously ask ourselves, how do we get God to favor us? Interpreting reality through the egocentric consciousness, we conclude we must praise and adore God to get what we want. If we oppose God, we will be harshly opposed and condemned.
So we come up with various forms of egoic worship, such as sacrificing animals for sin, a rain dance to demonstrate my devotion, or giving money until God acts on our behalf.
Because of my worship, God singles “me” out for his magic – supernatural act, healing, financial breakthrough, and so forth. Such a God makes sense at this stage of consciousness because that’s how selfish people reward or condemn others.
I’m not suggesting that an experience with God at this stage is not genuine. It could be, but that experience is viewed and interpreted through the egocentric consciousness. Therefore, the experience is self-serving and used as a way to enhance the egoic sense of self.
The good news is that healthy development provides a path to a higher vantage point in human development. Each stage transforms the way we interpret what we see. We reach a new altitude, and thus we observe reality through a higher hidden structure stage of consciousness. As a result, our worldview becomes more “self-less,” tolerant, forgiving, caring, and loving.
To be continued tomorrow…
Written for Path of Love Daily Wisdom by David Youngren. The post is based on chapter 3 of Awakening To I Am Love by David Youngren
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