I listened to an online discussion on evolutionary spirituality, evolving beyond the ego and spiritual evolution led by Craig Hamilton last month (April 2010). In a nutshell, Hamilton’s message was that the ego (which he defined as the part of the self susceptible to collective conditioning) would rather stay comfortable than to take a chance on living a transformed life. The key to this problem, Hamilton said, was to evolve beyond the ego. This article is the third in a series of three and evaluates the four steps Hamilton formulated for evolving beyond the ego.
Before I go into Hamilton’s four steps, I suggest we get accurate and call the process “reconnecting and integrating with your higher self” instead of “evolving beyond the ego.” Naming the process accurately will help us access this realm much more easily, quickly and powerfully.
Step 1. You need to clearly see the distinction between the ego and the evolutionary self, with how it feels, how it expresses itself, and what its perspective is, said Hamilton.
I completely agree. You do need to be able to distinguish your higher self’s expression and guidance from your mental conditionings and society’s expectations. However, before you can even begin to do this, it would be helpful to become familiar with your “sacred space,” to reconnect to it, to use a meditation that helps you focus on that sacred area and begins to awaken it (because although it’s innate, it has been dormant for a long, long time).
Step 2. Face the reality that you have a choice, that you are not limited to the security and the familiarity of the ego, said Hamilton.
I agree, particularly since by awakening your higher self, you will begin receiving wisdom and guidance that in many cases will go against the collective conditioning. You will then (naturally) be faced with a choice. Will you be true to your higher self, or will you succumb to society’s conditionings?
Step 3. You need to awaken to a larger spiritual context to your life, to discover a larger reason to do this rather than your own spiritual growth, said Hamilton.
This is not technically a step that’s required for you to do, but, more accurately, a part of the process that will naturally unfold when you reconnect and integrate with your higher self. Furthermore, I am convinced that you do not have to see the bigger picture before you’re motivated to reconnect.
When I went through my integrating process, I did not see the bigger picture until much later (and really, you don’t want to jump to conclusions when it comes to defining the larger spiritual context, the Divine Plan).
What motivated me was being in a crisis for which I wanted real answers and higher guidance and I wanted the higher guidance because deep down I knew the collective conditioning was clueless. Getting myself out of deep trouble was motivation enough, and receiving input that I would help my family as well as many, many others by sharing what I was discovering took me the rest of the way.
Another example: How many people practice environmental restraint because they operate from the larger spiritual context of honoring and protecting the earth? People stop buying SUVs because gas prices are through the roof, not because the Earth’s health and sustainability are threatened. In other words, people make changes when they are affected personally, not because of some larger spiritual context (and even then it’s not automatic).
Step 4. You can’t do this alone, you need others who are doing this same level of work and you need to do it together, said Hamilton.
I respectfully disagree with this step. You do not need to do this in conjunction with another and you certainly aren’t required to join a group or attend a class of any sort. The process of reconnecting and integrating with your higher self is between you and your higher self. (And because your higher self is your bridge to the Divine Plan, you will receive feedback from the universe as to how you’re doing.)
You do not need confirmation from others. In fact, if you’re going to be a true pioneer in your field you may not get positive confirmation from others, at first–as was my experience. This is where confirmation from the universe (in the form of magical, awe-inspiring, spine-tingling, and/or wonder-arousing favorable synchronicities and meaningful insights) will do wonders to keep you on your path.
In conclusion, the steps given by Hamilton require a bit more evolving; he has not yet optimized them. Other steps are required for reconnecting and integrating with your higher self (the fast-track to spiritual evolution), but I have detailed them in a couple publications already and will not summarize them here. Besides, you need more than a summary to be effective. For connecting and integrating with your higher self (what some call “evolving beyond the ego,” and others “awakening to the master within”), accurate details are extremely important. If they weren’t, you’d see many more people doing it.