Sunday, November 15, 2009

Excerpt: by Amber Terrel, from prologue to Surprised by Grace

In Arthur C. Clarke's famous story 2001, A Space Odyssey, the HAL 9000 computer can be seen as a perfect metaphor for the human ego. In the story, HAL is designed to run all aspects of the space ship, including life-support systems. When the crew notices that HAL has begun to make errors, errors it is not willing to admit, they realize the computer will have to be disconnected and the ship piloted via radio signals from HAL's twin computer back on earth. But HAL is not so easily disconnected. Its own preservation becomes more important than the service to mankind for which it has been designed. It begins to manipulate and destroy anything and anyone that threatens its existence, anything that might expose the lie of its betrayal. The human ego operates in much the same way. It also is not so easily disconnected. Ego is pure illusion, created by the mistaken identification with mind and all its projections - mental, emotional, physical, and circumstantial - as who one is. Like HAL, it will put up a mighty defense to protect this illusion. Most people cannot see through the illusion, or the defense, long enough to really sever the habit of mental identification. It's like trusting HAL to sever its own misguided circuits. This severing is traditionally the role of the guru, meaning literally, "dispeller of darkness." The guru is not only someone who has cut through the illusion, but one who reflects so purely this limitless reality which we all are that our own infinite Self can be seen reflected there. An indication that one has met one's true teacher is in this seeing of Self in the teacher, as in a spotless mirror. This seeing is mysterious. It cannot be deserved. It cannot be bought. It cannot be explained or understood by the mind. The only word that comes close to describing it is Grace. It is a mystery how this Grace may appear in one's life and penetrate the dream of separation. - Amber Terrell, from the prologue to Surprised by Grace


Doris Sturm said...

Hello Sarah,

Thanks for sharing this article.

I once heard someone say on a talk show (way back when I used to watch TV) that men's ego is huge and inflated, similar to a balloon, while women's ego is small and hard like an achorn - draw your own conclusion ;-)

I hope you're having a good day today.


Have a great day!

Sarah said...

Thanks, Doris, for sharing a comment. I don't watch TV either, although we see lots of DVD's. Re men vs women egos: I've seen the reverse in really strong aggressive women, too. Seems the trick is figuring out how to have a sufficient, healthy ego so as to accomplish one's life responsibilities. Am enjoying this gorgeous day-catching up on outdoor work. Sarah