The 3rd Chakra: The Tower of Ego & The Fall

The Tower of Ego
The over compensation for survival challenges and the perception of lack in the material or emotional realms leads to the quest for dominance. This makes sense on the animal level as the best hunters or providers will ensure their own survival and pass on their genetic material. If you are say, a wolf, this can benefit others in your pack because the alpha male really can only eat so much of a kill; the rest is shared by the pack. In the human realm this is often not so. Technology, social, financial, legal, and military structures can allow a few to garner vast reserves of “kill” without necessarily having to share much of the bounty with others. This is an over-compensation for fear of insufficiency; including the material, sexual, emotional, and other domains.

The same principle holds for social status. Those who lust for acknowledgment, recognition, and fame, will overcompensate for the perceived dearth of love and support by seeking solace in the adoration of the masses, or the privileges of the socially elite.

Those who are the most aggressive and successful at dominance often have the most difficulty in personal relationships. This should be a little spiritual hint, a clue from the Tao. Aggression and arrogance do not lend themselves well to sensitivity and negotiation, which are necessary for healthy relationships including the personal, professional, and geopolitical spheres. The will to dominate and control becomes self-limiting as internal and external forces seek to thwart or mediate unbridled aggression. Excessive yang eventually leads to yin, and pride does go before a fall.

Fall from the Tower
Nearly everyone has a secret desire to be the top dog. Many of us would secretly love to be a celebrity. We love to fantasize that we are a movie star or a rock star on stage before a multitude of fans and groupies, even if it is really only a moment at a karaoke bar! Would you rather be the multimillionaire CEO, or the wage slave? The admired and envied socialite, or the geek ignored and sitting in the corner?

We are pretty much programmed by our animal instincts to seek some sort of dominance in some sort of way, however modest. We desire at least a little niche where we are better than someone else. This is a normal state of animal consciousness. Of course, this is greatly mediated by the fear of being cast out of the herd. Even the alpha dog cannot prevail against the will of the entire pack. So there is this tension between dominance and submission on a basic animal level, which rises to rococo intricacy in the human world. There are some elements of this dynamic which both rise to, and serve the spiritual, as we will see.

From an evolutionary perspective, we need to have a strong, almost maverick personality to succeed on any authentic spiritual path that is unbridled by dogmatism. Any process that seeks to achieve a direct religious experience, a personal encounter with the Divine, will require both patience and persistence to consummate.

On the other hand, will, over-independence, or a love of rebellion for its own sake, can be a seductive trap. Fortunately the universe and our higher Selves are pre-loaded with the software to correct this. No matter how huge the ego, a path to a balanced spiritual perspective will eventually be made clear. We will be shown the limitations of the small self, our desires, and self-aggrandizement. This transition from the mundane games of survival and dominance, to the game of knowing Oneself, and oneself in relation to the Divine, is what the School of Life is about.

“You are dying in a prison of your own devise…”
– Jim Morrison, Unhappy Girl

This is what the tarot card known as “The Tower” describes - the earthshaking alteration at the core of your life’s paradigms. Change is inevitable, and whether this manifests easily or with great struggle is up to you and how well you accept and flow with the change. Transcending your ego patterns can be liberating, freeing you from old behaviors and habits; yet it can also be terrifying, heralding the loss of what you perceive as familiar and safe. The only way for you to lose in this process would be if you stubbornly refuse to allow a necessary change to occur, thus reinforcing an old pattern and imprisoning yourself in an obsolete mode of understanding and being.

“I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased;
I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.”
– St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul

Perhaps this transition from ego to spirit centered life may show up in a dramatic form such as a life threatening challenge, loss of someone deeply loved, a near death experience, or some other sort of major life stressor. It may also appear in our consciousness in a less sensational, more subtle and quietly persistent form. The dark night of the soul can be painted in many shades of gray. It is best to pay attention and both seize and surrender to the opportunity. If you are destined to evolve and you ignore it, the universe will only get more insistent. More information at © 2008 Keith E. Hall and . All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rev. Keith Hall has taught Tai Chi, Qigong, Tantra, & body / mind modalities for 30 years & is a senior student of Prof. Yung-ko Chou, with permission to teach. He has studied at East West Schools across the world & with Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, S. Saraswati & others. He practices Bioenergetics, Bagua, Tumo, Vipassana, Zen, Spiritual Bodywork, various Yogas, & other East West disciplines. He has published articles on Tantra & Taoist arts in numerous journals & is the Founder of Jade Garden Tantra, 10 Minutes to a Healthier You! Tantric Qigong SM, PresencingSM for Emotional Freedom and Enlightenment, and