Episode 1: EGO
The Bachelorette is one of the shows I have been avidly watching this season. I am tuning in less so to see the gorgeous “Gowns Gone Wild” that Kaitlyn will be wearing each episode, or the luxurious locations she will be taking her matrimonial men, but for illustrations of illumined teachings from spiritualists of yesteryear and how it’s lack in action, to sound a tad “Christian,” is causing the detriment of Reality Television. On today’s episode we will discuss “Ego.”
“Leggo of me Ego!”
While truly spiritual teachings don’t teach out of fear (so we can eliminate all so-called “religions” that talk of burning in eternity if you never did penance for the pack of gum you stole in grade school from the local Toy & Candy store), the closest thing to Satan in spirituality goes by the name of Ego. In spirituality, where one focuses more on Self-Realization than fairytales about messiahs and a harpy place in the sky, Ego is not defined with the Webster’s Dictionary definition of “Someone who thinks his shit doesn’t smell,” but more as one’s identification with things other than his or her true essence referred to the Self with a capital “S”.
The easiest way to explain this is by finishing the sentence, “I am _____.” “I am a schoolteacher.” “I am a Republican.” “I am a gay man.” “I am a black woman.” “I am an American.” While one’s profession may be a schoolteacher, or one may vote Republican, or one may be in a man’s body and have a preference of penises over vaginas when performing oral sex (while waving their good ol’ American flag, of course!) This is not who you are on the deepest level. A true spiritual seeker works to lessen his attachments to these surface definitions and to understand at the core of his being that “I Am Who I Am,” to quote God from Exodus 3:14 and Popeye from every episode.
One of the most fascinating scenes I saw on The Bachelorette (or TB as I like to call it as it has infected more people than Tuberculosis ever did) involved the character Ian. Ian was one of the token black men that The Bachelorette included in the running, as it would be downright racist if all the suitors were only white. Speaking of which, I don’t think there were any Asians or Hispanics represented this season by the bigoted NBC! His résumé was stellar: Princeton graduate, runner, claims to have modeled, and coming with a dramatic story about getting hit by a car and told he would never run again but through perseverance—lo and behold—he ran his Ivy League ass all the way to The Bachelorette auditions! Sure, he has male pattern baldness but cut the guy some slack!
One of the talents that Ian boasted about in more than one of his personal interviews with the camera is his singing voice. After completely choking the mariachi challenge, quacking his song like a retarded duck, his confidence had hit what they call in Alcoholic’s Anonymous, rock bottom; one would need a serious belief in a Higher Power to imagine him being the contestant to drop to one knee in the final episode.
Ian was actually brutally honest with himself, for which I was totally impressed, saying that he felt like a complete douche boasting about his singing voice and then completely quacking up and how his confidence was completely shot. Vulnerable, honest—if I were a gay Republican black American farmer, I’d plow his field!
Here’s where Ian went astray. He then made it clear that he valued rebuilding his Ego over a chance of rebuilding his relationship with Kaitlyn. He decided he would tell her “the truth” about how shallow she was and how he was out of her league. This was not truth but Ego survival. [See video link below]
Imagine you have a résumé that is stellar and you sit down for a job interview and your potential boss says to you, “I don’t care about what’s written on that piece of paper.”
“But I went to Princeton!” you quack.
“Who cares?” she replies.
“I was a model!” is your next plea for recognition and acceptance.
“Every applicant for this job is very handsome,” is the response.
“But I…I—” you stutter.
“Is there anything you do besides quack like a duck?” is her final dismissal of everything you hold sacred.
Understandably, if you identify yourself as your résumé and someone is not really impressed by it, you are going to feel completely defeated. In penis lingo, if you define yourself as someone with a big python and when you whip it out your prospective intercourser says, “Looks more like an inchworm,” you are going to be so deflated that you may even look like a half-inch worm.
Ian then acted like a bully, berating Kaitlyn for swimming too far in the shallow end to stimulate a “deep end” guy like himself. Whether you have more book knowledge than another person or a more defined set of abdominals, not only is that not Who You Are, there is never a reason to be condescending and mean to another. This says more about his poor character than her dimwitted one.
While I do not think Ian handled his exit with class, I am also not belittling the difficulty he was placed in. I am not talking about the challenges of being on a reality show, which is relative. I am talking about the crumbling of an ego, which is absolute. To quote the spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, from his book The End of Your World:
“…make no mistake about it—enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being more or less happy. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true—from ourselves to the world.”
Let me give you three examples, one from history and two from my imagination. Whether you feel it was justified or not, Malcolm X was a racist. After he had his pilgrimage to Mecca where he saw that Muslims came in all shapes, sizes—and colors—he changed his belief system on the spot. The most powerful statement I remember reading in The Autobiography of Malcolm X was Malcolm saying something like, “I don’t know what I will believe next month. But if facts come out that totally contradict what I believe today, then I will drop these beliefs.” More than his charisma and powerful speeches, that statement of his impressed me the most. And it was this attitude of his, of Truth over agenda, that got him killed.
Now for two made up examples…
The extraterrestrials come down to Earth and instead of sticking probes in people’s asses, for a change they decide to teach humans instant healing. Suddenly all the energy healers, herbalists and medical doctors no longer are needed. As a healer, or poisoner in the case of the medical doctor, what do you do now? Can you let go of $250,000 of education and twenty years of practice and say, “Well, it was good while it lasted. Time for my next adventure!” Or would you try to convince humanity that we don’t know the science or motivations behind the extraterrestrials and shouldn’t trust this instant healing they are offering? I know what Dr. Ian would do.
You were a teacher of physics for forty years before you retired, having thousands of students pass through your classroom. You even wrote some papers that were published in prestigious journals. Suddenly a new discovery in physics results in the understanding that everything you have taught was not accurate. Would you be thankful for the new discovery in Truth, or would you look at your life as a complete waste?
Ian’s limo ride back to his precious life included him saying that he now wanted to get laid. But because he’s such a deep guy, I interpreted this as meaning he wanted to be “laid” like an egg, reborn so to speak, so that he could wash his jaded oculars and once again see the world with the eyes of innocence–and not that he just wanted some pussy; only a Harvard graduate would have meant that.
It was a Princeton bathroom and a visiting Harvard student was urinating next to a Princeton Student. After finishing his urination, the Harvard student started to leave the bathroom without washing his hands. The Princeton student, with an air of royalty, said, “Here at Princeton, we wash our hands after we urinate.” The Harvard student said, “At Harvard we learn not to piss on our hands.”
For classy examples of exit speeches, check out Jared and Ben. And tune in next episode of Spiritual Lessons from The Bachelorette for illustrations of another sacred teaching.
Ian protecting his Ego: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-SsKv-eeqI
Jared goes home with class [starts at 5:50]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0eDGwYIeZg
UPDATE: On the “Men Tell All” episode of The Bachelorette, Ian dramatically dropped to his knees and apologized to the men and then did the same to Kaitlyn, before a hamstring cramp made him get to his feet. While one might say this was a positive thing, very telling was Ian’s choice of language. He emphasized that he was on his knees and “humble” to the guys and when later he repeated this same performance for Kaitlyn he said that “This is who I am. And I am humble…It was not representative of who I am as a human being and I’m sorry.” Saying “I am humble” is ego in both definitions of the word ego, from common to spiritual. This is akin to saying, “I excel and am great in the humility department.” One douche once said to me, “I’m the most humble person you will ever meet.” Not too humble, if you ask me.
The reality show Ian was not necessarily the “representation” that he would have liked to portray to the world but, if one believes “Who I am is my behavior and actions,” then it includes all those behaviors and actions, not just the ones you enact most of the time. Whatever we “represent” as ourselves is not ourselves. If you go to court and the judge asks you, “Are you representing yourself?” answer him or her, “No, I’m not representing anything. I AM myself.” I am all for Ian apologizing and whether it was Ego-creating or Ego-destroying, both the men and Kaitlyn seemed to receive some closure from his performance–and that’s a good thing. Who needs to be carrying around hurts from the past, intended or not, misrepresented or not?
Ian’s apology to Kaitlyn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kHhE9zL8ag