Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tales of the Koko Lion, Part 2: From Czechapoo to Kickajew

"Your ego tells you this is your kingdom, your true identity, and therefore you must do whatever it takes to make this story turn out to be a good one for you. But you know...that this is not true."

Eckhart Tolle

My father's family was Czech, or more regionally, as my father insisted, Bohemian. To him, calling a Bohemian a Czech was like calling the class valedictorian a "member of the student body." The Bohemians, according to Dad, were the creators of all things honorable, and everyone else came in a distant second-best. Democracy, printing (Gutenberg was really "John of Cutna Hora," a Bohemian genius the Germans had nefariously misappropriated), and of course beer, were all creations of The Great Bohemian Empire. To Dad, "Czech" was a misnomer which ignorantly grouped Bohemians with Moravians, and later (God forbid) with people he called slovaks.

This odd confluence of American Kickapoo Indian and Eastern European made me feel pretty one-of-a-kind – a "Czechapoo." Uniquely, and utterly American. Searching, noble – in a way...romantic. In an obscure sense the best of the best, yet hopelessly out of place and misunderstood; and in my case at least, often confused to the point of stupefaction. I can't speak for any of the other Czechapoos, but for me this collision of the aggrieved and displaced Nature-man with the Euro-aryan intellect, poured into the mold of early Anglo-American entitlement and catalyzed by 60's pop media led to a state of permanent semiconscious detachment from anything real that had ever gone before – in an endearing way, one would hope.

A trip to the newly liberated Czech republic in 1992 led to a discovery that further complicated this lineage, and by doing so, made clear something that I'd long begun to suspect. My last name, which I understand translates as "Hill People" (whether the form indicates "hillbilly" or "from the top of the hill", I do not know), is apparently a Jewish surname.

I thought that my grandparents were devout Catholics – and Mumsy most certainly was. But my grandpa, Mac-o, who looked like Kruschev and dressed like a rich Nevada ranch dude – complete with cowboy boots, hat, and silver and turquoise belt buckle – wasn't much for Mass. And since Mac-o seemed to always have an instinct for finishing in the money, I can't exclude the possibility that he may have assumed whatever persona offered the greatest perceived benefits at the time. It's quite possible that a Slav becomes a cowboy in much the same way that a Jew becomes a Catholic, or probably might have done both in his case.

This discovery, at about age thirty, explained a lot to me, and as a broken ego rushes into any void where it sees an opportunity, often dragging the human along through their life, my broken ego at last had a viable delusion it could sink it's claws into.

In lieu of having failed to conjure up for myself any apparent real identity up to that point in life, I became the universe's only "Kickajew" – part Indian, part Jew, unwanted at birth, and thereby the single most naturally persecuted man in the world. I was one of the last of the unassailably noble victims, and so able to descend on any side of any argument with absolute moral authority and righteous justification.

And so it was that the spiritual complications brought on by childhood difficulties and an effusively overactive imagination had finally made me "whole," in that rather delusional, grandiose manner generally reserved for the "dissociatively disordered." I thought I finally knew who I was, when in fact, I had really been cast out into the wilderness at a relatively young age, with much too much more justification than I needed.

"When Man ate of the fruit of the Tree, he discovered himself in the field of duality instead of the field of unity. As a result, he finds himself out, in exile."

Joseph Campbell

There are, generally speaking, two types of ego that make a person so. One is a healthy, not particularly self- important ego that allows the true self to interact with material life in an easy, unfettered way. This ego is beneficial because it provides a sound natural foundation while playing a relatively small role in an individual's development. The healthy person finds it naturally easy to "stay out of their own way," permitting the flow of Source energy, which is love, to grow an authentic self. This ego is grounded in Love and knows naturally where it fits in the big picture.

The other ego is unhealthy. Over-important; over-complicated. The voice of the False Self. This ego can often act as the main interface with material life, pressing unfair and unnecessary demands and comparisons on an individual; stunting the growth of the authentic self by impeding, or totally cutting off, the flow of Source energy, which is Love. In this way, we innocently become our own worst enemy. This ego is grounded in Fear.

Here is the essence (a version) of the metaphor of The Garden of Eden. The unhealthy ego knows everything, and always needs to be right. It makes a constant diet of "the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil" – namely judgment and comparison. And when it serves as the sole intermediary to the universe, to the Source, the hapless natural self is banished from the garden, and simply being is never enough. One must become something other than their authentic, natural self, based on what they think others expect them to be. This need is never satisfied.

On a larger scale, this unhealthy egoic thinking process is the mass default for Western culture, and increasingly with the export of American consumerism, to the rest of the world. The rapid expansion of this dangerously delusional unhealthy mass ego – given a voice by round-the-clock media programming and driven by a fundamentally inhumane commercial market and it's equally unconscious advertising – is the reason that we find the very survival of our species, and the ability of our planet to sustain life as we know it, suddenly in such precarious circumstances. This mass ego lives to "control" and exploit the earth in order to ameliorate it's voracious need that can never be met.

The sooner we can personally cut through the useless and destructive mass ego to the simple underlying truth, and become honest – first with ourselves, and then with others – the sooner we'll see that no matter how big the problem, there is a spiritual solution. With this simple realization, we will become conscious, and the inevitable spiritual evolution of our species will become our shared reality. Evidence of this spiritual evolution of humankind is all around us. It's happening now.

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