8.7 Pride Goeth Before an Alpha Fall

The first time I did alpha feedback training as a volunteer in Joe Kamiya’s lab, I discovered that thoughts were multilayered constructions. A thought could be invested with varying degrees of ergodicity. Imagine that thought was a cereal factory product; one production line has Wheaties, one line has Total (which claims to have 100% of the requirements for vitamins and minerals). Since processed grain lacks these ingredients, the marketing department figures out that they have to spray on extra vitamins to get 100% of the daily requirements. Maybe Wheaties has some vitamins sprayed on, but less than Total. So on both production lines, there are flakes (comparable to thoughts), and they’re sprayed with vitamins, dried, and then put in the box. However, the amounts sprayed on the flakes vary between the two kinds of cereal. In the same way, the amount of ergodicity with which thought is invested varies from thought to thought and from person to person, and from moment to moment. One person’s least egoic thought may have more ego in it than another person’s MOST egoic thought.

Alpha feedback training:

For example, if you’re doing really well in alpha biofeedback training and the thought comes to you that you are doing pretty good, your ego is talking. That thought will literally capture you and pull you right out of the high alpha state. With practice, you can get to a point when there is a lot of alpha being generated, and you might think the thought, ‘Well, he’s doing pretty good.’ Now, this ‘he’ or ‘she’ is actually you; you are the He or She you are thinking about. But you don’t actually allow that thought to complete. You withhold the identification of yourself with good performance. When you do that, you take a step back from the typical egoic engagement, allowing the alpha to go higher and with fewer impediments than if you put ego into it.

Ego is a wily opponent. First, it will keep you from making alpha, but if you do make some alpha, it will switch tactics and interject pride in your performance to undermine you. ‘Pride goeth before a fall.’ The medieval Christian church, as one of the seven deadly sins, listed Pride. They understood deeply that pride, which comes directly out of ego, opposes spiritual development. When people say they are ‘proud to be an American,’ I cringe and wish that they would say that they are HAPPY to be an American or filled with joy or gratitude to be an American. But let’s not say proud because pride is of the ego.

There is an interesting fact that in Aramaic, the language that Jesus actually spoke, the word that has been translated into English as meaning the devil actually means the opposite. In the Kaballah teachings, the opponent plays a role similar to that of the ego, and the opponent must be controlled. That Aramaic word is satan. So our ego is the real opponent to spiritual growth, more so than some red devil with horns, a tail, and a fork!

There is also a Mohammedan legend that tells us when Satan stepped out from the Garden of Eden after having engineered the fall of man, garlic sprang up from the spot where he first placed his left foot, and onion from that where his right foot touched. This is interesting, given the effects garlic and onion have on promoting the hurricane in the brain and inhibiting the ability to make alpha.

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