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The dance of destiny... a masquerade, a dance of the mind, clothed in a costume of delusion crafted by the ego; swaying to music that lures one to the bridge of swords, leading to the fate it desires to fulfill. Our ego acts as a mediator between our identity and reality, carefully cloaking that which interferes with the perception it has created. Cloaking, hiding or denial... it's all the same. The ego requires magic, illusions, to survive.
In the words of Christopher Priest, "Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, and normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call 'The Prestige'."
Magic may have sprung from the mind of someone who observed humans as we live our lives, our own dance of destiny. Our future begins with 'The Pledge'; the declaration that we will do or become something we have dreamed of. It is a promise we make to ourselves, and then declare to the world. Just as in the magic act, we carefully examine the idea, looking for the secret, the proof that there may be a trick, the hidden information that may prevent us from fulfilling the dream.
The 'Turn' happens when we put our personal stamp on it; when we dare to be different, strive harder and reach higher... when something ordinary appears extraordinary. Silently we wonder if our accomplishments really are extraordinary or if it is all an illusion. Many times our accomplishments may fall short of extraordinary, but ego lives in fear of exposure and doesn't really want us to question anything; it wants us to be fooled. It's the costume in the masquerade ball. If it's a fraud, ego really doesn't want us to know it. And so we believe the lie.
The real magic; 'The Prestige' is the culmination of the ego's victory. This third part is reenacted daily in our lives. It occurs when we finally 'get it' and are ready to move on and suddenly find ourselves back into the same game we just lost; we have to bring it back! Ego is the driver of the vehicle we ride in to transport us to the image we want to project; it carefully protects, at whatever cost is necessary, the delusions we have woven into the dream. It is also the doorman who invited denial and delusion into our consciousness.
Ego is a necessary part of human development. The ego is the structured part of our personality that includes defensive, perceptual, and intellectual functions. A healthy ego separates out what is real and helps us make sense of the world around us. It forms our self image and things get tricky there; it serves three masters.
Ego serves the super ego, the external world and our image in it and our identity that it tries to protect. It can be harsh when necessary and kind and gentle; as it is when it introduces us to denial. If we don't like the results before us, we just look away and reinvent what we saw. We arrive at a false sense of how important false impressions are.
Losing oneself can happen very quietly, as though it were nothing at all. At some point we become tired of dancing, disillusioned with the costume and disinterested in the mirage we have been running towards. Many times it takes a catastrophe to destroy the illusion and usher in truth. Things begin to fall apart and we seek something real and lasting. A new chase begins. It is the journey towards our true mastery; finding ourselves. We realize that ego does not really serve us well. It is a veil we have hidden behind most of our lives. And so it must go.
It is then, when we are willing to release all the false impressions that used to be so important, the fears, all the pain, all the disillusion and artificial perceptions that we arrive at a place called illumination.
The lighted path of truth is a much simpler path that provides us the opportunity to get to know who we really are, without the costume. We begin to trust our own perceptions and to truly know what our journey here is about. We find self acceptance and discover real joy in the person we really are and the new one we will become. We learn acceptance, understanding and appreciation for ourselves and all that is around us.
Looking back, we realize that our choices and past experiences, both good and bad, have deposited something inside of us. Those challenges sharpened us and helped to make us who we have become.