Breaking Out of the Cocoon

What is the cocoon that we live in? Why break out of it?

Individual consciousness begins life by growing a cocoon. Group consciousness forms from connected individuals. Group cocoons are fluid and dynamic, constantly morphing and reforming. Each cocoon is like a womb after birth, which continues to nurture the process of growth and emergence into Life.

The true function of our cocoon is to help us integrate individual consciousness into physical existence, where we create and interact. What some call our “spirit” (and other names) actually births into physical existence and learns to “wire into it” throughout life progression.

However, while our integration is occurring, another process is at play. The consciousness that lives all of life, including each of us, is working to break through and trasform our cocoons of individual identities to plug our awareness into the Whole – while retaining individuality.

Within our cocoons, we have “experiences” – ephemeral stimuli that lead us to conclusions about our lives and all life. We formulate a worldview according to how well this view serves us, whether it fits into the bigger picture or not. What we do – our mannerisms, ways of engaging, and verbal constructs – gradually solidify with age. That which served us well – we kept, that which didn’t agree with us – we discarded. Note that we do not always keep the mannerisms that help us to become more relational, open, flexible, and resilient. Sometimes we keep that which reinforces the beliefs that life is cruel, unfair, boring, and generally filled with “idiots who surround us.” Such individuals typically use sarcasm, speak with an air of superiority, and have a fairly rigid perspective on existence.

Experiences are individual, relative, and fleeting. No matter how powerful the stimulus, the cocoon is like a mirror that reflects back to us our interpretation of life. Because the cocoon changes, how we view life through its lenses and filters also evolves.

We need this cocoon up to a point. However, a time comes when we recognize that there is something beyond it. I’ve met a number of people who hit this stage. They feel that something about their perspective on life is being distorted. It’s like a kind of an itch that tells us how what we have crystallized as our view of life is incomplete.

Those who tend to rely on the mind a lot (like I had a tendency to do) become entangled by reasoning about existence. Because my mind works so fluidly with logical constructs, I tended to rely on my mind exclusively. I also used my intuitive abilities to read people and situations to protect and position myself where I wanted to be. It took my teacher several years to get me to see beyond the mind and my need to feel “safe through superiority.” Now, the mind and flash intuition – which have both become even more honed – are just tools, and not my identity.

What lies beyond the mind? We all have a sense of what that is during moments when we feel at peace, connected, at ease, inspired, and creative. These times, even if they are brief, are bleedthroughs of the One Life reminding us of who we really are.

After a time, we begin to yearn for life beyond the cocoon. We crave a relationship with life that is authentic and creative in every moment, and not just during a few sporadic bursts. Then, the journey of breaking the cocoon begins.

This journey eventually leads us to people who challenge our world view and seem to live and model an altogether different way of relationship – to everything. Such people may irritate us, frustrate us, or even make us downright angry at a very fundamental level. However, some of us will keep coming back to these characters to take another look. Others will flat out reject their presence as crazy.

Those that do come back know that there is some connection. This connection is not just via words. In reality, there is a sharing of circuitry that is going on. Such a living model of an opened cocoon will introduce his or her guests to a direct feeling, which is palpable of life beyond the cocoon. The living model does this simply by being alive, and not through any maneuvering, manipulation, or psychoanalysis. It takes time to truly understand such a relationship, and it took me years even after breaking through my cocoon to understand what my teacher truly did for me.

What lies beyond the cocoon? What does it mean to break through it? Unfortunately, many people say that they have broken through, but I can clearly see when they have not – just by interacting with them for a moment. This is very obvious and even visible. Some become very adept at living and interpret that as a breakthrough. But, being fluid at handling people, influential, wealthy, and charismatic are not indicators of enlightenment. For most in possession of these faculties, it’s just a matter of making a very functional cocoon. Many people are caught in this way of thinking and delay true opening by enjoying the fruits of their accomplishments. It is a stage that eventually feels unfulfilling.

At first the cocoon weakens and opens only slightly. In Phases of Human Evolution As Awareness, I talk more about this. However, that post is a bit outdated and does not describe the later phases enough – at the time I didn’t believe I would go any further. Still, that post does provide some insight into the process of shifting one’s perspective from the individual to the Whole.

One thing that seems clear is that we must heal the cocoon before we can break through it. We don’t need to heal it completely, but just enough to become available to the opening process. Whatever we don’t heal prior to opening will need to be healed after.

Every seed must sprout by breaking through the earth to greet the rays of the Sun. When it is ready, nothing can stop it.

9 thoughts on “Breaking Out of the Cocoon”

  1. A cocoon is one thing I never imagined as containing our real selves. I always saw life as levels of consciousness, as in awareness of life and how it all intertwines. While this can be taken as a feeling of superiority, especially by the person who has a high level of consciousness, really, IMO, the higher your consciousness, the more you know there is no such thing as superiority. Whether we are a bacteria, a butterfly, or a whale, we know we are all equal. Each one of us is on a journey, and we are all at that point in our journeys that corresponds to our level of consciosness.
    Can this be seen as being in a cocoon? I don’t see why not. After all, that is how you are seeing it. And each one of us is different, with our own beliefs and experiences. Yet we are all equal, for we are where we need to be. We just have different ways of expressing ourselves. IMO that is a good thing, because we do not all have to be the same to be where we are. As many living beings as there are, there are that many ways to journey. No one is left out. No one is superior to another. No one is lesser than another. Everyone will get to the end when they get there. There is no need to hate.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Of course all life has value and is precious 🙂

      In Eastern philosophy, a “cocoon” would be the Ego. The Ego is a mechanism- a process – that appears to be universal in humanity, perhaps as an evolutionary stage or a “level of consciousness.” The Ego does limit consciousness to make it function. One teacher called everything the “Play of Consciousness” – Mukhtananda.

      Who we are is found by breaking through and dissolving the cocoon of the Ego. This changes what we see as “I” dramatically.

      Although the Ego emerges to help a person grow, it also results in a self-centered perspective of a person – a shell that also skews how we perceive life. Not necessarily in a negative way, but in the sense that everything is always compared to oneself, and as being inside or outside.

      Breaking through the shell of the Ego process may be seen as a transformation, which can happen to a person of any background, religion, etc. It can and will at some point happen to all as we outgrow that way of relating to life. But even at this point, there are degrees. It turns out to be possible to relegate the Ego to being a tool of sorts, and then the tool is not one’s identity.

      When it is active, the Ego tends to see the world as “outside” itself, which also introduces dynamics of fear and loneliness and needing happiness to be caused by something or someone.

      I don’t see any superiority as a real thing. I do see people in my everyday life trying to one-up each other or to dominate situations or shrink back. Humbleness, kindness – are often seen as a weakness. These dynamics operate when someone is afraid because one feels separate and attackable. True vulnerability is actually very strong.

      The Ego has been equated to separation. Teachers also speak of this separation as an “illusion,” but it’s a wired-in illusion that is difficult to go past. It’s so hardwired that transcending it typically requires some help….Although a few here and there were already born without an ego or transcended it on their own.

      After the shell dissolves, fear ceases to drive.

  2. Hi, IE,
    I only found your reply today by accident, it did not show ip in my notifications area as replies usually do. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.
    I do like and agree with your assessment of the ego, though I have yet to meet anyone (living in North Ametica) born without an ago. That would be quite an experience. I have met two people who are naturally of a higher consciousness, but they still appeared to have some sense of ego to drive them through this world reality.
    I know the Buddha advocated overcoming the ego, but in my own experience I found it best to make a truce between ego and spirit, with the ego knowing it is only temporary, but doing a necessary job, while the spirit knows it is eternal but not always capable of relating to the life we find around us. I wonder how this description talks to you? Am I misunderstanding something in referencing the Buddha’s journey to enlightenment, or was ego not as strong in his era as it seems to be in ours? Or something else? I am not asking you as an expert, but more as someone who grew up in a culture closer to that of the Buddha. Culture definitely has an effect on understanding.
    I don’t know if this will help or hinder your answer, but I do not believe in Nirvana, but that “enlightenment” here on earth, or anywhere in this universe is not the end goal of life, just a doorway into the next level of life, whatever that might be. Whatever the end might be, or if there even is one, is so far beyond our ability to know or imagine from here that it would be meaningless to us here in this dimension, or on this plane of existence. Yet this is where our egos work, while it is our spirits that will get to disvover what comes next.
    And with that I will stop writing…

    1. My culture was nowhere near Buddhism 😂 In fact, I was interested in Buddhism at a very young age to everyone’s surprise in my family… If you accept the possibility of past lives, then perhaps I had such lives spent in Buddhist temples and monasteries. My sense is that Buddha never overcame the ego in the sense of dissolving it. As one evolves, some of the more crude aspects of the ego tend to drop away and a person is just utilizing the higher aspects of having an identity. Until recently (a year or so), I was unsure what happens to ego eventually. Is it possible to exist on earth without one? It seems, yes – that is possible. One enters into an impersonal state that is also deeply integrated into life. I find that Spirit does integrate with life – at first, the instinct is to escape, but then there is a turnaround point of diving deeper and recognizing spirit in everyday existence.

      1. Spirit is very much everyday involved, once you find it. And it is there to be found. The problem in our culture today is thar we worship ego, and few go looking for more. Finding mind is just a step nearer to spirit, until one realizes spirit was everywhere, all the time.
        As far as Buddhism goes, hardly anyone in my part of Canada knew it existed. We were so pervasively Christian, religion was either Catholic or Protestant. Nothing else counted. In the end, for me, neither Christianity or Buddhism counted, though Buddhism was definitely closer to the reality I found. And I am glad I found what I did…

        1. I spent hours in my teens reading various religions. In hindsight, I could see similar elements across all traditions of embracing the living aspect of truth. However, in Christianity, these aspects were described in more fringe writings to portray divine ecstasy, rapture, holy spirit, or being moved by spirit.
          People do largely portray self-absorption. It’s difficult to see past this – and tricky – even for those who consider themselves spiritual. Ego is a complex mechanism of integrating awareness into this plane of existence and is not evil, but
          its functioning reinforces self-preoccupation and, more fundamentally, seeing things from a limited point of view. It is the limitation of this that is eventually transcended, although rarely while alive.

          1. No ego is not evil, and in fact, I do not find evil anywhere in this world. Things can be anti-spiritual, and destructive, even, but not evil. (I cannot say that too loud, some could take it to give them free reign, to be unresponsible, but that is not how I mean it. It is just that anything which can be done can be undone. Reincarnation makes that possible.)
            Meamwhile, ego certainly puts limits on what is knowable. It is a box within a box within a box. No windows available.
            I envy you that you were able to find literature on so many religions, I did not have that opportunity. But in the end I clawed my way out of the boxes, only to find our my spirituality was there with me all that time.
            BTW, thank you for the early birthday greeting. The words don’t really mean much anymore, but coming from you I feel you in them. Yes, thank you.

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