If you say its name, it no longer exists.
Thus begins the clever riddle Dr. Lessing presents to Guido Orefice in the exceptionally moving film Life is Beautiful.
Notwithstanding its charming first act, that movie, and the epoch in history it depicts, showcase the ego in all its ugliness. But the Holocaust also presented an opportunity for the ego's transcendence in such extraordinary individuals as the fictional Guido and the real-life Viktor Frankl.
The ability to see through the horror looking down from above the battleground represents a remarkable leap of consciousness. In fact, it dissolves consciousness altogether.
What Frankl and Orefice understood - echoed three decades later by A Course in Miracles - is that the projection of the ego into our experience of life is what leads to all our suffering. And indeed, in such form, life is full of pain, sadness, misery, and death.
The ego is a fearful thought system of ominous proportions, and it maintains its impact by keeping us mindless. Specifically by rooting us in drama we're subsequently unaware of mind and cannot look at the ego. And this intentional internal ignorance is the source of all unhappiness.
But there is a way back to the ego and its undoing.
Returning to Lessing's riddle from Life is Beautiful: If you say its name, it no longer exists.
It is silence.
And similar to silence, the ego ceases to exist once we call it out. Becoming mindfully aware of our choice for the ego effectively ends all suffering.
When we look at the ego as it is we find the peace of God. Slightly paraphrasing from the Course:
You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from looking at the ego totally without judgment.
All pain is transformed into joy and we experience a life that truly is beautiful.
Join me in Thursday's class where we'll explore methods for dispelling the ego and transmuting our lives. I look forward to seeing you then.