"When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the
cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don't know ourselves.
Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like
— D.H. Lawrence
I found this quoted in a book today. It spoke to this moment -- this moment for me, but also this moment for all of us. This moment of flux and the necessity of change.
I think Lawrence is saying about the "ego" and the "personality" that it/these are where we "know ourselves," where the familiar is met with the familiar, where our sense of "what/who I am" peers through a glass, darkly, and calls the familiar Home. But too often the familiar is a projected screen. We know ourselves not by holding or clinging to the familiar, but by getting into "the forest" -- the unfamiliar, the seemingly strange. Here, we meet another kind of familiar, one not conditioned by clinging to "the glass bottle" of our familiar identity and habits. Here is where we meet our power. And this power is ... dare I say it?: Revolutionary. Not in terms of guns and bombs, but in terms of institutions losing a basis in fear and greed, self-seeking in the narrow "ego" way. That is the familiar, right? Yet it robs us of our true power -- our authenticity. Courage is a matter of the heart. Etymologists know this.