In, I believe, 2006, I attended a retreat co-led by one of my teachers at the time, Dorothy Hunt. Dorothy said something that I wanted to have been the one to have said. What did it matter who said it, as long as the wisdom was imparted? Nonetheless, I wanted to be the one who got credit – because I'd been thinking it as well but no one called on me.
After the retreat was over, we were all enjoying lunch, and I was telling someone sitting across from me about how I wanted to get credit for being wise and enlightened – how my ego craved that. Dorothy, to my surprise, responded from the other end of the long table, “You did say it.” I looked over at her, puzzled. “You did say it,” she repeated.
And suddenly, I was bowled over with the truth of what she said. It took a year or so before I understood in words what I had realized in my body: I am everything, so of course I am also what comes out of Dorothy's mouth.
I was recently re-telling this story to someone who hadn't heard it, and this caused me to consider it from another vantage point. For one thing, it was a miracle that Dorothy was so attuned to me that she knew exactly what was the right thing to say to me at that moment. But I also see now that her statement undercut my assumptions about ego. I've always thought ego – the wanting to make the personal self bigger and more important – was to be admonished and kept under control, if not eliminated. But now I see that ego is a pointer: we really are bigger than our apparent separate selves make us think we are. The ego is striving to realize that largeness. So Dorothy, rather than cut down the poor ego that was only trying to help, said, essentially, “Dear ego, you don't have to try so hard because what you want to make happen already is true. The apparent separate self is already as big as it can possibly get. It is infinite.”