As I have stated here on Conscious Bridge a number of times….as well as in my book, Be Yourself Evolving the World Through Personal Empowerment, the outer challenges that humanity faces are opportunities for us to consciously choose a different, higher path.  They are crossroads and thresholds on our evolutionary path.

We are moving through experiences of “breakdowns” so that we, as individuals and collectively as a planet, can have a “breakthrough” that allows us to move forward on our evolutionary journey. One such challenge/opportunity is our excessive attachment to ego which when taken to its furthest expression can be displayed in excessive narcissistic behavior.

What is narcissism?  Definition:  “extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.”

Most psychologists would say that we all have a degree of narcissism that can be healthy, giving us a good sense of self as we interact in the world. But taken too far, it can become classified as something called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.   Here is an excerpt from a Psychology Today description:

“The hallmarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration. People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment.”

Some have claimed that we are experiencing an epidemic in narcissism.  Maybe.  Others have pointed out that we just elected as President a man, Donald Trump, who exhibits Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

So why is this occurring? Some have written their reasons for the rise in this trait being expressed in us. Whether they are correct or not, to me the greater issues are these:  Is there an opportunity for us in this narcissistic challenge?  If so, how can we take advantage of this opportunity to further the evolution of humanity?

“All I do is go around and try to persuade others not to give any thought to themselves or their possessions. I encourage them instead to care about improving themselves — especially the condition of their souls.” ~~~Plato

“Darkness and coarseness will always be with a soul until its appetites are extinguished. The appetites are like a cataract on the eye or specks of dust in it; until removed they obstruct vision.” ~~~St John of the Cross

Could it be that Donald Trump and his rise to the Presidency represents a shadow aspect of ourselves being displayed?  Could it be that the part of us that has excessive appetites for wealth and possessions, for fame, for admiration by others….that part of us is calling forth a “Donald Trump” at this time that holds our inner darkness up to the light?

The “shadow”, of course, is a Jungian term for that unconscious aspect of ourselves that we consciously don’t identify as being a part of us.  I have written about it before such as here.  We all carry around inside us some aspect of “extreme selfishness” and “a grandiose view of our talents” etc. whether we admit it or not. Trump appears to be carrying into the light our excessive collective attachment to ego.  The lesson Trump offers is to look at ourselves honestly and in the light and seek ways to heal this shadow aspect of our self. Trump’s massive ego is calling us to examine our own degree of narcissism and to transcend it.

“The Wise Man chooses to be last
And so becomes the first of all;
Denying self, he too is saved.
For does he not fulfillment find
In being an unselfish man?” ~~~Lao Tzu

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” ~~~Jesus

Our evolutionary past was successfully mastered by a healthy sense of ego.  The more we saw ourselves as this distinct entity who was attempting to successfully navigate around in this outer world, the more we were driven to meet our basic needs (physiological, safety, security, group belongingness, self esteem, etc.).  Yet the success that our egos brought to us, also led us to the threshold of the next stage in our personal and collective development. To cross this threshold, we need to continue fostering our use of a healthy ego but to simultaneously move beyond our attachment to worldly matters.  In doing so, we will be able to focus upon higher needs (self actualization, self transcendence) that are calling to us.  In the words of philosopher Ken Wilber, we need to “transcend and include” the ego as we move to these next stages in our evolution.

The ego is a gift to the human expression.  Excessive attachment to the forms desired by the ego can be a curse to our spiritual Self. The narcissism we all carry within us needs to be released. Trump is a reminder of what we need to transcend.

Mark Gilbert

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