Here is more wisdom to share from my dear friend Emily. You know her as Emily Dickinson. Her poetry is so unusual, reflecting such an interesting and complicated mind which was so adept at addressing spiritual intricacies.

The following poem addresses the role of the ego in spiritual formulation as well as the need to let that ego go at some point. She described this “letting go” as “letting the scaffolding drop” at which point the soul is discovered. In another poem of hers she described this moment in these words, “And then a plank in reason broke…” Emily was addressing loss; or, in terms of object-relations theory, the “lost object.”

And of course, this experience does not destroy the ego, it merely humbles it and opens it up to another dimension of life. It gives the ego meaning. But often it does feel like destruction and in spiritual teachings indeed is presented as death.



By Dickinson, Emily


The Props assist the House

Until the House is built

And then the Props withdraw

And adequate, erect,

The House support itself

And cease to recollect

The Augur and the Carpenter –

Just such a retrospect

Hath the perfected Life –

A Past of Plank and Nail

And slowness – then the scaffolds drop

Affirming it a Soul –


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