The primary focus for successful system is to break the ego structures that hold us in slavery, and only when that is achieved can we be truely free. So the most important methods of system busting are all to do with challenging identity rather than directly challenging social systems. Here are some of the best methods for challenging identity:
This is the inner investigative process by which we look for our personal identity in all aspects of our lives and consciousness. We ask "Who am I?" or "What am I?" every time the "I" arises. This is not an intellectual exercise, although it probably will be at first. What the questioning does is take us to an experiential place where we realize that there is no "I" — that it is all an illusion. And when we realize there is no "I", then we naturally let go of all those mental activities that covertly support the "I" — we see through the charade of the ego, the charade that keeps us in chains. This investigation takes genuine focus and commitment, so very few are able to come to full realization. It is all too easy to stop at an intellectual understanding of self-enquiry, and or have partial realization before declaring ourselves awake and then perhaps become a teacher. To go all the way requires making self-enquiry the focus of our lives, because we realize that it is the most important question we can ask. (The greatest proponents of Self-Inquiry were the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi and those he inspired including Nisargadatta Maharaj and Shri HWL Poonja.)
The act of silently watching with open acceptance all the processes going on inside and outside. This open acceptance means that we are not trying to manipulate reality — we are not trying to be more spiritual, more peaceful, more relaxed or more empty. All we are doing is passively watching and letting everything be as it is without trying to alter or manipulate any of it. This may seem like a recipe for stuckness, for remaining in the cage, but paradoxically, by accepting All-That-Is, we actually free ourselves from the habit of identification with the illusory self that thinks it can control or alter experience. It is this little self that keeps us in chains. This awareness meditation can also be anchored on sounds like drumming, mantras and music, but it will only be effective if it is not goal-oriented. This method is closely linked with the first.
These include ayahausca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote, DMT and LSD. When taken intelligently and respectfully, these psychotropics can illuminate the contrived nature of ourselves and the limitations of our worldviews, giving us a full-blown experience of life beyond the confines of our conceptual selves. Sometimes that experience is enough to shift us permanently, but usually we scramble to rebuild the self after our trip, although the self we rebuild is usually a little more expansive. This is why people who have experience with psychotropic drugs are usually more open-minded than those who have not. Psychotropic drugs can therefore be powerful tools to awakening when used wisely. And before you disparage drug taking as the easy path, please note well that there is nothing remotely fun or easy about, say, an ayahausca or an ibogaine session. Taking these sorts of drug can be like having a thousand therapy sessions in a single night. In fact, so powerful is ibogaine, for example, that a single trip is known to permanently cure heroin addiction in many addicts. Psythotropic drugs are best taken in an environment where they are legal and in the presence of an experienced shaman. (South America is a good place to go.)
Each of us plays a part in someone else's world. Social interaction is largely mutual validation of reality maps. So when we change, other people consciously or unconsciously resist that change (it is a natural human tendency to resist change). They do this because they are trying to maintain an identity that is actually dependent upon us behaving and thinking a certain way. So we have the classic situation, for example, whereby friends and family will often resist the healing of a sick person, especially if that person has been sick for an extended period of time. Isolation from other people or other groups of people (especially the family) is therefore important for breaking free, and this includes online connects and groups. And unfortunately when we do manage to break free from the influence of a group and change our core belief systems, we soon find ourselves disowned by the group and replaced with another "individual" willing to play our former role in maintaining the status quo. So feelings of aloneness are common for those who have are breaking and who have broken through. However, aloneness is not necessarily loneliness.
When we are free our energetic nature changes dramatically, and we can have a direct effect on those we interact with. If we are lucky enough to find teachers who are truly awake, just being in their presence can help awaken us too. The problem is that most teachers are not awake, and we are just confusing their charisma with awakening. Such teachers will coopt us into validating their "awakened" egos, just as we coopt them into validating our supplicatory egos, opening ourselves up to being willingly used. After all, most of us love to submit to authority because we have never matured. These spiritual master-pupil ego systems are very difficult to detect because the ego is masquerading as non-ego or emptiness, and we can spend our lives fruitlessly trapped in the guru game. But if we are lucky enough to come across a truely awakened teacher — a teacher who has no interest in controlling, using or manipulating us — the freedom that he or she exudes can break open our own cages, freeing us from the tyranny of identity.
Extreme Physical Practices
Certain types of yoga and other energy exercises take so much focus that we no longer have the energy to support a conceptual self. Some who have undertaken extreme spiritual exercise for many years have reported waking up from the dream of identity. This route is less certain as it is also very easy for exercise systems just to end up giving us a yogic identity. That is why the intensity of practice if we follow this route is so important. Without intensity, without a real fire of committment, we will not be able to shake the foundations of our conceptual self.
Life itself is a powerful awakener. Whether it be through illness or frailty in old age, the ego domain is always crumbling, and we spend our lives trying to shore up the inevitable demise of the self. But to do so is an incredible opportunity lost. Let go to life … let life take us where it will even if that means smashing us on the rocks of disappointment, loss and failure. For most of us, the ego needs smashing as we hold on to it so tightly. When we hit rock bottom, when all seems lost, we come to know what is actually real and indestructible in us. Find it … or rather, let it find you. Never resist the capricious nature of All-That-Is.