Free Yourself from the Prison of your Ego: Learn from “Breaking Bad”, S2E10 – OVER

Summary

Skyler convinces Walter to stay home so he can rest up for the big celebration she’s planning (to celebrate Walt’s cancer being in remission).

“Brownie points for taking a nap,” she says.

Her husband appears to be on board with the idea but right after she leaves the house, Walter leaves to meet Jesse in a restaurant.

“You must be so psyched,” Jesse says after he learns of the cancer-remission news, then wonders out loud how long they’ll continue to cook meth.

Walter says he’s out of the business after they unload the remaining inventory of blue crystal.

At the party, Walter thanks everyone for supporting him and his family, and goes on to say, “When I got my cancer diagnosis, I said to myself, you know…’Why me?’ And then the other day when I got the good news…I said the same thing.”

Walter becomes irritated by what he perceives as Hank playing surrogate father to Walter, Jr.  So he makes his son match him as he drinks shots of tequila. Walter, Jr. pukes into the swimming pool. The elder Walter apologizes to his family the next day, says that wasn’t the real him at the party. Then Walter becomes obsessed with home improvement. First he buys and installs a new water heater, then discovers the house foundation has rot (perfect metaphor for what’s happening with Walter’s soul).

So Walter is back at the local hardware store when he spots a man who’s obviously buying supplies to manufacture meth. Walt goes up to the total stranger and chastises him for being so obvious and urges him to buy different items at different stores. He also emphatically tells the guy to stay out of his (Walt’s) territory.

Jesse reverts to using meth after Jane blows him off in front of her father when he comes to visit her at the apartment next to Jesse’s.

Analysis/Comments

Walter’s drug-making ID, Heisenberg, reasserts itself.  Even though he should be ecstatic about the news that his cancer is in remission, Walter struggles with his self-identity in the wake of the good news regarding his health. The phenomenon of pain body applies here. The pain body is a psychic entity that feeds off negative energy. It’s also made up of the accumulated personal and collective painful memories. It’s responsible for the seemingly inexplicable, bizarre and dangerous behavior people engage in. “Drama queens” give into the siren song of their own pain bodies. The pain body loves conflict and feels more alive when its owner is in conflict with other people and with himself.

In this case, the pain body sees that its owner has gotten great news — his cancer is in remission — and therefore it would seem the last thing Walt would need to do is to make more meth because if his cancer isn’t terminal, the whole “I gotta make money fast by selling meth” idea seems obsolete. But if Walter leaves the meth business, that would take much of the drama and stress out of Walter’s life, thereby depriving the pain body of something to feed off of.

Moreover, in addition to the pain body’s need, Walter’s ego-centric view of the world means he’s fixated on the idea he has a narrow, limited, easily-defined self-identity. That means he can’t act spontaneously. He can’t keep an open mind about what to do or say or what kind of opinions he has. He’s got a specific identity that he has to adhere to. Walter was just getting used to being Heisenberg, then the cancer doctor gives him good (but unexpected) news that his cancer is in remission. This upsets the apple cart. How can Walt be Heisenberg if there’s no logical need to keep doing so?

The answer is Walter’s ego-centric view of himself is so strong it overpowers logic and wisdom. The ego looks to the past for clues to define the self. Even if the behavior is unwise, dangerous and dysfunctional, the ego still pushes the idea onto the self. Yes, making meth is unwise and immoral but it’s a known entity, something the ego thrives on.

Likewise, alcoholics who achieve a period sobriety are tempted by their ego and their pain body to relapse. The recovering alcoholic’s freedom from using alcohol threatens the ego’s safe, narrowly defined self-concept. The key is understand what they are and not give into the temptation. And don’t be afraid to get help from others to achieve your goal.

 

 

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Free Yourself From Your Old Self: Learn from “Breaking Bad”, Season 1, Episode 7

This episode, entitled “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type-Deal”, Walter and Jesse meet with Tuco, the psycho drug kingpin, about doing more business with him. Walter hands over a smaller amount of meth than they’d agreed to, which makes Tuco very made. Walter counters with “You like this product and you want more. Consider it a capital investment”.. .

Tuco agrees to loan them money at 25%/week but warns them, “Talk is talk. But owing me money, that’s bad.”

Walter offers, and Tuco accepts, a proposal whereby Walter and Jesse double their production from two pounds to four pounds per week. Jesse balks at the new production level, saying it’ll take two or three hundred boxes of sinus pills to make the quota. Walter says they’ll make their own ingredients. But that entails Jesse going on major shopping adventure, to which Jesse says “I can’t even pronounce half this shit. Count me out.”

Walter gives Jesse a pep talk, says he needs to believe in himself, and Jesse’s in.

Jesse goes on marathon shopping trip. He gets everything on Walter’s list except one key ingredient. Jesse tells Walter that he knows a guy who can get the ingredient but it’ll cost ten grand. Walter proposes they get it themselves. So they use thermite­ – an ingredient that can be extracted from magnetic sketching toys – to blow off a door so they can steal a drum of the ingredient from a local company’s warehouse.

Their plan works. They pull off the heist. But their RV – the mobile meth lab — won’t start the next day. So Walter and Jesse cook in Jesse’s basement. Unfortunately, it turns out Jesse’s real estate agent didn’t get the message about not showing the house that day so there’s an open house that happens during the cook. Walter and Jesse manage to hide what Walter is doing. Eventually Jesse tells his real-estate agent, and everyone within earshot at the open house, that the house is no longer for sale. I love the symbolism oozing from that scene. On the main floor, which represents conventional society, we have folks checking out the house, doing normal, let’s-see-how-good-the-product-for-sale-really-is type stuff. Then in the basement, on the lower, secret level, we have Walter cooking meth, a highly illegal (some would say immoral) activity. Because the perpetrators know what they’re doing is illegal, they have to hide what they’re doing. The key is that in their own minds, Walter and Jesse don’t consider what they’re doing to be wrong. They know it’s illegal and that many people think it’s wrong but they’ve come to grips with what they’re doing. They’re okay with their identities as meth makers and sellers. In other words, their ego has allowed them to forge a new identity and once they accept that identity as legitimate in their own mind, their egos will defend their right to make and sell meth.

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It’s the same with alcoholics and addicts. We know that abusing alcohol/drugs is, in many people’s minds, wrong. We know it’s wrong in many ways but still do it anyway. In the world of substance abusers, what they’re doing, although not accepted by conventional members of society, is deemed okay largely because their egos back anything the person does because that’s how egos operate. They’re a staunch supporter of their “owner” no matter how far the owner strays from the path of righteousness. Think of your ego as Saul the lawyer from “Breaking Bad” magnified a thousand fold.

So the result is there is a discrepancy between the alcoholic’s reputation and their true self. That tension creates stress because the alcoholic, like Walter and Jesse, has to hide their true self from the conventional, law-abiding world. Alcoholics like my wife Amy and I had to hide our true selves from the normal world because we knew our alcoholism wouldn’t be accepted. What Amy and I didn’t realize was that we didn’t have to drink to escape reality. We were trying to escape from something that didn’t truly exist, namely a fixed, static self-identity.

As Eckhart Tolle wrote in “A New World” and “Silence Speaks”, many people mistake the content of their lives – what happens – for their true selves. Your true self is the awareness that sees what happens in your life but it’s different from what happens in your life. There is the observer and there is the events the observer observes. The practicing alcoholic mistakenly thinks that “I drink, therefore I am” but their drinking isn’t who they really are. Who they really are is the awareness that perceives whatever it is they’re doing at any given moment.

It’s the same with Walter. He isn’t truly a meth cook but he’s convinced himself that he is. He acts the way he does because he’s playing a role that he believes he must play. The ultimate, purest form of freedom known to humans is attitude. More specifically, an attitude of acceptance and the realization what you do, and have done, is fundamentally different than who you really are. That realization allows a person who’s abused alcohol or been addicted to drugs, gambling, pornography, violence, negative thinking, or ANY UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIOR, to leave that in the past and live a life free of addiction.

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As I write in chapter seven of my book, “Overcome Any Personal Obstacle, Including Alcoholism, By Understanding Your Ego” — http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/leewriter — the 4th Insight of Enlightenment is transform your weaknesses into strengths.  You do this by accepting the worst things you’ve done (e.g. – drinking to excess) and things you didn’t do but wish you had (e.g. – not help your spouse with a drinking problem), that allows you to stop dwelling on that negative energy from regret and self-doubt and live in the Now. That’s why Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection resonates with Christians. However you do it, for your mental health and peace of mind, it’s essential to separate yourself, your self-identity, from the sins of your past. You can’t live in the Now if your mind is back in the past beating yourself up over your sins. As my best friend David Erickson told me numerous times just after I’d gone on a four or five-day drinking binge, lay your sins at the foot of the cross.

 

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Free Yourself From Yourself: Watch “Breaking Bad”, Season 1, Episode 7

This episode, entitled “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type-Deal”, Walter and Jesse meet with Tuco, the psycho drug kingpin, about doing more business with him. Walter hands over a smaller amount of meth than they’d agreed to, which makes Tuco very made. Walter counters with “You like this product and you want more. Consider it a capital investment”.. .

Tuco agrees to loan them money at 25%/week but warns them, “Talk is talk. But owing me money, that’s bad.”

Walter offers, and Tuco accepts, a proposal whereby Walter and Jesse double their production from two pounds to four pounds per week. Jesse balks at the new production level, saying it’ll take two or three hundred boxes of sinus pills to make the quota. Walter says they’ll make their own ingredients. But that entails Jesse going on major shopping adventure, to which Jesse says “I can’t even pronounce half this shit. Count me out.”

Walter gives Jesse a pep talk, says he needs to believe in himself, and Jesse’s in.

Jesse goes on marathon shopping trip. He gets everything on Walter’s list except one key ingredient. Jesse tells Walter that he knows a guy who can get the ingredient but it’ll cost ten grand. Walter proposes they get it themselves. So they use thermite­ – an ingredient that can be extracted from magnetic sketching toys – to blow off a door so they can steal a drum of the ingredient from a local company’s warehouse.

Their plan works. They pull off the heist. But their RV – the mobile meth lab — won’t start the next day. So Walter and Jesse cook in Jesse’s basement. Unfortunately, it turns out Jesse’s real estate agent didn’t get the message about not showing the house that day so there’s an open house that happens during the cook. Walter and Jesse manage to hide what Walter is doing. Eventually Jesse tells his real-estate agent, and everyone within earshot at the open house, that the house is no longer for sale. I love the symbolism oozing from that scene. On the main floor, which represents conventional society, we have folks checking out the house, doing normal, let’s-see-how-good-the-product-for-sale-really-is type stuff. Then in the basement, on the lower, secret level, we have Walter cooking meth, a highly illegal (some would say immoral) activity. Because the perpetrators know what they’re doing is illegal, they have to hide what they’re doing. The key is that in their own minds, Walter and Jesse don’t consider what they’re doing to be wrong. They know it’s illegal and that many people think it’s wrong but they’ve come to grips with what they’re doing. They’re okay with their identities as meth makers and sellers.

It’s the same with alcoholics and addicts. We know that abusing alcohol/drugs is, in many people’s minds, wrong. We know it’s wrong in many ways but still do it anyway. In the world of substance abusers, what they’re doing, although not accepted by conventional members of society, is deemed okay largely because their egos back anything the person does because that’s how egos operate. They’re a staunch supporter of their “owner” no matter how far the owner strays from the path of righteousness.

So the result is there is a discrepancy between the alcoholic’s reputation and their true self. That tension creates stress because the alcoholic, like Walter and Jesse, has to hide their true self from the conventional, law-abiding world. Alcoholics like my wife Amy and I had to hide our true selves from the normal world because we knew our alcoholism wouldn’t be accepted. What Amy and I didn’t realize was that we didn’t have to drink to escape reality. We were trying to escape from something that didn’t truly exist, namely a fixed, static self-identity.

As Eckhart Tolle wrote in “A New World”

   

 

 

 

 

 

“Silence Speaks”, many people mistake the content of their lives – what happens – or their true selves. Your true self is the awareness that sees what happens in your life but it’s different from what happens in your life. There is the observer and there is the events the observer observes. The practicing alcoholic mistakenly thinks that “I drink, therefore I am” but their drinking isn’t who they really are. Who they really are is the awareness that perceives whatever it is they’re doing at any given moment.

 It’s the same with Walter. He truly isn’t a meth cook but he’s convinced himself that he is. He acts the way he does because he’s playing a role that he believes he must play. The ultimate, purest form of freedom known to humans is attitude. More specifically, an attitude of acceptance and the realization what you do, and have done, is fundamentally different than who you really are. That realization allows a person who’s abused alcohol or been addicted to drugs, gambling, pornography, violence, negative thinking, or ANY UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIOR, to leave that in the past and live a life free of addiction.

 

 

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Free Yourself From Any Addiction by Watching “Breakkng Bad”,Season 1, Episode 7

This episode, entitled “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type-Deal”, Walter and Jesse meet with Tuco, the psycho drug kingpin, about doing more business with him. Walter hands over a smaller amount of meth than they’d agreed to, which makes Tuco very mad. Walter counters with “You like this product and you want more. Consider it a capital investment”.. .

Tuco agrees to loan them money at 25%/week but warns them, “Talk is talk. But owing me money, that’s bad.”

Walter offers, and Tuco accepts, a proposal whereby Walter and Jesse double their production from two pounds to four pounds per week. Jesse balks at the new production level, saying it’ll take two or three hundred boxes of sinus pills to make the quota. Walter says they’ll make their own ingredients. But that entails Jesse going on major shopping adventure, to which Jesse says “I can’t even pronounce half this shit. Count me out.”

Walter gives Jesse a pep talk, says he needs to believe in himself, and Jesse’s in.

Jesse goes on marathon shopping trip. He gets everything on Walter’s list except one key ingredient. Jesse tells Walter that he knows a guy who can get the ingredient but it’ll cost ten grand. Walter proposes they get it themselves. So they use thermite­ – an ingredient that can be extracted from magnetic sketching toys – to blow off a door so they can steal a drum of the ingredient from a local company’s warehouse.

Their plan works. They pull off the heist. But their RV – the mobile meth lab — won’t start the next day. So Walter and Jesse cook in Jesse’s basement. Unfortunately, it turns out Jesse’s real estate agent didn’t get the message about not showing the house that day so there’s an open house that happens during the cook. Walter and Jesse manage to hide what Walter is doing. Eventually Jesse tells his real-estate agent, and everyone within earshot at the open house, that the house is no longer for sale. I love the symbolism oozing from that scene. On the main floor, which represents conventional society, we have folks checking out the house, doing normal, let’s-see-how-good-the-product-for-sale-really-is type stuff. Then in the basement, on the lower, secret level, we have Walter cooking meth, a highly illegal (some would say immoral) activity. Because the perpetrators know what they’re doing is illegal, they have to hide what they’re doing. The key is that in their own minds, Walter and Jesse don’t consider what they’re doing to be wrong. They know it’s illegal and that many people think it’s wrong but they’ve come to grips with what they’re doing. They’re okay with their identities as meth makers and sellers.

It’s the same with alcoholics and addicts. We know that abusing alcohol/drugs is, in many people’s minds, wrong. We know it’s wrong in many ways but still do it anyway. In the world of substance abusers, what they’re doing, although not accepted by conventional members of society, is deemed okay largely because their egos back anything the person does because that’s how egos operate. They’re a staunch supporter of their “owner” no matter how far the owner strays from the path of righteousness.

So the result is there is a discrepancy between the alcoholic’s reputation and their true self. That tension creates stress because the alcoholic, like Walter and Jesse, has to hide their true self from the conventional, law-abiding world. Alcoholics like my wife Amy ealnd I had to hide our true selves from the normal world because we knew our alcoholism wouldn’t be accepted. What Amy and I didn’t realize was that we didn’t have to drink to escape reality. We were trying to escape from something that didn’t truly exist, namely a fixed, static self-identity.

As Eckhart Tolle wrote in “A New World”  and “Silence Speaks”, many people mistake the content of their lives – what happens – or their true selves. Your true self is the awareness that sees what happens in your life but it’s different from what happens in your life. There is the observer and there is the events the observer observes. The practicing alcoholic mistakenly thinks that “I drink, therefore I am” but their drinking isn’t who they really are. Who they really are is the awareness that perceives whatever it is they’re doing at any given moment.

 It’s the same with Walter. He truly isn’t a meth cook but he’s convinced himself that he is. He acts the way he does because he’s playing a role that he believes he must play. The ultimate, purest form of freedom known to humans is attitude. More specifically, an attitude of acceptance and the realization what you do, and have done, is fundamentally different than who you really are. That realization allows a person who’s abused alcohol or been addicted to drugs, gambling, pornography, violence, negative thinking, or ANY UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIOR, to leave that in the past and live a life free of addiction.

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Free Yourself From Not Being Your True Self: Watch “Breaking Bad”, S1E5: GRAY MATTER “

As a refresher, here’s what happens in this episode:

1)     Jesse tries unsuccessfully to get out of drug trade

2)     Walter and Skyler attend birthday for Eliot, Walter’s former business partner at Gray Matter and now a rich man

3)     Walter rejects offer from Eliot’s wife to help him pay for cancer treatment

4)     Family has intervention for Walter in which they urge him to undergo chemotherapy treatments

5)     Walter returns to Jesse and says they need to return to making and selling meth

Again, Walter has a chance to free himself from being a meth cook in order to finance his cancer costs. All he had to do was swallow his pride and accept the gracious offer from Eliot’s wife to pay for the chemotherapy. But once again, Walter thinks he’s on an island, that he can handle every challenge that comes his way. The sin of pride rears its ugly head once more. Walt, thinking he’s an island unto himself, rejects the offer of financial assistance and instead decides to do things his way, which is to earn a lot of money in a short period of time by making and selling meth.

This reminds me of when my wife Amy and I were in the depths of our alcoholic spiral. We very briefly discussed the idea of us going through inpatient rehab. The key word is briefly. The idea was quickly dismissed, not because it didn’t have merit, but because neither of us were ready to address our addiction. That would have required too much work and also admitting we were powerless over alcohol. In other words, it was pride that kept us from seeking out the help of others to assist us in the healing process. Like Walter rejecting Gretchen’s (wife of Eliot) offer to help pay for cancer treatment, Amy and I rejected the idea of letting other people help us when we needed it most.

In the case of Walter, not only did he reject the financial- assistance offer from Eliot and Gretchen, he also turned down Eliot’s job offer. Skyler had told Eliot and Gretchen about her husband’s cancer and after Walter discovered this, he was furious. Not wanting to accept the job because he feared Eliot did only out of pity, Walter again isolates himself by not taking advantage of an offer to help him. Instead of having to cook meth to make money to pay for chemotherapy, Walter could have been earning a nice salary at Gray Matter.

Instead the episode ends with Walter at Jesse’s place saying they should cook more meth. You’ probably heard that “pride goeth before the fall”. “Breaking Bad” and my life are textbook cases.  

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Becoming Truly Free by Learning from “Breaking Bad”, Season 1, Episode 3

Becoming Truly Free by Learning from “Breaking Bad”, Season 1, Episode 3.

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Don’t Wait Until You Die to be in Heaven

Okay, now I will explain and prove the truthfulness of that seemingly outlandish claim. It all starts, and comes down to, how you define the self. If you think the real you is defined by your past behaviors, the laundry list of demographic facts about you (age, physical appearance, occupation, marital status, etc.) and what you do every day, then you’re trapped in a prison of your own making. You see, you’re mistaking what you do with WHO you really are.

The cornerstone of my book, “Overcome Any Personal Obstacle, Including Alcoholism, By Understanding Your Ego” – http://www. Lulu.com/spotlight/leewriter — is that to overcome any addictive, obsessive and dysfunctional behavior, you have to live beyond your ego. The ego is the voice inside your head that tries to convince you that you are separate from everyone and everything else. Because the ego thinks you’re separate, and therefore limited in power and ability, the predominant emotions that fuel the ego’s engine are fear and want. The ego makes a person fear they will lose something – material possession, power, admiration and respect of others, status, their job, and so – or to want something they don’t have – more material possessions, more power/status, more respect from others, a better job, and so on.

So if you buy the ego’s worldview, then you’re in almost constant state of fear or wanting. You don’t appreciate the gifts from God that you have plus you fear you may lose something of value. But human beings weren’t created with this mindset. It’s something that developed over time and has been the predominant worldview for thousands of years. But thankfully, thanks in part to writers like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, there is a spiritual evolution going on. The collective consciousness of the world is evolving, which means more people realize the fundamental falseness of the ego’s arbitrary distinctions between people, places and things. Long standing spiritual practices such as Buddhism and Christianity are based on love of others and belief in a higher power, which is to a power higher than the personal (i.e. – ego-driven) self.

From John, chapter 8, verses 31-32:  So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”   I interpret that to mean if we understand the truth about who we are, that we’re all spiritually connected in one unified body, that realization will set us free to act lovingly, honestly and wisely for the benefit of not only our personal self but for the good of the universe.

There is a Zen Buddhist saying that goes, “No ego? No problem.” The problem with the ego, like Big Tobacco companies, is that they’re both so firmly entrenched and have grown so large and prevalent, that they present a serious challenge to our collective health. But the growing sales of electronic cigarettes prove one need not always back down to a Goliath-type opponent.

It takes a certain amount of creativity and imagination to understand the true nature of the human being. You can’t just accept what you see on the surface of things as being the truth. To comprehend the flowing energy and interconnectedness of everyone and everything also requires a certain amount of faith. Faith is believing in things not directly seen. The ego thrives on easy answers, division, drama, and conflict. Faith and enlightenment are more subtle, deeper and all about compassionate coexisting with and loving others.

Physicists, led by Einstein and Heisenberg, and many others, have proven that beneath the physical facade of external appearances, everything, all matter, is energy. And that all energy everywhere is intimately connected with all other energy systems. The means there is “other”. When we meet another person, we’re really meeting another part of ourselves. This realization of the truth of unity, of God, of the One Life, eliminates fear of others and wanting to get more from them. The enlightened person knows they already have everything they need to be happy in the Now and if they lose something, they’ll either get it back if they truly need it or they won’t, which means they didn’t really need whatever it was anyway.

Contrast that with the ego-driven person. When the ego’s owner encounters another person or situation (or both), the ego says, “How can I benefit from this?” or perhaps, “If there’s a danger to me, what can I do to protect myself?”  That kind of attitude represents the bars of the prison cell most people confine themselves to. But the miracle and joy of life is that this is completely under the power of the individual to change. Attitude and wisdom (knowledge of the truth Jesus spoke about) are the keys that will open the prison cell the ego-dominated person finds themselves in.

As always, it comes down to a personal decision: What’s my attitude going to be not only today but RIGHT NOW, AT THIS VERY MOMENT? I hope and pray you decide to be free of the ego’s lies and limitations.

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