Kid Cudi’s “Frequency” & the Spiritualized Ego

Question: I hear many people these days talking about elevating one’s frequency. Is this something that you have experienced?

Michael Richardson-Borne: In order to raise one’s frequency, there has to be a concrete figure there whose frequency can actually rise. The story of the separate self can be updated to include the concept of what an elevated frequency is if comparing linguistic objects to those around it. But these sorts of changes are just movements of the mind, still rooted in separation.

In non-separation, the sense of a separate self is annihilated. Although the ego still exists, one’s sense of self is no longer embedded in the experience– the separate self is observed with total non-attachment.

In communities where there is talk of raising one’s frequency, it’s mostly a form of self-congratulation, a way for people to put themselves higher than those around them creating an in-group and an out-group. Even with the so-called achievement of a higher frequency, do you see how there is still a self and an other at play? Do you see how there is still a separate autonomous doer who can achieve something for the self?

When people are attempting to elevate their frequency, it’s just a separate self desire to polish or improve the ego. What these seekers don’t understand is that no matter how high their frequency gets, the root problem still remains unaddressed– an inquiry into the self. This leaves them practicing a form of spiritual materialism leading them in circles to exactly where they started, but now with a way to distract themselves by spiritualizing the ego.

Q: Does having a higher frequency mean the same thing as having a higher consciousness?

MR-B: Consciousness does not get higher or lower, change, or evolve. Consciousness is effortlessly neutral and naturally present.

So, it’s not consciousness that changes, it’s the content of one’s consciousness that appears to have movement. It’s the content of consciousness that we give the labels of higher and lower. Now, based on our stories, there may actually be better and worse, higher and lower decision making possibilities– but all of these decisions are consciousness no matter the outcome. Any meaning that is made from these outcomes is the spontaneous activity of the ego– or better stated, the activity of what is living the ego.

The real question is who is this content changing for? Who is recognizing these movements of consciousness? Can you locate the space between the observer and the observed? If so, can you close the space between the observer and the observed, seeing that they are, in fact, not two?

Many teachers talk about freedom and fullness. Freedom doesn’t change. It’s an unmoving emptiness that encapsulates all that is. Consciousness is a stillness that is always free. Fullness, on the other hand, is the activity of consciousness. The content. It’s in continuous motion and much more sensual and relational in nature.

Seen from separation, both freedom and fullness are happening to an individual. Seen from non-separation, freedom and fullness are two sides of the same coin and the self is being lived as an activity on this very coin as a by-product of both freedom and fullness.

Q: One more question about this. In the video, Kid Cudi seems to equate moving to a higher frequency with using psychedelic mushrooms. What role have psychedelics played in your spiritual journey?

MR-B: Psychedelic usage, in the context of non-separation, tends to happen at the beginning of one’s journey. The experience of things like LSD, mushrooms, DMT, and ayahuasca present new, often somewhat bizarre, possibilities in regards to the content arising in awareness.

The resulting reaction to this content is often extreme elation or shocked horror. Either way, the experience of this content is different enough that it, more often than not, makes an unforgettable impact on people’s lives. There is no denying that these substances can be physically and mentally healing in some ways and can sometimes ignite the seeker’s journey.

That said, ultimately, psychedelics are still part of a spiritual Disneyland, an amusement park experience for the separate self. They are not what Nisargadatta Maharaj calls “the ultimate medicine.” Many people equate psychedelic experiences with spirituality which is, once again, just spiritualizing the ego.

Q: What do you mean by “spiritualized ego?”

MR-B: A spiritualized ego is when a person believes that a certain way of being or a set of specific behaviors equates to spiritual advancement or making one spiritual. The ego, or separate self, becomes decorated with the physical and mental trappings of spirituality.

A spiritualized ego thinks there is spiritual advancement happening when, in essence, it’s only a horizontal translation of what preceded it. The exact same house is being lived in– the only difference is it has been slightly modified.

The spiritualized ego has yet to ask the question: Who is there to be spiritual? Who or what is making the differentiation between spiritual or unspiritual? Once one gets to these questions, a true seeker is born.

Q: So the goal is to kill the ego?

MR-B: Killing the ego is neither possible nor useful. The ego is not the enemy or the other.

The first step for you is to break the exclusive identification with the ego by inquiring into who you are as a pure presence. After what I am pointing to is discovered, the ego will continue on as before– but there will be a distance between its movement and what is aware of this movement.