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The E-Word

Ego, Enlightenment & Other Essentials



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About The Book

"An excellent and entertaining look at the issues, challenges, and resolutions that come with the territory of awakening.” —Gary Renard, bestselling author of The Disappearance of the Universe trilogy

A book of liberation and ecstasy, The E-Word lucidly explains how the ego is created, how it thinks, and how its limited mind-set can be expanded—not inflated—into a joyous transpersonal perspective that eradicates feelings of isolation, fear, and insecurity in your life.

Through stories, practices, and a masterful detangling of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the Matrix, and quantum physics, The E-Word strips the ego bare and liberates the soul in highly entertaining, relatable ways, revealing how even self-improvement techniques can chase away the very fulfillment and wisdom we seek. Montana further reveals how the ego co-opts spirituality, dangling enlightenment in front of us as a prize.

Stuffed with electrifying insights and transformative meditations and exercises, The E-Word is the ultimate how-to guide for discovering the “real you” within.


How can we be here and not wonder at the miracle of existence?

It all started when my dog ran away.

Actually, it started a lot earlier than that.

Like most kids, I asked a ton of questions growing up. “Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to go to school? Why can’t I eat ice cream for dinner?” And answers to questions like that were reliably forthcoming.

But answers to the really interesting questions like, “Who am I? Why am I here? What is life? What is God? What is death?” went unanswered. I was told there were no answers to such questions, so it was best not to ask.

Which shut me up temporarily.

But the questions never went away. As I went about living a “normal” life I just lost track of them for a while.

I went to school, got a degree, developed a great career in the (at that time) exclusively male bastion of network sports television, got a dog, made money, got married, bought a house with a swimming pool, and then got divorced and sold the house with the swimming pool.

It was the move from the big house with the big yard in suburbia that did it. What large, self-respecting, half collie, half German shepherd would tolerate a small midtown Atlanta apartment? Apparently not my dog, Merlin. After screaming myself hoarse and plastering his picture on every telephone pole in a two-mile downtown radius, in desperation I finally took a friend’s advice and went to see a psychic.

A rather plump, matronly woman named Virginia assured me Merlin was okay. “He’s all part of the plan, dear,” she said soothingly. “Don’t worry. He’ll be back in”—she closed her eyes briefly—“eleven more days. Now . . . let’s talk about you.”

What about me?

I didn’t care.

But she wouldn’t back off. As often as I tried to lead the conversation back to my dog, she kept bringing it back to me. Apparently I was not doing what I’d come to planet Earth to do. I was fiddling while Rome burned. I needed to clean up my act. I needed to quit smoking and get a handle on the booze. I needed to exercise. I needed to move back to the country (I’d been raised on a farm). I needed to get in touch with my Higher Self.

I needed to meditate.


I paid and left feeling unsettled. I was relieved to hear Merlin would come back. Not that I totally believed it. But the rest? What a load of hooey. And then, after lots more driving around town calling his name, crying, and poster plastering, exactly eleven days later, Merlin came home.

Hmm . . . how the hell did she know?

THAT SIMPLE QUESTION OPENED the floodgates. If she’d been right about my dog, what about the rest of what she’d said? It wasn’t like I was actually happy or anything. Network sports television, while exciting and lucrative, was also stressful and exhausting. I hated living in the city. And drinking and smoking, both of which I did a lot, made me feel like crap.

Why not make a change?

Within a month I’d found a great condo on the Chattahoochee River next door to a state park north of the city. I bought a kayak and started paddling the river. I hiked with Merlin. I danced. I quit smoking and dropped the hard liquor, diving into an exploration of fine wines instead.

And I started meditating.

Why not?

All I had to do was close my eyes, put my hands in a funny position, and look within. I mean, how hard could it be?


OKAY. I GOT IT. A crazy person was at the helm.

A crazy person with a mind that contradicted itself and never shut up and yet had nothing interesting to say. A crazy person who was restless and couldn’t sit still, who felt anxious and nervous over nothing, whose brain couldn’t hold a coherent thought for more than fifteen seconds.

And why bother trying? My most profound thoughts revolved around sex, food, money, and the latest sitcom plot. What was there to hold on to?

So much for self-discovery.

But I persevered. After all, there had to be something in there . . .

And so every night I sat up in bed and looked within for hours (if I could stay awake) watching the yadda yadda in my brain that was, apparently, the sum total of “me.”

Talk about depressing. But then, after about six months, something extraordinary happened.

I’d drifted off to sleep sitting bolt upright (as usual), when suddenly, I was aware of a bright light and high ringing tone all around me. The light got brighter until it was LIGHT. The ringing got louder. The most awesome ocean of LOVE swept through me. I became aware that the light was actually a being.

I woke up, scrabbling around in my blankets trying to get on my knees to bow down to this being. And yet the light still filled my mind and I could still feel the love and hear the ringing. So I cried out to the being, “Who are you?”

And the most enormous, gentle tide of laughter rolled through me—laughter that was infinitely loving and very familiar. “You’ll know someday,” came the answer. Not in words. And yet the understanding was crystal clear in my mind.

Then gradually the light and the ringing presence and the love died away. And I was left, once again, with questions.

About The Author

Photograph by Barbra Kates

Cate Montana has a master’s degree in Humanistic Psychology, is an author, screenwriter and, most of all, an intrepid explorer of inner space. A former editor with the film What the Bleep Do We Know!?, her writing focuses on self-realization and the physics of consciousness as well as a global reawakening to feminine heart values and sustainable lifestyles. Author of the memoir Unearthing Venus: My Search For the Woman Within and coauthor of The Heart of the Matter—A Simple Guide To Discovering Gifts in Strange Wrapping Paper with Dr. Darren Weissman, she lives in the Pacific Northwest. For now.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria/Enliven Books (January 17, 2017)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501123535

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Raves and Reviews

"An excellent and entertaining look at the issues, challenges, and resolutions that come with the territory of awakening, Cate Montana exposes the workings of the ego and what to do about it. I highly recommend this important book to all students of spirituality. It will speed you on your path by helping you to undo the blocks and illusions that have been holding you back."

– Gary Renard, bestselling author of The Disappearance of the Universe trilogy

"The experience of being fully human is our birthright, yet is too rarely attained. Sadly, few even get to savor thinking deeply about this tremendous human potential. Most are shut out by the steep learning curve required to master the esoteric ideas that are its currency. Cate Montana has accomplished something quite rare: she makes the depths of consciousness, existence and enlightenment readily accessible, without cheapening the profound pay-off that comes with living there."

– Chris Aanstoos, PhD, professor of Psychology, University of West Georgia

"With wit and eloquence, Cate Montana exposes the ego's masquerading effort to convince us we are made in its image and likeness. With equal skill she holds before us the essence of our true nature—creative, free, and whole."

– Michael Bernard Beckwith, author of Spiritual Liberation

"That which used to call itself Cate Montana dissolved into nothingness. Then she returned to tell the tale in The E-Word. Delightful, compelling, and profound."

– Dean Radin PhD, Chief Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences and author The Conscious Universe, Entangled Minds, and Supernormal.

The E-Word is brilliant, fast, fun, and straight from the hip, all at the same time answering life’s eternal question, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’ Page after page my heart went ‘Aha!’ and then I’d snort with a sudden burst of laughter. I love this book. Very clear and on target!”

– Dr. Darren Weissman, author The Heart of the Matter and creator of the LifeLine Technique®

“Cate Montana’s The E-Word is like nothing I’ve ever read before. A radical and inspiring guide on how to get clear about the ego and get on with what matters, this book goes where most don’t, won’t or can’t go. If you’re really ready to shed the last layers of your identity onion and step into your true self, living life in a meaningful and profound way, this book will get you there.”

– Betsy Chasse, author Tipping Sacred Cows and co-creator What the Bleep Do We Know!?

“Cate Montana has given us the gift of a touching personal story of her own life unfolding like a flower. Our own lives are nourished in reading it.”

– Allan Combs, PhD., author of Synchronicity: In the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster, Dir. California Institute of Integral Studies

“The missing manual for our messy lives, Cate Montana writes about the ego from deeply lived experience and with truckloads of heart and good humor. The E-Word is a book I will keep on my nightstand for a long time.”

– John Tintera, Executive Director,

“After more than 20 years of spiritual searching, Cate Montana found her keys to becoming a transpersonal Integrated Adult Human. Her message, both simple and difficult, is to become like the God of Genesis who, when asked who He was, said ‘I am that I am.’ Her experiences and advice, told in delightful and innovative prose, can only help to expand and possibly simplify your awareness of the complexity that is You.”

– Bernard Beitman, M.D., former chair of the University of Missouri-Columbia department of psychiatry.

“Cate Montana takes you on a journey to understand how you get in your own way and what you can do about it! Her humor and practical advice is a testament to the balance of action and allowing required for the freedom we seek.”

– Marga Odahowski, author of The Way of the Hammock

"Cate Montana's book The E-Word says it all. I have learned, as she has, that the quiet mind is the essence of it all. The practical, mystical and spiritual truths can all be known to us. Let Cate's book guide you through the unknown to the truth."

– Dr. Bernie Siegel

"Cate Montana’s The E-Word is a clever, inspiring handbook for navigating the ego, including all the nitty-gritty twists and turns it can take us on when we start to examine it. Cate’s personal story is intriguing, and she packs the book with useful meditations, practices, and exercises designed to give the reader a real experience of their own. The truths Cate shares here are truly illuminating, including a discussion about why enlightenment isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be—but perhaps not for the reasons you might expect."

– Katy Koontz, editor of Unity Magazine

"The physicist Niels Bohr used to say, if you are not confused by quantum physics, you can't possibly understand it. Enlightenment is a similar subject and the comment is even more true for that subject. Read this book; it will confuse you and that is good. This is the highest compliment I can bestow on the author."

– Amit Goswami, author of The Self-Aware Universe, Quantum Creativity, and Quantum Economics

"Cate Montana is a fierce seeker of the truth. Her dedication to her meditation practice is profound. She shares her journey and offers practical tools for the reader throughout this humorous, compassionate, and wise gem of a book."

– Diana Winston, director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA and author of Fully Present

"An extraordinary journey of awakening, Cate Montana's insights into the ego, reflections on enlightenment and delightful humor make this a joy to read, and then read again."

– William Arntz, creator of What the BLEEP Do We Know!?

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