Ego (False self) -
The Illusion of Separation
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to. As you listen more and more to the teachings, contemplate them, and integrate them into your life, your inner voice, your innate wisdom of discernment, what we call in Buddhism “discriminating awareness,” is awakened and strengthened, and you begin to distinguish between its guidance and the various clamorous and enthralling voices of ego. The memory of your real nature, with all its splendor and confidence, begins to return to you.
You will find, in fact, that you have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide, and as the voice of your wise guide, or discriminating awareness, grows stronger and clearer, you will start to distinguish between its truth and the various deceptions of the ego, and you will be able to listen to it with discernment and confidence.
Do you know people who:
- desperately try to get or buy something, only to be disappointed and bored when they finally do get it!
- feel other people are to blame for their suffering? - like a victim? - they constantly talk about their past suffering? like a broken record (but do nothing about resolving the issues)
- use guilt trips, emotional blackmail, threats & ultimatums to get what they want?
- think they are the best, (arrogant, vain) and feel other people should treat them with respect?
- know our vulnerabilities and push our buttons?
- crave attention? - through intimidating (bullying) / interogating / being a victim, or being aloof?
- seek approval? and they only like people who praise and agree with them ? (Narcissistic Leader)
- are often unhappy? feeling restless, agitated, distracted, unconscious, dissatisfied?
- regularly have the following mental states: envy, jealousy, greed, desire, lust, hatred, anger, pride, self centredness?
- often say,'what's in it for me?'
- talk about 'me, me, me', or 'I, I, I'
or maybe you are like this, sometimes ?
This is most often the false self - the negative ego talking!!
"Every single negative thing we have ever thought or done has ultimately arisen from our grasping at a false self, and our cherishing of that false self, making it the dearest and most important element in our lives. All those negative thoughts, emotions, desires, and actions that are the cause of our negative karma are engendered by self-grasping and self-cherishing. They are the dark, powerful magnet that attracts to us, life after life, every obstacle, every misfortune, every anguish, every disaster, and so they are the root cause of all the sufferings of samsara." Sogyal Rinpoche
Ego is the absence of true knowledge of who we really are, together with its result: a doomed clutching on, at all costs, to a cobbled together and makeshift image of ourselves, an inevitably chameleon charlatan self that keeps changing, and has to, to keep alive the fiction of its existence.
In Tibetan, ego is called dakdzin , which means “grasping to a self.” Ego is then defined as incessant movements of grasping at a delusory notion of “I” and “mine,” self and other, and all the concepts, ideas, desires, and activities that will sustain that false construction.
Such grasping is futile from the start and condemned to frustration, for there is no basis or truth in it, and what we are grasping at is by its very nature ungraspable. The fact that we need to grasp at all and to go on grasping shows that in the depths of our being we know that the self doesn’t inherently exist. From this secret, unnerving knowledge spring all our fundamental insecurities and fears. Sogyal Rinpoche
Identifying the ego
This enemy that we have inside us is not our self; it's not our personality. It's only a temptation, This is the seed of the problem ego. We confuse our personality with sin; we marry these two things, and we have a wrong impression of who we are.' Archimadrite Dionysios
The negative ego is that part of ourselves which operates solely out of selfishness, isolation, fear, and fragmentation, as well as embracing the entire gamut of lower impulses, tendencies and expressions. It is often the place from which the inner child is operating, without proper parenting. It basically functions from the level of the subconscious." Dr Joshua David Stone
Ego - this is your self image; social mask that wants approval and power. Your ego feels better when you have a nice fast ferrari, a penthouse suite, expensive designer clothes and a 2gm a day coke habit. But it is annoyed, anxious or frustrated when it doesn't get what it wants.
Ego gives you the sense of individuality, false separation from others, makes you want to conquer all and tread on all those in your way
Ego is about finding happiness by looking outside self - craving external power - object referal. Using objects such as fast cars and a few fat lines of charlie to bring happiness (or distract us from the true source of pain/ anxiety, disatisfaction)
The ego projects power and meaning onto external things, that truly have no or little intrinsic power/ meaning / existence.
Ego - puts labels on things - prejudice. It is tougher to look beneath the labels, categories. It's on the inside that counts.
eg. we project happiness onto prospective partners - we think when we find the perfect partner we will be happy forever! This is not true! When they don't reach our expectations of the perfect partner we are unhappy! The key is to be realistic and realize a good relationships requires patience, perserverence, trust communication etc.
eg. We think when we have reached the american dream we will be content. This is not the whole truth. Of course house, car, job & money bring some temporary happiness, but this is not true long lasting happiness - which is more based on attitude / behaviour, ( compassion, contentment, education, ethics) and paradigm (wisdom, clarity, understanding, acceptance).
'Happiness is not the absence of problems but dealing with problems'
Happiness is not out there, 'when I have acheived this and that'. Happiness is available here now!
Ego is an addict always wanting more, constantly seeking approval of others, competiting for energy, craving for power and control. The ego is the one that wants to be right all the time and have the last word.
Ego is attached to the outcome - What's it for me? - selfish craving - me vs them. The spiritual person does his/ her best, in service to God /True Self - but is detached from the outcome. Positive Intention is important.
'Quite often I found that when I got what I wanted (or rather what my ego wanted) I was happy for a short while. However this happiness would soon go away as soon the ego sees something newer and better to get. ' Greg
Ego power is false power because power goes with the object
eg. false power goes with the position/ title (director etc.). As soon as cars, luxury goods,status, jobs, partners are gone we lose your power. Because we were relying on those external objects for energy, when they are gone, (and they will be gone or change), we may become depressed / unhappy - and probably turn to other ego stimulating substances - to distract yourself.
Ego - does not want to be humiliated or lose face!
Ego - will be nasty if needs be, to get its way and not lose face.
Ego - wants to be right, and blame others
Ego - blames others to cover its own inadequacies.
Ego - wants to provoke
Ego's - do things to be first, to be the best, or because everyone else is doing it (sheep) or not doing it (rebel).
eg. A friend of mine was upset and resentful, full of hatred when his girlfriend left him - making him look like a fool - especially because he invested so much into the relationship and they had a joint mortgage.
I am not saying don't share and help your friends & partners - but do it without expectation of return (ie. respect, results, favours, sex etc.) - be detached from the outcome.
These needs are fear based - not powers of true self.
If you have no fear there is no need to struggle - you can have an instant connection to peace and happiness.
The negative ego wants to get its own way - it is self centred. It wants to survive and protects it's self image. So the ego will use any of the following techniques to get its way:
The ego self will:
- be self centred
- want control
- want respect
- inflict pain
- cause fear
- cause guilt
- cause disharmony
- cause mischief
- want to be the best
- want to be approved
- be loud
- be moody
- be centre of attention
- use the past
This is all done to boost up self image (social mask), and to increase feeling of self importance, & self superiority.
This is where many people live from (experience life & perceive life experiences) - the negative ego!
Often we don't respond to others - we react from our ego's!
Ego & Personality
G.I. GURDJIEFF'S THEORY OF THE "ESSENCE" AND THE "PERSONALITY"
If we honestly and sincerely follow a balanced approach to self-study, we are likely to make a discovery. Each person fundamentally is made up of two parts: personality and essence. Personality is the mask that you wear in daily life. It's the way you appear to others, and it includes your mannerisms, your likes and dislikes. Personality is the product of imitation. From the moment you were born and began to observe the world around you, personality began to take shape. You learned from your parents, television, and teachers, just to name a few of the most likely influences.
Over time your personality took on a particular set of qualities that are unique to you. However one characteristic of personality is the same for everyone: the habitual, involuntary way in which it operates. Personality runs on automatic pilot; it reacts to life situations in very predictable ways. For example, think of someone you know very well, perhaps a spouse or child. You can probably imagine a specific kind of problem situation for which you are sure you know how that person will react. You've seen the habitual attitude, emotion, or behavior so often in that sort of circumstance that you are positive it would happen the same way again. And, so long as that person is operating from the level of his or her personality, you're right¾ the routine response is predictable." .....
"Personality is not inherently good or bad. Some of the strong habit patterns we have developed are nice, and others aren't so nice. What characterizes personality is the way it operates rather unconsciously. Humanity in its normal waking consciousness is in a kind of sleep state relative to genuine spiritual consciousness. In other words, we move through physical life sixteen or eighteen hours a day erroneously believing that we are self-conscious beings. We imagine that we frequently make free-willed choices; but the truth of the matter is just the opposite. We usually operate as a personality self and merely react unconsciously to the demands of life."
" However it's probably necessary to have a personality to function in the world, simply because we need to be able to do certain things automatically. Driving a car, washing the dishes, or tying your shoes would be laborious if you had to make every movement with full consciousness. The personality side of our being isn't necessarily bad or wrong; it has an important role to play if it is used properly. The key to using it properly is getting in touch with our essence. "
"This forgotten part of ourselves is our spiritual core. Many labels can be used -- Higher Self, Real I, or Higher Ego -- but the word essence nicely captures its core meaning, the essential self. To get a better feeling for this side of ourselves, let's look at five of its qualities. They're simple to remember because each one ends with the letters i-t-y: unity, continuity, sensitivity, creativity, and activity."
"Whereas the personality is caught up in routine and habit, the essence is original and inventive. It sees life with fresh eyes and creates new responses to old difficulties. It is imaginative and able to perceive novel approaches to life. Inspired individuals bring the qualities of the infinite down into individual, finite expression."
(for the more on this article see the personality page)
Feeding the Ego
When we identify with the ego, we never have enough, and crave energy which we unconsciously steal from others (unfortunately, often from the ones we care about most)
"People are only intent on feeding the ego. They never think of knowing the Self. To know the Self, one should starve the ego. But unfortunately, most people cannot starve the ego. Instead, they cling to it, ever increasingly. The predominant tendency in human beings is to attract as much attention as possible. They want to be praised and recognized, believing that it is their birthright. This is all food for the ego which thrives on attention. How are you going to know the Self if your ego is constantly craving attention?"
Ego plays brilliantly on our fundamental fear of losing control, and of the unknown.
We might say to ourselves: “I should really let go of ego, I’m in such pain; but if I do, what’s going to happen to me?”
Ego will chime in sweetly: “I know I’m sometimes a nuisance, and believe me, I quite understand if you want me to leave. But is that really what you want? Think: If I do go, what’s going to happen to you? Who’ll look after you? Who will protect and care for you like I’ve done all these years?”
Even if we see through the lies of the ego, we are just too scared to abandon it; for without any true knowledge of the nature of our mind, or true identity, we simply have no other alternative. Again and again we cave in to ego’s demands with the same sad self-hatred as the alcoholic feels reaching for the drink that he knows is destroying him, or the drug addict feels groping for the drug that she knows after a brief high will only leave her flat and desperate. Sogyal Rinpoche
"To try to fill your emptiness with meaning from outside yourself is like pouring water into the ocean to make it wet. "
The ego is a tool to be used. The ego is not meant to rule our lives!!!
The ego, like the dragon above,
" has a double identity, it is like fire itself that can be useful or harmful. It is positive if it is in its place, the kitchen, in a lit candle...but it is destructive if that fire goes out of its place and burns the house, starting a fire." Ernesto Baron
'A dog wags its tail - the tail does not wag the dog. The same is true with the mind. The mind or the ego, should be nothing more than a useful tool - don't let yourself be ruled by whims and fancies of the mind'. Amma, from Awaken, Childen
Be a master of ego, instead of slave of ego craving, temptation, lower impulses, desires etc.
The problem is not the ego mask itself, but our clinging and attachment to it. Our attachment to our social mask (persona) is the obstacle.
'The ego is an illusion with no existence of its own. It appears to be real because of the power it derives from Self.' Amma
When we accept ourselves as we are, we feel free, empowered and at peace.
Lifetimes of ignorance have brought us to identify the whole of our being with ego. Its greatest triumph is to inveigle us into believing its best interests are our best interests, and even into identifying our very survival with its own. This is a savage irony, considering that ego and its grasping are at the root of all our suffering.
Yet, ego is so terribly convincing, and we have been its dupe for so long, that the thought that we might ever become egoless terrifies us. To be egoless, ego whispers to us, is to lose all the rich romance of being human, to be reduced to a colorless robot or a brain-dead vegetable. Sogyal Rinpoche
Starving the Ego
To know the True Self, one should starve the ego
Many yoga techniques / paths to enlightenment help to control and dissolve ego.
"An ordinary devotee wants to keep his ego, whereas a true devotee wants to die to his ego so that he can live in consciousness or in pure innocent love. Dying to the ego makes you immortal. Death of the ego leads you to deathlessness. When the ego dies you live eternally in bliss'
Amma, from Awaken, Childen
'Stop supporting the ego, and it will withdraw and disappear' Amma
'God = Man minus Ego'
E - Edging
G - God
O - Out
Ego path is the easy path
It is easier - to judge others, condemn others & label others - so that we don;t have to waste our time on them.
It is easier to be like a child, mischievous, to laugh at other people's expense & misery.
It is easier to dramatize, intimidate, bully, take the mickey out of...It protects our true innermost feelings. It protects us from rejection, exclusion.
In modern society it formed through family, peer's, society, TV.
It is tougher to be real, genuine, open, accepting, understanding.
Excerpt by Maitreya Ishwara:
'Your ego is illusory in the sense that it is identification of consciousness with a body/mind/soul. But it is also a psychic knot with a connection to your physical body. It helps to understand the ego, it has a bad reputation and is generally misunderstood.
The positive and necessary aspect of your ego is the protector and organiser.
It is programmed by Source to take care of your needs and try to get the best for you. It is necessary for unconscious people who are not evolved enough for surrender, it creates a certain order to society with personal responsibility and accountability. Without these concepts unconscious people are too unruly and society is a mess.
The negative aspects are well documented; separation, greed, violence, hatred, anger, fear, pride and all negative emotions.
Violence is the most dangerous to others and is an abomination. Hatred and the other aspects hurt the person who feels them more than those they are directed against. Gradually as your soul evolves over many lives the ego becomes more refined and seeks political, artistic, creative and intellectual expression.'
One life you become a seeker of truth and the guru tells you the ego is the illusory barrier to freedom. You try to get rid of it by denial and repression. You cultivate a pious, holy, serious ego that says, 'I am sat-chit-anand'. Truth, consciousness, bliss.
Still your repressed ego always rears its ugly head and exposes your hypocrisy. Finally you meet a master who understands the tricks of the ego and you become an authentic seeker. You drop all spiritual ideals and face yourself naked, as you are. You bring the light of awareness into the darkness of your repressed ego and the real work starts.
Stage 1 examines, releases and purifies the negative aspects of your ego and develops the positive aspects of creativity and responsibility.
Stage 2 is the big change. Now your ego is creative, flexible and responsible, it has reached the peak of its potential. It is time to let it go and surrender control to Source. For this you need to feel trust that Source will manage in place of your ego.
That is the main purpose of this book (God's Vision). When you feel that Source is willing and able to take care of your real needs and growth, this is the big change. It is a day of celebration.
Now the real spiritual work starts. You let go and allow the energy of the moment to move you where and how it wants. Now everything is simple, whatever happens is an opportunity to say Yes.
Difficulties are faced with the understanding that they are necessary for your growth. Whatever happens is embraced as a gift from Source to help you complete your karma and grow in awareness, love and playfulness.
Finally surrender bears fruit and the psychic knot of your ego separates from your body. This is often experienced as a very strong jerk in the belly, followed by ecstasy as you enter the Self, the fifth body of God.
The Being or Self is universal, there is no personal enlightenment, that is another ego trip. The Being is already there waiting for you to enter. It can ONLY be discovered. No belief, conviction, remembering or hypnosis can dissolve your ego and open the door to the Self. In fact all belief is a barrier. When you say, 'I am That' before your ego has gone, that 'I' is your ego disguised as That. This is the great misfortune that has caught some people.'
Extract from 'New Dawn - God;s Vision' by Maitreya Ishwara (www.ishwara.com)
Truth Hurts - Defensiveness
Sometimes when we see too much truth about ourselves suddenly mirrored in front of us by the teacher or the teachings, it is simply too difficult to face, too terrifying to recognize, too painful to accept as the reality about ourselves. We deny and reject it, in an absurd and desperate attempt to defend ourselves fromourselves,from the truth of who we really are. And when there are things too powerful or too difficult to accept about ourselves, we project them onto the world around us, usually onto those who help us and love us the most—our teacher, the teachings, our parent, or our closest friend.
How can we possibly penetrate the tough shield of this defensive system? The very best solution is when we can recognize ourselves that we are living duped by our own delusions. I have seen how for many people a glimpse of the truth, the true View, can bring the whole fantastic construction of wrong views, fabricated by ignorance, tumbling instantly to the ground.
Cleansing the Ego
Just by being aware of ego, focusing your attention on it, you begin to cleanse it.
The key is to turn inwards. Focus on the mechanism of the ego. And take control of the ego, using it for positive means. ie. creatively.
Be a master of ego, instead of slave of ego.
The ego is stimulated & distracted through the senses. We see, hear, smell etc. something - and associations and memories pop up. This is normal. However the problem starts when we lose our selves in our thoughts, associations, memories etc. When this happens we close our minds, become absorbed, and don't focus on what is around us, in the present moment.
The ego often resides in the analytical, critical mind and often focuses on past (regrets, remorse) or on the future (worries, anticipation, one day...). Ego closes our mind down, it is self centred. Notice it. When we get defensive, aggressive or judgmental we focus on only one perspective (our own perspective) and we don't see the other perspectives.
When we notice our ego, hear what it is saying and then let go, we become more open and less prone to losing or stealing energy through arguing,confronting, interrogating, teasing, being intimidating, being addicted to something external, being aloof, being a victim.
It is often said, 'don't take it personally', 'don't justify', 'be independent of the good opinions of others'.
Now, with right understanding, we can let go of our ego clinging, and accept / surrender to the natural rhythm & flow of Life / God / Nature / Tao - which is within all of nature as well as in us (we are inextricably linked with nature)
Life is here now. True self is spacious, open , accepting, forgiving, unconditionally loving.
So the Key is to have Inner Power - Acceptance of what truly is!
Experience of self - self referal - looking inwards for happiness - meditation is a start
I now see my ego as a separate entity to my true self. I simply observe and witness my ego, see how it works and what it craves.
Don't give your ego what it wants and you will be happier in the long run - delayed gratification - you will truly feel empowered when you know you haven't given into ego desires, impulses.
- Be a master of your ego, not it's slave
- Be detached from ego desires, but notice them, ask where they come from, whats the intention?
- Watch your ego, dissolving day by the day, but also hiding and transforming - the ego hides because it wants to survive.
Ego is the world of the material, the world of fear
Spirit is the world of unconditional love and where dreams come true
Happiness is within - not out there
People often link their happiness to accumulation of external objects and the happiness of others.
'I'm happy when you are happy'
This is a sure fire way not to achieve long term happiness. On the surface it sounds good and worthy however on deeper inspection one sees that this leads to a vicious circle - especially as a couple are both like this.
eg. My Grandma will only be happy when, her daughter, my Mum is happy. My Mum is only happy when grandma will be happy. So neither of them are 100% happy. Vicious Circle!
They would say something like it's mother's love however true love is unconditional love and not emotional attachment - both parties are looking externally for happiness - ego.
True love is about acceptance, understanding, loving kindness, unconditional love.
The solution here is for Mum or Grandma to stop worrying about each other and develop inner happiness and bliss. Once at least one of them is happy then both should become happier.
The trick is to be happy with yourself first, by becoming aware of and dissolving ego, and then projecting your happiness; by helping, trusting, understanding, accepting and loving others!
"We must use things and love people, not love things and use people"
Truly Fearless or Fearless Facarde
I feel there needs to be a distinction made between someone who appears fearless and someone how has truly conquered / understood / overcome fear
Some people may come across as fearless - they act like they don't care what people think and do what they want. However I feel this could be a social mask - the arrogant fearful ego talking - always searching approval. Acting cool and centred but inside - brewing boiling (in my experience Leo's are prone to this)
Whereas I see someone with true spirit as someone who is independant of the good opinion of others, judges no-one, has respect for self and others, sees himself as neither above nor below anybody, is humble, sees divine in all, has inner peace, feels a bond of love with everyone, and does not need to prove anything to anyone.
"The really egoless person is not humble at all. He is neither arrogant nor humble; he is simply himself." -Osho
People who help others can actually have big ego's - Victims & Negative Martyr's
' Poor me' is the name given by James Redfield in the Celstine Prophecy to a control drama - a role that people play in order to get attention from others through acting like a victim or negative martytr.
'Poor Me' victims do everything for everyone - they go out of there way to keep others happy. They see themselves without ego. But in fact they expect gratitude, rewards and praise.
Poor me's are the first to tell you how tired they are. In fact poor me's try and get energy from you by getting attention. They also and make one feel guilty and responsible for there own troubles.
Poor me victims do actually have an ego. Their happiness depends on the happiness of others -external.
A lot of children demonstrate Poor Me control dramas - they start crying when they don't get what they want - stop crying instantly when get what want.
Poor me's tend to have an intimidator side to them as well - so from going, ' I'm so tired, I do everything, nobody cares' they often flip and start shouting and breaking things.
So poor me's are looking for attention to fill their ego.
Poor me's also tend to be victims
In Dr Joshua Stones book, 'How to dissolve the negative ego' he talks of the Martyr archetype (or control drama). The negative aspect (of the martyr role) sacrifices as a means of manipulation and control. Martyrs often do it as a kind of guilt trip saying, 'I did this for you and what will you do for me?'
True service for others is the positive Martyr role:
- serving others without expectation of reward
- not taking praise personally - knowing that all comes from God and returns to God - God is the only Doer
- trust in true self, faith in infinite power
- detached from own ego temptations
Self Empowerment / Dissolving Ego
The ego says -
What's In it for Me? or You do it!
How can I help you? or Let's do it!
- feel beneath no-one - we are all part of one big human family - equal, same spirit in different disguises - see divine in all
- enjoy a bond with people, a bond of Love, true understanding, equality, respect, presence.
- lose fears - understand why you have fear of losing control / approval / power
- meditate - experience silence, notice the gaps in between thoughts. Be one with the silent witness
- be independant of the good opinion of others
- practise non - judgement regularly - 'Today I shall judge nothing'
- commune with nature - see the beauty, feel the knowledge and creativity flowing
- be aware of your archetypes, rays, control dramas, star signs
Once you have self power - people and objects will be drawn to you - this is a natural law and law of manifestation
So the funny thing is - if you desire material objects and worthwhile love and friends - lose your ego first - don't look for external objects to solve your internal problems (eg. drugs) - once your ego is gone your wildest desires will manifest with effortless ease.
Integration. Becoming A Whole 'Fully human' Being
"Fully human"people are "their own persons," that they do not bend to every wind which blows, that they are not at the mercy of all pettiness, the meanness, the impatience and anger of others. Atmospheres do not transform them as much as they transform atmospheres.
The fully human person preserves a balance between "interiority" and "exteriority". Both the extreme introvert and the extreme extrovert are off balance.
Introverts are almost exclusively concerned with themselves; they become the center of gravity in their own universe.
Extreme extroverts, on the other hand, pour themselves out, move from one external distraction to another.
"Interiority"implies exploration and experience of self...
"Interiority" implies self acceptance. Fully human people not only are aware of physical, psychological, and spiritual hungers and activities, but also accept them as good.
"Exteriority" reaches its peak in the ability to "give love freely" Dr Karl Stern, a psychiatrist of deep insight, has said that the evolution of human growth is an evolution from the absolute need to be loved (infancy) toward full readiness to give love (maturity), with all sorts of stages in between.....
Dr Stern Said, " In our primary state of union (at the beginning of our growth as persons) we are selfish, and I am of course, not using the word in its usual moral connotation. The infantile self is still id (Freud's term for our drives and ambitions) without differentiation of ego (that which, in the Freudian system, adapts and harmonizes personal drives with reality); the id of the infantile self is all-engulfing without proper awareness of its own borders. The acts of union of the mature personality are self-less" Insitute of Man Symposium on Neurosis and Personal Growth, Duquesne University, Pitssburgh Pa., November 18, 1966
"The greatest kindness I have to offer you is always: The Truth"
"Fully human people are in deep and meaningful contact with the world outside them. They listen not only to themselves but to voices of their world. The breadth of their own individual experience is infinitely multiplied through the sensitive empathy with others. They suffer with the suffering, rejoice with the joyful. They are born again in springtime, feel the impact of the great mysteries of life: birth, growth, love, suffering, death. Their hearts alone with the "young lovers," and they know something of the exhilaration that is in them. They also know the ghetto's philosophy of despair, the loneliness of suffering without relief. The bell never tolls without tolling in some strange way for them."
Integrating internal & external
Steven Covey talks about the three faces we have: Public face, Private face & Secret Face.
- The Public Face - on the outside, our social mask, outside behaviour
- Private Face - our inner thoughts
- The Secret Face - in between both. eg. intentions, spiritual values, paradigms, soul
We need to balance the outside and inside. This is done by working on our secret face - aligning our inside with our outside. Aligning our inner thoughts, ideas, dreams with the outside world, actions, behaviour & speech - through the secret face : self - awareness, power of intention, & acceptance.
We need to be aware of the inside. Too many of us are distracted by external objects and desires.
Likewise we need to be aware of the outside, some of us are to concerned with the inside. We need balance.
The philosopher Martin Heidegger, in discussing the unions of love, points out two pitfalls that can stifle human growth: a complacent satisfaction that settles for that which already is, and , at the other extreme, a restless activity that goes from distraction to distraction in search of something beyond. The result, says Heidegger, is always self-estrangement.
In love we must possess and savor that which is, and simultaneously reach out to possess (to love) the good more fully. This is the balance acheived by fully human beings. It is the balance acheived by fully human beings. It is the balance between "what is" and "what is to come"
Balancing & embracing our shadow self. We all have a dark side. We need to acknowledge & accept our dark side before we can deal with it. In fact it is in becoming aware of and understanding the dark side, that we illuminate it, and darkness disappears. Like switching a light on in a dark room.
It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
-- Chinese proverb
We see that the light of awareness, wisdom & understanding is illumination.
The lotus has roots in the mud, but rests on or above the water.
Most things have a shadow.
Except the source of light. The sun casts no shadows on itself. The sun is the source of light. The sun when looking squarely at something, sees no shadow.
Except transparent, invisible, transformative things - like a diamond. A diamond reflects what it is placed on. If a diamond is placed on a red table. The diamond will look mainly red. However the diamond never actually changes. Our mind is said to be like a diamond.
Our true inner mind - is purity, clarity, unity, wholeness,clear knowing -
Our heart is like a chalice, chamber, bowl or womb.
Learn from enemies
Use manure as fertilizer. Use weeds to feed the flowers. A peacock eats plants that are regarded as poisonous to others animals.
"One of the many paradoxes about soul-making is that its reward is the most valuable and unique a person could have, and yet its raw material is often the most despised and common" Thomas Moore
People with Big ego's are full of pain.
"We are healed of suffering only by experiencing it to the full" Marcel Proust
The more people talk about themselves, the more they have experienced pain in their lives.
"one must have chaos in one to give birth to a dancing star" Fredrich Nietzche
We are like shop fronts
Body is connected with soul - giving away one is giving away the other. Sleeping around or revealing a lot of our skin is giving away our soul power - and even prompting negative repurcussions.
We are like shop fronts - if gold on outside (flashy clothes, big mouth, attention seeking), and nothing but baggage (pain, insecurity, history) on the inside, then we need to be careful - to either keep all customers (friends /partners/ family) outside - so they don't see what's inside. Or to be ready to deal with an awkward situation when we do let them in and they see that what's on the inside is not what is on the outside.
If we put new stock in store front, (based on whats realistically on offer inside) we will attract different type of customer - based on honesty and authenticity and we won't be afraid to let them inside - there won't be as many let downs.
Healthy relationships: Learn to communicate
"Harry Stack Sullivan, one of the more eminent psychiatrists of interpersonal relationships in our times, has propounded the theory that all personal growth, all personal damage and regression, as well as all personal healing and growth, come through our relationships with others.
What I am at any given moment in the process of my becoming a person, will be determined by my relationships with those who love me or refuse to love me, with those whom I love or refuse to love.
It is certain that a relationships will only be as good as its communication."
Many of us need re-education on how to have healthy relationships, not toxic relationships. It is not that we are incapable, but we have forgotten how to 'just be there' for someone else - acknowledging, accepting & appreciating them & their issues.
To simplify - when we are communicating from the heart it leads is positive relationship.
But when we react from 'below the belt' we hurt ourselves and others - when we download/ transfer / displace our negative energy, emotions, feelings onto others.
Be loving, kind, warm, sincere, compassionate, joyful. Sincerity it not necessarily truthfulness. Realize that we are all on the journey of life. Nothing physical or emotional or mental is permanent and friends or partners can be 'great' or 'terrible' within a few minutes. Our perceptions of other people are coloured by prejudice (pre judgement) and projections (from the ego) and past experience (memories, ego). However these projections are not permanent. We all know people who one minute love someone and then shortly afterwards hate them.
Buddhists teach that one should develop equanimity - even mindedness. If reincarnation is true and we have been born since beginning of time then it stands to reason that anybody (including animals) could have been our mother in a past life(or in the future) . Jesus taught 'love others like thy brother'. You don't need to trust total strangers however we can respect others. All have heart, mind, soul, love, & potential for great goodness - even if it is obscured (by our short sightedness).
Be genuine, & authentic real. To do this we need to be calm, undistracted, and fully present. To be fully present we need to calm the mind. To calm the mind we need to be aware of the nature of mind and understand how it operates.
Be open, accepting, even vulnerable. By accepting ourselves and others, just as we are, we can see the true nature of the issues - and move to a positive solution - instead of focusing on past problems and jumping to conclusions. If we are truly open, we are transparent even invincible to the attacks of others. The insult just passes through us, without stealing our energy - and we can take the essence of the criticism without taking it personal. Some people say we should hide our weakeness'. However if we accept our inadequecies, shortfalls,and limits then we can move on - and we have true power. If we know our weak spots we can deal with them. If we always hide our weak side, we are wasting energy trying to hold a balloon under water!
Be respectful. Have tact & diplomacy, but still deal with the issues.
Listen. True listening is a form of self-lessness. Unfortunately many people don't truly listen. They either interupt, anticipate or wait until they can add their own two cents. True listening is not necessarily about finding solutions, but just by being there we are having a positive affect on the person talking.
Empathy. Empathy is not necessarily the same as sympathy. Empathy is feeling like the other person. Taking the position from the other persons point of view.
Self - Disclosure - often talking from our own experience can be helpful, as long as we don't diminish what they say.
Positive confrontation - sometimes when people are like a broken record, not dealing with the real underlying issues, it helps if we confront them, and ask how they feel, or ask 'so what would you like to do about it'. But be respectful.
Other positive traits: Immediacy, concreteness, potency
Stop fault finding, criticizing, or blaming others - this creates barriers, tension, hatred etc. We are not perfect ourselves -and we often project our own imbalances (prejudices, shadow side) onto others.
Stop diminishing what others have to say: ie. "get over it", "what happened to me was much worse....'
The problem issue is very real for the person experiencing it.
Stop condemning & judging self or others.
(10 caring traits from, Becoming Naturally Theraputic, A Return to the true essence of helping.' by Jacquelyn Small).
To understand people, I must try to hear what they are not saying, what they perhaps will never be able to say
"It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment, or the courage to pay the price....One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world as a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to count doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living & dying."
Morris L. West in The Shoes of the Fisherman
Illusion of Ego is part of God's Dance of Life
Advaita - Maitreya Ishwara
The following is the essence of Advaita and is enough to give the intellectual support that surrender needs, in mind oriented seekers:
Consciousness is all there is. The indivisible reality of unified consciousness is the core of enlightened experience. Therefore, since the universe is intrinsically intelligent and cannot be self-created (it has a beginning) its source must be conscious intelligence of an unknown type, with the capacity to design, create and sustain the universe.
This means the source of the universe is God. And since consciousness is all there is, the universe is a manifestation of divine consciousness. Therefore, humans are also that One, and their ego/minds that appear to separate them from the One must also be a play of the One. Since your ego is divine consciousness with a tendency to separation and dualistic thinking, it must be there to allow the Leela to have depth and meaning by creating your suffering.
Then eventually letting go and experientially merging again with that which you already are, the One. This is the experience of all Buddhas. The key word here is 'experientially'. Just believing or thinking about all this doesn't help that much.
Real Truth is not cheap. It requires the total transformation of all your individual systems. And is much more arduous than the booby prize of intellectual understanding and continued suffering.
More blessed is a simple surrendered soul who lives with the four most potent spiritual words ever spoken: "Thy will be done"
'When one realizes: God is all there is, everything changes. It means there is no one other than you. You are the whole, including all the unconscious, ignorant people. This means your sense of self expands to include everyone and everything. It means other people are also God. It means you are the world. Separation from existence is the human reality. To understand Advaita is to be free from separation. To miss the point is the hell of the ego.'
Some say the ego, the dark side, the lower self, ignorance, delusion, defilements, selfish craving -is the other pole of wisdom, nirvana, enlightenment. We could not have one without the other. (within existence). This is the play of life. (However in some schools full nirvana is beyond poles & non-dual)
Surrender - Sufi Technique
'Latihan means allowing the energy of the moment to move you, it is a Sufi technique. You don't trust life totally and you rely on your ego to take care of you. This is O.K. for new seekers and worldly people. Experienced meditators can start to let life take you where IT wants to go. Every day is another invitation to let go. Every moment the Divine is waiting for you to trust. When you start to live in latihan your ego loses its grip on you. Beloveds, you are part of the whole already. The more you trust the more the whole takes care. What are you waiting for?'
above extracts from 'New Dawn' by Maitreya Ishwara
Egolessness - Ego never existed
It is important to remember always that the principle of egolessness does not mean that there was an ego in the first place but the Buddhists did away with it. On the contrary, it means there was never any ego at all to begin with. To realize this is called “egolessness.”
Sogyal Rinpoche, Glimpse of the Day Sept 18th, rigpa.org
Further Comment: The ego as a permanent identity, with its own self nature has never existed. The ego that we are talking about is dependently arisen. No ego exists from its own side. Ego does not inherently exist. Like a seed needs water, sunshine, soil, etc. so does the ego to appear real needs food ie. attachment, greed, delusion, ignorance aversion, etc. In Buddhism there are two types of ego. However, neither of them are real, in the sense that neither have an inherent existence from their own side. The ego appears, but has no self nature, so it is empty. So the ego maybe appearance-emptiness.
Understanding the ego. Why the ego?
Positive Side to the ego?
The ego has positive aspects. The ego can be used for good or bad. Positive aspects of ego - protection, self preservation, creativity, survival.
In ancient times we needed to survive and preserve our selves and children so that the genes and race can continue. We also needed to join with other groups in order to survive.
Babies, when born, are helpless for many months, and parents need to care for them and protect them.
So we need to preserve ourselves and protect our young - thus the protective ego was formed.
The ego is like our egg shell. However there comes a time when we need to break the egg shell, and step out, in all our beauty & splendour - and be free and accepting of self and others.
Too many of us, including society, itself, is clinging onto the egg shell (ego).
However because parents have not let go of their ego selves, they get passed on to children.
For example: intimidating parents lead to 'poor me' or 'intimidating' children - who mistake being beaten or treated aggressively as being loved.
Also to survive we need to categorize. But categorize and understand - look deeper, rather than categorize in order to push away. We need to discriminate, in order to know, what is useful what is not. However true discrimination is based on seeing what truly is, in the moment. True discrimination is not solely based on past experiences, prejudice & desire. True discrimination helps knowing what is worth pursuing, what is real, what is the true nature and place of the thing and what is not worth pursuing. Doubt your doubts, prejudices, pre-judgments, and outbursts.
Ask yourself 'why?' - why am I doing this? why do i react like this? what is my motivation? is my motivation wholesome?.
Without the ego we would not be here. To be in the physical we need some ego. Sri Rama said without an ego we would die within 21 days
We may say, and even half-believe, that compassion is marvelous, but in practice our actions are deeply uncompassionate and bring us and others mostly frustration and distress, and not the happiness we are all seeking.
Isn’t it absurd that we all long for happiness, yet nearly all our actions and feelings lead us directly away from that happiness?
What do we imagine will make us happy? A canny, self-seeking, resourceful selfishness, the selfish protection of ego, which can as we all know, make us at moments extremely brutal. But in fact the complete reverse is true: Self-grasping and self-cherishing are seen, when you really look at them, to be the root of all harm to others, and also of all harm to ourselves. Sogyal Rinpoche
Wisdom of Compassion
To realize what I call the wisdom of compassion is to see with complete clarity its benefits, as well as the damage that its opposite has done to us. We need to make a very clear distinction between what is in our ego’s self-interest and what is in our ultimate interest; it is from mistaking one for the other that all our suffering comes.
Self-grasping creates self-cherishing, which in turn creates an ingrained aversion to harm and suffering. However, harm and suffering have no objective existence; what gives them their existence and their power is only our aversion to them. When you understand this, you understand then that it is our aversion that attracts to us every negativity and obstacle that can possibly happen to us, and fills our lives with nervous anxiety, expectation, and fear.
Wear down that aversion by wearing down the self-grasping mind and its attachment to a nonexistent self, and you will wear down any hold on you that any obstacle and negativity can have. For how can you attack someone or something that is just not there?
Lama Yeshe says:
"...we waste time when we participate in self-pity and the fearful "I".
"As long as we consciously or unconsciously believe that we are impure, the
self-pitying imagination will always be present, and we then do self-pitying
actions because we are emanating self-pitying vibrations."
"Enlightenment, the total absence of self-pitying imagination, is the
universal Truth of all beings - So, let go, be aware, and comprehend this
A wave in the sea, seen in one way, seems to have a distinct identity, an end and a beginning, a birth and a death. Seen in another way, the wave itself doesn’t really exist but is just the behavior of water, “empty” of any separate identity but “full” of water. So when you really think about the wave, you come to realize that it is something that has been made temporarily possible by wind and water, and is dependent on a set of constantly changing circumstances. You also realize that every wave is related to every other wave. Sogyal Rinpoche
Above all else, we need to nourish our true self—what we can call our buddha nature—for so often we make the fatal mistake of identifying with our confusion, and then using it to judge and condemn ourselves, which feeds the lack of self-love that so many of us suffer from today.
How vital it is to refrain from the temptation to judge ourselves or the teachings, and to be humorously aware of our condition, and to realize that we are, at the moment, as if many people all living in one person.
And how encouraging it can be to accept that from one perspective we all have huge problems, which we bring to the spiritual path and which indeed may have led us to the teachings, and yet to know from another point of view that ultimately our problems are not so real or so solid, or so insurmountable as we have told ourselves.
At present, our body is undoubtedly the center of our whole universe. We associate it, without thinking, with our self and our ego, and this thoughtless and false association continually reinforces our illusion of their inseparable, concrete existence. Because our body seems so convincingly to exist, our “I” seems to exist, and “you” seem to exist, and the entire illusory, dualistic world we never stop projecting around us looks ultimately solid and real.
When we die, this whole compound construction falls dramatically to pieces. Sogyal Rinpoche
It is important to remember always that the principle of egolessness does not mean that there was an ego in the first place but the Buddhists did away with it. On the contrary, it means there was never any ego at all to begin with. To realize this is called “egolessness.”
To end the bizarre tyranny of ego is why we take the spiritual path, but the resourcefulness of ego is almost infinite, and it can at every stage sabotage and pervert our desire to be free of it. The truth is simple, and the teachings are extremely clear; but I have seen again and again, with great sadness, that as soon as they begin to touch and move us, ego tries to complicate them, because it knows it is fundamentally threatened.
However hard ego may try to sabotage the spiritual path, if you really continue on it, and work deeply with the practice of meditation, you will begin slowly to realize just how gulled you have been by ego’s promises: false hopes and false fears. Slowly you begin to understand that both hope and fear are enemies of your peace of mind; hopes deceive you, and leave you empty and disappointed, and fears paralyze you in the narrow cell of your false identity. You begin to see also just how all-encompassing the sway of ego has been over your mind, and in the space of freedom opened up by meditation, when you are momentarily released from grasping, you glimpse the exhilarating spaciousness of your true nature. Sogyal Rinpoche
The spiritual ego is subtle, cunning, superior, inferior and secretive. The spiritual ego develops because ego has to live somewhere until it dissolves.
If you are a seeker of truth, the ego identifies with your quest and can become serious and secretly superior.
The inner reality of seekers is never quite as beautiful as the ideals of their tradition and they decorate their ego so that it looks a little nicer.
This is a common trap for many seekers and one from which it is difficult to escape.
Authenticity and playfulness are the antidote. For this you will need support from those who are already living in this way, and a teacher who values authenticity above purity.
When the ideal is authenticity, not purity, you are free to be yourself. Authenticity and playfulness give you the space to face yourself as you are and to confront your darkness consciously.
This conscious self-encounter brings purity indirectly, without the hypocritical burden of a spiritually pure ego.
The real glory of meditation lies not in any method but in its continual living experience of presence, in its bliss, clarity, peace, and, most important of all, complete absence of grasping.
The diminishing of your grasping is a sign that you are becoming freer of yourself. And the more you experience this freedom, the clearer the sign that the ego and the hopes and fears that keep it alive are dissolving and the closer you will come to the infinitely generous “wisdom of egolessness.” When you live in that wisdom home, you’ll no longer find a barrier between “I” and “you,” “this” and “that,” “inside” and “outside”; you’ll have come, finally, to your true home, the state of nonduality.