Ego

Transcendence restores humor. Spirit restores humor. Suddenly, smiling returns. Too many representatives of too many movements - even many very good movements, such as feminism, environmentalism, meditation, spiritual studies - seem to lack humor altogether. In other words, they lack lightness, they lack a distance from themselves, a distance from the ego and its grim game of forcing others to conform to its contours.

We leave our homeland, our property and our friends. We give up the familiar ground that supports our ego, admit the helplessness of ego to control its world and secure itself. We give up our clingings to superiority and self-preservation...It means giving up searching for a home, becoming a refugee, a lonely person who must depend on himself...Fundamentally, no one can help us. If we seek to relieve our loneliness, we will be distracted from the path. Instead, we must make a relationship with loneliness until it becomes aloneness.

The ego lives by comparisons.

The ego seeks to divide and separate. Spirit seeks to unify and heal.

The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. ... People living in cultures more securely rooted than our own have less trouble in understanding that it is necessary to give up the utilitarian attitude of conscious planning in order to make way for the inner growth of the personality.

Religions are metaphorical systems that give us bigger containers in which to hold our lives. A spiritual life allows us to move beyond the ego into something more universal. Religious experience carries us outside of clock time into eternal time. We open ourselves into something more complete and beautiful. This bigger vista is perhaps the most magnificent aspect of a religious experience.

There is a sense in which Karl Marx was correct when he said that religion is the opiate of the people. However, he was wrong to scoff at this. Religion can give us skills for climbing up on onto a ledge above our suffering and looking down at it with a kind and open mind. This helps us calm down and connect to all of the world's sufferers. Since the beginning of human time, we have yearned for peace in the face of death, loss, anger and fear. In fact, it is often trauma that turns us toward the sacred, and it is the sacred that saves us.

The divine Ego, as the basis of Eternal Existence, continually expresses itself; but shrouded in the veil of ignorance, man misconstrues his Indivisible Ego and experiences and expresses it as the limited, separate ego.

The entire life of the personal ego is continually in the grip of wanting, i. e., an attempt to seek fulfilment of desires through things that change and vanish. But there can be no real fulfilment through the transient things.

The individual mind is the seat of the ego or the consciousness of being isolated. It creates the limited individuality, which at once feeds and is fed by the illusion of duality time and change. So, in order to know the self as it is, consciousness has to be completely freed from the limitation of the individual mind. In other words, the individual mind has to disappear but consciousness has to be retained.

Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.

Sometimes [playing free] doesn't happen, because maybe a guy's wife'll come in, you know, and his ego will catch him. If everybody's completely just straight—without any old ladies over here, a fourth of whisky over there; if it's balanced right, it'll come off. It has to be. But when you get egos involved with playing free, you can't do it.

Anger (being hostile) is a quality which to some, is like a religion. How can we kill it? It can only be killed by a sharpened intellect (koorvaputhi). Anger is like an elephant, - heavy, burdensome, which obliterates everything on its path, and cannot be killed easily. A very sharp intellect is the only weapon with which you can kill it. In folklore, it is said that if you are able to kill it, you are likened to a 'dev muni' (a petty god in tamil folklore). To us, it means that one could realise the Truth (Haqq) which is Allah.

Further we have arrogance, which is the "I" in me, and everything else that is associated with the "I". It is also said in Tamil folklore, that so long as the pride and arrogance remains as the "I" in me, they will slaughter me. That "I" consciousness will unerringly drag my mind down to abysmal depths of degradation. Like a mote in your eye which affects your vision, it blocks the power of the mind.

Whilst the arrogance of the "I" infects the mind, and whilst the greed of "mine" envelops the mind, then you are under the fatal stranglehold. Then your eyes are dazzled by the visions portrayed, and you succumb to that stranglehold. So the constant intention and inward prayer should be - "Oh Allah, the Almighty Power, let the arrogance that is "I", and the greed that is called "mine" be cast asunder, that I shall see Thee in all thy Majesty". That is the priceless effulgent Thing.

That is why we always say, annihilate the "I", because that is the cause of your disease of misery, (thoonbam). Your pride, your arrogance, your greed, your lust, your attachments, all have the "I", your base ego being the generator. The idea of "I" and "mine" permeates your entire being and taints your every thought and action, your conduct and behaviour. Therefore, if and when you come to possess the knowledge to cross this abyss of the "I" and "mine" then that knowledge you must have before you can pursue your religion, whatever it may be.

Whenever there is any identification, it means with something else – that you are not. One can be identified with the body, with the mind. But the moment one is identified, one is lost to oneself. This is what ego means. This is how ego is formed and becomes crystallized.

Enlightenment is not something like an achievement; one cannot achieve it. One has to disappear for it to happen. It is a happening and it happens only in the absence of the ego. And whenever you are doing something the ego becomes more and more strengthened. The ego is a doer, and enlightenment happens in a state of nondoing. It is simply the realization of who you are; it is not a question of achievement. You are already it! Just an awakening, just a turning in!

My vision of a right education is to teach people how to grow the ego and how to be able to drop it; how to become great minds and yet be ready any moment to put the mind aside. You should be able to just put your personality, your ego, your mind, on and off, because these are good things if you can use them. But you should know the mechanism, how to put them off. Right now you know only how to put them on.

This very essence of a man, his soul, which the artist puts into his work and which is represented by it, is found again in the work by the enjoyer, just as the believer finds his soul in religion or in God, with whom he feels himself to be one. It is on this identity of the spiritual, which underlies the concept of collective religion, and not on a psychological identification with the artist, that the pleasurable effect of the work of art ultimately depends, and the effect is, in this sense, one of deliverance….But both [artist and enjoyer], in the simultaneous dissolution of their individuality in a greater whole, enjoy, as a high pleasure, the personal enrichment of that individuality through this feeling of oneness. They have yielded up their mortal ego for a moment, fearlessly and even joyfully, to receive it back in the next, the richer for this universal feeling.

The struggle of the artist against the art-ideology, against the creative impulse and even against his own work also shows itself in his attitude towards success and fame; these two phenomena are but an extension, socially, of the process which began subjectively with the vocation and creation of the personal ego to be an artist. In this entire creative process, which begins with self-nomination as artist and ends in the fame of posterity, two fundamental tendencies — one might almost say, two personalities of the individual — are in continual conflict throughout: one wants to eternalize itself in artistic creation, the other in ordinary life — in brief, immortal man vs. the immortal soul of man.

Desire is produced by indiscriminate contact with the objects of the senses. Expressing as the likes and dislikes of the ego, desire creeps into the consciousness of one who is not watchful enough in governing the reaction of his feelings to his various experiences in the world. It is a condition the ego imposes on itself, and is therefore detrimental to man's evenmindedness. Whatever has its origin in desire is a disturbing element, for desires are like stones pelted into the calm lake of consciousness. Attachment to pleasure or aversion to pain both destroy the equilibrium of the inner nature.

In the name and guise of fulfilling one's needs, ego lures man to continuous seeking of self-satisfaction, resulting in suffering and vexation. What would content the soul is forgotten, and the ego goes on endlessly trying to satisfy its insatiable desires. Kama (lust) is therefore the compelling desire to indulge in sensory temptations. Coercive materialistic desire is the instigator of man's wrong thoughts and actions.

In this world everyone wants to use us for his own purpose. Only God—and a real master who knows God—can truly love us. The ordinary human being does not know what love is. When somebody gives you pleasure you tend to think you love that person. But in reality it is yourself you love—your ego has been pleased by the other person's attention; that is all. Would you go on 'loving' that person if he should cease to give you pleasure?