Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

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Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby maaref » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:39 pm

A common theme in the spirituality world is that the ego is the problem and we need to somehow get rid of it. That an enlightened person does not have an ego. As Eckhart puts it "if there is any negativity involved, anger, resentment, irritation, then Ego is present there".

Q: What Is Ego?
Let us be first be clear on what is the ego. Ego is the idea of "I am the person" formed by the collectives of thoughts, emotions and experiences you gathered throughout your life. People tend to see the world from the lenses of their ego and react to it accordingly.

Q: Ego is awareness and is here to stay
For those who have been involved in the spiritual path, you would know by now that you are not merely your ego. That the ego can be seen within awareness. Therefore, we dismiss it as unreal, false, a hurdle that needs to be eliminated. Many people go further to demonize it and make it the source of all evil (along with the mind, thoughts and emotions - see my previous thread about spiritual ego).

It is true that our nature is awareness. This is an important and crucial part of awakening that everyone seems to agree on. But it is also true that we are the ego. To clarify this point further, we have to go back to the principles of a non-dual reality, where everything that can been sensed and perceived appear within the realm of awareness. That is to say that everything is one with the awareness and appearing in it. Every object is just a manifestation of awareness appearing in awareness and seen by awareness. Therefore, one can also say that ego is awareness but awareness is not the ego.

Now it is true that ego is the cause of all negativity and resentment, because it sure cannot come from awareness. But ego is equally the source of all positive thoughts and feelings. Ego is the vehicle that allows awareness to experience all the countless experiences we call life. Without the ego you cannot sense, perceive, understand, choose, think, feel, desire, seek or indeed do anything at all. And for those who think "fine, I don't want to do/feel any of that anyway"; well, you do not have a choice about it (similar to the way you did not have a choice about your own being and existence among countless of things). Even if you choose not to do anything, the ego is still doing nothing and is continuing to experience!

The ego is meant to be. It is here to stay. It cannot be eradicated. In fact, it is meant to develop and evolve (in this life and others) as a manifestation of awareness.

Ego: the seeker/finder
Having made the point that the ego exists as it meant to be and would always be there. I would like to go further make the point that it is our salvation, without which we cannot know ourselves nor be awakened to our true nature.

It has been theorized that the ego is unique for human-kind. That due to our intellectual capabilities which are far superior than other beings, we have developed the sense of "I" and therefore an ego. With it comes our capabilities to sense and perceive objects in their various form (inwardly and outwardly), including our experience of living in a dual world. Because it is our experience that the world is dualistic, the vast majority of people believe it to be the reality. Who is there to blame them. After all should our "ego" not been fortunate enough to seek and obtain this knowledge of awareness from the teachings, we would have continued to live a dualistic life.

Based on the foregoing, it is safe to say that every enlightened person has an ego and started from a point of ignorance in living a dualistic world. This ego developed through time with experience and teachings and became a seeker of knowledge and truth. At the point of realisation (i.e. when the person knows his essence as awareness), the ego is seen as an object appearing in awareness. The trap that many people seem to fall into is that they want to get rid of the ego completely. Failing to realise that such desire is coming from the person/mind and not awareness (since awareness is a nonparticipant witness, and, therefore, does not needs or desires). This desire steams from the idea that the ego is bad and must be eradicated; which is absurd. It can be compared to a person with multi-personality disorder (with one personality fighting the other and wants to get rid of it not knowing it is one).

The truth is that the ego is a natural development and evolution of awareness. It needs to be embraced not fought. Ego is the tool by which we get enlightened. However, that is not to say that it should be left unchecked either!

Solution to the Ego Problem:
Similar to our body requiring food and shelter (among other needs), our ego has needs that also requires fulfillment. Other than fighting the ego, we need to refine it by removing our ignorance and, therefore, ensuring our egoistic needs and desires are aligned with our true nature as awareness. It is actually pretty simple once you realise yourself as awareness and live a non-dual life, since you do not seek happiness and completeness in objects (whatever they may be, materialistic, experiential or emotional) anymore. Just be abiding to the universal rules of fairness, justice and kindness (avoiding harm and doing good), our egos would evolve into a lighter, quieter and more peaceful states. That is its food. That is what it needs. Because the most natural instinct of all egos is to love itself, thus if you live a non-dual life, you would view others as oneself and your deeds would be a great source of joy and comfort.

By doing so, you are merging two views; that of awareness with that of the ego. They do not contradict nor provide a conflict. Awareness is not within the realm of objects since it cannot be perceived. Ego is a manifestation of awareness that can be perceived. It is the tool/mirror by which awareness experiences all objects within the realm of diversity and experience (the dream state). For truly enlightened people, the ego would remain very subtle and light. It would be a source of peace, joy and stillness.

Conclusion
To be enlightened is to realise yourself as the subject (awareness) and live your life as the person in harmony and self-fulfillment (i.e. without being dependent on objects). See the world from awareness through which the person is liberated from short sighted desires and able to do what he deems to be intellectually right without attachment, selfishness or ignorance. Therefore, having the discipline to be free from objects yet enjoy life and do good.
Last edited by maaref on Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:26 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby DavidB » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:17 am

Nice post maaref,

I'd probably only alter this though slightly;

"Every object is just a manifestation of awareness appearing in awareness and seen by awareness. Therefore, one can also say that ego is awareness but awareness is not the ego."


Every object is just a manifestation of consciousness appearing in consciousness and seen by awareness.Therefore, one can also say that ego is an aspect of consciousness but consciousness is not the ego.

And just as a helpful pointer, the awareness of being conscious, is presence.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby Rubber Soul » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:57 pm

My Dad knows I'm meditating and is trying to piss me off to get me out of the state.
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby DavidB » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:13 pm

My Dad knows I'm meditating and is trying to piss me off to get me out of the state.


Meditation is anything accepted totally. Accepting the form of every moment, including your fathers deliberate interruptions, is meditation.

Your father has provided you with the opportunity to observe the arising of the feeling of being "pissed off", which can then be accepted for what it is, a temporary manifestation of form. In this way, every situation is an opportunity for growth, even more so the situations that piss us off.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby Rubber Soul » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:54 am

I know
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby DavidB » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:00 am

Good
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby dijmart » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:08 pm

DavidB wrote:Nice post maaref,

I'd probably only alter this though slightly;

"Every object is just a manifestation of awareness appearing in awareness and seen by awareness. Therefore, one can also say that ego is awareness but awareness is not the ego."


Every object is just a manifestation of consciousness appearing in consciousness and seen by awareness.Therefore, one can also say that ego is an aspect of consciousness but consciousness is not the ego.

And just as a helpful pointer, the awareness of being conscious, is presence.


My wording would be similar to Maaref's, as it's aligned with my understanding of Vedanta. I think Buddhism makes a distinction between awareness and consciousness, but not Vedanta, to my knowledge, they mean the same thing.

However, I do "get" what you mean, David. As "pure" awareness (which is what I'd say, when you say just awareness) is not itself an object (anything subtle/gross). Objects are created/made out of pure awareness, therefore are inert without pure awareness shinging upon/within them. So, I think you are referring to objects, whether subtle/gross, as "consciousness". Another words, any known phenomenon, even within the mind, is an "object" known to you, awareness.

Maaref,
Out of curiosity, have you been reading about Vedanta?
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby rachMiel » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:18 pm

Awareness, consciousness, presence, being ... items on the map legend, not to be confused with the actual territory, right? The territory is so simple -- this, here, now -- that we, drama junkies, want MORE! And so we create palaces of concepts, magnificent and ingenious many of them, and feel warm and cozy and enlightened in their apparent solidity.

At least that's how it tends to work for me. I seek the shelter of a noble concept ... and when I eventually realize it is fallible, a pointer, not "the real thing" ... I feel afraid and lost until the next noble concept has (temporarily) taken its place. I'm good with the out breath, good with the in breath ... but that gap in-between ... like, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby dijmart » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:17 am

rachMiel wrote:Awareness, consciousness, presence, being ...


All these terms mean the same thing to me. However, I usually just say awareness. I sometimes say, pure awareness (my true nature) is the substratum/background of all that is...and "apparent" objects are "reflective" awareness, as they are created from/made of pure awareness To distinguish between subject/object. So, objects are me, but I (pure awareness) am not the objects.

Btw, these are not terms that I Dij made up, but they are terms used by Vedanta teachings.
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby rachMiel » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:22 pm

I understand the necessity of using words/analysis to get some sort of workable and shareable image of what makes the world tick.

Heck, I'm in love with words ... and ideas ... and structures ... and systems!

Thing is, and I'm finding this out more every day, words/thoughts can invoke a feeling of the ineffable (the mystery, the ground, brahman, whatever you wanna call it). And as invokers, they are fabulous tools. But to confuse them with the ineffable "itself" ... which is, I think, what lovers of words/ideas often do (consciously or unconsciously) ... is where delusion and misinterpretation begin.

I'm also familiar with the Advaitan approach to teaching: Reveal only that which the student can understand clearly. And, given that approach, it makes sense to break consciousness/mind down methodically into this and that. I just always keep my inner eye focused on the brass ring. (Not sure if that metaphor makes sense, you'd have to be REALLY old -- vintage merry-go-round old -- to get it!)
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby dijmart » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:51 am

But to confuse them with the ineffable "itself" ... which is, I think, what lovers of words/ideas often do (consciously or unconsciously) ... is where delusion and misinterpretation begin.


What are you specifically referring to??
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby dijmart » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:03 pm

the brass ring. (Not sure if that metaphor makes sense, you'd have to be REALLY old -- vintage merry-go-round old -- to get it!)


You don't have to be old?....

Its the same as the gold ornaments.
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby rachMiel » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:21 pm

dijmart wrote:
the brass ring. (Not sure if that metaphor makes sense, you'd have to be REALLY old -- vintage merry-go-round old -- to get it!)


You don't have to be old?....

Its the same as the gold ornaments.

Is it? I'm not sure. When I say I keep my eye on the brass ring I mean I keep my eye on the prize, the *real* prize ... enlightenment, moksha, understanding. Not on a shiny bauble. So maybe "gold ornament" is not the same?
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby rachMiel » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:27 pm

dijmart wrote:
But to confuse them with the ineffable "itself" ... which is, I think, what lovers of words/ideas often do (consciously or unconsciously) ... is where delusion and misinterpretation begin.


What are you specifically referring to??

Any thought/verbal/image-making activity that attempts to break what-is down into grokkable chunks, that makes terms like awareness and atman and brahman and consciousness seem real and concrete instead of just pointers to that which cannot be broken down, defined, or named.
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Re: Ego Is Our Problem and Salvation!

Postby dijmart » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:08 pm

rachMiel wrote:
dijmart wrote:
the brass ring. (Not sure if that metaphor makes sense, you'd have to be REALLY old -- vintage merry-go-round old -- to get it!)


You don't have to be old?....

Its the same as the gold ornaments.

Is it? I'm not sure. When I say I keep my eye on the brass ring I mean I keep my eye on the prize, the *real* prize ... enlightenment, moksha, understanding. Not on a shiny bauble. So maybe "gold ornament" is not the same?


Lol, yeah, I misunderstood...I thought you meant you look at things in subject/object as the metaphor of the gold ring or ornaments suggest or the realization that the brass/gold can be made into different shapes/objects but their true nature is brass/gold, not the apparent "things" they appear to be, since if they were melted down the shapes, objects would disappear.
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