Kill the Ego

A place for anything that doesn't fit into the existing forums
nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Kill the Ego

Post by nirvedh » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:47 pm

Hello all,
This is a thought I had on how to get enlightened (fully conscious all the time like Eckhart) rather than alternating between consciousness and unconsciousness. Eckhart described in PON how the intense suffering in his life forced his mind to disidentify from the Ego once and for all. So should people put themselves purposefully in critical limit situations to hope to achieve a permanent shift in consciousness?

Of course there are some valid doubts about this:
First actively choosing unconsciousness sounds retarded
Second there is no guarantee that such hardship would guarantee results
Eckhart himself never chose unconsciousness but things simply unfolded as they did for him
If we consider Eckhart to be enlightened and he suggests to bring in Presence with gradual efforts surely that's the best method for the rest of (unenlightened) us. I mean Eckhart never said enter suicidal depression to become like me (viz enlightened).
What am I failing to understand here? Why am I struggling with this question? (on being enlightened by choosing unconsciousness)

I have lived thorough periods of extended consciousness a few times in my life. It was a time of intense peace. I wish to make a permanent shift. This is what drives my thinking. I also can't help but think that now that I know the difference between presence and ego, to make a breakthrough I need more presence and less ego. I was just thinking about a permanent, effective strategy to dissolve the ego once and for all.

However I feel that I'm missing a crucial trick here. Any suggestions or clarifications would be welcome. Thank You for reading!
Last edited by nirvedh on Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4486
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Re: Recreating intense suffering intentionally?

Post by kiki » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:22 pm

I was just thinking about a permanent, effective strategy to dissolve the ego once and for all.
Well, first the bad news: I wouldn't count on finding something that will "dissolve" the ego once and for all since ego doesn't dissolve. Even after waking up ego will make appearances. Once awake, however, the ego is seen through for what it is when it does return. Any effort to dissolve it is perpetrated by ego itself, and that's why struggle ensues.

Step 1) To gain some clarity about ego actually look for it. See if you can locate this thing within you that you think is "me". What, specifically, is it? Where precisely is it? How does it make itself known? What are its characteristics? Is it always present? Let this be a sit down eyes closed task for a while as you attempt this journey of discovery of the ego.

If you honestly try doing this with some persistence you should eventually make a simple discovery, and when you discover for yourself what that is your perspective on the ego will shift. I don't want to say any more at this point, that will be Step 2, but that's where the good news comes into play. Do this and then come back with a report, but before you do that I want you to contemplate the implication of your discovery. But it's important that you come back and report what you find, and not just repeat what you've heard from someone else, and then I'll be glad to work with you.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---

nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Recreating intense suffering intentionally?

Post by nirvedh » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:52 am

Thank you for your reply kiki. I will definitely try your suggestion.
I wanted to ask you din't Eckhart dissolve his ego once and for all? Or does he still have the false self within him. I believe in PON he clearly stated that the shift from to consciousness was permanent.
I have also read some posters on the forum saying that Ego isn't something to be destroyed, it may even serve a purpose and even Eckhart still has his ego etc. What's the real truth? Is Eckhart lying? Thank You

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4486
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by kiki » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:14 am

What dissolves is identification with ego. Once that happens ego makes fewer and fewer appearances, and when it does show up it is seen more and more easily for the illusion that it is. As it shows up less frequently the number of thoughts in the mind diminishes significantly, and without thoughts distorting perception peace is felt more deeply and consistently.

"Destroying" ego is a fool's endeavor because it isn't possible to "kill" something that isn't real to begin with, but it can be seen through for what it is. The very idea and intent to do such a thing comes from ego itself. I compare it to standing on a board and trying to lift yourself off the ground - it can't be done. Sometimes it is explained this way: When you see a coiled rope in the darkness you may think it is a snake and fear arises, but when light illuminates it you see it for what it really is and won't be fooled by it in the future. That "light" that illuminates the ego is consciousness, your true nature.

Yes, Tolle and everyone else who is awake has an ego, but it's no longer a problem because it is no longer believed to be real. But technically speaking, no one actually has a real entity called "ego"; it is only an appearance of a thought structure in the mind that makes it seem to be something real - that's the illusion. Without the belief in it to keep it animated and forefront in one's awareness it stops showing up for the most part. It will show up when it's necessary for some sort of interaction with others or for some utilitarian purpose, but when it's not needed it fades away. When your name is called ego perks up out of conditioning, but it is more like a mask for others to look at that no longer projects fear out of imagined separation. Even when ego arises the underlying peace and stillness of true nature remains evident. That is what one is anchored to rather than the former turmoil so characteristic of ego identity.

Edited to add: This is the game that gets played out after you wake up. Life continues for you, but you know you are simply playing a part in a larger story. Inside you remain free of everything, while outside you act, all the while knowing who/what you really are. Consciousness is playing all the parts simultaneously, giving the illusion of separation until each actor wakes up within the illusion. The sanskrit term for this is "lila", the play of consciousness.

I would also like to add that you can't simply decide to stop believing in ego. That sort of mind game doesn't work because you'll become trapped in the "story" of its unreality. To break free of the story you have to actually discover directly for yourself the illusory nature of ego. See for yourself the many ways it reconstructs itself in the mind through labeling/naming; through judgment of others and self; through projections into the future or the past; through comparison; through a need to know; through fear and regret; through its creativity in employing every sort of strategy to keep itself active in your awareness.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---

User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6464
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by Webwanderer » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:36 pm

I'll add my take on Kiki's excellent post. Ego is so ubiquitous in this human experience that it cannot be without purpose. We are born into myriad conditioning environments that are destined to create belief systems about life and self that form the basis for ego. These variations of belief systems create the sense of separation in which ego develops. It takes a sustained open and honest inquiry into self to gain the clarity for the relationship between consciousness and identification to be revealed.

And while the identity though and of ego structure is not real in the larger sense, the experience of it is. The thought construct that is the basis of identity will one day dissolve. The experience of it however, will last forever. It is that experience that is valuable to the evolution of Consciousness and Being. Regardless of whether or not one recognizes while in this form the true nature of ego, its value remains.

Ego is not a bad thing. It's an experience machine. The choices we make within its structure effect the quality of experience we have. In that choice making possibility, our feelings and emotions are primary reflectors and guides in effecting that quality.

WW

nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by nirvedh » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:18 pm

thank you for your reply kiki
kiki wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:14 am
it is only an appearance of a thought structure in the mind that makes it seem to be something real - that's the illusion.
Even a temporary thought structure is real is it not? Isn't it real for the time in exists in the mind, until you successfully disidentify with it? The appearance of the Ego and its various characteristics help us to recognize dysfunction and thereby not identify with it. I guess you could call the ego an illusory self but I think it would be incorrect to call it an illusion/unreal.
kiki wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:14 am
It will show up when it's necessary for some sort of interaction with others or for some utilitarian purpose, but when it's not needed it fades away.
What purpose could the ego have? Isn't it pure dysfunction plain and simple? With regards to the Ego Eckhart made it very clear that disidentification is all that matters. Being is the way to go.
kiki wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:14 am
I would also like to add that you can't simply decide to stop believing in ego.
I won't. You said it yourself its a very real thought structure that appears in the mind. If you identify with it pain ensues.
kiki wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:14 am
To break free of the story you have to actually discover directly for yourself the illusory nature of ego. See for yourself the many ways it reconstructs itself in the mind through labeling/naming; through judgment of others and self; through projections into the future or the past; through comparison; through a need to know; through fear and regret; through its creativity in employing every sort of strategy to keep itself active in your awareness.
Amen

nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by nirvedh » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:26 pm

thank you WW for your reply
Webwanderer wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:36 pm
Ego is so ubiquitous in this human experience that it cannot be without purpose.

Eckhart answered this pretty clearly imho. The purpose of unconsciousness is to allow consciousness to come forth in the world.
Webwanderer wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:36 pm
And while the identity though and of ego structure is not real in the larger sense, the experience of it is. The thought construct that is the basis of identity will one day dissolve. The experience of it however, will last forever. It is that experience that is valuable to the evolution of Consciousness and Being. Regardless of whether or not one recognizes while in this form the true nature of ego, its value remains.

Agreed
Webwanderer wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:36 pm
Ego is not a bad thing. It's an experience machine. The choices we make within its structure effect the quality of experience we have.

I love the way you put it here. It's simply a heuristic then... not a very effective one I might add :D
Webwanderer wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:36 pm
In that choice making possibility, our feelings and emotions are primary reflectors and guides in effecting that quality.

A little confused here.

User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6464
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by Webwanderer » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:29 pm

Webwanderer wrote: ↑
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:36 pm
In that choice making possibility, our feelings and emotions are primary reflectors and guides in effecting that quality.

A little confused here.
I've written on this extensively in previous posts. If interested you can search my posts for more information.

In short, alignment with our true nature is wonderful uplifting experience. Our true nature is unconditionally loving and joyful. So when, through our ego perspective, we make choices and apply meanings to the events and conditions of our lives, we feel pain, it is because those choices are out of alignment. We are perceiving in a way that our true nature does not. If we see our neighbor as wrong and evil and should be punished (or some such nonsense) we feel the disconnection with our true nature as pain. The more we pile on meanings that justify that judgment, the more intense the feelings of disconnect may become.

In this way pain and joy can be a guide to alignment as we choose the meanings we apply to what exists in our human life.

WW

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4486
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by kiki » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:32 pm

Even a temporary thought structure is real is it not? Isn't it real for the time in exists in the mind, until you successfully disidentify with it? The appearance of the Ego and its various characteristics help us to recognize dysfunction and thereby not identify with it. I guess you could call the ego an illusory self but I think it would be incorrect to call it an illusion/unreal.
It's a temporary appearance that only exists within the mind. In this context it isn't real. It appears real when it's present, but how can it be real if it doesn't appear? Consider this: How one defines themselves constantly changes dependent on present conditions. That definition is a product of thinking and feeling and is subject to modification as circumstances and conditions fluctuate, and sometimes it isn't even present.

What I mean by "real" in the context of awakening/enlightenment is that it must always be present, and clearly the ego isn't always present. Your point about referring to it as an illusory self is fine, I have no problem with that. Just as wavy lines of heat on a hot day appear to be water in the distance, that water isn't real, just an illusion. Yes, that wavy lines are real, but what they appear to represent isn't. So yes, the ego is real as a phenomenon, but that phenomenon is a false representation.

But, can your true essence, what you are, be something that comes, changes over time and then disappear? Isn't it logical that what you are must be present at all times? If you reflect deeply on your life you will realize there is something about you that has never changed over time. You won't be able to put your finger on exactly what that is, but it's intuitively true. There is a sense of sameness about you that simply persists despite the changing character of thoughts and ideas and the changing appearance of the body.

That sense of sameness has what I sometimes call "footprints". The footprints are inherently silent, peaceful and AWARE. It is the knowing quality of all experience, the "am-ness"/being-ness of existence itself. Without that nothing could be known. It cannot be separated from any thing or any action. Things and actions can be absent, but it remains intact and unaffected, and open to all that unfolds before it.

I would consider what's always present to be authentically and unconditionally real, and not temporary and conditionally real. In a movie what's more real, the flickering pictures on the screen that are in constant flux, or the stable background upon which they are appearing? What you are is that stable background, and for most people that background is completely overlooked as attention is fixated on the images. Can you imagine what those flickering images would look like if the background of the screen itself were to be in a state of flux as well or disappeared? That stability is what gives a sense of flow and coherence to the images of light upon its surface. That's what you are, that stable background, the background of awareness, but that awareness/consciousness is overlooked as attention is fixated on the changing appearances in the mind and within the world around you.
What purpose could the ego have? Isn't it pure dysfunction plain and simple? With regards to the Ego Eckhart made it very clear that disidentification is all that matters. Being is the way to go.
Yes, disidentification is what matters. Allow that to happen, then enjoy knowingly what's going on around you. The world is then more of a playground to explore, enjoy and then rediscover true essence rather than a battleground for the ego to get lost/trapped in and struggled with.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---

nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by nirvedh » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:37 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:29 pm
Webwanderer wrote: ↑
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:36 pm
In that choice making possibility, our feelings and emotions are primary reflectors and guides in effecting that quality.

A little confused here.
I've written on this extensively in previous posts. If interested you can search my posts for more information.

In short, alignment with our true nature is wonderful uplifting experience. Our true nature is unconditionally loving and joyful. So when, through our ego perspective, we make choices and apply meanings to the events and conditions of our lives, we feel pain, it is because those choices are out of alignment. We are perceiving in a way that our true nature does not. If we see our neighbor as wrong and evil and should be punished (or some such nonsense) we feel the disconnection with our true nature as pain. The more we pile on meanings that justify that judgment, the more intense the feelings of disconnect may become.

In this way pain and joy can be a guide to alignment as we choose the meanings we apply to what exists in our human life.

WW
Got it :) Thank You WW

nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by nirvedh » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:53 pm

Thank you for your time Kiki. I really appreciate it.
kiki wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:32 pm
Yes, disidentification is what matters. Allow that to happen, then enjoy knowingly what's going on around you. The world is then more of a playground to explore, enjoy and then rediscover true essence rather than a battleground for the ego to get lost/trapped in and struggled with.
My takeback from our back and forth is that -
a. Ego cannot be fully extirpated
b. Even enlightened beings have some level of Ego
c. The way forward is to disidentify/become present
d. With time you spend more time being present and less time identified.

However I have a question about the times I was 'fully' awake. There was utter and complete peace. There was just complete silence and happiness. But I guess I din't get rid of my Ego because it came back anyway. But for a time it seemed like I was completely free. What are your thoughts on this?
Many spiritual teachers talk of a time when something happened to them/ a switch to timelessness that changed their lives forever. Is 'gradual enlightenment' just as good? Do we have a choice anyway?

User avatar
eputkonen
Posts: 478
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:53 pm
Location: Mound, MN
Contact:

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by eputkonen » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:09 pm

nirvedh wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:47 pm
I have lived thorough periods of extended consciousness a few times in my life. It was a time of intense peace. I wish to make a permanent shift. This is what drives my thinking. I also can't help but think that now that I know the difference between presence and ego, to make a breakthrough I need more presence and less ego. I was just thinking about a permanent, effective strategy to dissolve the ego once and for all.

However I feel that I'm missing a crucial trick here. Any suggestions or clarifications would be welcome. Thank You for reading!
The point is not to kill or dissolve the ego, but just recognizing it for what it is. A mirage only causes suffering when you believe it to be water instead of what it really is. However, when you see a mirage as a mirage...there is no need to try to beat it out of existence.

So what is this "I" and "ego" being referred to? Where does it come from? What is its source?
Namaste,

~ Eric Putkonen
@EngagedNondual on Twitter
Blog at http://www.EngagedNonduality.com - Insights into Nondualism and Living Awake & Engaged

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4486
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by kiki » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:15 pm

However I have a question about the times I was 'fully' awake. There was utter and complete peace. There was just complete silence and happiness.
Yes, good.
But I guess I din't get rid of my Ego because it came back anyway. But for a time it seemed like I was completely free.


Yes, it will come back, especially in the early days of your awakening, but when ego is absent you are completely free. That's another footprint of true nature, freedom from everything.
What are your thoughts on this?
You are doing fine. Once you first glimpse your true nature you are, as the saying goes, "in the tiger's mouth". In other words, you are on your way.
Many spiritual teachers talk of a time when something happened to them/ a switch to timelessness that changed their lives forever. Is 'gradual enlightenment' just as good? Do we have a choice anyway?
You cannot really compare your awakening to anyone else's. Yes, it's interesting to hear what they say, but problems can arise if you begin to think that you should be having similar experiences. That's adding to your story from someone else's.

Gradual awakening is far more common in my opinion, and it's just as good. And you are correct, we don't have a choice in how it happens. The most you can do is become present to what is without regard to how it "should be". No straining for any particular experience, no time frame imposed, no reflecting back on past experience; just be totally open to how things are. Return to presence over and over whenever you discover you have slipped into old thought patterns.

To help you remain present find some sort of way to divert attention away from thought stream and into the simple experience of what the senses are presenting to you when you are in activity. Or you can put attention on what Tolle describes as the inner body. If that isn't working for you right away or haven't quite mastered the way to do that use the breath to anchor your attention. You can only breathe now, so that is a simple and effective focus for your attention.

You can even set aside some eyes closed sit down time to do this for 10-15 minutes as a kind of meditation. Put total attention on the breath; follow its entire cycle as it comes in and goes out, and notice any gaps between breaths. Notice how the breath changes in duration and how gaps lengthen between each in/out cycle. Rest in those gaps and just relax totally. Return to that over and over when you realizing you've slipped into something else. There is no failure in whatever happens - it's all good, so don't berate yourself when that happens because it's all part of waking up. Each time you "catch" yourself doing something else that's a bit of awareness shining through. It's awareness that lets you know, and that's what you are, so embrace those times instead of judging yourself in any way.

Another kind of meditation is to simply sit with eyes closed and watch everything arise and dissolve in awareness. Allow everything to enter without trying to hang on to anything or without resistance to anything. No effort to manipulate mind in any way. Adyashanti calls this "true meditation". Notice the quality of what is "seeing" it all happen. There are experiences in the mind that are being seen/witnessed - what is it that sees and witnesses and lets you know what's going on? This has been compared to sitting on a river bank and watching what flows past you - let it come, let it go while "you" sit watching it happen. That is what you are, the witnessing consciousness. When you discover you've climbed aboard a thought stream bubble and taken a bit of a ride, that awareness will put you back where you belong, on the riverbank.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---

nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by nirvedh » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:33 pm

Thank you kiki

nirvedh
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Re: Kill the Ego

Post by nirvedh » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:37 pm

Thank you for your reply Eric
eputkonen wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:09 pm
A mirage only causes suffering when you believe it to be water instead of what it really is. However, when you see a mirage as a mirage...there is no need to try to beat it out of existence.
I understand that. I was only thinking that if there was some way to remove the mirage once and for all, then water is all that there is. No more suffering :)
eputkonen wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:09 pm
So what is this "I" and "ego" being referred to? Where does it come from? What is its source?
I guess it comes from my identity as a person who is not yet (fully) awakened.

Post Reply