What Is Ego?
Recently there was some discussion on this forum of Tolle's use of the word ego and what he meant by it. I copied an excerpt below that I liked in which ET discusses mind and ego, he says: "To me the ego is the habitual and compulsive thought processes that go through everybody's mind continuously. External things like possessions or memories or failures or successes or achievements. Your personal history. All these things, a bundle of thoughts, of repetitive thoughts that give you a sense of who you are." So in other words he is saying that is more of pattern of thinking, a movement of energy, rather than an actual entity. More of a verb than a noun.
A Few Personal Remarks
Also the interview touches on the fact that some Christians don't find his teaching to be compatible with the bible. There are also other Non Dual teachings, whose followers may focus on what they believe to be incongruent ideas with their own approach. With increasing public exposure such as these interviews, we may find more voices of opposition at our doorstep, coming to this forum to express their opinions. I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from A Course In Miracles: "In my defenselessness, my safety lies." It is a good quotation to ponder. To me "defenselessness" does not mean that we become a doormat, or that we can't express our opinion. But defensive-ness has a different energy and feel to it. It is an internal movement of resistance, and our own opposition to the other person's opinions. In short it is being outside the flow of life, and trapped in mind stream.
Most of us here know when we have crossed that line into defensiveness. We may not recognize it immediately, as our thinking becomes clouded in the moment. But later it becomes more apparent as we begin to simmer down. Going forward, if we want to keep this forum a comfortable "haven", a place of support and solace from the world's madness; it would go along way if we can recognize when we are heading into a defensive posture. As Kiki mentioned yesterday, pause and take a deep breath; inquire into your thinking process and what is causing a reaction. Get in touch with the body and how it feels, the body is a beautiful instrument for reflecting the mental state. It will often give us a clear message in the form of pain, tension or dis-ease when we are in a reactive mode. And as Eckhart suggests, unless we are operating from a state of peace, acceptance, joy or love; then our mind is probably in the driver seat. So perhaps we can remember that before we hit the "Submit" button, and fire off a post that will begin a chain reaction on this forum.
There is a quote that comes to mind from the late comedian Nipsey Russell:
"It does not matter what boat you came over on, we are all in the same boat now."
So why rock the boat, when we can enjoy the ride together?
Tolle, who was born in Germany is a rather unassuming "spiritual teacher" and doesn't like the term "guru." Tolle doesn't do "self-help" in the traditional sense. He isn't teaching people how to lose weight, get a job or have a better sex life.
Instead, he's teaching people how to shut off the noise in their heads and be happy. His message is that our egos are destroying our lives, and by ego he doesn't just mean thinking we are special, he means our thinking, period. That voice in our heads, our ego, Tolle believes, has a relentless need to be right, which leads us to make enemies. Tolle granted ABC's Dan Harris a rare interview.
Eckhart Tolle: To me the ego is the habitual and compulsive thought processes that go through everybody's mind continuously. External things like possessions or memories or failures or successes or achievements. Your personal history. All these things, a bundle of thoughts, of repetitive thoughts that give you a sense of who you are.
Dan Harris: So our ego, this constant stream of thinking, the voice in our head is making us miserable?
Eckhart Tolle: Yes, that's right. And it prevents you from being truly alive. So I'm not saying we musn't think anymore. That would not be possible and it would not be desirable. Thinking is a wonderful tool if it's applied. Thinking however can not become the master. Thinking is a very bad master. If you're dominated by thinking then your life becomes very restricted. If you're able to use your mind instead of being used by your mind, that's a beautiful thing. To use your mind constructively.
Psychologists found that 98 or 99 percent of our thinking is repetitive. And also a lot of our thinking is very negative. People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgements, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on. Many people live habitually as if the present moment were either an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment, and imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one, that is continuous stress.