Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

I just love Adya and I think he deserves his own forum.

Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Mason » Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:00 am

Adyashanti has a really interesting take on ego. Here's the chapter from Emptiness Dancing titled "Ego"

http://www.lotusguide.com/index.php?pg=emptiness
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Sighclone » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:34 pm

Thanks, Mason. There are some differences in their discussions on ego, however. I do like Adya's mention of the ego being a 'verb', and I think it falls in ET’s concept of the structure of ego (ANE p.34.). They certainly agree that 'hating' the ego and trying to 'get rid of it' is egoic in itself.

Adya: "Now the ego that exists, if there is any ego at all, is the thought that ego is there. But there is no evidence whatsoever for this ego's existence. Everything is just arising spontaneously, and if there is any ego at all, it is just this particular movement of mind that says, 'It's mine'."

ET, I believe, would say something like this: Everything is not just arising spontaneously. The entire concept of spontaneity is polluted by the ego. We have a large number of conditioned responses and beliefs that Adya does identify as "this particular movement of mind that says, ‘It’s mine’.” The ego is a set or habitual pattern of conditioned mental activities, the "particular movement of mind" which becomes automatic. These habitual thought patterns frame our sense of self, and restrict ‘true spontaneity’ which would arise from Being, were the egoic structure not so strong. Also, his suggestion that the ego is just the thought that there is an ego is too solipsistic to have meaning. It's like saying ‘there is no love, only the idea of love’, or ‘there is no freedom, only the idea of freedom’ or any other label (word, pointer, etc) assigned to an abstract concept. Would it be fair to say “if there is any self at all, it is only the thought that the self is there?” If so, could we then say: “There is no Being, only the thought that Being exists” or “there is no Enlightenment, only the thought that Enlightenment exists?” etc..etc… Accusing an abstract concept of being only a thought is not helpful; any labeled abstraction can become a “fall guy” by the sole virtue of having a name.

To find a common ground, I think we can say that both agree that the ego implies a sense of separation: If something is mine, it is not yours. True liberation from ego which is Presence in Being includes you and me in the larger definition of Self (atman), and also fails to distinguish between You and Me – we are One, pure Consciousness.

Or something – words are just pointers…

Namaste, Andy
Last edited by Sighclone on Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby erict » Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:16 pm

Sighclone wrote:I understand that ET respects Adya.


You've heard ET mention Adya? When? Where?
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Sighclone » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:35 pm

erict wrote:You've heard ET mention Adya? When? Where?


Oops - sorry. I received a private email from kiki who highly recommended him - it was not ET and I have changed my post...thanks.

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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Mason » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:42 am

Personally I have never heard ET mention Adyashanti, but I once heard Adya mention ET. It was in one of his CD sets and he said something on the topic of it being possible (in rare cases) to become enlightened with little or no spiritual background.

I believe Adya's exact words were "...Just look at Eckhart Tolle; the guy goes to sleep one night and wakes up fully realized."

-If that isn't the exact quote, it's very close.
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Sighclone » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:04 am

I don't know what Adya thinks about ego today. But ET has some very clear and specific ideas about what it is, how it defines unconsciousness and fundamentaly prohibits self-realization. Reading PON and ANE, you come away believing that the 'false-self' is the ultimate barrier to enlightenment (realization of the true Self). It is a core element of ET's entire message. For Adya to say it's just a thought places these gentlement in different camps on this issue.

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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Mason » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:30 am

For Adya to say "it's just a thought" places these gentlemen in different camps on this issue.


Seems that they view the matter differently but even though they are both deeply realized beings I am prone to go with my own half-baked realization on it rather than relying on what either Adyashanti or Eckhart Tolle have to say. Like Jalaluddin Rumi said in one of his poems "The smallest trickle from a fountain inside is better than a raging river outside" :wink:

Ego is a very slippery character though, no doubt + I wouldn't try to define it. Maybe we can just agree that there is a component of "ego" which is very mysterious, perhaps indefinable.

Adya said once "The truth doesn't care about consequences; it's concerned with the truth" ...it seems to me that there is a small part of the human condition [ego] which is equally indifferent. Like many of you, I know first hand that the movement of ego can survive some amazingly deep realizations and somehow re-weave it's alledged existance.
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Sighclone » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:47 pm

Adya’s brief dismissal of ego has kept me thinking, especially since that topic is so large for Eckhart. I tend to lean towards ET, that ego is a ‘false self’, that it keeps us from understanding the profound (and profoundly simple) truth that we are more, much more than the dualistic, protective, isolating definition imposed by ego.

Of course, “ego” has several definitions. Freud’s is pretty broad, including unconscious, conscious, preconscious components. Williams James added an element of focused self-directed action (more like Adya’s). Ego is the nominative form of the personal pronoun, and translates as “ I, myself” (at least per Wikipedia). It is the main barrier to Sef-Realization in Eckhart’s framework, but apparently less significant to Adyashanti.

I think much of the natural appeal of ET is the pollution of our true self by all the constant chatter of the mind. And I think that Adya, with his many years of zen training would agree. But adding the idea of a ‘pain-body’ to the ego is a big help. As is the sense that the ego disappears when we turn our attention to the Now. ET’s ego is preoccupied with the past and the future, and bundling those elements along with the instinct for self-preservation fleshes out the definition pretty well for me, and is superior to the passing reference given by Adya.

Possibly Adya has other comments elsewhere. Possibly there is a little more ego remaining in him than in Eckhart. But something clearly stands in the way of instant enlightenment for everyone. Defining that broadly as ego works for me. And your comments, Mason, about a personal definition, and Rumi's, are the best of all - I fully agree. But our personal definitions need a broader frame of reference to help someone else...hence everyone wrangling with words that attempt to point to something more general and helpful than 'I just understand it for me.' Measuring levels of 'self-realization' in others is also dangerous - the Buddhists say it is not possible. Except we can agree, most likely, that no serial murderers are self-realized. But that is another topic. Shame on you - you got a busy thought-stream started in my little brain. :wink:

Namaste, Andy

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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Mason » Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:50 am

But our personal definitions need a broader frame of reference to help someone else...


I am begining to have doubts that personal definitions can even help the person that engenders them, let alone someone else. :P

Good point about "there is possibly a little more ego remaining in Adya than in Eckhart" -It is probably more outward appearance than anything, but yeah, I get that same impression.

...It's kinda funny really: Enlightened Guy #1 outwardly displays an ego at times, yet he teaches that ego doesn't actually exist. And Enlightened Guy #2 outwardly displays no ego whatsoever, yet he teaches that ego is a really big deal. ...In this particular case if we took the teachings to be anything other than pointers, or if we took the delivery of the teaching to be anything other than a role that is played by an individual, we'd be in a lot of trouble!
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby dubhasa » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:10 pm

Mason wrote:
But our personal definitions need a broader frame of reference to help someone else...


...It's kinda funny really: Enlightened Guy #1 outwardly displays an ego at times, yet he teaches that ego doesn't actually exist. And Enlightened Guy #2 outwardly displays no ego whatsoever, yet he teaches that ego is a really big deal. ...In this particular case if we took the teachings to be anything other than pointers, or if we took the delivery of the teaching to be anything other than a role that is played by an individual, we'd be in a lot of trouble!


Very interesting discussion so far. Great comments Andy and Sighclone. Sharp observation Mason. Both Adya, ET are my favorite teachers. Even if they use the same word ego, I believe they are referring to slightly different processes.

Adyashanti does not villify ego. From his perspective, there is nothing to villify because, if looked at carefully and deep enough, there is nothing that can be grasped at. Ego is not bad because it simply does not exist. But there is some sense of self, more of a biological sense, which is absolutely an essential aspect for survival. In one of the tapes, he mentions that no one can destroy ego. Ramana did not destroy it, Buddha did not destroy it. They simply put it aside. He also said that without this certain biological sense, a kind of ego, you would not even know where to put the food in your mouth. However enlightened one is, in case of imminent danger, like aproaching runaway bus, this sense would take over and one would jump aside. It does not matter if the entity is enlightened or not. It is not possible to survive in the world and do anything for that matter without this sense of ego. Everybody has ego, whether there is enlightenment or not. In the case of enlightened ones, there is no identification with it. There is no sense of identity associated with it.

ET clearly defines ego as deep, compulsive and conditioned thinking process. It is almost like independent entity and one's individual identity is completely wrapped in it. It is clearly dysfunctional process involving either past or future and he suggests various ways to bring the attention to NOW, in order to escape from it. All egos are essentially same, behave the same way, think the same way and act the same way. He also says that there is no point in trying to understand this process, egoic content because there is no end to it. He asks to redirect the attention constantly to NOW, escape from this entity, and realize deeply who you are. The framework he puts forward of MANIFEST and UNMANIFEST if absolutely marvellous. His teachings provide a framework to explain the nature of reality, what it is, how it works, and how to know truth. It is stunningly simple and powerful. He does not carry any cultural or religious baggage and we have been waiting for something like this for a long time.

There is another guy Leonard Jacobson. http://www.leonardjacobson.com/ He defines ego as protector of the self. When you came in this world, you had no ego. It came into existence during childhood to protect your essential self from others; other egos and also hostile environment. He says it is your protector in the world of time and mind. You can not escape from it until you resolve your deeply rooted issues. He says in the NOW or in the PRESENCE, none of these issues exist and there is no problem. But ego will not allow you to be PRESENT unless you come to terms with certain aspects of your life. Ego has protected you so far and it has no intention of letting you go; and Ego is extremely skilled in that.

My personal feeling is that all of them are saying the same thing. Ego is essentially an independent entity. One is erroneously identified with it. This identification with EGO is blocking one's true nature and giving rise to needless pain and suffering. And being in the NOW is the simplest way to escape from it. Personally I am immensely benefitted by all three ways of defining egos. These different words help me in different times to grasp the same concept more deeply.
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby Sighclone » Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:19 am

Dub -

Good summary!! I get a sense from LJ that he is pretty impressed with himself as a 'master' - I have nothing on which to base this impression beyond a couple of short 'advertisement' videos...I could be wrong.

I do like the idea that certain 'mid-brain' or 'brain-stem' functions of the ego are rooted in ontogeny, and I think Tolle would agree. But Being is also present in danger, and kind of links up with the reflex fight-or-flight responses, he says. As a 'false-self', the ego is a major player in Tolle's books, and he is much less concerned with the 'forces of ego' which can be marshalled by Being. As consciousness increases, more ego components probably become tools of atman, and some are banished forever.

Great forum this...(in yoda-ese)

Andy
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby tikey » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:08 am

all right, I thought a little bit and I came to a conclusion
that EGO is all the NEGATIVITY in you, nothing else.

or... ego is the FALSE in you, and YOU are the truth.

that's all, I tried to be simple.

Tikey.


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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby wjon » Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:43 pm

i just thought about it, ego is the total of beliefsystems, thats not negative, thats what it is, if you realise your being, you know you can change, step into another character anytime, thats it no ??? as long as you dont want to leave this world you want to live it no, an ego ( beliefsystem) that listens to you instead of dominating you helps you with this...

my thought about this...
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby kiki » Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:09 pm

i just thought about it, ego is the total of beliefsystems, thats not negative, thats what it is,

Yes. "Negative" comes in as a value judgment by the ego.

if you realise your being, you know you can change, step into another character anytime, thats it no ???

Or you can accept the character as is, knowing that it is an illusory character. In the seeing of ego as an illusion you break identity with it and are free of it.

as long as you dont want to leave this world you want to live it no,

Wanting to leave this world is a decision that arises out of some situation that the ego has reached.

an ego ( beliefsystem) that listens to you instead of dominating you helps you with this...

It depends on who this "you" is that the ego would listen to. Ego has as its primary agenda the maintenance of its existence. But at some point true essence/awareness won't allow you to continue as you are and seeking begins, something prompts you to begin a search. First ego seeks outside itself in the delusion that answers will be found there. When it fails at this it seeks inside the mind in the delusion that answers will be found there. When it exhausts itself in the futility of any sort of seeking ego subsides, only to reveal wholeness as already being present and that nothing more must be sought.
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Re: Adyashanti's view of ego, a bit different.

Postby wjon » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:01 pm

but does that mean you cant intent to be richer, look better etc etc, i know how this sounds but really, why not if it is possible, as long you know that happiness is not there but in the dynamics of the now ??
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