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The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 12:23 pm
by SeekerOne
Hello. I'm new here. I've been reading Tolle on and off for three years.

When I look at what one might call an extremely ego-driven personality, I can observe some mild form of suffering, but I can also see other positive elements such as motivation, and willpower. Recently, I've been observing in extremely ego-driven, and even megalomaniacal individuals an ability to, well, get things done. It seems the ego affords such individuals a fortitude or confidence to see their endeavors through, and finally, to succeed in their chosen field. Some individuals in history have met with tragic demise because of this, but in my day-to-day reality the hearty individuals, the ones who display entitlement and ego, simply do better and achieve their goals quicker and easier than those who don't. After all, does it not take the drive of ego to have one's peers, colleagues, community, or the world at large sit up and take notice of your work?

I can see how the ego can cause suffering in an individual, although the greater brunt of the suffering is typically born by those that individual influences; through a leadership role, for example. However, I can also see how a conscious denial of one's ego can cause suffering through the unfulfilled dreams of an individual.

The question I'm asking myself is whether to walk a spiritual path that has little bearing on the way the world really works, or to let go of that lofty ambition in favor of a more realistic mindset that allows me to reap the fruits of my labor.

Success, whatever the personal standard, doesn't always equate to happiness, but often times it does, and if we look at our world honestly, wouldn't a healthy ego be an ingredient of success, and thereby happiness as well?

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:35 pm
by Plorel
Hey SeekerOne.
Welcome to the Forum, enjoy your stay and thank you for sharing your view.
the ones who display entitlement and ego, simply do better and achieve their goals quicker and easier than those who don't
I agree. The people who are identified with a clear goal tend to achieve faster what they think will bring them happiness than people, who dont have a clear goal.
After all, does it not take the drive of ego to have one's peers, colleagues, community or the world at large sit up and take notice of your work
Yes. I tell a story about who I am, where I am going to, what other people are in relation to me and what I am in the eyes of the world. Of course this has no real foundation but is a lot of fun at times :).
However, I can also see how a conscious denial of one's ego can cause suffering through the unfulfilled dreams of an individual.
Hmmm. First you tell the story that there is something like an ego, then you deny what you just made up and finally you suffer because of all the confusion?
I need my dreams to come true to be happy! Is that really true? Believing this tought stresses myself out. Who would I be without this thought? Probably happy. I just have to skip the middle part with the dreams. :)
The question I'm asking myself is whether to walk a spiritual path that has little bearing on the way the world really works, or to let go of that lofty ambition in favor of a more realistic mindset that allows me to reap the fruits of my labor.
There is nothing like a spiritual path. . For me spirituality is only another concept. There is only life and a thought in the now which I believe or dont believe. That my choice between suffering and freedom.
Success, whatever the personal standard, doesn't always equate to happiness, but often times it does
Success brings satisfaction and therefore bears the opposite, which is frustration, already in itself. I won't get the one thing without the other. Satisfaction is very fleeting and always dependent on certain circumstances and people to match my exspectations. True happiness lies within me, is independent of outer happenings and has its source in my being alive and aware.

best wishes
stefan

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:39 pm
by Sighclone
Welcome SeekerOne. Ego, coupled with the Law of Attraction and just a lot of heavy lifting does get things done. However, egoing (Adya's term) does not often provide true joy. Egoic drives are never satisfied. The ego constantly puts new challenges out there and thrives on competing with and defeating others. If your goal is lots of money and a big house and cars and jewelry and vacations, go for it. Do not expect any spiritual fulfillment, though.

All you have is time, energy, character, your health, your history, your current state of consciousness and current resources. Although some will say that self-realization requires no effort, most who have achieved that spent time in study and meditation. Most have expressed that priorities and intentions change along the path/nopath.

There are long earlier threads on this challenging subject in this forum. Eckhart talks briefly about your secondary purposes (career etc.) His main objective is encouraging awakening.

Namaste, Andy

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:50 pm
by Tony-S-Ma
Ego manifests differently at different levels of consciousness. The scale of consciousness is termed Jacob's Ladder by some ancients. Mosaic of egoic behaviors generally reflect different individuals at different level of consciousness. At each level of consciousness, one may and may not be awakened. In general, when a person is awakened, s/he goes up on the scale of consciousness.

Behaviors and experiences are generally manifestations of one's level of consciousness. An awakened person may not be at the level of consciousness that worldly success manifests; on the other hands, an awakened person may be at the level of consciousness that worldly interest becomes valueless.

In short, Awakening and worldly success are not in conflict. ET is a great example of level of consciousness manifesting experiences and behaviors. At his level of consciousness, worldly success comes naturally if he chooses to be in the world.

Oprah Winfred is another example. At her level of consciousness, worldly success is not an ego driven result. She genuinely loves people and wishes others to succeed in their integrious endeavors.

Ramana Maharshi was awakened at the level of consciousness that worldly interests was natural to him.

The most interesting case was Mahatma Gandhi. At his level of consciousness, worldly participation was not natural; however, he took the hard road. Partially due to him, Colonialism is no longer manifesting on earth.

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 8:46 pm
by Tony-S-Ma
:oops: I put too much emphasizing on the level of consciousness.

There are generally four fundamental influences on free choice of a human being:

1. Awareness, the field of Infinite ALL.

2. individual awareness of Awareness, individual level of consciousness.

3. Ego, "a portion" of Awareness denying Awareness.

4. Individual Karma, the records of individual's free choices.

Most in the awakening business understand nothing is outside Awareness. I put "a portion" in quotation because Ego can generate the impression of Infinity. Individual karma has a strong co-relation with the manifestations of one's worldly success. So does individual level of consciousness. People with the same level of consciousness may differ in worldly success because of individual karma.

Incidentally, Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking all have the same level of consciousness. Their worldly successes seem to be very similar. Perhaps, their individual karma are very similar as well.

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Fri May 22, 2009 4:19 am
by SeekerOne
Thanks for the responses guys. Tony, I particuliarly liked your words on different levels of consciousness.

All in all, very informative. I've read all the responses several times. Thanks again!

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Fri May 22, 2009 7:05 am
by RCharles
Hi SeekerOne and all,

No matter how successful a person is in life, they cannot control life. As Mick Jagger said, you can't always get what you want. Even Bill Gates is growing older, getting fatter, has his daily frustrations (trips on the stairs, cuts himself shaving), and so on. Anything that the ego wants but cannot have is a potential source of unhappiness. Therefore, the rich, successful person cannot find complete happiness because no matter how great their wealth, they cannot have everything they want and they cannot control everything they want to control. Steve Forbes (and others like him) wanted to be president, but we know that his great wealth could not buy that for him.

A spiritual seeker, though, learns to be at peace with everything. Whatever happens, it's OK. That is a kind of peace and joy of living that no amount of money can buy and no amount of ego will ever discover. To find it, you have to give up everything, just as Jesus said. No, not your money. Your ego and your never-ending desire to have and to control.

So the choice is clear: a frustrated ego with occasional moments of comfort and fleeting happiness, or perfect peace. It's your choice. Personally, I've had the ego frustrations. I'll take the peace. :)

RC

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Fri May 22, 2009 7:40 pm
by domokato
SeekerOne wrote:After all, does it not take the drive of ego to have one's peers, colleagues, community, or the world at large sit up and take notice of your work?
Not really. Look at Eckhart. Look at the band Radiohead. They made an album (OK Computer) they never thought would be anything special, and when they released it they became so popular they burned out touring and got depressed!
SeekerOne wrote:The question I'm asking myself is whether to walk a spiritual path that has little bearing on the way the world really works, or to let go of that lofty ambition in favor of a more realistic mindset that allows me to reap the fruits of my labor.
You can do both. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. You can pick and choose. You don't have to dedicate yourself to one for your entire life. You can even do both at the same time, being successful while recognizing that it doesn't really mean anything, and that you'll die and lose it all in the end anyway. Awakening is realizing your ability to choose.

The most egoic people I know personally are the least successful. They delude themselves and others into thinking they're doing great when they're really having a hard time, and it doesn't help them. Yet there are also some very egoic people who are also successful. But which came first, a big ego or success? And doesn't that just go to show that your ability to succeed isn't always in your hands?

Re: The Ego's Relationship to Success

Posted: Sun May 24, 2009 1:17 am
by cobra22
SeekerOne wrote: The question I'm asking myself is whether to walk a spiritual path that has little bearing on the way the world really works, or to let go of that lofty ambition in favor of a more realistic mindset that allows me to reap the fruits of my labor.
That is a silly question because both options are ego related. You want to be spirtual? Well, obviously your ego wants you to be spiritual. You don't want to be spiritual? Well, obviously your ego doesn't want you to be spiritual. In regards to this stuff, rasing your arms up and declaring that material success has no interest for you is just the same as raising your arms up and declaring you must achieve such and such or I will never, ever forgive myself. Both are labels that you can attach yourself with. Even the desire to be present is a product of the ego. And can I dare say, being present is an egotistical thing as well! :D

Fact is, we all have egos in varying degrees. It's how we handle it that matters. I don't think we can get rid of it completely. Even being selfless and helping others is related to ego because when we help others we help ourselves. Basically, there's no escape! :D