On Wednesday last, a few of us walked around our beautiful Berkeley and talked about the ego – that it is mind-made and maintained and that it is what I think I personally am – until that is recognized as an illusion. Perhaps we can expand on this theme a little here.
The ego or “personality” is a centralized bundle of conditioned and believed concepts about reality or what is; ego totally shapes what and how we experience every day – how we see and feel the world as something separate from ourselves through its complex narrative or story about its likes vs. dislikes, right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, etc.
Ego/mind is always and only binary (it conceives in pairs) and it is therefore fundamentally conflicted; it is constantly in search of one answer to its self-created and dualistic questions or “problems”. It is The Seeker in us that is hard-wired to need a resolution or an improvement or achievement of some conceived form of “success”. It wants.
In truth, what ego wants most or desires is actually to be desireless; to know real rest or peace. It seeks happiness – a state of wantlessness which it can never realize because it deals only with either/or formulations that compare or contrast data. The egos ideas or concepts or mentations (aka knowledge) merely represent or symbolize the reality which is beyond its ability to know through any form of description, measurement or qualification.
The Light of truth
Our limited mind/ego can never grasp or know the unlimited nature of reality, so don’t even try to understand rationally what we’re talking about with your mind – just be open and sincere and let the light of inner truth reveal itself, not as a set of ideals, but as factual and actual in our direct experience. We then discover that we can by-pass the minds’ chatter and color commentary or “sensations”, and actually live in awareness of its functioning as yet another of the sensations (along with the other five senses) This unattached place or perspective, allows a viewing of all that happens from Oneness, from that endless and absolute love, peace and joy which is our nature. And it is only from that aware, here-and-now place, that we can rest in harmony, or what I like to call ” fidelity to reality.”
Paradox: our human being.
Anytime we step into the absolute or non-dual, we stub our human toe on relative contradictions. Contradictions which – when alternately viewed from the absolute and divine perspective – turn out to be what we may call a “paradox”…”that which is contrary to received opinion…that which is apparently absurd but which is or may be really true” While we won’t go into examples of paradox here, it’s important to allow it – to let it be. Indeed, we don’t get to know truth so much as to be it. And that means to simultaneously witness our human and our being.
Of course, aware living does not squander this wonderful gift of being human. In our human experience, the ego or personality is functionally useful and necessary for us in daily activities AND ALSO when there is a watching of it from our natural awareness, ego ceases to be our master and becomes a good and useful servant.
Here’s what Eckhart Tolle has to say that might shed more light on the truth we already perceive, by helping us to see rather than to merely think we see:
“What a miserable day.” “He didn’t have the decency to return my call.” “She let me down.” Little stories we tell ourselves and others, often in the form of complaints. They are unconsciously designed to enhance our always deficient sense of self through being right and making something or someone wrong. Being right places us in a position of imagined superiority and so strengthens our false sense of self, the ego. This also creates some kind of enemy. Yes, the ego needs enemies to define its boundary. And even the weather can serve that function. Through habitual mental judgment and emotional contraction you have a personalized reactive relationship to people and events in your life. These are all forms of self- created suffering but are not recognized as such because to the ego they are satisfying. The ego enhances itself through reactivity and conflict. How simple life would be without those stories. “It is raining.” “He did not call.” “I was there, she was not.”
”Unhappiness needs a mind-made me with a story, the conceptual identity. It needs time, past and future. When you remove time from your unhappiness, what is it that remains? The “suchness” of this moment remains. It may be a feeling of heaviness, agitation, tightness, anger or even nausea. That is not unhappiness and it is not a personal problem.
There is nothing personal in human pain. It is simply an intense pressure or an intense energy you feel somewhere in the body. By giving it attention, the feeling doesn’t turn into thinking and thus activate the unhappy me. See what happens when you just allow a feeling to be.”
Be well my friends!