To believe that “I am” something is an ego trip: A soul, peace, happiness, bliss, and knowledge… All of that merely supports an identity.
Likewise, is to “possess” something. “Having” supports the existence of that one who is someone.
For example: “He is my kid.” There is a possession, which is only a thought, but that thought gives life to the one who possesses.
If we become aware of thoughts and thinking, thoughts appear in our awareness and then we identify with them calling them, “my thoughts.”
First, it is important to observe that there is no “I” creating a thought. The “I” is an illusion based on separation. Thoughts are clouds in the sky supporting that separation. Thoughts solidify through language, which is meant to separate.
For a seeker, the question may not be: “Where do clouds come from?” for that intellectual answer will take someone nowhere but to support the “knowing” of the mind.
We could go into the water cycle and explain that clouds are vaporized water. So what? The issue is that clouds are passing by and there is identification with them, which causes the duality of elation and suffering.
Am “I” identifying with a particular cloud and calling that cloud “mine”? Clouds will move away. Thoughts do the same thing, when left alone; unless we apply the morality of rejection.
“That is a bad thought.” “ I have a sinful mind.” That is the fuel for that thought to come back again, stronger.
When someone identifies with a thought, then action, DOING appears.
Human morality deals with DOING but it is completely unaware of the root, BEING.
It is not a matter of “I need to focus more on BEING rather than DOING.”
For there is an ego behind that statement:
“Why do I want to focus more on BEING rather than DOING?”
To achieve something, to become better, saintly, illuminated, etc.
That is ego.
That brings a “rule” of thumb: Whenever there is an ulterior motive other than just experiencing the experience for what is, then there is ego.
That is why, it is said that Life is a “game.” For typically children engage in playing games for the sake of it. There is no morality involved such as: “Don’t waste your time playing games, achieve something worthwhile.”
Playing is important in itself. As ego takes over, then we add some meaning to playing such as “winning.”
Who is winning?
“I.” That should be the “right” winner.
What is the “purpose” of winning?
The ego believes that to win, enhances himself. That belief is part of a conditioned mind; learned through living in a competitive society. That competitiveness brings further separation, further ego, for the “other” becomes our enemy, our “competitor.” That mentality is extended into a philosophy to run our society, which is called Economics and also through a Religion, which is called “going to heaven.” There, the competitor is still the “other” but with a different label: Devil, Maya, Temptation, etc.
The “I” is infested with that mentality. As the “I” learns to purge (becoming aware of the conditioning) so many things from the storage of his mind, then the possibility of experiencing “No-I” may appear.
DOING a special practice to reach God or Heaven is ego. The practice of any “Sadhana” is a method to increase ego. Why?
Because there is a purpose behind that Sadhana.
Paradoxically, a Sadhana is a method to overcome ego.
By increasing ego to its limits, to the point where it needs to explode.
Then, that will be known as “surrendering.”