For many seekers, the ego is some sort of individual entity tagged with the word “I,” and offered an extension of its influence through the word “mine.” That description is easy to grasp, but not enough.
A seeker should not be comfortable with a description, which only brings mental understanding of the idea; but a seeker may need to observe that ego in action, become conscious when it is being displayed as it happens in “real time.”
We may discover that the inner chattering of the mind is part of that “I” and the outcome of our conditioning. When we identify with that voice as “Me,” that is the second when action is the outcome of pure conditioning. Therefore, where is our “free will”? Some trying to make a distinction between the ego and that which is “really me,” may say that the voice of the chattering mind is not me, but the one hearing it, is truly “me.” However, the voice and the one who listens are both the mind, where different faces of ego come from.
Our society encourages the cementing of ego as that brings individuality. Our society is made under the premise that we are all separate; therefore our minds will bring that understanding of Life which brings as consequence, the perception of conflict to preserve that “I” when dealing with others.
Individuality is merely an aspect of the experience of Life. Because we are unable to observe how connected we are with Life, we encourage division, competition: The “I” with its many identities will fight with other “I’s” for supremacy.
What are those identities of the “I”? A profession, social status, a team, a political party, a religion, a belief, an ideal, a country. Observe that those identities are idealistic, nevertheless; those are “real” in our mind world. For example, burning a flag may be considered a criminal act for the ideal it represents when in reality, a flag is a piece of colored cloth which encourages human division.
How is it possible for someone to observe without bias his own ego,while still trapped in some identity? It is a very limited scope of observation.
It is an interesting exercise to read the world news and observe the extension of identification of humans with different ideals which will make up their egos and how the mechanics of conflict will be unavoidably there; which are usually dealt with violence. That is in a nutshell the history of mankind, thus we are born with that legacy. That is our conditioning.
What is the way out ? It is not through some social agreement or structure or law, as those are other ways we have invented to deal with conflict in society. Those methods are meant to “do something about the problem;” and we have changed things around superficially throughout History, although psychologically man is the same. There is constant division within and with others.
As a species we are highly conditioned to use only the mind to deal with society’s problems, thus we can only perceive Life though a mental position, which is empty of fulfillment. The “normal” man is an unfulfilled creature who is constantly searching for meaning.
The issue is the overused ego driven mind. Is there another way of connecting with Life besides the mind? Yes. There is. With Feeling. Fulfillment is there. That is the journey seldom walked by the “normal” man.
Every Life has a story. We refer to that story as “ups” and “downs” because that is what we are conditioned to believe; but ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ are together like day and night. Humans feel elated when things go their way (ups) and will suffer when things go the way they don’t want (down.)
The main character of that story is “I.” However, just as “up” go together with “down,” similarly “I” goes together with “no-I.”
We don’t know about “no-I.” Society and their teachers and gurus haven’t taught us about that, so we cannot throw the label loosely, in the next spiritual conversation. There are no “best sellers” yet, dealing with the philosophical “problem” of “no-I” and the “methods” to “achieve” it.
Our society, our beliefs and conditioning are so strong that will not allow us to see that there is nothing static about that which we call “I.”
The “I” is a container of memories, like a glass with water. Life will put different levels of water in that container. Until the last drop making the spill, will arrive. That will only show us the limits of the container.
Beyond the glass and its memories (“ I ”) there is “no-I,” air. An empty glass.
Yes, there are moments when we can believe to be the glass with water. But there others, when we could be air, in that way the “ups” and “downs” in Life, no longer will be. That movement is called a dance in Life.
When we hear “we should dance with Life,” it does not mean that “I” have to let “myself” be taken by “my” dancing partner, Life. Then is when we hear the teaching of “surrendering to Life” or “giving up.” That is the typical meaning when we believe to be the glass with water.
Now, we have a different perspective: It is to be the water and then to be air. Life is not a partner to dance with. Life is US, the containers, water and air. ALL at the same time. Because Life is movement, it is continuous change, the dance is to BE and not to BE.
BE water and BE air.
Many seekers ask “who am I?” They will make that into a “problem” to resolve. “What is the purpose of Life?” That is another subject for discussion… Drop that “I.” Drop the glass with water, drop the story of memories limiting who you believe to BE, then the question: “who am “I”? will be an utterly senseless question. “What is the purpose of Life?” It will be reworded as a different question: What is the purpose of “I” and “no-I”?
And then… we will realize that our society has pushed this idea that everything has to have a purpose, an objective to exist with some sort of “value.” Drop that “teaching” as well.
To BE is the purpose, which it happens to be no purpose at all.
BE… BE something and BE nothing…. ”I” and “no-I.”
Drop everything you think you know, to discover what you don’t.
Will be taking a short break from writing until August 30.
The website address of this site is: Explore7.wordpress.com
The name Avyakt7.com will be dropped next year.
I used to gather every weekend with a group of “seekers.” We were just like friends, sharing different things about “spirituality.” Few liked Ahnanda’s insight. Others did not. Some even despised it. Nothing new! It was another opportunity to argue, to prove who was “right” and who was “wrong.” Ego driven “spirituality.”
Ahnanda is just like them… another view point. There is no way they could ever know/believe that Ahnanda is going through a process of self-realization. Is that something making me “special”? My experience is my experience. It is not the “only truth.” It is not the “only path.” There is no such a thing as “the true path.” That much, I know. Perhaps that is enough. 🙂
Ahnanda does not perform miracles. He does not perform any healing or fortune telling. He does not have promises of salvation. He is not being endorsed by influential people. He is a nobody, where to be “somebody” is important.
Typically, things that he expresses will get distorted: “what you mean is this, right?” and after a few minutes those “important” things, will get completely forgotten… 🙂
Benefit for a seeker is encountered when they can IDENTIFY with what is being shared through their own experience. Otherwise, it does not make any sense. That is why there are so many “teachings” for so many types of consciousness. The ones geared for the collective consciousness are the “best seller” material, the “democratic truth;” the ones who are not, are for fewer. At the end, No teachings here but only recognition of an experience through the words of another. That is how a “follower” is born.
“Spiritual gurus” (whether self-realized or not) emphasize the need of their disciples to blindly follow what they “teach” so the disciples in time, could get the “vibe” and that will become part of them. A disciple with an argumentative mind, will not fit this set up. That is the theory.
However, I can now see that if there is no love from the disciple, there will not be openness to listen beyond words, to assimilate beyond dogmas and to mesh like a sponge does with water.
That sort of love is not necessarily romantic. That path is meant for those who have the capacity to open up and be as accepting as water.
In that sort of relationship, there are no teachings. It is a oneness. How could you teach yourself? This is not book learning, this is assimilation of Life experiences together.
Ahnanda only shares his experiences. AWARENESS is the big “keyword” here, but it is not just a word. The meaning is beyond the word. Love and trust to Life, are closely hidden behind awareness.
In my experience, the true measure of a man is found when you have too much free time on your hands: You could be unemployed, you could be bedridden through sickness or old age, you could be in jail or any other situation with lots of time in your hands. Most individuals will destroy themselves. Others will try to get busy and lost into “achievements” by making themselves into “something” in Life. Very few, will enjoy their own company and allow Life to open them up until there is nothing to call “I” but for namesake only.
There is nothing to teach, for you ARE and others could only recognize that, if it is meant to be. You ARE “something” but that is not to “be something in Life” as society teaches. That “something” that you ARE through self-realization, is very close to “nothing” and for that, even closer to “everything.” Of course, Love is everything.
Does it make sense?
No “best seller” material. 🙂
Spirituality is related with the word “spirit” and that word is open to many meanings. How can we talk about “spirit” without the experience? Could a blind person speak about light?
Obviously, whatever he says about light will be far from what is, although he could speak scientifically about wavelengths and color spectrums. There is no experience. Nevertheless, even if we are not blind, whatever we say about light cannot be the “truth” but merely a description of it, of our own experience with “light”. The same principle applies when trying to make sense of “holy books” or “spiritual best sellers,” words cannot convey ‘truth’ only a partial description.
The other day I was talking with friends about “spirituality.” (i.e. Making the human experience “better”) Someone “discovered” (heard from others) that the problem of human suffering was related with ego.
“Get rid of the ego and you are free,” she said.
Bravo! That is the solution that most everyone knows. Why is not working? Why “knowing” the solution is not bringing the expected fruits? Oh! You need to “practice,” to follow the “right” method.
That is the next belief in the chain. What are you going to practice? An idea of what someone told you to be “right”?
Most are not AWARE of ego. Most only have concepts about it. Thus, how is it possible for ego to be dissolved, to SURRENDER it?
That is a key question.
Intellectual understanding of a concept does not change the individual. That is why “spirituality” as it is “now” is pure hogwash; nevertheless, “inspirational.” Any concepts that we bring in, will not accomplish the goal of “creating better human beings.” It will be all “pretty” talk; collectively we have become used to this.
Spiritual people ask the question: Who Am I? Any conceptual answer will not bring the experience of knowing ourselves. Because there is no AWARENESS, we could go on with some belief or with some dishonest phrase: We consistently say “I,” without knowing who that “I” is. We embrace another label such as “soul” or any other “spiritual” term, then we are “happy” with, for we believe to have the “right” answer.
When we are AWARE, we could perceive that we are not the body. Breathing happens. I am not DOING it. The heart pumps blood, I am not DOING it, thus; how can I say that “I am the body?”
When we are AWARE we could perceive that we are not the mind. Thoughts come and go without “my” control. They just appear and I want for them to go away, but I cannot DO that.
When we are AWARE we could see that any concept that I have not experienced, it is just conditioned information, “knowledge” coming from the mind.
Soul, Spirit, etc. are such learned concepts. I want to believe to be those, although I don’t know if I have experienced what the label entails, so I can be “spiritual” but I am faking it. If you have experienced to be a soul or spirit, please do me a favor: Change the label... Pick any other label, for your experience will be different from that of others.
When we are AWARE we recognize that “I will not be able to find who I am” for “I am always changing.” Paradoxically, I am the body, I am the mind, I am the soul, the spirit, I am ALL of those things that we believe to be, so why label to separate?
Paradoxically, the question “Who Am I?” is most important to formulate as long as I am not looking for an answer. Can the mind “understand that”?
Probably not. That is why, get out of the mind if you would like to experience you own wordless reality. That is part of deconditioning.
If you observe your own mind, you will be AWARE of it and then you will understand what the word ego, the “I” means, without using a dictionary definition.
Please be AWARE of this: We cannot live in the “NOW” as long as our mind IS. The mind is past or future only. To say: “I want my mind to be in the Now” is an ignorant remark for lack of awareness.
If you are in the NOW, you are in No-Mind.
Don’t believe me. Try it at home… BE AWARE of all of these things, so SURRENDERING happens.
If you believe that “I will surrender,” even though this phrase may be grammatically correct, in “spirituality” that phrase is completely senseless.
I am glad you asked. That is for you to find out. Your own journey.
Until March 20th! 🙂
Historically, the emphasis of religions, moralists, philosophies and psychologists; have been to correct human beings from all flaws, sins, degraded ways, etc. in order for him to fit in as a “normal” individual in society or a particular system.
Basically, Man is sick and needs to become well again. So, here are the steps to regain health…. Some will put god as the medicine, others “good actions,” others will emphasize sacrifice for mankind, others will call for “love,” as the savior and others… will believe in the power of researched therapy.
The analytical mind will search for those things which are believed to be incorrect, deviant, aberrant, etc. and will pursue the avoidance of those things at all costs. That is the practical medicine, the approach.
Fear is the key factor to make that “change” for there are penalties in this Life and the afterlife for indulging in such “sins.”
When moralists hear about Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Mahavira or the story of any self-realized individual, the aim to copy them appears.
Jesus was labeled as being “indigent;” therefore, that means that “spiritual people” cannot be rich. Buddha was labeled as “vegetarian” (although there is a discussion on this within followers) thus, to eat meat became a sin…The list went on thanks to the interpretation of the dualistic “black or white” mind of followers and moralists who lacked the experience of a self-realized individual.
Through a “black or white” approach it is easy to figure out what is “good” and what is “bad.” There is an “imaginary line” separating those two. This simple “imaginary” approach became the moral standard in society.
DOING became the way for man to “change” their “evil” ways.
DO what is “right” even though it is the opposite of who you ARE, for you must fit into the ideal. Repress yourself. Sacrifice yourself for some ideal or for some god. That is the way to reform yourself. Call it “Love” to make it pretty and acceptable.
Even though the above is appealing to the masses, it denotes lack of awareness.
If you are rich, and become poor just because Jesus was labeled as poor; what you are DOING is increasing your ego. The façade of making yourself poor from wealthy, has the emotional bitterness of having “lost” many things along with the pride and hope of getting way more stuff in heaven, while believing that this ACTION will gain you respect from those who cannot DO that feat. The mind comes up with self-serving wild stuff sometimes, I wonder if we are aware of that? 🙂
Jesus wasn’t “poor.” He always had what he needed. Is that “poor”? We just judge and label according to our conditioned standards. BEING deconditioned from the need to possess things, creates the “poor” image among conditioned individuals.
Buddha wasn’t vegetarian. He wasn’t for vegetables and avoiding/rejecting meat . He did not make the “effort” to become vegetarian.
If Buddha ever said: “I am vegetarian” that wouldn’t be a Buddha speaking; but followers will insist on following what they perceived to be “right”, even though is not natural for them. It is “effort,” it is “hard,” then to “practice” that becomes the source of ego, for there is something to set people apart, to show others who is spiritual, divine, worthy of heaven, rather than a simple, mundane human being. Another ego trip. It is about “proving yourself” of your worthiness.
To copy or follow someone does not bring AWARENESS, it brings forth a human being who is not able to acknowledge who he is and thus, to have the capacity to love himself.
The “keyword” nowadays is to Decondition. It is a fashionable word! Spirituality at this time, is about deconditioning. If our conditioning is all we know and we want to “become better” as an extension of our conditioning, that is a mirage, although it sells lots of “spiritual” books.
How do we start?
By living closer to Nature. (It is free of charge!) There may not be many self-realized beings who haven’t spent lots of time in Nature as part of their own deconditioning process from “normal” society.
Let me explain the “benefits” through “Office world” terminology: That will demote the position of the mind as the CEO of ourselves. The mind will be just another salaried employee in the “I” company. That step is a big “company merger.” By going through this process, the way we look at Life will be totally different. We will not be “normal” anymore nor “subnormal”, the mind will not be there to “scheme” political moves against itself.
We could be “abnormal” just along the line of other “abnormal” beings like Jesus, Buddha, etc. Perhaps we could be unknown, without followers, without “teachings” to share but nevertheless, full of Life. 🙂
Many will repeat that “BEING is before DOING.” Many will understand that AWARENESS is not a practice, yet as a “new spiritual teaching” is being put into words, the first thing most everyone wants to DO is to “put it in practice.”
Please observe that this is not “wrong,” neither “right,” but you could only practice what you can intellectually understand and that is prone to distortion when we are talking about the immensity of Life.
We could hear that “Life will work for you if you accept it as it is, if you flow with it.” Then, we want to practice that because it sounds pretty good, because it makes sense, because a “super Guru” said so, or perhaps because “we want for Life to work for us,” etc.
Any of the above reasons will bring inner dishonesty. As a matter of fact, any reason behind our “practice” is dishonest, ego driven. We are not BEING. We want to DO what we AREN’T to become something desirable in our minds. DOING does not change BEING.
John was fired from his comfy job. He was very angry; however, he is a “spiritual person,” and he recalled the teaching of “accepting what Life brings.” He wanted to put that teaching into practice at that time.
“John, how do you feel… It must be pretty hard on you, right?” Asked one of his friends.
John replied:” Not really. I accepted it. Life works for me.”
John’s friend was impressed. What a guy! So spiritual, so calm, so cool… such an angel!
Nevertheless, John was angry. Inside he was burning with anger, but he made himself believe that he has “accepted” what Life brought. His meaning of acceptance was simple: Not to make a fuss of it. John wanted deep inside for Life to “work for him,” perhaps by giving him a nice job in the future, so he was willing to try that “teaching.” He had nothing to lose.
As days and months passed by without any apparent external change, John became irritated, he lost hope and he was snappy with others around him.
John couldn’t hide his true self anymore.
His dishonest acceptance, was never acceptance. It was another way to try to control Life, so “it works for him.”
John’s DOING was not according to BEING, his current BEING.
That is how spiritual teachings are misunderstood. We come from our conditioning of “making things happen,” and to “DO something to change things, change the world, change ourselves.” Change happens as we allow it. That is all, but our ideas, ideals, taboos, beliefs, traumas will not let that happen. Acceptance, surrendering in Life is not known by the dictionary.
The type of acceptance that is necessary to flow with Life, does not come from intellectual understanding of the word “acceptance.” It does not come from our willingness to practice that “virtue.” It comes through the assimilation of Life experiences. It is an opening in our Ego mind, a hole drilled by Life itself when there is no resistance, repression in us.
The art of Living Life, that is “spirituality,” is not learned by following books, quoting spiritual phrases from spiritual gurus, or by enrolling in a spiritual class. All of that is conditioning from the “office world.”
I am not saying that it is “bad,” I am saying that all of that is conceptual teachings, intellectual understanding, information. To truly KNOW, we need to experience the process of Life’s teachings; in a word; to be AWARE of it. It is happening in front of our noses all the time.
Busy in trying to change what is happening to us, we will buy any sort of “magic formula” to change our destiny, rather be AWARE of who we ARE. What is going on outside is only reflecting what goes on inside. Life is the biggest mirror, but yet we could be blind to its reflection.
If we cannot be AWARE, then to “practice” the teachings of someone may be our necessary beginning until we let go the conditioning of the mind. Until then, inner honesty will be hiding from our Awareness.
Ahnanda shares the path of discovery within yourself. This is not the path of “how to do it.” This is not the path of “teach me, I’ll pay for your services.” Become aware that change is happening. Through that, learning and teaching become one, and so unlearning. Student and Guru become one and so “spiritual” lineage. Life and “you” become one and so the Totality. Observe it, acknowledge it, enjoy it, let it happen… Tantra is hiding under those words, and that is a close as we can get when something is beyond a definition.
Until January 2nd! 🙂
Joe feels depressed. He is disappointed by the experience of Life. He cannot believe that Life is so short and full of troubles, never ending struggle just to meet death at the end. The idea of being inside a wooden casket and seeing all pitch black from there is frightening. He becomes a seeker…
Tina was minding her own business, busy with things to do and places to go. One day through a dream she had an experience: She was speaking with a beautiful being. “He” was a peaceful white light in human form. It was very soothing to hear his voice. He had a message for Tina: “Tomorrow you will know more about me, little child.” The next day Tina met some people, who had the same experience. Tina labeled that experience as “meeting God” due to the support of others “chosen” ones. She became a seeker…
Ralph was born in a religious family. He knew about God. He knew about being a sinner and even though, he didn’t care much about it; he believed in that. It was his conditioning. There was nothing much going on in Ralph’s life. It was a mediocre experience for him. One day he meets some people in a party. These people looked very happy. Ralph wanted that for him. They told Ralph that they have found happiness in their church. Ralph became a member of it. Ralph became a seeker…
The stories may change. The common denominator is that either the seeker wants something more than themselves: To become better, to know the “truth,” etc. or they desire a relationship with the highest being, the highest power, to be “someone” by default of a relationship with the “highest” thing ever.
They are looking for “union” with something “better” than themselves, that ambition will give them a sense of purpose.
That is how Yoga arrives in their lives.
Every deistic religion is a form of yoga, for the ultimate is to be close to God, be equal to God, fused with God, in the grace of God, one with God, etc. The label “God” has such importance in this path.
Every form of Yoga has a common characteristic: To increase the ego of the seeker as the idea of “becoming better” is infused in the participant.
The striving of becoming some ideal, is a form of ego. The ego wants “some of that” to increase its own appreciation, importance, self-respect, etc.
Every yoga path, has a particular practice which separates the participant from everyone else, that is what makes them “better.” Even if it is about performing a physical asana in the yoga studio: That practice gives you a title: “Yogi,” it gives you a sense of belonging to a special circle where “yamas and niyamas” are dutifully practiced, separating you from the rest. “You” are “special.”
That feeling of being “special” will give the seeker a sense of purpose, motivation, an objective in Life to be “better” and to reach to the “top,” just like in the “office world.” But this is even “better,” for it is no mundane stuff. It is “spiritual,” “divine.”
The seeker starts by increasing his ego. Why?
Because as mentioned before, the most important aspect of any religious/ spiritual path is for the participant, to be aware of ego, the “I.” That is the common link of any path.
The easiest way for self awareness to occur is by increasing ego.
Unfortunately, many seekers are not conscious of this and rather believe in their own self-importance, self-righteousness.
Nevertheless, the struggle to become “better” has started by separating ourselves from mainstream. That is what a religion/ spiritual path brings, a different perspective so we could look at our conditioning, what we have learned in mainstream society.
This great “tool” is overlooked and instead it becomes a lifestyle for many, where to be “right” and close to God is believed to be achieved through certain practices, DOINGS, etc.
A path of yoga is without a doubt a necessary path for many to un-condition from the “office world;” it is a subtle continuation of the idea that our society has about the importance of achievement, to become better, higher, more powerful. That is why, this path is readily understood by the majority and part of their “spiritual” journey. 🙂