The disciple said : “ The other day I watched the presentation of a writer of spiritual topics. In his latest book, he spoke about conquering ego. Someone in the audience asked him: “Your ego probably increased once your book became a best seller. How did you avoid that?” The writer smiled and said that he wrote it with the idea of helping others and the popularity of his book was only icing on the cake. I believe it was a nice answer, but the writer didn’t reply to the question. What could you share with me about ego, master?
Ego is there whether your book is a best seller or not. Observe how obstacles or advantages in Life are behind that ego. However there is a compelling difference according to your level of consciousness on how you look at it.
While in the world, to overcome obstacles in Life or to experience fame are both opportunities for the normal person to increase ego, by showcasing their ‘success story;’ for the one who is ready to change into greater consciousness, those obstacles are ways to polish the diamond of goodness inside. How inner goodness comes out? Through the conscious experience of your own darkness.
Then the disciple asked: “And what is the perception of advantages in Life, that is when everything is good for the one with greater consciousness?” The master smiled and said: “ That one knows that even though his book was written through him, he did not do it. Therefore, how ego could come up? Greater consciousness will allow you to see the insubstantiality, frail and illusory image of that “I,” ego. Everything changes continuously, remember? Even that perception of “I.” It is in that awareness how ego dissolves and not in mental understanding of words.”
The master paused and the continued: “ ‘I wrote the book’ brings a force, a one sided front. That sets up those who will be for and also against that book because they did not like it. If the author feels insulted, he will not separate from his book and his ideas. Greater identification means greater experience of suffering through his fight but also greater experience of pleasure when the media pampers his book. Duality. A person may need to have a degree of conscious awareness to observe this within himself. A ‘normal’ person is not able to. His ‘I’ or ego will be built and caressed through those supporting his identity with the book; but also his ego will be built through his fight or rejection of those who feel against it. Either way, ego will be built.”
“Pardon me,” said the disciple, “but what do you mean by conscious awareness?”
The master said: “It means to be attentive in the moment that ego appears during an episode of Life. Recognize the trigger and the emotional response within. Recognize the identification which originates the ‘I.’ For centuries it has been said that ego is bad. Many wanted to conquer it. However, ego is neither bad nor good. The reality of ego is in being a continuous illusion of separation through identification with something. When we say “I” there is consistency, solidity of something inconsistent.
The disciple added: “But master, how to separate from ego in every day life when we use the word ‘I’ continuously, which is needed to properly communicate ?”
The master said: Ego is not a word. Say the word ‘I’ when you communicate but be aware of who that is while saying it. The key is to BE Aware. I told you enough about ego. Observe this example and its ramifications within yourself.”
To be alert, conscious of our own reactions and our environment as Life unfolds, at every moment, is the essence of being awake.
Otherwise, the mind has a continuous voice which we call “I.” That voice labels, judges, compares using the benchmark of its own conditioning. That voice clouds the perception of objectivity. Under that spell, the “same old thing” is the rule. That is safe, it is comfortable but at the same time unbearable, as Life loses its taste. We are eating the same thing over and over again.
When that voice is gone, we are free without “thinking” about it. We are free without running after the ideal. We experience a different reality.
How to “get rid” of that voice? By being aware of it.
Awareness is not some “action” that we do once in a while when we remember to do it; a “practice,” No!
Awareness grows naturally as our consciousness expands, that is when our pettiness shrinks.
Pettiness? Can you elaborate on that?
Our concern for salvation. Our desire for heaven. Our merchant mentality looking for personal profit in everything we do, whether worldly or spiritual, etc.
Our fear to face the unexpected is pettiness. Our hidden desire to be the “center of the universe” is utmost pettiness.
Many have their own life stories full of beliefs, interpretations about how life is “treating them.” Their sentimentality brings the “victim” syndrome which eventually, shows up as violence.
Everyone has their share of ups and downs in Life. We cannot compare which one is “greater,” for our capacity to adapt, enjoy and cope are different. Nevertheless, Life has lessons which are tailor made for every single one of us. Nothing is left to chance.
A lesson learned means the opportunity to increase our awareness.
How? Lessons in Life are meant to bring every resource we have gathered through experience. We just need the “right combination,” to use “the right set of tools.” That is known as maturity, which dilutes our pettiness.
There are many grown ups without maturity, for this doesn’t come with age necessarily but rather through assimilation of experiences.
We could experience many things in Life but unless there is assimilation of those experiences through impartial observation of them, those experiences become trauma, pettiness; which will not allow us to expand our consciousness.
It is particularly at this time, when we may need to become aware of our violent nature which may not be expressed physically against another, but nonetheless could be expressed through our own opinions, beliefs and idiosyncrasies.
Being aware of our violence is the practical way to allow love to flourish. Otherwise, love is relegated to be another pretty word used to sell more widgets, and to hide our fear to face our inner reality.
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.
Who am I?
There are many answers, depending on our level of consciousness. Thus, all good.
If we try to define and identify ourselves, what we obtain is entertainment and empty reassurance for the mind.
“I” am a human being, a lawyer, a parent, a spirit, a soul, or simply, “I” am John Doe. Many labels that “I” can be! But… I am not the label nor the idea behind it.
Consider this “secret.”
Any question is already defining the scope of the answer.
Why does the Sun set? The Sun does not set in the horizon. It only appears to us that way. Many things that we consider “realities” in Life, only appear to be that way. Even though we know through science that is the Earth moving, our experience does not agree with that. Can I deny my experience to embrace a belief even though labeled as “knowledge”?
Enjoy the sunset! That is fulfilling. That is what truly matters.
Let us go back. Who am “I”? It appears that there is something static to call “I” to hang onto; but there is nothing static in a changing Life. We heard “Life is change” but we cannot easily accept that Life is uncertain, mysterious.
“I” was 5 years old. That “I” is nothing like the one living “now.”
Am “I” the same? Not a chance, but my mind believes it through dead memories.
The word “I” must be used to make sense in language; but we believe that there is something static which we call “I.” However, that does not agree with what IS.
Then…what IS? Change, uncertainty, everlasting movement.
Can we confine everlasting change into an “I”?
Only in our conditioned “reality.” It is a core belief which has lived for centuries in our human psyche; coloring religions, philosophies, educational systems, etc.
We cannot understand Life until that primal conditioning is uprooted, for we see Life only through that lens.
When we are at peace with change, uncertainty and unpredictability, we ARE living Life. We ARE “spiritual.”
“What is MIND? Can you explain through words what is MIND? How to move from MIND to NO-MIND? No-mind is also called pure space, emptiness, what does this mean? I personally feel the mind is total illusion (Correct me please if I am wrong). And if the mind is illusion, how illusion can be associated with purity and impurity? You know they refer it as “Pure Mind” and “Impure Mind”.”
Thank you for your question.
A description will set limits. This may work for tangible items; but when we are referring to intangible such as the “Mind,” is not that easy.
For example, let us take a look at a dictionary definition of MIND: “The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.”
From my experience, that definition is quite inaccurate; but yet because it is a “dictionary definition” most will believe in that. Of course, if there was AWARENESS we could know the answer, but yet we want words to make intellectual sense of something that is readily observable.
Consciousness is AWARENESS. The MIND is accumulation of experiences and conditioning which shapes our perspective of Life. We use the filter of the mind to make sense of the world. The mind is the one knowing “what is right or wrong” according to society’s teachings. It is the internal voice speaking which brings our conditioning forward.
For example: “masturbation is sinful.” That is conditioning. That is stored in our mind. That becomes our guiding “truth.” Thoughts will appear to support that core belief. Once those thoughts have drilled down in us and we believe them despite our inner conflict; then feelings will settle and those will create emotions, that is; the body will be affected. Then we may play the “dishonest” game of defending that “truth” verbally, while still DOING it. This will increase our sense of guilt and from there, it is only a step into emotional and mental disturbances.
If you want to understand, do not try to make sense of my words. Just use those as guiding symbols. OBSERVATION, AWARENESS is what will allow you to know.
If you go deeper into this, you may be able to recognize that the MIND is not YOU, but conditioning that have shaped YOU into something. It has given you a “form.”
For example, you are clay; but the mind will present that clay into the form of a little house made with clay. The mind will defend that “form” at all costs for it thrives in identity, which will create the ego-mind. Ego is mind.
You said “The mind is total illusion.” I ask you to confirm that through your own observable experience, after reading this.
Is the house made of clay an “illusion”? Yes and No.
However, what is important is to see clay in every “form.”
That is deconditioning. It is not to negate by saying that everything is an “illusion,” but by OBSERVING that clay will present itself in different forms. Every form is a perspective, the way we look at Life.
“Reality” presents itself through different “forms.” All of them are “real,” but illusions at the same time. It all depends on the one observing. His conditioning. His perspective.
This is the reason why the “I” is real for most, it presents itself with a marvelous form… but it is an illusion at the same time.
When there is no-conditioning, what is there then? An Empty mind. That is space, emptiness. Many labels to refer to “no-mind.”
My friend Mathias, one day explained that “emptiness allows for decoration of a room.” If the room has already stuff in it, there are limits as to how we could decorate. For most individuals, the mind is full of stuff, full of furniture, there is no space for anything “new.”
The terms “purity and impurity” are mental abstractions. A duality created by the mind. Concepts to play with.
“Purity” is not to DO some things and to avoid others.
“Impurity” is not to DO things which are not “pure.” Observe the trap. We must define what is “pure.” That definition entails a particular perspective, a particular reality. For example, some religions believe that sex is “impure.” Thus, their definition of “purity” is no-sex, celibacy.
It is not that sex is pure or impure, but it has been defined in a certain way. There is a particular perspective in such statement.
Since the mind is more less a “computer hard drive” full of experiences and conditioning influencing the output of our actions, there cannot be such a thing as “pure or impure” mind, but rather pure and impure experiences, which can’t be. Experiences are only that, experiences.
No-Mind is not the negation of mind, but to empty the conditioning of it, the “furniture” in the room. That is how it is said: “A pure mind is an empty mind.”
The next question will be: How do I empty my mind?
“You” don’t DO it. Once AWARENESS sets in, it happens while at the same time, emotional disturbances may need to be dissolved; but that is part of someone’s particular path. There are no “recipes.”
You want to DO something? OBSERVE yourself, BE AWARE of your thoughts, emotions, reactions, movements. Learn from yourself. “Know thyself.”
Beyond the trap of purity and impurity, there is AWARENESS and lack of it.
AWARENESS is like breathing. We are so used to “automatic pilot” that we need to read what the “expert” says about “how to breathe.” That is the conditioning of the mind: Believe the “experts” if you want to know.
Once we read the opinion of the “authority,” thoughts will arrive saying that “I know what breathing is.” To de-condition means to open to the possibility that “I don’t know anything, despite reading about it” and go through the breathing experience ourselves.
The mind will try to make “my” findings about breathing into a “best-seller.” That is conditioning. Got to make money! Get ahead!
My moral values will tell me that “I shouldn’t make a profit through spiritual teachings.” That is conditioning as well. That conflict will come from the mind.
An empty mind, is empty of that sort of conflict, for BEING knows the direction in Life. There is no need to make a choice, for that is mind.
To listen to that message without distortions, means to discover no-mind.
“Spirituality” as it has been taught for many years, targets an infantile consciousness. It is the popular “Monkey sees, Monkey does.”
It is understood that we learn by imitation like a 5-year-old child. That is the need for “role models.”
Have you seen a 50-year-old with the consciousness of a 5-year-old?
They may know a lot about the “office world.” They know how to “make money,” how to be “ahead.” They know that “I” is different than “you” and different than Life. They know how to look out for #1.
Life is for ME to make what “I” want of it. Life is for ME, I and MYSELF.
What a dingy bird!
What type of spirituality will be “good” for that? Do this. Don’t Do that. If you do it, you will get punished; but if you follow the instructions, if you copy the “role models,” then you will be “good.” “God” will have a special place for you when you die while a monument will be built on Earth after you. You will be eternal.
That is all about the “I.”
With that kind of spirituality, “I” have to become something better, “I” have to achieve something special, “I” have to show others my value, my capacity… “I” will continue on even when “I” am no longer here. “I” need to achieve heaven and join the political party of angels and saints…
“I” need insurance for the afterlife.
That type of consciousness is not ready yet for “No-I.” That is the other half of your 24-hour day…
Although we may be awake, we are asleep trapped in the routine of “another day at the office.”
When “I” sleep sound and deep, who am “I”? Where am “I”?
When thoughts come into “my” mind, who sent them? Wasn’t it “me”? Why can’t “I” stop them?
The “problem” is that I call that experience “MY” mind.
“I” have not been trained to OBSERVE the mind as when a bird passes flying on the sky. Do I say “my” bird is flying now? 🙂
What are those things that build “ME”? …. “MY” body.
Definitely, but can I observe that IT is getting older without “MY” permission? Nevertheless, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings have me wrapped up in MY identification of ME.
Enjoy your body! Only know that it is not yours or you… unless your consciousness is still there with that song… Then, embrace that. Acknowledge it … You are not ready for “NO-I” yet, otherwise it will be a dull belief, another “reason” to be dishonest with yourself. …but it doesn’t mean that “No-I” is nonsense. It just means that “I Am” not there yet.
Emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings are shaping ME, for through them, through that filter, “I” perceive the world and “Myself.”
Take those away, who am I?
Wait a minute, that is not easy! I cannot take those away as “I” take my coat off.
No problem. Life DOES IT. 5 years from now, “I” will not be the same.
All it links ME to the idea of ME, are labels: My name. All the rest will have changed at different percentages which “I” cannot control.
Who am “I” then? 🙂
“No-I” and “I” are 2 sides of the coin. “I” can BE and at the same time, “I” cannot BE. Thus, when “I” need to BE… I AM. When I don’t… I AM NOT.
Who am I? 🙂
What I AM NOT and what I AM. Senseless, illogical, irrational stuff. Perhaps the “truth.” 🙂
My question is regarding observation. We talk about observing the moment without prejudice. I can observe river, rain, nature, sky, hotness, kid’s innocence etc. All stuff which I feel that is pure and pleasing .
But I am not sure what and how to observe in office work: The effect of work pressure, achievement and loses,the up and downs in personal relationship. How to observe this without prejudice?
I think of making observation part of my office world routine and back at home when I interact with my parents and wife, but it never happens.
I agree if something needs to be changed that can only happen through observation not by resistance or force, but how to make observation part of life.
Thank you for your question.
Observation is not a practice. It is not something that you DO when you remember, or when you have time. It happens when there is “presence,” awareness, consciousness not only of the external elements but mostly what we call “self.”
Ahnanda is not using the word “observation” under the context of the dictionary.
Any of your senses, such as taste, touch, etc. can allow you to observe or be AWARE.
We can use the words observation, awareness and to be conscious interchangeably. Go beyond words. Are you aware of the things you DO, the way you walk, how shallow or deeply you may breathe?
Why not? It happens all the time. There is no need to have “free time” to observe these events.
Your description of what is “pure and pleasing” and what is “impure” and “stressful” are taking you away from observation.
What are those things making you feel? Become AWARE of that. As you are AWARE that those energies are not “you,” then you may walk away from them, easily, effortlessly or just wait until they go away by themselves. Everything that comes to you will go away, that is one of the things you may learn through observation. That is the natural way of things. If the “pure and pleasing” goes away, then the “impure and unpleasant” will arrive. There is nothing wrong with that, things move away; unless we want to make a trauma, a rejection of a natural circular happening in Life. Through our conditioning, we see 2 different things: Pleasant and unpleasant. However, they are one.
The process of becoming aware is similar to having a nagging pain in the shoulder.
It may not be a strong pain, so we keep on living a busy Life, full of activities and accomplishments. Forgetting about that silly pain. Once in while we will become aware of that pain in the shoulder, but unless this pain becomes an obstacle to get us out of our busy schedule, that pain is not important enough in our threshold of consciousness. We will not be aware of it.
Once the pain becomes unbearable, we will observe it. We will be aware of it. Once the pain in the shoulder is at that full intensity, the intellectual question on “how can I observe the pain,” is not necessary at all. We will feel it. We will know.
That nagging pain is a sense of unfulfillment in Life. Something is lacking. You may be looking for the “answer,” something that you believe observation will give to your Life. The nagging pain (observation/awareness) will increase by itself through your own lack of observation. Paradoxical.
One more thing, Observation is not meant to change anything. It is meant to acknowledge it, while resistance and force is meant to reject things.
So how change happens then?
It always happens. It is the nature of Life. Change may not go where you want it to go, and that is the fear. We want to control in our tight grip what is meant to change. That is the illusion of security feeding the “I” and the driven force behind our human conditioning.