Friday, September 15, 2017

The I or ego is not a thought or a word ~ Atman Nityananda

The I or ego is not a thought or a word

The I or me it is not a thought or a word but an energetic structure which grows due to identification and experiences.

According the gunas the ego (the mind as well) assumes three aspects, and we can speak about: the sattvic ego, the rajasic ego and the tamasic ego.

However I prefer to classify the ego in two categories. The sattvic ego and rajasotamasic ego. I prefer this classification because the rajasic and tamasic aspect of the ego are what obstruct us to live harmoniously and aware of our true nature, while the sattvic ego is what is helping us move from the darkness of materialism to the light of consciousness and the divine life.


What I am presenting in this text about the ego refers to the rajasotamasic aspect of the ego which is what the vast majority of humanity is identified with.

The ego makes us identify with the physical body although the ego itself is an energy and it is something different than the body. This ego-energy it is felt in the body as a strong sense, the sense "the body is me".

Thus we sense that we are the body (I am the body or the body is me) which has been born some years ago. Moreover we identify with the name that  our parents haven given to this body. 

The fundamental functions of the ego is to identify, to project. to desire. Thus the ego can identify with everything and projects it self to everything and is always desiring or seeking something. 

The ego by identifying with the body and everything that happens in the body, becomes the agent of our thoughts, perceptions, emotions, sensations, actions, i.e. becomes the perceiver, the fel;er, the thinker, the doer.  The ego identifying with the objects assumes the form of "Mineness" and also the attachment to them.

The ego projects its own qualities, emotions, thoughts, opinions on others and everything in this world and is unable to realize that what sees externally is its own projections.

The ego desires and seeks pleasure, happiness and fulfillment through sensory experiences and achievements.

The I or ego having at its center the above three fundamental functions expands and assumes many forms. Most fundamental aspects of the ego are: likes-dislikes, attraction-repulsion or aversion, greed, pride, lasciviousness, gluttony, avarice, arrogance, vanity, fear, anger, hatred, impatience, resentment, depression, charm- disappointment, jealousy, frustration, loneliness, boredom, discontentment, uneasiness, inferiority, superiority, insufficiency, incompleteness, etc.

All these egoistic tendencies are not different from the ego or I, but modifications of the I itself. The ego according the circumstances in the twinkling of an eye assumes some of the above mentioned forms creating in our mind and heart a continuous turmoil in a variety of intensity. The ego assumes these forms as the water which is H2O, can assume the form of water, cloud, steam, ice, snow etc.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The ego has its place ~ Atman Nityananda

   
The ego has its place

The ego* has its place for those who want to follow a worldly life, but not for those who want to achieve self-realization or liberation.

There are contemporary spiritual instructors who say that it is not necessary to eliminate or dissolve the ego ( me or I) in order to achieve liberation or Self-realization. They say that we simply have to put it in its place*.

This idea is false and it is not in accordance with the teachings of great masters like Swami Sivananda, Adi-Sankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi, Amma (Amritanandamayi Ma) and texts like Bhagavad Gita who declare very clearly that the dissolution of the ego is the very heart of liberation. The whole process of spirituality aims to the dissolution of the ego.

The ego is a virus that we have to eliminate it by an antivirus if we want to restore harmony and equilibrium in our psych and achieve Self-realization. A similar is an infected by virus computer. The virus makes the computer dysfunction. In order to disinfect the computer, we must use an anti-virus. The anti-virus is a kind of software that works on Windows which has the capacity to remove the virus (which is also a software that works on Windows). Similarly, we have to use a psycholgical anti-virus which is the superior sattvic qualities of the mind and intellect and the divines energies in order to dissolve the lower destructive tendencies of the egoic mind and the ego itself.
What place has a virus in our computer? None. The virus causes the dysfunctioning of the computer. What place have in our psychology the rajasotamsic ego and its various forms or expressions such as envy, hatred, anger, greed, lasciviousness, guilt, greed, greed, vanity, pride, and all other selfish tendencies? None. 
All the above mentioned egoistic tendencies that are forms of the ego itself, are like viruses in us and cause imbalance, disharmony, suffering and illness. So they have no place in our psychology, they are psychological parasites. That's why it is necessary to dissolve them with a suitable antivirus.

What is the best antivirus?

For each one is different. As there are many brands of antivirus for computer viruses, there are also different psychological antivirus.

However, there are some common qualities in all psychological antivirus.

These are: Self-awareness, dispassionate moment by moment self-observation, witnessing attitude, acceptance, discernment, detachment, self-inquiry, concentration, meditation, control of the mind and the senses and more than anything a intense yearning to realize the truth.

However, it is natural that in the beginning of our spiritual journey, we do the Sadhana (daily spiritual practices) from the perspective of the ego. The rajasotamasic ego is involved in sadhana, because at the beginning of the spiritual journey the ego is at the center of our life. We are fully identified with it (and due to the ego with the body), ego is strong and plays the role of agent for everything that happens in us and everything we do. So it is inevitable the involvement of ego in the sadhana. The situation changes (becomes better for us in any ways) as we advance spiritually, i.e., when our mind becomes quite purified, sattvic and the egoic energies and tendencies are weakened greatly and we are more connected with the inner silent space of consciousness.

The ego in its sattvic aspect is positively involved in the Sadhana, while the ego in its rajasotamasic aspect tries its best to prevent us from doing the Sadhana. The rajasotamasic ego creates many obstacles in order to make us abandon the practice and the spiritual path. And it does this because, following a spiritual life, the ego loses its pleasures that until now it had them freely, and because the ego knows that with the Sadhana it is going to disappear (die). Initially we cannot avoid the resistance that the ego opposes against our will to march on the spiritual path and we cannot avoid the illusions that the ego creates because we are strongly identified with the ego and our Buddhi (intellect, intelligence) is hypnotized and it is manipulated by the egoic tendencies and energies that originate from Tamas and Rajas gunas..

By following the daily Sadhana firmly and decisively the egoic energies and tendencies are eliminated, and after several years of practice the tamasorajasic ego becomes very thin and weak and predominates in us the Sattvic mind and ego which has nothing to do with the lower rajatomasic ego. The sattvic mind and ego is favorable to our efforts to realize the truth. It is the instrument of our Soul in this earthly life. When the sattva predominates the sadhana becomes natural and there is a flow in the way we live and the application of the practices. A sattvic mind is also the background to practice easily and effortlessly deep meditation and Samadhi.

Thus I want to clarify here that it is not the rajasotamasic ego that eliminates itself, but it is the sattvic mental energies and the divine energies that accomplish this task. We dissolve little by little the egoic tendencies and energies and the rajatomasic ego itself by using the higher-sattvic powers of the mind and the divine energies together with the appropriate mental attitude (which includes self-awareness, dispassionate self-observation moment by moment, witnessing attitude, acceptance, Discernment, and detachment). In order to cultivate the higher capacities of the mind and intellect there is a variety of practices and methods, such as japa mantra, japa nama, devotion, pranayama, meditation, contemplation, prayer, self-enquiry among others.

According my own experience, the most powerful weapon (and easiest for all) to destroy the ego with all its branches is the repetition of the name of God which is practice that can be done along with all other practices mentioned above.

NOTE:

Ego*: The ego is the set of all egoic tendencies along with the sensation 'the body is me'.

It is necessary to put it (ego) in its place*:
Some contemporary instructors hold this concept (ego must be put in its place) probably because of his idea that the sensation 'the body is me' which is the fundamental aspect of the ego or I, is something other than the various egoic tendencies such as envy, hatred, anger, gluttony, lasciviousness, guilt, greed, greed, vanity, pride, etc. But the truth is that these egoic tendencies and the sensation 'the body is me or I' are one thing, one energy that assumes different forms or aspects. A similarity to understand the relation of the ego or I itself and the egoic tendencies is the water. The water according the circumstances takes the form of ice, snow, rain, steam etc. It is one substance that change its form of expression. Similarly, the ego is one energy which assumes various aspects according the circumstances. The ego or I which has as fundamental form “I am the body”, “I am a separate body-mind individual” modifies (takes the form) as anger, jealousy, greed, desire, pride, gluttony, lasciviousness etc.. That’s why, when we eliminate the energy of the egoic tendencies, the fundamental aspect of ego “I am the body' is also diminished, and also when we eliminate the ego in its fundamental aspect, 'the body is me', all its aspects are weakened.

More essays about the nature of ego