The Road To Becoming A Warrior Part 9
Ego is thought of by many as just the negatively selfish aspects of our character. The idea is that there is a place of selflessness where one can be egoless and still survive as an individual. These people are blissed out apparently. Their message is always love. But as I have shown, love is the most ego oriented thing of all as it is inclusion in to self.
It is self oriented behaviour that seems mostly to be the work of ego. But Freud’s definition of ego was simply the rational mind. The consciousness and the human ability to discern.
The dictionary will tell us something like this:
1. Ego is the “I” or self of any person; distinguishing itself from other beings or ”selves” and from objects.
2. In psychoanalysis ego is the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and mediates between the base drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.
3. egotism; conceit; self-importance.
So ego is a wide range of related concepts. In number 1 it is the self and the ability or tendency distinguish oneself from others. In two the emphasis is on ego being a mediating point between instinct and interaction with the outside world. But in 3 we see these negative connotations of ego: egotism, conceit, and self importance.
There is another way to say ego: subjectivity. Subjectivity is all about how things affect you. Or me for that matter. When I ask: How does this affect me, I am asking a subjective egocentric question. What subjectivity usually refers to is the “I” or self.
If I am greedy I am looking out for number one, me. But am I? Greed can have negative consequences because it is not appreciated by other people. If they feel cheated by you they may retaliate. Anything could happen from calling police to beating you to having you beaten, to having you killed. But then again that is how some people get rich so it seems to have its merits, if you don’t get yourself in trouble on the way.
Karma will tell us this will backfire. The three fold law tells us it will backfire and come back on us giving us three times the misery we cause others. But in reality some people seem to get away with it. In fact the motto: Greed is good, seems to be one that is touted often in the news on financial shows etc. But we know that greed is not good because it is not sustainable. It is impossible to keep earning more money every year. Eventually the bottom drops out as has happened recently. But no one has learned a thing.
Well actually some people have and they have been shouting it from roof tops. But most people think its business as usual. Others just say oh well. Some got richer some went broke. Who cares? The strong survive. So there is a conflict in the mind of society.
Yes, society has a mind. It is the total mind of all those who participate in it. Like QM, societies are studied statistically to predict their behaviour. But unfortunately QM is far more exact in its predictions than social statistics or group dynamics are. That is because there are large factions of the social mind in conflict with each other. A society is yet another layer of reality like cells and atoms are. Some might even say they don’t exist but that simply is not the case. Societies exist in the sense of a group containing many individuals. It acts on its own, so it seems, but it actually acts on the momentum and the thoughts of the people that make up the group. The group contains an economy, traditions, culture, religion, etc.
It can even be egocentric as in nationalism. This is yet another pattern we see on many levels. It’s me against them and us against them. This is what causes all the wars.
So it is easy to see why some would think ego a bad thing; and it can be. But what is there if there is no self? Because that is what ego is, the self. Are you ready to give self up to find god or the source? That’s what enlightenment in the Eastern religions is all about. Life is an illusion. The I is an illusion. The only way to get out of the illusion is to lose yourself in the all.
Most people, of course, think the real I is a soul. The soul merges with the source or goes back to the source. So the human ego is unimportant and in fact a hindrance to becoming enlightened. It is easy if you have this extra device called a soul to find and rely on. Because if you don’t, then losing the self is the most absurd thing you can strive for. Can we assume we have a soul? No. We can’t afford to assume anything. There is no evidence for a soul that lives on after death.
So first off, is this all an illusion? Yes and no. Yes there is a lot more to the world than what we see or perceive. But the layers below us make up the layers above us. So is the atomic layer reality? Is the cellular layer the real reality? Does it matter that a copper pipe is made of billions of copper atoms with mostly empty space between them but has the illusion of being solid?
If that is the way the world works then no. It is irrelevant. The pipe holds water. We still have to go to work to make money to feed ourselves and our kids. We still need shelter and security. So even if what we see and interact with is due to nothing but a bunch of light reflections or holographic information, it is irrelevant. We are still born, live and die just the same. Does it matter that the type you see on your screen is not ink on paper? It is the illusion of type face. But at the same time it is not an illusion. It still conveys the same message.
In other words, as long as there are layers to reality, and they all reflect the underlying layers of reality, then this layer is a result of those underlying layers and by learning about this layer we can get real information about the others.
It is only when we run into the idea that all the layers we see and know about are part of the illusion that we get in to trouble. Then it is impossible to know anything about reality at all because reality is the source and we the dream. Yet we have to suffer as if it is real. It hardly seems fair. It’s also rather absurd because then nothing we say or do can get us to enlightenment because even the techniques to get us there are part of the illusion and yes, even the idea of enlightenment is just part of the illusion.
So? So what? No matter whether that is true or not we still are born and live and die and need food and shelter. The illusion is the reality on this level and we live in this layer of the illusion. To us it is real and for all intents and purposes it is real. It doesn’t matter that it is an illusion. Unlike the movie the Matrix, there is no dream for us to come out of because according to this hypothesis we are the dream.
So the dream scenario may be correct but it is irrelevant even if it is. We have to live as if this reality because it is here that we suffer and here that we find ways out of suffering.
To the Pantheist nature is the source. We don’t go back to it when we die because we never left it. We are nature. There is nothing but nature. This is what mankind lives. It rings true. When we die we do not retain the I or ego. That is to the best of our knowledge all we can rationally say without assuming. The I probably does not go on to heaven or merge with a god. We cannot know a heaven or a god or a soul exists, so we cannot assume they do. The Seeker and the Pantheist cannot afford to put stock in those ideas.
If I do not assume everything is an illusion, do I automatically assume not everything is an illusion? Or do I automatically assume some things are not illusion? No. But I can hold that opinion based on the evidence at hand without holding it as a belief. To assume is to believe.
Any model we have of reality must fit our human experience. The dream or illusion model does not fit our experience at all. It can’t because it claims our experience is the illusion. How can they know? They cannot. This is why U.G left his teacher. His teacher told him that there were things he could never know. If the knowledge was not accessible to U.G how could his teacher possibly know anything about it? And then how could he know U.G could never know? Even if you so called found the source, how would you be sure it was reality and not just part of the illusion?
Most monks who have attained enlightenment or seek to attain it live in communities where they can work with no distractions and no worry about food or shelter or other basic needs. They practice celibacy, often vow poverty. Some give away all their possessions so they will not have any attachments to worldly things. Usually they have followers who provide them with food. The sacrifice used to double as a way for priests to make a living. Western churches as yen percent of your earnings. A few live like hermits working alone in a secluded place far away from all of mankind. Some of them can give themselves up almost completely to the task. What chance does a person living in the world with a husband or wife and kids have of finding enlightenment? How can such a person lose their ego completely? Who would want to?
The object of many monks is to stop the thought process for as long as possible. Some monks have attained states of non-thought for days on end. But even they come back eventually to take a rest from being attached to the source. Try that with a baby waking you up every two hours.
I told you about how the ego or conscious thought process educates the instinctive. But the thought process gets educated as well. It can become more rational and more logical. To me, logic and rationality are the key. Throwing them away is not the answer. As the conscious gets more educated the subconscious gets more educated, and do when you do drop in to the subconscious in meditation it too has more skills.