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Karma, Ego and Action!
Jake: Hi, Daniel.
I always get myself in a bit of a tangle and look to you for help since I try to follow your and James’ delivery of the teaching. I have got into a conversation where someone is saying ego creates karma. In all I have read, including your pieces, action creates karma. Ego is ever present, because it is part of the mind stuff, so although it may influence things it is still action that creates karma.
~ Kind regards
PS: I like reading a lot of Ted Schmidt’s stuff; below is an extract from Ted’s writing:
“In a word, seeing the ego as an object is ultimate ‘inner’ freedom. You – i.e. pure awareness – recognize that the ego is simply a pseudo identity. The ego is actually nothing more than a thought arising in the mind that lays claim to the sensations, emotions and cognitions occurring within the mind.’’
It would seem ego only appears to create karma when we identify with the body.
Daniel: Hey, Jake. ☺
There are a number of definitions for the word karma. But karma ultimately just refers to cause and effect, action and result. The ego does not create karma. The ego is karma – a bundle of vibrating actions and results.
The ego does not create anything. Isvara is responsible for the creating, preserving and destroying of things This includes the creation of the apparent jiva and its vasanas, which make up something we call “ego.” The ego is just a microcosmic by-product, a “smaller piece of karma” of the bigger karmic soup that we know as life (macrocosmic field).
Mithya, this apparent reality in which Jake (ego) finds himself in, is nothing but an impersonal karmic (action/result) machine. Both the microcosmic (jiva) and the macrocosmic share the same action-based nature; both are limited and always changing.
Action is karma and karma is action. They are synonymous terms.
But I get what you’re saying by suggesting that ego creates karma. Action creates a desire (ego), which is the seed for another action. We tend to get trapped in the chain of action-desire-action and generally find ourselves getting swept by this perpetuated cycle of action-reaction-action, which may seem to be as a result of the ego – which it is – and which it is not. It is if you identify with the limited entity. And it is not when you understand the reality of creation (gunas/Isvara) and your true identity as actionless (“karma-less”) awareness.
The ego is not always present. Only you, awareness, are ever present. Where is the ego/Jake in deep sleep? Not there. But you (awareness) are there to know the absence of the ego. Read that last sentence again. You may then see why we say that freedom is not for the ego, but rather FROM the ego. Freedom from the ego means you don’t depend on it.
If you had to investigate the topic of action you would come to the realisation that there’s no difference between the ego, the mind or karma. They are all the same.
What’s important is directing your attention back to the subject (you, awareness), the knower of the ego/mind/karma.
Understanding that you are the knower of the ego/mind/karma (which is an object) and realising that you, awareness, are always free from objects is moksa/liberation.
Ted’s satsangs are spot on! Yup, the ego is nothing more than a thought arising in the mind. And the mind is nothing more than an object arising in you, limitless awareness.
~ Much love
Jake: Many thanks, Daniel.