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Should I Love My Ego?
Manny: Somehow I came across Nisagardatta’s I Am That that I read 25 years ago but didn’t understand then. But I found that I got what I could not really understand then. WOW… what a revelation! You know the book. It’s not a proper teaching in the Vedantic sense, but it’s true. Some central words like “existence” or “knowing/Knowledge” are used differently but that’s not the point. It’s not about the book and it’s not about Nisagardatta either!
What really struck me was the sentence: “Nothing stops you from being a jnani here and now except fear! You are afraid of being impersonal.” The information as such isn’t really new though. It was more the context or the momentum or that I was ready to hear this truth and let it in after all my numerous insights over the years. I must admit that I really have become obsessed about the Truth, about sat chit ananada and the anantam. I am obsessed about my freedom! To be knowingly and steady what I always have been. Limitlesness is my only desire.
What I suddenly realised was that there is still a phantom/separate self fighting for its miserable existence, the poor jiva Manny, who fears abandonment and alone[ness] by the idea of his borderless being. When I inquire into this veil of Maya, I find only sympathy or pity for a bundle of feelings. They belong to nobody but still have the power of bondage. May be their days are numbered. Although there is not a really specific question, I felt the urge to write to you as my teacher.
Maybe you can comment. I’m coming to the Berlin seminar!
James: Hi Manny.
Sorry for the tardy reply but I have been extremely busy. The important message in this letter is that you are starting to get an objective view of the person you have believed yourself to be for the last fifty years. It is very important that an inquirer develop a healthy contempt for his or her jiva’s weaknesses, not pander to them. Pity is good. Sympathy is okay, but disgust is better. At the same time you need to appreciate the fact that Manny is Isvara’s business, surrender him to Isvara and take a stand as the Self at the same time. See you soon!
Manny: Thanks a lot for this answer. I can clearly see that this apparent “fear“ of dissolving the Manny ego appears in me, awareness. So basically there is already distance from this false identity and yet it becomes stronger and fights for its existence, especially when the light of awareness is shining most brightly. It’s going back and forth, especially in the moment when [in] the light.
But the word “disgust“ sounds harsh. Do I really have to reject anything? This is the therapist talking. Wouldn’t a loving attitude be the best help to dissolve this fear into nothingness or even better into fullness. Why? Because love IS the nature of the Self. So why not hold any kind of fear, sadness or any other resistance in the arms of MySelf? Would any rejection increase the sense of duality? So no rejection but the contrary: complete allowance. Isn’t that the most effective way? Isn’t complete allowance or zero resistance or the “100% yes” the very expression of Love, peace and happiness? Tat Twam Asi. Of course this only works when I take my stand in awareness as awareness. Right?
James: Well, you can’t manufacture disgust unless you actually understand why pandering to the ego is disgusting. It is disgusting because it is a weakness that keeps the ego alive. Furthermore, what’s to love about duality, desire, fear, etc? But if you can love it out of existence, be my guest. However, wouldn’t it be the ego itself that was doing the loving? Yes, you can argue that it is the ego that should feel disgust, but the point is that it needs to stop coddling itself with warm fuzzy psychobabble, take the bull by the horns and wrestle itself to the ground, not allow it to carry on as if whatever it wants is good for it. Taking a stand in awareness as awareness means that you are indifferent to its blandishments. You are not repelled by it or attracted to it. You are not trying to protect it or heal it. It means that it isn’t real in the first place, so you don’t give it the time of day and it just gradually fades away.
Manny: For me the way to moksa appears as a step-by-step process of dissolving the fog of ignorance, rather a smooth and gradual proceeding. It doesn’t feel like heading for a Big Bang of sudden enlightenment. [Is there] anything wrong with this understanding? Or [is there] something to add? I don’t wait anymore for anything special to [be] happening in the future.
James: Nothing wrong with it at all, Manny. Persistent effort to dissolve ignorance is the only way. The reason coddling the ego is not the way to go is that all its beliefs and opinions are ignorance-based. Just loving it doesn’t work. Love the “I” and separate the ego from it. See it as “not-Self” and dismiss it.
~ Love, James