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Dan: Dear Ram, I am aware that this smart ego which is full of intellect can be a sneaky bastard, especially when it is armed with “smart spiritual words,” including Vedanta talk. It pretends to be the self when in fact it’s just a well-educated and cleverly disguised ego.
Ram: The ego is just an identification with the body-mind entity. It happens in the intellect. It is tricky because it identifies with whatever appears in the mind. It even identifies with the concept “I am the self”! It is a “concept” at this stage because until it is really owned and firmly known it is only a meaningless statement. When the ego co-opts the position of the self it is called “enlightenment sickness.”
Dan: I have experienced the true self – a state of pure consciousness – on a few occasions. This I know.
Ram: If your mind is calm and steady the stream of thoughts can become slow or disappear and the reflection of the self is then experienced in the mind. This is as close as you can get on an experiential level to self-realization, but it is still duality because you still think the self is an object which can be experienced. This is indirect knowledge. The self cannot be experienced by you, the ego. You are the self. This means you see all of ego’s experiences, including its experiences of you.
Dan: However, my ego/Daniel-identity is feeling confused, scared and frustrated. It knows (or at least I remind it consistently) that the true self is consistent and has no changing state – it remains one – as being. However, the ego is making this truth incredibly difficult to accept and honor.
Ram: YOU are not confused, Daniel. YOU are always free of confusion. The mind is confused. This is because it is in an “in-between” state and it is losing its hold as the thought of you as a person slowly crumbles. But the knowledge that you are non-dual awareness is not completely appreciated yet.
Ask yourself, who is observing the confusion in the mind? This technique is a trick to bring the mind back to the self. You are observing the confusion. The confusion cannot touch you at all. Just don’t believe any of these thoughts and bring your mind back to the source, to your self.
Dan: For example, I have to go for a medical procedure test and results could mean that “Daniel” may have to leave this physical world (very slight chance!). When “the Daniel” feels happy (this can be brought out by a day surrounded by family love and sunshine, etc.), then accepting an outcome such as death is scary but acceptable – taking into account that the true self is unaffected and will remain the same.
Ram: You are happiness when you are with yourself, Daniel. When this situation obtains you don’t want anything or want to get rid of anything. You see that nothing can affect you, not even the thought of death. It is not death that scares you. It is the thought of death. Think it through. We are all going to die. It is just a fact. So why let the thought disturb your mind? Look for that part of you that has been with you through everything, that is here now observing your agitated mind. That part is you. It is not subject to death. When you identify with it the fear of death disappears.
Daniel: However, there could be times when I am lying in bed at night or feeling physically drained that the thought of death is terrifying and very depressing because I think of all the good shit that Daniel will be leaving behind or missing out on.
Ram: You are missing out now if you are identified with the thought that you are missing out. You are not missing anything here and now. Keep your mind in the present and count your blessings. Try to keep it from running to the inevitable by appreciating what you have now.
When the mind is deluded, dull or agitated these thoughts become a problem. At times like these you identify with the fear and this feels terrible. The self always wants to get rid of these emotions, because in its essence it is free of them.
Dan: I assume the above is the ego and its emotions?
Ram: It is the ego identifying with the emotions.
Dan: I am confused despite experiencing the true self on a few occasions.
Ram: You cannot experience the self, Daniel, because you are the self. And think about this: If you know you are confused, are you confused? Confusion is taking place in your mind and you observe it. You are not what you observe. You are free of what you observe. Why identify with confusion?
Dan: Is my ego now just being smart and fucking with me, playing “Mr. Spiritual” only when “Daniel” feels happy and then suddenly turning into a coward when “Daniel” has to face certain situations that may be physically/emotionally challenging?
Ram: Yes it is. It tries to own the knowledge and make an identity out of it. It is easy to see that you are pure consciousness when the mind is still. But it is difficult not to believe threatening thoughts when the knowledge is not firm. The knowledge cannot become firm when the mind is disturbed. Keep on inquiring. Who is observing all the changes going on in your mind?
You are pure spirit. You cannot “be” spiritual. This is the ego making a story out of it. “I am spiritual” is a belief. It is based on the idea that you are a person. But you are not a person.
Dan: Is the above written from the ego or as a “witness”?
Ram: Both. You are switching. Sometimes you speak from the personal standpoint, sometimes from the perspective of the self.
Dan: One last question. I have been experiencing such dreadful nightmares, Ram, enough to distort my next day like lots of death and traumas. Could this symbolize anything more than just my “medical anxiety”?
Ram: Yes. It is a purification of the mind. Your beliefs and conditionings are crumbling and it is threatening. You don’t have to be scared, because you are actually the witness of this. It cannot touch you. Try to relax and just observe.
~ Love, Ram