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The Ego Is Never Happy
Daria: First, thanks for replying to my last email.
Sundari: You are welcome, Daria.
Daria: It seems that I have to deal with things on so many levels.
Sundari: There is only one reality, which is awareness (the cause, or the subject) and all objects arise from it (the effect). Nonetheless, that does not mean that those two orders of reality are the same. Awareness is that which is real, meaning always present and never changing; the apparent reality, the world of objects – the jiva, or person, and the forces that govern the world the person lives in (Isvara) – is that which is only apparently real because it is not always present and always changing. Understanding the relationship between (1) pure awareness (2) Isvara (or the Total Mind) and (3) jiva (or person) is vital if moksa is what you are aiming for.
Ask yourself: who does the “I” in your statement above refer to? The “I” that lives in the apparent reality seems to have many things to deal with because it is under the spell of ignorance. It is running a race against the fiction of time in an ever-changing and unstable world which is a zero-sum game. It can never win. The ego believes that because it is incomplete and limited it needs to gain things, control things or change things in order to survive. But is that “I” who you really are? Are you not really the knower of the ego?
Daria: Level 1 – puppet Daria is going with friends to Canada for the weekend. There is quite a big part of me that knows I’m not Daria. Daria’s just a puppet controlled by bubalon (can’t find the correct spelling, LOL).
Sundari: I assume that by “bubalon” (never heard the expression) you mean ignorance. In which case, that is true because Daria and all the choices she makes, although they may appear to be “her” choices, are actually governed by the vasanas, her likes and dislikes. The vasanas are governed by her values which in turn are governed by the gunas: rajas, tamas and sattya. I have attached an article on the gunas for you to read. If you want to be free of Daria, you will need to understand what makes up her conditioning, which is the vasana load given to her by Isvara and with which she is identified with. Moksa is not about denying the person or perfecting them. Moksa is about understanding Daria in the light of self-knowledge so that you can be free of identification with her – AND so that Daria can live free in the apparent reality because she knows her true nature to be awareness and therefore knows the difference between that which is real and that which is not, never confusing the two.
Daria: Level 1 – a part of me knows that nothing is really happening this weekend because myself as consciousness/awareness can’t really go anywhere.
Daria: Level 2 – of course, the ego is excited because it thinks it will get something from the trip. I’ve spent time talking to the ego, reminding it that it’s never ever been happy so this trip is not going to make it happy. I can truly look back and see that the ego has never been happy. I think the ego can kind of see it too. Because when I ask it to share with me a time it has been happy, it can’t come up with one.
Sundari: It is very good that you are objectifying the ego and, of course, you are right: the ego is by definition dissatisfied because the ego is driven by desire. Even if it gets what it wants, satisfaction is short-lived because the next thought or desire comes up and it wants something else. Or fear sets in because it is afraid it will lose what it seems to have gained. Nothing appeases the ego because its existence is born of ignorance. So ask yourself who is talking to and looking at the ego.
Daria: My ego is not nearly as strong as it used to be. There was a time when I use to pray daily to be a “rock” because that was the only way I could see stopping the pain the ego was causing. But I’m glad to say it been over a year since I have uttered that prayer.
Sundari: The ego is just an idea in the mind, a thought that has identified with the idea of “otherness,” or duality. There is no such thing as an ego from awareness’s point of view because for awareness there is no such thing as otherness. The ego is nothing more than a thought appearing in the mind, the non-apprehension of reality as it really is: non-dual. The ego is born of fear because the thought of separation that gave birth to it is a terrifying idea. Samsara, or the belief in duality, is by definition that which is always changing and not always present; it is not under the jiva’s control. There is no such thing as security for the ego, it is a total myth; but a myth the ego buys into – and the world it lives in – goes to great lengths to get the ego to believe security is possible. The ego will do anything to try to find that which it will never find: the reassurance that it will survive.
This is why understanding karma yoga is of utmost importance whether it is just a more peaceful life you are after or if moksa is your primary goal. One cannot achieve peace of mind, or moksa, without the karma yoga attitude which states simply that you have a right to act but that the results of your actions are not up to you. This is because the apparent reality is controlled by Isvara, the gunas, and not by the person, or ego. Karma yoga is an attitude one takes towards action, a consecration on a moment-to-moment basis of every thought, word and action to Isvara who is in control of the whole field. Karma yoga is the trust that whatever you really need will be given to you and taking everything that does come your way with an attitude of gratitude, as a gift.
What usually happens for most seekers is that the ego tries to experience awareness; it cannot be done because the ego is inert. The body-mind-ego seems to experience because the light of awareness (YOU) is shining on it. Self-realisation is the hard and fast knowledge that you are awareness (apparently) experience the ego. And because of this Vedanta says: don’t fret about the ego. It does not have to be destroyed, denied or perfected, just understood for what it is. It is not a threat to you and busting it will not produce enlightenment because you are and always have been the knower of the ego therefore you are always free of the ego.
Daria: I’m planning on attending the retreat in Trout Lake the end of August.
Sundari: Good for you, Daria, I look forward to meeting you. What does your sadhana consist of? Have we been in contact before or have you just come across ShiningWorld? If you have, we recommend that everyone reads James’ book How to Attain Enlightenment, read as many of the e-satsangs at the website, as every question you could every think of has been asked and answered, and also watch as many of James’ DVDs as possible.
I am happy to help you in any way I can.
~ Namaste, Sundari