Ego, more than self-esteem, self-worth, pride and arrogance

In the world, ‘ego’ is mostly being interpreted as the quality of a prideful ambitious overly confident high self-esteemed and self-centered person who thinks and believes oneself possesses certain qualities or achievements that one and others would be proud of and should deserve respect, appreciation, acknowledgement, or glorification.

When people say, “He/She has a big/bad ego,” usually it refers to this is a proud and arrogant self-centered, self-obsessed, or overly confident and ambitious person that boasts and glorifies about one’s contributions or achievements.

When people say, “He/She doesn’t have an ego or he/she has a small/good ego,” usually it refers to this is a down to earth, humble and unselfish person, who keeps quiet about one’s contributions and achievements.

‘Ego’, is more than the reflection of self-esteem, self-worth, pride and arrogance of a person under the teachings of yoga and Buddhism. It’s not a quality to reflect whether a person is being arrogant and self-centered or being humble and non self-centered.

‘Ego’, is an idea of ‘I’ derived from ignorance and exists in the form of a continuous stream of thought-current in the thinking mind, that feeds on egoism, attached onto and identifies with certain qualities of names and forms to be existing as an individual being experiencing life, either enjoying pleasant/desirable/agreeable/joyful experiences or suffering unpleasant/undesirable/disagreeable/painful experiences, identifies as ‘the perceiver that perceives/experiences/thinks/feels’ and ‘the perceived names and forms of perceptions/experiences/thinking/feelings’ as well as ‘the performer of actions’ and ‘the receiver of the fruit of actions’, who desires and doesn’t desire, who agrees and disagrees, who fights and protects, who enjoys and suffers. It appears to be existing and real due to ignorance.

The ego exists and identifies/acknowledges itself as ‘I am good’ or ‘I am bad’, ‘I know’ or ‘I don’t know’, ‘I am confident’ and ‘I am not confident’, ‘I like, agree and desire’ or ‘I don’t like, don’t agree and don’t desire’, ‘I deserve’ or ‘I don’t deserve’, ‘I am proud’ or ‘I am humble’, ‘I am happy’ or ‘I am unhappy’, ‘I am positive’ or ‘I am negative’, ‘I am meaningful’ and ‘I am meaningless’, ‘I enjoy’ or ‘I suffer’, ‘I am selfish’ or ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am highly confident, ambitious and self-centered’ or ‘I am non confident, non ambitious and non self-centered’, and etc.

The end of yoga or Buddhism practice, is upon the annihilation of the modification of the mind or restless thought-currents, when the veil of ignorance vanished, where the mind sees itself as it is, attaining Self-realization, or knowing thyself, or knowing who ‘I’ am, where the annihilation of the ego/the idea of ‘I’, or the realization of selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness takes place, transcending ‘the wheel of births and deaths of the egoistic impure consciousness powered by ignorance and the by-products of ignorance that generates ceaseless cause and effect/good and bad karma that feeds the loop of births and deaths of ignorance and the by-products of that’, ‘returning’ to oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness, deathlessness, void of/untouched by cause and effect/good or bad karma/merits and virtues.

It’s not about trying to be as ‘good’ as possible, where a ‘soul/mind’ will be judged as a ‘good or bad soul/mind’ upon the death of the physical body based on accumulated virtues and merits or good/bad karma, either to be sent to ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’ or ‘somewhere in between’, or to be reborn into respective higher or lower realm of beings experiencing life existence via the mind perceiving pleasant/unpleasant names and forms through the senses that are all subject to impermanence and selflessness, to be continuously ‘ignorantly’/’helplessly’/’unwittingly’ generating further ceaseless good/bad actions along with the consequences of actions, or cause and effect, or good/bad karma, that keeps fueling the wheel of restless births and deaths (restless transitions of life existence reaping the fruit of good/bad actions) that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, regardless of good or bad, desirable or undesirable, enjoyable or sufferable transitions.

Forgo the momentary ‘pleasantness’, ‘happiness’, ‘meaningfulness’ or ‘goodness’ of a conditional fleeting worldly life existence of restless selfless transitions. Even so called ‘heaven’ or ‘higher realms’ are impermanent transitions reaping the fruit of ‘good’ actions. It’s not liberation at all. Know thyself, the beginningless and endless infinite silent witness of all impermanent and selfless transitions.

The ego constant acts and reacts to create a condition or a world that ‘I’ desires, based on the endless desire of craving (What I want) and aversion (What I don’t want). The silent witness neither act or react nor there’s an ‘I’ aspiring/desiring to create a condition or a world that ‘I’ desires. There’s neither “I will be or I am missing all the people of family and friends, or names and forms of the objects of the senses/qualities/conditions/things/actions/enjoyments/pets/places/realms/world that I love very much.” where only the very few dispassionate ones can go beyond all the worldly connections/relationships/names and forms transcending all kinds of worldly social/cultural/spiritual/religious thinking and belief, actions and achievements (the fruit of actions).

“The knowledge of the Self, or Self-realization, or the annihilation of the mind, or Samadhi, is the only way to be free from the wheel of births and deaths.” as taught by Swami Sivananda.

Nothing but selfless impermanent changes of names and forms

What is here?

This is what’s going on in the mind and how the body functions while asleep, or this is what the mind perceives through the senses and how the body functions while awake, or this is what’s going on in deep sleep, or this is beyond the function of the physical body and the modification of the mind (beyond the three states of sleep, awake and deep sleep) – Turiya. Constant selfless changes of names and forms arising/passing away or forming/deforming are happening according to the law of nature/cause and effect, selflessly, intentionlessly, in the awaking state, sleep state and deep sleep state, but not in Turiya, which is nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless, deathless, beginningless, endless, or mindless/void of modification of the mind/beyond the three states of the mind of the selfless and impermanent worldly life existence.

Upon the annihilation of the modification of the mind that come along with intellect, egoism and memory storage of mind modification/activities consciously and subconsciously, there is nothing here but selfless impermanent changes of names and forms. There’s neither ‘past’ nor ‘future’, neither ‘I’ nor ‘not I’, neither ‘good’ nor bad’, neither ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’, neither ‘positive’ nor ‘negative’, neither ‘meaningful’ nor ‘meaningless’, neither ‘enjoyable’ nor ‘non-enjoyable’, neither ‘desirable’ nor ‘non-desirable’, neither ‘agreeable’ nor ‘non-agreeable’, neither ‘attaching’ nor ‘detaching’. There’s no family or not family, friends or not friends, contribution or non-contribution, being selfish or being unselfish, there’s no father, no mother, no son, no daughter, no partner, no relatives, no suffering, no end of suffering, or all kinds of separateness and duality, where this is disagreed/rejected/disliked/condemned by many worldly egoistic minds/people as all these names and forms are what they think they are, where they exist as ‘somebody’ who has an individual self-existence/self-identity that possesses all those names and forms, that has a family/ancestor background and personal relationships with all and everything.

Human beings of higher evolution being endowed with an intellectual egoistic thinking mind that ceaselessly perceive, act and react, desire and don’t desire towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses and processing all kinds of mind perception of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings/emotions/thoughts/imagination/memories/connections/relationships/interactions under the veil of ignorance, that give rise to the idea of ‘I’, or the ego, that exists merely as a stream of continuous thought-current/though-wave, being there asserting/identifying as ‘I’, attaching, grasping, discriminating, asserting, liking, disliking, agreeing, disagreeing, aspiring, desiring, craving, longing, learning, knowing, remembering, forgetting, creating, building, connecting, mingling, socializing, interacting, procreating, accumulating, possessing, boring, fulfilling, accomplishing, exciting, enjoying, worrying, frustrating, dissatisfying, disappointing, regretting, hurting, saddening, grieving, sorrowing, depressing, suffering, and so on, reacting towards the names and forms/experiences that the mind perceives/experiences through the senses as well as reacting towards the names and forms/experiences that were being stored as memory, that keep flashing back in the mind in the only existence, NOW, while in-searching for satisfaction, meaningfulness, joy and happiness in the worldly life of impermanent names and forms/self-identity/relationships/achievements/enjoyments/conditions.

The mango tree exists selflessly, and from it, many fruits of mango are being produced selflessly, which possibly reproducing many other mango trees selflessly, that also possibly produce many more fruits of mango, selflessly. The mango tree and the fruits of mango are existing, changing and cease existing, or extinct due to the law of nature/cause and effect, selflessly. Even so, the mango tree and all other kinds of plant also have the selfless survival instinct of surviving and reproducing. Similarly, there is the selfless survival instinct in all living beings of humans, animals, birds, insects, fish and etc, not to say when the human’s mind is functioning under the veil of ignorance and an idea of ‘I’, or the ego, rejecting extinction or non-existence, craving/longing for continuous or prolonged existence. Due to ignorance, living beings in search for continuous or prolonged existence of a self-identity in the physical body and the thinking mind attaching to the quality of names and forms (relationships/activities/achievements/possessions/conditions) that are all selfless and impermanent, and hence, fear, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness and suffering arise in these living beings.

There are constant selfless and restless actions happening as part of the existence and function of the physical body and the thinking faculty that rely on nature providing energy/food/air/water/nutrients/minerals to be existing and functioning, going through forming, growing, balancing, fueling, burning fuel, refueling, hydrating, dehydrating, rehydrating, digesting, nurturing, regenerating, repairing, shitting, peeing, warming, cooling, sweating, decaying, aging, strengthening, weakening, restrengthening, sleeping, dreaming, awaking, perceiving, living, dying, and eventually stop functioning and decompose/deforming. Inevitably restless due to the existence and function of the physical body and the acting/reacting thinking faculty.

Only the minds that are aware of this restlessness would forgo being the slave of ignorance, egoism and restlessness, of pleasure/satisfaction and meaning/purpose seeking through the senses in the impermanent names and forms of a selfless worldly life existence which lead to ceaseless actions/reactions and consequences of actions, or cause and effect, or karma, that power/fuel the wheel/loop of births and deaths, and hence, there arise the intense yearning for liberation from all that, to be determined to attain Self-realization regardless of intense difficulty and obstacle.

Freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism, transcending the three states of the mind of countless births and deaths of restlessness, realize nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless, deathless, beginningless, endless Turiya, or Atman.

The importance of Mauna and Uparati – The practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities

This practice of silence and renunciation from worldly activities is applicable for those who sincerely want to tread the path of entering into silence or attaining Samadhi – the ultimate freedom and real peace transcending the ego and the mind, transcending the perception of the world of names and forms, dualities and qualities, and be free from desires, greed, craving and aversion, and thus be free from ignorance and suffering. This practice will come naturally for those who already have the right discrimination about what is real and unreal. Naturally they will let go of chasing after of the unreal, and will know to appreciate and utilize the existence of this body and mind for what is real…

Any names and forms that is formed through combination of energy and elements, it is not real… It has a beginning and an end… It exists and will stop existing… It is conditioned by qualities of names and forms… It is impermanent and constantly changing… It is non-Self. There’s no existence of ‘I’ in the names and forms to be in control of all these impermanent changes.

What is real, is beyond qualities, names and forms… And thus it doesn’t has a beginning or ending. It doesn’t exist or stop existing. It is attributeless, it is not conditioned by qualities of names and forms. It is not affected by impermanence and it doesn’t change…

This practice of Mauna and Uparati is not just applicable and limited to the so called monks and nuns who leave the world to concentrate on their own Self-realization. The real renunciation is not conditioned by any names and forms, but it is happening in the mind, and it can be at anywhere and anytime, and in anyone…

People who know real renunciation can live in the midst of the world but will not be affected, nor influenced, nor determined, nor disturbed, nor conditioned by the world of names and forms… They are free from ignorance, egoism, anger, hatred, greed, desire, dissatisfaction, craving and aversion, anxiety, restlessness, fear and worry. Out of compassion and wisdom that they realize from Self-realization, they can perform so much works or actions to help the other beings to be free, to transcend the ego and the mind, ignorance and suffering… But without being affected by the fruit of their actions.

For people who really wish to attain success in the path of yoga and meditation, the practice of Mauna (silence) and Uparati (cessation from worldly activities) are very important practice to turn the outgoing tendency of the mind inward, in order to render the mind calm and be free from restlessness and unnecessary anxieties, cares and worries for Self-introspection or Self-inquiry.

The practice of Mauna and Uparati maybe seen as “anti-social” in the eyes of the worldly people, but it is a must if we really want to go deeper in the path of yoga and meditation to know the Truth of our existence and to attain real peace. Those whose minds are wild, incontrollable, restless and passionate are not yet ready to meditate, to contemplate upon the Truth… There is nothing wrong or bad about the mind being restless and passionate… Just keep practice purification of the mind and strengthening self-control…

That’s why all the (serious) meditation retreats for people who live in the busy world to immerse themselves in meditation practice for purifying and calming the mind, and to contemplate on the Truth, they have two most important observations which are, to observe silence or Mauna (to stop any interactions and communications with the world verbally, mentally and physically) and to refrain from worldly or daily habitual activities throughout the entire retreat. This is to allow the mind to quiet down, to take a few moments of “rest”… Within that few moments of “rest”, the mind is calm and quiet, be free from anxiety, restlessness, imaginations and speculations, and naturally, without any intention to know the Truth, the Truth will reveal itself…

Only a calm and pure mind can reflect upon the Truth without the influence of the ego, the thinking, impurities, judgments and expectations…

For people who really devote this life existence for Self-realization, and they know self-control, non-attachment and renunciation, they can live in the busy world, but being undisturbed, unaffected, uninfluenced, unconditioned, undetermined by the world, and practice meditation entering into silence. The world is always restless, but they are not influenced by the world. Their mind is at rest all the time… They are different from those who need to go to retreat centres repeatedly to have some sorts of “momentary” self-control, non-attachment and renunciation in the retreat centres, to find some moments of peace, but when come back out into the world, there is no self-control, nor non-attachment, nor renunciation, and there is no peace…

In the path of yoga (mind control), these two practices are unavoidable if we really want to know about this mind (the existence of “I” (the perceiver) and all the enjoyments and suffering (the perceived) that comes along with the existence of this “I”), and to be able to go beyond this mind and to transcend the ego, craving and aversion, and ignorance or impurities, as well as transcending all the qualities of names and forms (the state of duality that derives from the perception of names and forms).

Fear and worry, anger and hatred, greed and dissatisfaction, envy and jealousy, doubts and ignorance, craving and aversion, passionate desires, the attachments towards the body and mind, the attachments towards all the names and forms that are being perceived through this mind and body with the functions of the senses and sense organs, the wrong identification with the body and mind, the sensations, the feelings, the thinkings and the egoistic “I-ness” and “mine-ness”… – All these impurities “disconnect” us from our true nature, the eternal unconditional, attributeless wisdom, bliss and peace.

We think we are “this” or “that” with certain names and forms, behaviors, believes, religions, educations, cultures, habits, hobbies, talents, characteristics and personalities. We think we have something called “self-esteem” that is being determined by who we are and what we are, what we do and don’t do, what we can do and cannot do, and what we judge ourselves and others. We think we need to have certain qualities to create or develop something what we name as “confidence” in us.

The truth is, once we know this mind and what is this ego, then all the so called “self-esteem” and “confidence”, and all the other qualities of good and bad, happiness and suffering, names and forms that we use to judge ourselves and everyone and everything in this world, they all will disappear… They don’t exist at all…

There is no “I”… There is no “self-esteem” or “confidence”… There is no need to have “self-esteem” or “confidence” to feel that we are “somebody” or to make us become “somebody”…

“Self-esteem” and “confidence” exist when we think we are this body and mind, and we are “somebody” with certain qualities, names and forms…

When we truly know our true Self, the existent of “I” with certain qualities, names and forms, will disappear… Our true Self is nameless and formless, beyond names and forms… There is no good and bad. There is no positive and negative. There is no happiness and suffering…

In order to know our true Self, not just from reading books written by enlightened beings, or having heard from past saints and sages, or from some existing teachers or Gurus telling us about “who we really are”, we need to be able to observe the practice of Mauna and Uparati in some stage in our life… Just to take some “time off” from worldly activities and interactions… For the mind to have the opportunity to be free from restlessness, unnecessary cares and worries, to concentrate and focus inwardly for introspection, for self-inquiry, for self-realization, for experiencing the real inner peace, for knowing the Truth of existence and suffering…

Note that this real inner peace is not the momentary peaceful good feeling that comes from doing some meditation, asana and pranayama practice, or by not encountering any discomforts, pain and illnesses, or by doing the things that we like to do, or by getting the things that we want, where by this type of peaceful good feeling is conditioning and limited by the qualities of names and forms, and it is impermanent, it will change and disappear…

The real inner peace is unconditional, unlimited, undisturbed and unchanging… It is always there. Never increase nor decrease… Never exist nor doest it stop existing…

This renunciation is not selfishness as some people might think that it is… This is definitely not running away from our duties and responsibilities… It’s because the biggest duty and responsibility in this existence of “I”, is to know who am “I”… If we don’t know “who we really are”, we will have no peace, no wisdom, no compassion… And we cannot help other people to have peace, wisdom and compassion, if we ourselves are not peaceful, not wise, and not compassionate… If we want to help the world, we need to help ourselves first…

When this mind is restless, wild and uncontrollable, it makes us think that we are experiencing all the enjoyments and suffering in this world of names and forms with qualities of good and bad, pleasantness and unpleasantness…

When the mind is pure and be free from all sorts of impurities and ignorance, we’ll know that there is “nobody” there to experience “anything”… The world is just being what it is being “projected” from this mind… It is the mind projecting the “world”… When the mind stops, the world disappears… When the mind ceased existing, there is no “world”…

Impure mind projects impure world of names and forms… Positive mind projects positive world… Negative mind projects negative world… Fearful mind projects fearful world… Angry and hating mind projects angry and hating world… Compassionate mind projects compassionate world… Calm mind projects calm world… Pure mind projects pure world… No mind, no world…

The world is just being what it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither pure nor impure, neither positive nor negative, neither a happy place nor a suffering place.

Yoga and meditation is to “annihilate” the mind, to “eliminate” the ego, the thought waves or the mind activities…

It doesn’t matter if some worldly passionate minds think that this practice of Mauna and Uparati is impossible, contradictory, unnecessary and means no more “fun” in life… Everyone has the freedom to choose what to do in life and what way of living… Be happy.

The meanings of life and ways of living are vary in everybody…

The Buddha and all the other saints and sages chose to live a simple, self-controlled, desire-less and non-attachment way of life and find that entering into silence and attaining real peace is the meaning of life… And some other people choose some other forms of lifestyle and find that by attaining another form of excitement, enjoyment and happiness as the meaning of life… There’s nothing wrong… Be happy.

Contemplate on this teaching and be free…

Om shanti.