The Ego Is My Friend

“The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is, and yet is not. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It just happens . . .  It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it, nor meaning. Only the onlooker is real. To the Self the world is but a colourful show, which he enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over. Whatever happens on the stage makes him shudder in terror or roll with laughter, yet all the time he is aware that it is but a show. Without desire or fear he enjoys it, as it happens.”

~Sri Nisargadatta

sufi dancing universe

One regular refrain of traditional spirituality consists of the admonition that the so-called ego must be methodically eliminated in order for the light of truth to dawn. In other words, it has been taught that it represents some nemesis, obstacle, impediment, or downright nasty evil entity that somehow attached itself to us, or that we acquired by virtue of wrong thinking, wrong living, or simply as a condition of appearing here at all — something akin to the Christian version of original sin.

On the other hand, some of the more sophisticated of the wisdom systems will explain that the ego is simply a persistent hallucination, an illusion which is not real, but rather a false assumption that we are currently plagued with because of karmic reasons related to bad seeds of ignorance and selfishness we planted in the course of previous incarnations. Alternately, some will expound that it represents the habitual activity of craving and aversion, and thus is not an entity, but nevertheless should still be eliminated, conquered, subdued, or somehow manipulated into non-existence (even if it is an illusion in the first place and so only exists as a conceptual designation).

Upon some inspection, however, and perhaps with the benefit of a little insight gleaned from expanded consciousness into the mechanics of incarnating into the dense vibrational frequency of this psycho-physical realm, we can recognize that the ego, or sense of self, is more like a necessary downloaded software program (in the same sense that the body/brain is the necessary hardware) required to function in life and relations. Just so, let’s consider how this works.

Our true nature is not human. We are immortal Spirit, a beloved extension, expression, and reflection of Source, the Universal Basis. As such, we act as a lens for Source to experience Itself in all of Its infinite manifestations. Spirit does this by infusing a portion of its light energy (Source Energy) into various sentient beings, including humans, in order to sample and share in their experience. In this way, we reflect Source back to Itself. Just as humans populate their dreams at night with all sorts of characters (who are nevertheless projections of their own minds), so too does Source project the whole universe into existence in an act of indescribable love, and then enjoy the multi-faceted experience of it through Its Spirit extensions.

Source Itself is not an entity, but more like an ineffable field of creative energy which expands its Self-awareness by employing shards of Its own Source Consciousness (Spirits) to explore Itself in the mirrored halls of infinity, which are ultimately Its own dream creation. There is in reality nothing but Source, playing all the roles. We are Source, manifesting as Spirit — the actor who inhabits all manner of bio-vehicles to both play the parts and also to enjoy the drama of sentience, human and otherwise. Indeed, the human carbon-based lifeform construct is actually only one possible incarnational option amidst innumerable universes and dimensions, with most of them utterly incomprehensible to the current human intellect.

Although our Spirit has its own unique identity, that ancient identity is not the same thing as the perishable human self-sense, which consists of a combination of survival instincts and various personality factors. This transient self-sense, or ego-program, is the tool Spirit employs to experience realms such as that of the human. Without it, we would not be able to maintain the necessary focus of energy required for physical manifestation. Indeed, in order to play the game of life on this stage, we need the personality roles and identity props which are programmed into each of us so that Spirit can create the virtual reality scenarios and storylines that we call our lives.

This so-called ego-program, or self-sense, naturally projects the necessary illusion of substantial reality needed to provide us with a human experience. Consequently, the prevalent concept that one needs to kill or eliminate the ego in order to become enlightened actually represents a compounded error in judgment and appreciation. In other words, it is a conceptual fantasy based on purely human suppositions and conditioned interpretations on perception. In reality, there is no substantial or enduring mental subject or ego-person that can be established, disposed of, or liberated, and so whatever may arise (such as thoughts, memories, sensations, and perceptions that seem to reify such an entity) can be compared to a thief in an empty house.

Regardless of our most idealistic human intent, we simply cannot become more of what we already are. To the point: as immortal Spirit, and extensions of Source consciousness, we have never been un-enlightened, and so there is nothing which we can do, no special practice or Guru, that is going to make us any more spiritually elevated than we already are. That dog is simply a tail-chaser!

Furthermore, since we incarnated here to experience the human adventure, it would be contradictory and counter-productive in the extreme to attempt to eliminate that which makes human existence possible in the first place. Such an attitude and intention would be tantamount to the old saying: “cutting off our nose to spite our face”.

Words themselves provide a good working example of the paradox of ego. Words are essentially audible vocalizations, or else little lines, dots, and squiggles on a page, with no inherent substance, which we nevertheless interpret as symbols, and to which we collectively assign a provisional reality, employing them in order to communicate with each other. We know that they are only sounds and scribbles, and not what they are intended to represent, but we agree to grant them a temporary significance for pragmatic purposes.

So too with the sense of self, otherwise known as the ego. Inherently, it is empty — a fictional creation — but we behave “as if” it is real, in order to accomplish our aims while playing in this virtual reality. This self-sense, or ego-program, is neither good nor bad by nature, any more than an operating system in a computer is good or bad. It is in fact essential for the life experience, and depending on our intent, it can be employed to serve many functions, some of which we could consider skillful, and of course some not so skillful. The results of such skillfulness or its lack are clearly evident in the world which the present collective self-sense has generated, mixed as it is with the inspiring as well as the regrettable.

Drilling down to the level of the apparent individual, all of the numerous emotional and psychological symptoms of dysfunction originate from an internal conflict between the survival aspect and the personality aspect of the ego-program, just as all of what is beautiful and desirable is birthed into manifestation when the various aspects of the ego-program are in harmony.

The chief complication in this process is the tendency of the conditioned mind to enthrone and then worship this basic operating system as if it were its true identity, projecting it as the master rather than the servant that it is intended to be. That delusion is simply based on a case of mistaken identity, but is nevertheless responsible for all the suffering which ensues, and which, in far too many respects, defines this realm, on both the micro as well as the macro level, as a kind of prison circumstance.

Omniscient Spirit consciousness contracts its pure vibrational frequency into the dense form of the human animal so that it can fully inhabit and experience the human adventure. Moreover, in order to achieve maximum impact from the experience, it also assumes a kind of temporary amnesia regarding its true nature and condition, at least for the life of the bio-vehicle, so that it can enjoy confronting the Unknown.

What is called “awakening” in various human wisdom systems is simply a matter of directly seeing through the self-imposed amnesia, realizing the empty quality of the projected self and its world, and simultaneously re-cognizing our original Spirit nature. If it happens in the course of one’s human adventure, great! If not, great! In other words, it is not an object that can or need be pursued, particularly since this life itself, from the point of view of the Spirit world and one’s immortal illumined nature, is simply another inhalation and exhalation within the grand panorama of infinite expansion.

In that regard, the human mind itself, no matter how brilliant it may be in the relative sphere, is quite ill-equipped to comprehend the bigger picture of that which precedes it, and in which it appears and disappears like a tiny bubble in a sea of champagne. Even the most profound human spiritual capacity is still very much like peeking through a keyhole into the parlor while trying to take in the immensity of an enormous mansion with infinite rooms.

In any case, since one of the functions of the ego-program is to handle survival issues, it automatically reacts to any presumed threats to its existence, including threats to its image of itself. Indeed, all we are ever trying to protect and defend is some image we have of ourselves, based on this false assumption of limited identity. Subsequently, since the current propaganda of this world is fear-based, the egoic survival mechanism responds by generating a corresponding contraction in the being, and hence the sense of unhappiness follows as night follows day.

Beliefs in threats, separation, conflict, and lack continually reinforce the ego-self survival program with a negative feedback loop, which in turn infects the collective environment, and subsequently is reflected in the various human religious and political clashes which have rendered this a war planet. This was not at all the original purpose of the program, but is simply what it has become in far too many cases, and also why there is the movement in human spiritual philosophies and systems to banish it.

As understandable as that motive may seem, it is utterly ineffective. Nobody can banish the ego and remain alive. The wiser course, on the other hand, is to simply switch from being controlled by it to taking charge and re-programing it to fulfill its original intent. In order to do that, it is necessary to first understand its mechanics – how it operates – and the best way to do that is through the process of True Inquiry (which has been elaborated in detail in previous essays here). As long as we remain ignorant of how we have allowed ourselves to be controlled by it, we will never be able to see through its defenses and discover the misdirected love at its core.

Certainly, a major part of True Inquiry involves inspecting the role of thought in the creation of our life and relations. Indeed, every thought is generated by the program. Consequently, if we can see directly how identifying with and fixating on thoughts keeps the contracted ego-mind in the driver’s seat, so to speak, than we can also turn the tables by bringing attention to the witness of thoughts – that awake aware space in which thoughts arise and dissolve — and thus undermining their power to drag us around by the nose.

Again, this does not mean that we go about trying to eliminate thoughts, but rather simply see them for what they are, and thus not be controlled by them. After all, the gifts of being able to think and feel, to create and form relationships, originate dependently with the self-sense. These are all wonderful capacities, and if properly understood and directed, provide the tools with which we can accomplish our creative purpose in coming here in the first place. For example, as a means of expression, every piece of music or art is created through the vehicle of the ego.

Even so, we need not take the transient self-sense to represent who and what we truly are, but we can instead simply appreciate it as the creative expedient that it is, like a space suit worn to navigate a particular environment. We are not the costume, we are not the program, but we do need it in order to provide Spirit the necessary access to the physical adventure it desires to immerse itself in, and so provide Source with eyes and hands and feet to discover and enjoy Itself in this shimmering corner of Its dream of living light.

light

“Those who teach enlightenment through the dissociation with the physical expression of Self walk a path of exclusion and separation, rather than inclusion and connection. Such are teachings in their expression that one thing has greater value than another, that one status of expression is more ascended and proud than another. If all are One, there is only one true value of every-thing. The body, the being, is the celebration and the fruit of the soul. It is the chalice that holds your sacred waters of life, and the temple through which the symbolism of harmony within diversity is expressed and embodied.

It is your human persona which perceives and pigeon holes the physical plane as a ‘lower’ dimension. There are actually many, many physical dimensions which coexist, yet which at times most, are never aware of each other. One is not ‘lower’ than another. That is a judgment you have placed upon its understanding in order for you to relate to it more conveniently. It is more accurate to say, they are simply different expressions of the same source, or, they are different potentials or canvases of creation. One potential is not ‘better’ or ‘higher’ than another, for all potentials come from, and lead to, the same One source.

Just in the way you taste a variety of ingredients when preparing food; one ingredient is not ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ than another, they simply provide different flavours, different experiences. The physical dimension to which you relate is simply one of many flavours, one of many sources of experience, which present you with an expanded insight into what can be created from the ingredients of that which you know as God. So, in a sense, you are like a child playing in the kitchen of the cosmos, or the cradle of creation. If such is your human experience that leaves, how to say, a bad taste in your mouth, then your beautiful divine Self will simply pursue other ‘ingredients’ within the cosmos to cook up and create new experiences of its Self.

So then, your ‘level of spirituality’, as you have called it, is simply your human brain, your ego, trying to fabricate challenges, obstacles and interactive pathways for you to somehow ‘achieve’ something which, in fact, you already are, always have been and always will be, regardless of anything and everything you do in physical state. So before you, or anybody who now reads these words lowers their own spiritual Self-value, know that regardless of what ‘spiritual’ progress you presume you have made through physical ‘learnings’, it does not and will not change who or what your spirit is. You are beautiful, you are perfect and divine, and you do not need to achieve, suffer or struggle for this to remain fact, in life or in death.”

~Sparrow

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About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, and our lazy dog, Amos, in a lovely little mountain town called Paradise, situated on the ridge of the Little Grand Canyon, in the Northern California Sierra Nevadas. I have several other sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Free Transliterations of Spiritual Texts: http://freetransliterations1.blogspot.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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43 Responses to The Ego Is My Friend

  1. Bob OHearn says:

    “We souls have the free will to choose from among three options for how the bodies we inhabit behave. A. We can allow animal drives to dictate actions. The result will be habitual behavior and the occasional “knee-jerk reaction.” B. We can use the logic, rationales, and thinking we are accustomed to employing when we reside inside humans to determine our actions. This choice leads to decisions based on accumulated knowledge, experience, and value judgments. This sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? The problem is that all this so-called wisdom has been warped by animal instincts, unhealed emotional wounds, and the extremely narrow perspective humans have of life. C. We can choose to quiet the human mind and personality, to put it aside, and communicate with the part of us still in the Light about how to act. Doing so will give us guidance free from human bias and false wisdom.”

    ~Nancy Danison

  2. Me Again says:

    As Joshu Sasaki Roshi said “ego is not the problem, incomplete ego is the problem”

    Or more accurately, he said: “Ego is not the problem. Ego is not an obstruction. The problem is imperfect ego. When complete ego is manifest then there’s no need to assert ego and then ego dissolves. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/us/09zentext.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    _/|\_

    • Bob OHearn says:

      There is no need to dissolve it, that’s the point. Those preachers who claim to have done so are often caught in various scandals later on, or else will lose their composure in the face of a good challenge. A truly awakened person makes no claims about having attained anything or dissolved anything. They have nothing to assert or deny. In any case, no human would last long without ego, anymore than they would without a brain.

      Blessings!

  3. marcelvuijst says:

    Thanks Brother, clearly expressed as usual!

    When texts of old preach about “letting go of ego” they don’t mean removing (as if that was possible) but to see it for what it is, and don’t attach a ‘me and mine’ to it, similair to thoughts or whatever transient illusory appearance. Self-centeredness however is liberated spontaneously when things are seen as they are. The human experience is a wonderful show to enjoy, I’m in it, but not of it.

    You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
    ~Rumi

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Thank you for your wise comments, Brother! Yes, recognition is liberation, which means that all aspects of the being are harmonized (as opposed to some portion being killed off or dissolved). In other words, the internal conflict, the war with ourselves and our environment, comes to an end. This is also called peace at heart, but is not the result of conceptual efforts at self-improvement (as elsewhere discussed).

      Blessings!

  4. Bob OHearn says:

    “When the ‘I am myself’ goes, the ‘I am all’ comes. When the ‘I am all’ goes, ‘I am’ comes. When even ‘I am’ goes, reality alone is and in it every ‘I am’ is preserved and glorified. Diversity without separateness is the Ultimate that the mind can touch. Beyond that all activity ceases, because in it all goals are reached and all purposes fulfilled.”

    “The Supreme State is universal, here and now; everybody already shares in it. It is the state of being — knowing and liking. Who does not like to be, or does not know his own existence? But we take no advantage of this joy of being conscious, we do not go into it and purify it of all that is foreign to it. This work of mental self-purification, the cleansing of the psyche, is essential. Just as a speck in the eye, by causing inflammation, may wipe out the world, so the mistaken idea: ‘I am the body-mind’ causes the self-concern, which obscures the universe. It is useless to fight the sense of being a limited and separate person unless the roots of it are laid bare. Selfishness is rooted in the mistaken ideas of oneself. Clarification of the mind is Yoga.”

    ~Nisargadatta Maharaj

  5. marcelvuijst says:

    Yes all these various expressions of Source only add to the beauty of the garden, proper inquiry can transform barbaric behaviour into wisdom and compassion, Love is what makes everything possible, beautiful, and there can be no other. Only the ego could claim there is no ego, Love is beyond such distinctions and selections.

  6. Bob OHearn says:

    “It is in your own interest that l speak, because above all you love yourself, you want yourself secure and happy. Don’t be ashamed of it, don’t deny it. It is natural and good to love oneself. Only you should know what exactly do you love. It is not the body that you love, it is Life –perceiving, feeling, thinking, doing, loving, striving, creating. It is that Life you love, which is you, which is all. Realise it in its totality, beyond all divisions and limitations, and all your desires will merge in it, for the greater contains the smaller. Therefore find yourself, for in finding that you find all.”

    ~Nisargadatta Maharaj

  7. Mike Fitzpatrick says:

    Great stuff, Bob, real understanding.. “discover the misdirected love at the core” This opens my heart. Thank you.

  8. Este says:

    Bob you are the sharpest tool in the shed! I will call you Mr spot on!

  9. Bob OHearn says:

    Who told you to eliminate anything? Look at the void in front of your eyes. How can you produce it or eliminate it?

    ~Huang Po

  10. Bob OHearn says:

    Another way in which the ego is our friend: a true friend helps us to see elements which we are perhaps overlooking about ourselves, our blind spots. In that sense, it helps us to recognize where we still have work to do (whether it is with anger issues, or chronically feeling like a victim, and so forth).

    To Expose What Is There

    http://www.pbase.com/1heart/image/131853083

  11. Bob OHearn says:

    “How to get rid of ego as dictator and turn it into messenger and servant and scout, to be in your service, is the trick.”

    ~Joseph Campbell

  12. Bob OHearn says:

    “We’re not here to ‘get enlightened,’ to ‘end suffering,’ to ‘annihilate the ego,’ or to ‘awaken forever,’ but rather to explore, listen, discover what’s here and what here is. Not once and for all, but this moment. And this moment. And this moment.”

    ~Toni Packer

  13. Bob OHearn says:

    I believe it was the introduction of certain Zen concepts in the 1950s in the West that created a somewhat imbalanced interpretation of the process among the intelligentsia, in which awakening was equated with attaining some sort of nothingness, a version of existential nihilism. It is in fact still a kind of misunderstanding that the the “self” is to be eliminated, dissolved, or transcended, when in fact it is only our false ideas about and mis-identification with the “self” that are seen through and discarded. First people entify the self-sense, making it into some sort of substantial foe that must be manipulated, then they get busy trying to eliminate their fictional creation. It is all rather humorous, except that spiritual people take it so seriously, and get themselves into all kinds of knots and internal conflicts in the process.

  14. marcelvuijst says:

    Nisargadatta Maharaj: When is there an ego? The ego is there when you have certain reactions. You take delivery of whatever is observed spontaneously. You cling to it, register it, then only is there an ego.

    You see some building material lying on the road – you think that you are a carpenter and you start figuring how to use that material; the thought process has started, ego starts. If you are nobody, you will not bother about the building material – you will just observe it and go your way. Once it is out of sight it is out of mind; but when you receive that delivery, you cogitate over it, ego has started.

    Visitor: So when it comes to the utility of what is seen, that’s when the ego comes into being?

    N: Yes, that is its nature.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      So many different definitions of an imaginary critter, eh? So many different strategies to avoid, eliminate, manipulate, domesticate, elevate, ignore, subdue, redeem, reduce, or in some way remove from the picture a dream creation. 😉

      • marcelvuijst says:

        Imaginary critter, he he, yes. That’s why when it’s seen as it is (a concept arising due to conditions) all the strategies and struggle is no more, what remains is – what is. And a good sense of humour along with it. 🙂

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Absolutely! 😉

  15. garyhorvitz says:

    Bob, I am new to your domain here. But I am particularly curious about this sentence, “Upon some inspection, however, and perhaps with the benefit of a little insight gleaned from expanded consciousness into the mechanics of incarnating into the dense vibrational frequency of this psycho-physical realm,….” Would like to discuss. Could you contact me about this, please?

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Hi Gary,

      if you would like further clarification on that theme, I have several other essays here that touch on this process, including “In Search of Self and Beyond”, “School of Life . . .”, and “The Myth of Enlightenment”.

      Blessings!

  16. Bob OHearn says:

    Ego is not an entity independent of the Self in order that it might be created or destroyed by itself. It functions as an instrument of the Self and periodically ceases to function, i.e. it appears and disappears as birth and death.

    ~Ramana Maharashi

  17. Bob OHearn says:

    The moment of disappointment in life is an incomparable gift that we receive many times a day, if we’re alert. This gift is always present in anyone’s life, that moment when “It’s not the way I want it.” When we refuse to work with our disappointment, we break the precepts: rather than experience the disappointment, we resort to anger, greed, criticism… Yet it’s the moment of being that disappointment which is fruitful; and, if we are not willing to do that, at least we should notice that we are not willing.

    ~ Charlotte Joko Beck

  18. Bob OHearn says:

    “From my experience in the NDE realm, I learned that we transcend our ego and the material world only when we die and leave our bodies. But as long as we are alive, breathing, and expressing through a physical body, the best thing we can do for ourselves and for those around us is to engage in life fully, embrace who we are, and express ourselves authentically. To me, being spiritual, and being ourselves is one and the same thing!

    I believe that our purpose is to be who we came here to be, and live life to the fullest—and if for some that means tweeting and drinking coffee, then all power to them. Most of us take “spirituality” too seriously and try to make it something separate from our everyday life. Life would be so much more fun if we lightened up and realized we are not flawed or in need of fixing! We are beautiful, magnificent beings. We don’t have to work at being spiritual. In truth, we are already spiritual, whether we realize it or not, whether we are meditating on a mountaintop, or sharing a delicious chocolate dessert with our best friend or lover.”

    ~ Anita Moorjani

  19. Bob OHearn says:

    “The moment you want to be free from the ego, that very desire is also part of the ego, so you have a constant battle in the ego over two desirable things, between the part that wants and the part that does not.”

    ~Krishnamurti

  20. Bob OHearn says:

    “It should be pointed out that your spirit, although it has a unique identity of its own, should not be confused with ego as human beings understand it. Ego as human beings understand it comes in two parts. Survival instinct ego (animalistic) and personality ego (costume). It is the animalistic ego most people associate with negativity. The personality of a person, which is beautiful, is the costume ego which is essential for forming relationships. The survival instinct ego, which many people alienate, is also essential to have in order to survive in the physical environment your soul resides in. If you did not have it, you would die within a day. Ego as a whole is a vehicle your spirit uses to interact experientially with different environments and dimensions.”

    https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/soul-journey/

  21. Bob OHearn says:

    “Duality is something which grants you the gift of perspective, from one vantage point or state of consciousness to another. When one teaches you duality is something to be transcended, this suggests someone else is trying to steer your own ship to their own horizon and tell you your own destiny. They may try to teach you that one thing must be forsaken and forced out for the sake and justification of attaining some elevated transcended state of enlightenment. Your spirit is already enlightened, it has always been and never ceases to be so. They may try to teach you that you must steer clear of the dark and embrace only love and light, for unless you do you live in duality. Yet you would not know the value of love and light should the dark not present golden perspective and Self-realization. You cannot find value in the beauty and purpose of a simple candle light without the presence of its opposite. You cannot be fully self-aware if all you are aware of is one end of the spectrum.

    Duality is an inherent attribute of physical state. Hot and cold; light and dark; near and far; love and fear, are all aspects of the duality which you are immersed in as a physical being. You are not here in order to conquer it, to wage a war with darkness and fear, for these things are your greatest teachers. You are here to sample the state of it that you may see your Self from a different vantage point; that you may sample another flavour of the source that is yours to create with as you choose.”

    -Sparrow

  22. Bob OHearn says:

    Ego, the Brilliant Work of Art

    “When engaging in any spiritual practice, Trungpa explains, “You need to have a basic understanding of where you are starting from, where you are going, and what you are working with.” Starting with “what you are and why you are searching” is the correct way to begin.

    Trungpa describes the ego that we discover in the process of solidifying the space as “a brilliant work of art.” According to Buddhism, ego is merely a label given to the collection of the skandhas experienced as “I” or “me.” Trungpa felt that this process—how the ego¬label unifies this “disorganized and scattered process into one entity”—was rather clever.

    There is nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what we discover about who and what we are. In fact, we should be proud of actually finding out who and what we are and appreciate the courage it took to acknowledge that. According to the Vajrayana view, our fundamental nature, the basic ground, has always been open, spacious, pure, and rich with enlightened wisdom. Trungpa’s imagery here is simply elegant:

    In the beginning, there is open space belonging to no one, and within that space is primeval intelligence, or vidya, so there is both intelligence and space. It is like a completely open and spacious room in which you can dance about and not be afraid of knocking anything over. You are this space; you are one with it. But you become confused. Because it is so spacious, you begin to whirl and dance about. You become too active in the space. As you dance, you want to experience the space more and more…

    When we are unaware of this genuine state and start fixating, “spinning around in our life,” that is the beginning of samsara. We are giving birth to ego, duality, and samsara all together. Trungpa explains this mechanism with clarity and precision: The “blackout of intelligence” becomes the very ground on which we develop the path of transcending ego. Although such a ground “may not be particularly enlightened, peaceful, or intelligent, it is good enough,” says Trungpa, and we can work with it “like plowing a furrow and planting seeds. We are not trying to get rid of the ego, but simply acknowledge it and see it as it is.”

    Learning how to deconstruct our ego, or transcending avidya, is crucial for attaining true liberation. Mastering the methods of transforming our ego involves the progressive development of right view, familiarization with meditation, and engaging in mindful actions in accordance with the three yanas.

    How do we cut through this seeming “ape instinct of habitual struggle” and find liberation from egofixation? Trungpa answers, “Everyone possesses ultimate wakefulness,” which is not a product of our effort. He says, “The only effort needed is to give up that struggle.” Only then is liberation—gentle and delightful—realized.”

    ~Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Guide to the Three-Yana Journey

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