Impediments to Growth: The Ego

            Next we come to the human being, who is conscious of himself or herself.  The birds and animals do not have this quality.  When anything threatens or disturbs animals, they are ready for either fight or flight.  We are different.  We do not fight only for food or clothes or shelter, but for something else; we fight for our ego’s needs, the feeling that “I am something.” The drive for power and subtle types of greed.  This tendency does not leave even the holy men, the riches seers, saints, yogis and minus.  This is the food of the most intelligent, ambitious, creative people.

             My teacher used to say that the most difficult thing to give up was not sex, or pleasure, money, the home or even family.  Beyond all these, there still remains ego and the power drive.  This is the primary hurdle for spiritual growth.  When this ego comes over us, when the ambition and need for power come over us, they daze and dazzle us.  Other people wonder why a person changes in this way, but they don’t see that the person is under the spell of the ego and that he or she is not aware of himself or herself.  It is as though they have drunk alcohol; they lose their sense of balance spiritually, and they fall down and utter meaningless words.

             The ego is a very subtle form of intoxication.  It is very difficult to gross and go beyond.  It is a thin veil whose manure is opaque; sometimes we may see through it to the other side and we know we are being held back by it, but still we cannot go beyond it.

             The deeper meaning of meditation is to overcome the ego, which holds us back and makes us miserable.  Even within a family, between husband and wife, parents and children, when ego makes people take a stand, they won’t budge an inch.  When ego comes, love departs.  In its wisdom, love will never remain in the presence of ego; it leaves immediately, saying,  “You finish first.  Then I shall return.”  You must decide what you shall give up, ego or love.  When the thought “I am something” comes, then ask, “What am I?”

             In order to advance you must break with the old patterns.  Do not worry about what others may say or how they may judge you.  George Bernard Shaw had three lines of response when people told him of his critics’ words.  “What do they say?  Do they say that?  Let them say it!”  With this simple reply h e would free himself of all concern over petty criticism.  In meditation we stop collecting the opinions of others.  Instead we obtain direct insight into ourselves.  Whether we receive a compliment or harsh criticism, we do not become upset because we understand that we know ourselves better than anyone else can.

             Once a man became angry at the Buddha because his son had decided to leave the family business and live a spiritual life.  He went to the spot where Buddha was seated quietly in meditation and began screaming at him.  The more he shouted the more angry the poor man became, until he had abused the Master for more than an hour.  Finally the man became exhausted and fell silent.  Then the Buddha calmly replied,  “If a man came to you and offered you a bucket filled with jagged rocks, would yu want them?”  The man shook his head, a puzzled look spreading over his face.  Then the Master continued, “And if he tried to give them to you anyway, would you take them?”  Again the man shook his head.  “Then where would the sharpedged stones remain?”  Asked the Buddha.  “With the fool, who brought them to me,” answered the man, indignant at being asked such a simple question.  The Buddha then said,  “That is what has just occurred, my friend, You hav brought me your cutting angry words, but I do not want them and so I have not accepted what you offered.  Now they remain with the person who brought them.”

             This kind of awareness is the real achievement.  Outer achievements are only ephemeral.  Our own growth in understanding and inner strength is far more rewarding than the superficial praise of passing strangers.

             Techniques are like a tugboat.  They take the ship out to sea and then their work is finished.  The ship goes on into the deeper waters.  In the same way, meditation techniques help us to go within and begin our voyage on the ocean of consciousness.  If our mind is anchored by ego or we want to keep it stowed away in some safe harbor, the no technique or method will be able to launch us on our way.


What is Meditation? |Beinning Practice | Beginning Meditation: calming Down and Observing Yourself and Your Breathing| Developing One-Pointedness |Deeping Meditation: Emtrying and Focusing | Impediments to Growth: The Ego |Continuing Practice: Meditation on Hrim and Breathing |How Shall we Approach Life Through Meditation? |The Use of Mantras: Veerum and Sohum |Seeking Our True Nature |Deepening Meditation: who Am I? |Deepening  Meditation: Eliminating  Negative Traits |Meditation: The Art of Life and Experience of Light | Review |Meditation and the Art of Communication |Guided Meditation: Experiencing Light and Life| Meditation in Jain Philosophy|Sense Beyond the Senses| Perfection Is in Us|Realize What You Are