Think of yourself as the individual and you are sure to die; think of yourself as the universal and you enter deathlessness, for the universal is always and eternally there. We know no beginning and no ending to the cosmic process. Its being IS: we can say no more. Be that rather than this–that which is as infinite and homeless as space, that which is timeless and unbroken. Take the whole of life as your own being. Do not divorce, do not separate yourself from it. It is the hardest of tasks for it demands that we see our own relative insignificance amid this infinite and vast process. The change that is needed is entirely a mental one. Change your outlook and with it ”heaven will be added unto you.”
… He has to let the universal life power which is already within him take full possession of his heart and mind. The thing that prevents this is the personal ego, which thinks itself to be complete and which has separated itself from the universal life power. The philosophical discipline is intended to overcome this egoism, or as Jesus said: Give up your self if you would find it.”
To surrender the ego is to surrender the thought of it, and this is done by stilling the mind whenever, in daily life, one becomes self-conscious. This silenced, ego vanishes… This art of effacing the ego by stilling the mind, by suddenly stopping its whirling flood of thoughts, could not be practised at will and at any time if one had not practised it previously and frequently in deliberate exercises at set times…
… Every time he stills the restless thoughts in silent meditation he is giving up the ego; every time he puts the desires aside in a crucial decision he is giving up the ego; every time he disciplines the body, the passions, the activities, he is giving up the ego…
One important reason why the great spiritual teachers have always enjoined upon their disciples the need of surrendering the ego, of giving up the self, is that when the mind is continually preoccupied with its own personal affairs, it sets up a narrow limitation upon its own possibilities. It cannot reach to the impersonal truth, which is so different and so distant from the topics that it thinks about day after day, year after year. Only by breaking through its self-imposed pettiness can the human mind enter into the perception of the Infinite, of the divine soul that is its innermost being.
… ”Everything has to be paid for” is a saying which holds as true in the realm of the inner life as it does in the marketplace. The surrender of his life to the Higher Power involves the surrender of his ego. This is an almost impossible achievement if thought of in terms of a complete and instant act, but not if thought of in terms of a partial and gradual one. There are parts of the ego, such as the passions for instance, which he may attempt to deny even before he has succeeded in denying the ego itself…
Although the price of attainment, which is the gradual giving up of the lower self, is agonizing because the lower one is the only self we know ordinarily, there is for every such surrender a compensation equal in value at least to what is given up, and actually of more surpassing worth. This compensation is not only a theoretical one, it is a real experience; and at the last, when the whole of the lesser self is surrendered, the only description of it which mere words can give is blissful peace. Since agony of mind cannot coexist with peace, the agony falls away and only the peace remains. The warning must be given, however, that the Higher Self never yields its compensations until the requisite surrender is made. If this is done little by little, which is usually the only way it can be done, then the lovely compensation will follow also little by little.
A man’s attitude toward the question of free will changes after he has surrendered to the Overself. It has to change. For henceforth he is to be loyal not to the ego’s desires but to the Overself’s injunctions. If the two coincide, it is well and pleasant for him. If not, and he obeys his higher self as he must, then it can no longer be said that he has full freedom of will. But neither can it be said that he has not. For the Overself is in him, not outside, not something alien and apart; it is indeed himself at his best and highest level…
When Jesus invites men to ”cast all burdens upon me” and when Krishna invites them to ”cast off all works on me” both are suggesting that we should imagine all our troubles being borne and all our actions as being done by the higher self, if we have not yet found it, and should actually let it displace the personal ego in practical life, if we have.
To give up the “I” is very hard, yet that is our one and only task. The right attitude eclipses the ego and brings peace, whereas the wrong attitude enhances the ego and brings pain…
So long as he is more afraid of giving up the ego than he is desirous of gaining the consciousness beyond it, so long will he dwell in its gloom.
When a man consciously asks for union with the Overself, he unconsciously accepts the condition that goes along with it, and that is to give himself wholly up to the Overself…
This progress through a series of attitudes leads in the end to something transcending them altogether–a shift of consciousness from ego to Overself.
This identification with the Overself is the real work set us, the real purpose for which human life in the world serves us. All else is merely a comfortable way of escape, a means of keeping us busy so that conscience need not be troubled by the central duty to which we are summoned.
This identification with the best Self in us is the ideal set for all men, to be realized through long experience and much suffering or through accepting instruction, following revelation, unfolding intuition, practising meditation, and living wisely…
The self-identification with the Overself should be as perfect as he can make it. He is to be it, and not merely the student meditating on it.
The more he gives himself up to the Overself as a consequence of these glimpses of what it requires of him, the sooner will their transience be transformed into permanence.
In this moment here and now, letting go of past and future, seeking the pure consciousness in itself, and not the identifications it gets mixed up with and eventually has to free itself from–in this moment he may affirm his true being and ascertain his true enlightenment without referring it to some future date.
Click HERE to come to the Library.