The Ego in Focus
This narrow fragment of consciousness which is the person that I am hides the great secret of life at its core.
This is the amazing contradiction of man’s life, that although bearing the divine within himself, he is aware only of, and pursues unabated, its very opposite.
What is the Overself waiting for, so long and so patiently? For our willingness to die in the ego that It may live in us. So soon as we make the signs of this willingness, by acceptance of each opportunity to achieve this destruction of egoism, the influx of new life begins to penetrate the vacated place.
Men are locked up within their little egos. They are in prison and do not know it. Consequently they do not ask, much less seek, for freedom.
… The man of today lives, moves, and has his being in his personal ego and will continue to do so until he has learned, grasped, thoroughly understood, and completely realized the truth of the illusiveness of the individual self…
The ego moves from childhood to old age, from waking to dreaming, but it moves round in a circle. It does not move toward freedom, reality, or peace.
The ego must acknowledge its own transiency, confess its own instability, and thus become truly humble.
The ego, with its petty conceit and private desires, shuts him in on itself and cuts him off from the universal life, with its truth and reality and power.
When he becomes dissatisfied with himself, when he feels that what he is doing, thinking, achieving is either not enough or too inferior or even too misguided, he may be ready for the Long Path of self-improvement.
Long Path–here is working through the ego. The student thinks he is the ego and develops concentration, aspiring to improve himself, getting more and more pure. He says: I am doing this work…”
… The entire length of the Long Path is an attempt at self-improvement and self-purification planned, managed, operated, and supervised by the ego itself. Is it conceivable that the ego will work for its own destruction? No!–it will never do that however much it pretends to do so…
The limitation of the Long Path is that it is concerned only with thinning down, weakening, and reducing the ego’s strength. It is not concerned with totally deflating the ego…
Despite all the talk disparaging the ego, it is not wrong but praiseworthy to develop the best personality one can and then use it. Its character can be purified, its passions controlled, its weaknesses overcome, its ignorance dispelled. New virtues can be introduced and new power developed. One can then make better use of such a personality–for one’s own advantage and for service of others–and one should.
On the Long Path the aspirant is likely to probe some of his shortcomings too pessimistically, to condemn himself for them, but to be blind altogether to the most serious shortcoming of all–that of clinging to the personal ego in all circumstances.
Moral disciplines have a definite place in life to make us better human beings but they do not lift us to the Overself’s level. The Long Path, to which they belong, has a humanitarian value but not a magically transcendent one.
It is not enough to uncover his faults and confess his weaknesses, not even enough to correct the one and remedy the other. After all, these things concern only the stage of development he has already reached, and the ego only. He must also turn toward higher stages and also the egoless self.
The man who imagines that he can go through life and manage his various affairs in independence of any alleged higher laws is following an illusion. Somewhere or at some time his awakening is inevitable.
The psychoanalysts work busily on the ego all the time, thus keeping the poor patient still imprisoned in it. But a reference to the Overself might help him really to get rid of some complexes.
He who depends upon his own personal intellect and personal strength alone, deprives himself of the protection which a higher power could give him.
Egoism, the limiting of consciousness to individual life as separate from the one infinite life, is the last barrier to the attainment of unity with the infinite life.
When he can release himself from the ego’s tyranny and relate himself to the Overself’s guidance, an entirely new life will open up for him.
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