Thoughts of the Ego
The root of all the trouble is not man’s wickedness or animality or cunning greedy mind. It is his very I-ness, for all those other evils grow out of it. It is his own ego. Here is the extraordinary and baffling self-contradiction of the human situation. It is man’s individual existence which brings him suffering and yet it is this very existence which he holds as dear as life to him!
The constant movement of thoughts and the ego’s fascination with itself hide from us the divine Overself, from which both are derived.
From one point of view, the work done on the Quest is simply an uncovering of what is covered up: thoughts, emotions and passions, unceasing extroversion and never-ending egoism lie over the precious diamond like thick layers of earth. This is why the penetrative action of meditation is so necessary.
The rays of light would enter every man’s conscious mind even now, were they not prevented by the extroversion of his attention, the upheavals of his emotion and passion, the narrow rigidities of his logical intellect, and the attachments of his ego. This is why the removal of these obstructions–which is the Long Path’s special work–is indispensable to his progress.
When the brain is too active, its energies obstruct the gentle influx of intuitive feeling. When they are extroverted, they obstruct that listening attitude which is needed to hear the Overself’s gentle voice speak to the inner silence. Mental quiet must be the goal. We must develop a new kind of hearing.
In analysing ourselves we are helping to crush the ego. But this is true only if analysis is unbiased and if it is balanced by the Short Path attitudes. Otherwise there is excessive and morbid preoccupation with oneself, which suits the ego very well!
Yes the ego is there and must be there if we are to live on this plane. But it can undergo a spiritual rebirth and no longer be a tyrant who denies us our spiritual birthright and our spiritual consciousness but rather a channel serving that consciousness.
… We are told to kill out the ego; we are also told that the ego does not exist. The fact is it must exist if activity exists. What then is to be done by the spiritual aspirant? He can bring and eventually must bring the ego into subjection to the higher Power. It is still there, but it is put in its proper place…
… Each of us can learn to live in the happy presence of this peace if he will prepare the way by (stoically) disciplining the thoughts he brings into every moment. He alone is responsible for them, he alone must have the hardihood to reject every one that reduces his stature to the little, time-bound, desire-filled ego.
A man begins to come into his own the day he rejects the ego. His rejection may not last more than a minute or two, for the false self is strong enough to reclaim its victim. But the process has started…
It is not the tyranny of the ego which is to be removed most of all–although that is a necessary part of the Great Work – nor is it that the ego must be uprooted and killed forever–although its old self must surrender to the new person it has to become. No–let it live and attend to its daily work but only as a purified being, an ennobled character or quietened mind, an enlightened man–in short, a new ego representing what is best in the human creature. He will still be an ”I” but one that is in harmony with the Overself…
Who possesses complete independence? Who has all the freedom he wants? Who is able to make his choices freely, unaffected by his circumstances, by social pressure, by events, or by heredity? The answer, of course, is no one. But, to the extent that anyone learns to control his thoughts, to become master of himself, he begins to control his fate.
Release from tension is the beginning of release from ego. To relax body, feeling, and mind is to prepare the way for such a desirable consummation…
When his various thoughts and feelings begin to appear as objects to his I, it is a welcome sign that he is no longer so bound to his ego as before.
We begin by understanding the ego–a work which requires patience because much of the ego is hidden, masked or disguised. We end by getting free from it.
To die to the ego means that he will free himself from the thought-grooves that usually dominate his life.
”The truth shall make you free,” promised Jesus. What kind of freedom was he talking about? The answer can only be–from the ego! And this is corroborated by his own statements, uttered at other times, concerning the need to die to oneself.
When he has silenced his desires and stilled his thoughts, when he has put his own will aside and his own ego down, he becomes a free channel through which the Divine Mind may flow into his own consciousness. No evil feelings can enter his heart, no evil thoughts can cross his mind, and not even the new consequence of old wrong-doing can affect his serenity.
The destiny of the ego is to be lifted up into the Overself, and there end itself or, more correctly, transcend itself. But because it will not willingly bring its own life to a cessation, some power from outside must intervene to effect the lifting up. That power is Grace and this is the reason why the appearance of Grace is imperative…
The World-Idea’s end is foreordained from the beginning. This leaves no ultimate personal choice. But there’s a measure of free will in a single direction–how soon or how late that divine end is accomplished. The time element has not been ordered, the direction has.
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