Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More about the Ego

I feel like a broken record but the more I write about this the more I can try to wrap my brain around it. There is a sense of self or “I” in every thought you have, in every memory in your brain. When you are trapped in the Ego you associate with those thoughts instead of your inner being. If there is no space between you and your thoughts then you are lost in the ego. So does that mean that you shouldn't have thoughts in your head – no – there will always be thoughts in your head. But when you can see them as thoughts and not as who you are then you are not living in your head anymore. And then I think “But I have opinions, thoughts – that is who I am” And here is the difference - you may have opinions but once you have the need to defend them to other people, once you are at odds with people who don’t share your opinions then that is the ego. Once you make enemies of people that don’t have the same opinions (or religion, or race, etc) then you are not separated from those opinions and have become trapped in the ego. Those opinions become who you are and therefore anyone that opposes them becomes your enemy because they are opposing you. In reality the truth needs no defense. You must put a space between your thoughts and yourself. Then you are not controlled by them. If you can do this then you will no longer have the need to be in conflict with people that oppose you. On this weeks podcast someone called in and asked about if someone hurts you or strikes out against you where do those hurt feelings come from and how do you deal with them. His response was that the hurt feelings come from the Ego because only the Ego can be hurt by others. Eckhart told them to bring that hurt feeling into themselves and accept it – don’t fight it. That will only make the feelings stronger. "What you fight you strengthen and What you resist persists" And you can’t just say I shouldn't be feeling this – that won’t work either. If you can analyze what you are feeling and see it for what it really is then you should be able to see that it doesn’t have anything to do with the essence of you, the core of you. Your Ego may be offended and want to strike back but you are not your ego. You are the awareness of your ego. So nothing that anyone can say or do can alter your inner person – your formlessness. When others strike out against you then that is their ego. Eckhart told a story about a man that was very rude to him, angry even and he made the decision to treat him like an honored guest. By not reacting to the anger(his Ego) the man was completely changed in a span of 20 minutes! Because he didn’t react to the person’s ego then he was not in conflict with it. Oprah commented that you must be highly evolved to be able to recognize another person’s ego for what it is and I would have to agree with her. I doubt that I would have been able to do the same. There is so much more that I wanted to talk about but I will save it for next time. Thanks for reading : )

Monday, March 10, 2008

Being Formless

I wanted to talk more about the Ego but I realized through talking to a few friends that the word Ego makes this concept a little confusing. It is not Ego as in “Egotistical” but more like an Alter- Ego. The Ego he is talking about is another “person” inside yourself that is your life experiences, your thoughts and your feelings. But it is not all of who you are – it is only a small part of you. It does not have to control who you are if you don’t want it to. That is such a new concept for me and one that I am still struggling with.

Oprah had her first online class and I have listened to it a couple of times and there were a few points that I wanted to share with you. If you would like to listen to it yourself then just go to and you will find a link to it on the main page. It is about an hour and a half so it takes a while to get through. Here are some things that he talks about: “You don’t become good by trying to be good – but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge”- page 13 The Ego can say that it wants to be a good person or a spiritual person because it wants to have a better image of itself. If you are still living in the ego then you search for spirituality will still be able to trap you in conflict when things are not going the way you planned. It is not just about thinking positively either – it has to go further than that. You must reach a place inside yourself that is unconditioned, a place that is not affected by what is going on around you. He calls it being formless. A passage that he quotes from the bible is “Be still and know that I am god”. “Be Still” refers to this formless state. You must be conscious without thinking. He goes on to say that being formless is the essence of every human being. The formless part of you remains untouched by anyone and anything. Nothing can destroy it or alter it or affect it. Getting in touch with that place is the key to becoming awakened. He gives tips to start this process by using nature or by “becoming one” with nature. When you can feel the sacredness of tree or a flower then you can begin to see the sacredness in other things. He gives a few pointers for this in chapter one. He suggest walking through a garden without naming things – just enjoy them. When we give things names then they begin to loose their beauty and majesty. How can you begin to describe the beauty of a flower with just 6 letters? The beauty of a flower is indescribable. We have the need as humans to give everything a label and once you have given it a label then it can be filed away neatly in your brain. Try looking at something without giving it a name. I tried it this afternoon and I found it very difficult. The first thing that pops in my head is the label of what I am looking at. When I read this part of the book I thought about an experience that I had last summer. My mother-in law and I were in St. Andrews at Kingbrae – an unbelievable garden with millions and millions of flowers and trees. I know nothing about flowers so for me the garden was about experiencing the beauty, smelling, touching and taking pictures. I could spend 5 minutes at each flower. I think for her it was more about learning about new flowers. She wanted to expand her knowledge of flowers, see ones that she hadn’t seen before or look at different combinations of flowers in a specific garden. I found that she was able to move quickly through gardens in which she was familiar with the flowers. She was always way ahead of me : ) I would call her back and say – look at this one – look at the color – isn’t it amazing and she would say “Oh, that’s a (insert name of flower here)” and then she would move on. So because I didn’t know the names of the flowers I enjoyed them the only way I knew how – looking, smelling and touching. So I don’t want you to think that I had a better experience or that I enjoyed it more than she did, I just wanted to share how it was a very different experience for me because I didn’t know the names of the flowers. I felt that she needed to give a name to the beauty and that is what I thought of when I read that part of the book. Here are some pictures from our afternoon:

So thanks for reading and please comment on what you liked or didn’t like. I’m trying to understand this and writing it out and discussing it makes that process more enjoyable.