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Taming the Ego

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Author Topic: Taming the Ego  (Read 103 times)
« on: Jul 03, 2018 06:44 am »

Quite possibly one of the most important pieces I've read yet.
From Inayat Khan,
1.   The Training of the Ego:
Necessity and Avidity
In the satisfaction of bodily appetites there are two things: necessity and avidity. A satisfaction which is necessary for existence is one thing, and ever-increasing joy in the satisfaction of bodily appetites is another thing. When man acts regardless of this, in either way, in satisfying the appetites or in abstaining from satisfaction, he makes a mistake. In order to train the ego it is not necessary that cruelty be done to nature; discrimination is necessary, to understand how far one should satisfy the appetites and how far one should refrain from being addicted to such satisfactions.

Intense desire for bodily satisfaction has a bad influence on one's mentality, which acts, psychically, unfavorably on oneself and one's surroundings. It produces jealousy, envy, and greed in the nature, and if the thought-currents are strong, it produces psychically poisonous effects. There is a belief in the East which is know by the name Nazr, a belief that any food or drink can have a poisonous effect upon the one who eats or drinks it if it has been exposed to an evil eye. This superstition is known in almost all parts of the East in some form or other, and the psychical idea behind it is that the intense feeling of envy produces a thought-current which must surely spread its poison, which causes harm to the one against whom the feeling works.

When we consider the whole unrest of the present time in the world, we find that it is caused by the physical ego. The wars and revolutions seem to have the desire for comfort and pleasure and for more earthly gain behind them. And, since the happiness of the world depends upon the moral standard of the majority, it is upon the education of the human being in the psychic law of happiness that the peace of the world depends.


3.   The Training of the Ego:
The Two Sides of the Human Ego
The human ego has two sides to its nature; one side is to strive for its nature's demands, and that side of the ego may be classed as the animal ego; but there is another side which manifests when the ego shows its agitations for no other reason than intolerance. This feeling is a kind of blindness, or intoxication, and it arises from an excess of energy coming out from the soul quite unrestrained; it covers, so to speak, the light of the soul as the smoke may cover the light that comes from a flame. In order to allow the Divine spirit to guide one's life one must clear the soul of its smoke part, leaving there only the flame to illuminate one's life. It is the nature of the ego during its period of ignorance that all that is very beautiful or powerful and all that is below the standard of its ideal agitates it. This sensitiveness may increase to such an extent that all that does not bring any comfort or joy or happiness to the ego may become repugnant to it. It is this ignorant stage of the ego which in the Sanskrit language is called by the wise Ahamkara, and the whole method that the wise have taught in any age and in any part of the world has been for recognizing and understanding this ignorance which is the primary nature of the ego, and then for purifying one's ego from this, by gentleness, humility, by self-control, by tolerance and by forgiveness.

Man can dissimulate this ignorance, but that is not enough; often, outward manner may become a mask over something ugly hidden behind. There is only one thing that can free the ego from this ignorance and that is the love of God, the contemplation of God and the knowledge of God. Love of God comes from belief in God. Belief is the first thing necessary, but belief needs support. It can be kept up by the belief of others around one or by learning or study which will strengthen it. But he to whom the love of humanity is unknown can never know the love of God; as you can see the painter in his picture, the poet in his poem, the musician in his music, so in humanity you can see God.

4.   The Training of the Ego:
Training Is As Well a Science As an Art
It is a science and an art to understand the nature of the human ego and to train it. One can understand the nature of the human ego by a study of human nature; but one can learn the way of training it by training one's own ego. Man can train his ego by being patient with all around him that has a jarring effect upon him. For every jar upon the soul irritates the ego. When man expresses his irritation he develops a disagreeable nature; when he controls it and does not express it, then he becomes crushed inwardly. The idea is to rise above all such irritations.

Life has a jarring effect by its very nature which every sensitive soul can feel. If a person wishes to keep away from all jarring influences, he had better not try to live, for life is a constant jarring. Life is motion, and it is the nature of motion to strike against something. It does not require strength to stand against the jarring influences of life – there is no wall of stone or of iron that can always stand against the waves of the ocean – but a small piece of wood, little and light, can always rise and fall with the waves, yet always above them, uninjured and safe. The lighter and the littler man's ego becomes, the more power of endurance he has. It is two strong egos that strike against one another. The little ego, the light ego, just slips over when a powerful wave of a strong ego comes for it to knock over itself against a stronger wall that may throw it over.

The art of dealing with egos of different grades of evolution is to learn gentleness, tolerance, and forgiveness, which all come from charity of heart. When man stands on the same plane as the other, then he is subject to the influence of the other ego. But if he rises above it, then every effort of the other ego falls flat. There is a poem in Hindustani, the verse of Ghalib: 'the world seems to me a playground of children. How constantly busy the infants seem with their toys!'

Verily the secret of peace is hidden under the cover of the ego.


For the entire transcript please click the link

It is surely worth the read
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 21, 2018 07:18 am »

I have recognized some of my personality quirks that cause me to become trapped in the Ego.
One is my aggression towards my shortcomings.... I should not feel so aggressive, and in a sense this is all Ego derived from the idea of who or what I want to be misguided into who or what I should be. While it's mostly directed towards myself- because I so easily apply it in thoughts, aggression intentionally or unintentionally is displayed to others(gods creations) and creates further suffering. It needs to be removed/cleansed/understood in order to free myself from this entrapment.

The other, fear of death. I have been told to place this on the back-burner while another aspect of me feels I must keep it on the front of mind- I have been consoled from a friend that this fear of death is akin to fear of a new job and once it's time to go through the motions, it won't be all that bad. At the core of it, it is the idea of losing this identity- this is becoming quite possibly a laughing matter since I so desperately wish to dissolve the identity to become immersed in Gods Love at all times.

The other is agitation, developed from an intolerance because of my own idea's of how Life should be. What's worse is the impatience for Loved ones when one comes close to the intolerant mind, which is developed from the Egoic personality. While I constantly try to battle these feelings-there are even more of these ensnaring realities being highlighted. I should be grateful and yet I realize just how small I really am, it is my hopes to completely rid myself of these things and be with God at all times.

It is very hard to carry the realization that God exist in all of us on a day to day basis. Not only this but idea's of the past or future disturb the present- the interacting of and with the gifts from God. Longings for past, desires of future- all a distraction it would seem.

Any thoughts?
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2022 03:52 am »

Here is a beautifully written piece by wahiduddin titled, Taming the Ego with the Power of Love.

Just a few excerpts,
...During our early childhood we begin to develop a deceptive sense of a separate and independent "self", which quickly grows to be quite a monster. Then, most of us spend the rest of our life trying to find an escape from our preoccupation with the endless chatter and turmoil of this fictitious self and its ineffective strategies. For example, our fears and anger are often only knee-jerk reactions, caused by our ego's projections of past events, which tend to distract us from truly experiencing the wonders of the present moment and dealing with all of life's situations in a loving and kind manner.

The existence of such mind-made fantasy is not necessarily a problem, the problem arises when we become so preoccupied with the fantasy that we lose touch with what is actually happening in this moment and lose touch with our own true nature, that inner Divine spark which would like to guide us to respond to every situation in a kind and loving manner.

In order to find some relief from the chatter and misguidance of the ego, we need to begin to recognize a couple of our most pernicious adversaries: resisting and clinging. If we can learn to recognize and overcome these two, we'll be well on the way toward success at finding both enduring peace and enduring satisfaction in all aspects of life.

Our tendency toward excessive preoccupation with matters revolving around "I", "me" and "mine" is largely related to these two common, yet often dysfunctional, attributes of the ego: resisting (struggle and aversion) and clinging (attachment and desire). With some careful observation, the presence of these two troublesome ego attributes can easily be found in one's own daily life.

In limited amounts, the desire and aversion unleashed by the ego can be normal and helpful, and can give us a brief experience of satisfaction. But when our resisting and clinging lead us into excessive preoccupation with concerns about "I", "me" and "mine", then these attributes inevitably lead to a dysfunctional life which lacks an enduring sense of well-being, satisfaction and happiness.

Let's take a more detailed look at each of these two potentially troublesome attributes of the ego, which in moderate amounts can be useful, but which in excess quickly lead to great suffering.
Full article at,
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