Where does my certainty end and my variability begin? I am here, consciousness existing within the unknowably complex. With a mind that seeks to baseline my existence and create a self as a comparison against it. With such rudimentary understanding of the infinitely complex the egoic mind is like a bull in a china shop. A peaceful mind will never stray far from destiny. So what to make of life? To clumsily steer this vessel into unavoidable chaos? Like I’m stranded on Starship Graham and just pulling on all the levers to see what happens. Sounds like fun to me! How can I possibly choose wrongly?
I’ve staked a claim
Where gratitude was needed
I’ve run from all pain
As forgiveness was pleaded
I’ve puffed out my chest
Desperate to disappear
Outwardly at my best
My heart burning with fear
Blinded by destiny
I could never be here
A prayer to sleep restfully
I whispered in your ear
Even God could not speak it
In a way that was enough
It’s laughable that I seek it
And talk knowingly of love
A brilliant talk by Jac O’Keefe. Instead of me haplessly trying to summarize please watch. It’s only eight minutes long and very enlightening. Cheers!
Part of the reason I prefer to spend so much of my time alone is that everything always feels so forced when I am in the company of others. Every single conversation people have with each other comes with an ego-based agenda of some sort.
Maybe they want to sound intelligent. Or come across as funny. Maybe there is something you have that they want. And maybe even someone wants to cultivate their spiritual identity. Perhaps if it happens at work you want to appear hardworking.
Work can be the worst with those superficial conversation staples: Are you keeping busy? Staying out of trouble? Pretty cold out there! We have to think outside the box!
And when I take part in these conversations it brings that side out within me as well. As I interact or converse with someone my ego is looking to express itself, improve itself, or impress someone else. It is so god damned exhausting.
I would much rather go somewhere and be in silence.
But does authentic conversation exist? Is there such thing as a direct verbal interaction between two souls?
Perhaps this is why I am drawn to spiritual texts. I don’t feel the undertone of any identity based agenda. It has a beautiful way of disarming me. And there is no interacting with a book!
So what is your recipe for surviving the day to day interaction of ego’s? Or perhaps you don’t mind it like I do. I hope the recognition of this complex dance of ego’s is a big step towards transcending it some day.
These are powerful moments when you seriously start to question the most basic assumptions of who you think you are. And very brave of Ronda to make this struggle public.
When I heard the following story about Natesa Iyer and Ramana Maharshi it made me think of the power that Bhagavan had gained by saying nothing about Natesa’s idol worship. Had he expressed his disapproval immediately, or often, he would have likely been ignored. Instead he let it happen for two years and then a short casual comment had such immense power that Natesa stopped his idol worship immediately and without hesitation. A very powerful story about shutting up in this world that is saturated with unrelenting opinions 🙂
“Now when Natesa Iyer first came here he had a little private puja box inside which were five different statues, and he used to do elaborate pujas to them every morning. He had a room somewhere between Bhagavan’s hall and the cowshed because every morning Bhagavan would come at about 9 a.m. to inspect the cows.
Natesa Iyer would have done his long elaborate puja by this point, and he would ask Bhagavan to inspect the idols that he’d cleaned and done worship to. And every single day for two years Bhagavan would come, he’d admire them and say, ‘Very nice.’ Now I think this is a really outstanding example of how Bhagavan didn’t interfere in the sadhana, the spiritual practices of devotees who came. Whatever you came with, if you did it well, if you had faith in it, he was happy to let you continue even to the point of every single day for two years stopping off in your room to inspect the same five statues after you had cleaned them and worshipped them.
However, after two years Bhagavan just casually remarked, ‘Oh, so you’re still doing this, are you?’ And Natesa Iyer said there was something about that casual comment which sent shivers down his body. He said there was a physical…a wave of quivering in his body, and something inside him knew that his days of doing daily pujas to these five statues was over. He said that without a moment’s hesitation, ‘I put those five statues back in their box. ‘I walked to Pali Tirtham,’ which is the main tank behind the mother’s samadhi. He said, ‘I threw them in ‘and I never was interested in pujas again.’”
I hate the idea of being labelled a spiritual ‘seeker’. It feels like the label itself would keep me from everything that I am looking for.
I don’t know how to obtain something that I can’t first imagine with my mind. I can’t become an enlightened or realized being because I can’t sufficiently imagine what it would be like first.
I love going for walks in the park at this time of year. It’s cold enough that there are very few people there, but not too cold that you can’t dress up and be comfortable. I treasure these times of solitude.
I mourn the fact that this false identity that I have spent my whole life cultivating (and unfortunately still cultivate to some degree) will never join me should I achieve enlightenment. That they will not reap the spoils of suffering is intensely sad.
I now know that anything I do in an effort to heal this identity will only keep me from the bliss I seek. I have to stop trying to save me as this only reinforces the idea of “I”.
I have an innate desire to be profound. It must be ego, but I wish to make discoveries about the nature of humanity that will ultimately lead us all to be happy and peaceful.
Saving humanity seems like a noble goal but also self serving, for such a person would likely be held in high regard. Do I need to discard it with the rest of the ego as I attempt to understand the true nature of the self?
I believe that when humans achieved self awareness there was a split in the universe. Along with the eternal natural evolution of existence, a separate path for the false “I” was born.
We are all much more concerned with ‘how long we live’ rather than ‘how we live’. We would gladly sacrifice enjoyment for longevity. I saw evidence this morning as a school in Toronto outlawed tag at recess because a few kids got hurt. Surely there were other measures that could have been implemented rather than this knee jerk reaction.
It’s not hard to explain Donald Trump. The policies he promotes indicate that he is very much afraid. The support he receives say much of America feels the exact same way. Conquering fear has never been more important.
I used to believe that corporations were the source of all evil. But now I believe that if we infuse them with a purpose that is aligned with core values of humanity they can be an invaluable vehicle for progress. The rise of purpose driven organizations has truly given me hope.
I had a beautiful moment a few weeks ago where the idea that some ‘person’ existed somewhere inside my body was absolutely preposterous. I went on to think “if there’s no person, then what the heck is going on here?!?” The hours that followed where I couldn’t rationalize my own existence felt very easy.
Mooji has many great quotes but this one in particular really touched me. After one person at his Satsang said he was exhausted he replied (and I’m paraphrasing) “Being a person takes a lot of energy. Being yourself takes no energy at all.” This is a great compass. if what I am doing takes effort, than it is wrong lol!
Listening not only with your ears, but with all of your senses. The dialect of the present moment comes in infinite forms. It is the sound of the trees as they are thrust wildly about by the wind. Its your first sip of coffee as the darkness of the night fades. It’s the warmth of the sun across your face and the smell of bacon as it pops in the frying pan. It’s the feeling of the morning and a brand new day. It’s even in hustle and bustle of rush hour traffic with the symphonic hum of the tires hitting the pavement.
The soul is listening simply because it knows the universe is talking. You could say it has a yearning to learn about every detail of the now moment but without ever reaching the state of “knowing”. To express what you know you must repeat what you have learned and in that action you are bound to leave the present. Knowing is the treasure of the mind, and of the ego.
Our spiritual journey is unique. It will be different than anyone in history who has ever undergone this transformation before. Such a realization can be incredibly lonely and frightening.
When we start down this path we find our first guru and we read about the circumstances of their enlightenment. We understand their suffering deeply and believe that we feel exactly as they did prior to their shift. We read about their dark night of the soul, or their dramatic shift in perception, and helplessly try to recreate it for ourselves.
We start out treating enlightenment as if it comes with a manual. Sometimes even the most profound spiritual texts initially sound like this. We all know the instructions. You must surrender. You must accept the present moment. You must be still. You must be the witness. It’s almost like a to do list that we need to scratch off to become enlightened.
And after numerous attempts at mimicking the transformation of spiritual gurus I came to the realization that my journey is completely my own. I don’t know if, or how, I will become enlightened so I can not walk on the path as if I know where it’s going. I can not do something and know if it is helpful or a hindrance to my transformation.
It’s at this point out of sheer desperation that we reach out to the collective. We share our experiences and listen to the experiences of others. We scour the internet for wisdom and then share it with those like minded souls. We meditate, do yoga, have a realization, and then have this powerful instinct to communicate with those undergoing the same struggle.
It is this desire to share with the collective that fuels my individual journey.
What if I couldn’t blog? What if there was no YouTube? No Twitter or Facebook? Many of us may think that the world would be a much better place, and to a large degree I believe they may be right. But from another perspective social media has enabled me to create this huge community from which I find wisdom, and hopefully to which I contribute some myself.
The simple existence of this community has kept me moving forward. It has propelled me deeper into spirituality than I ever would have gone without them. Through my community I find encouragement, compassion, empathy, guidance and knowledge.
However, there is most certainly an element of sharing that strengthens the egoic “I”. It is the part that feels good when a post gets a lot of likes, or the part that feels excited when an original quote gets retweeted. The irony can get quite thick when you get a large response on some wisdom you had shared about not being your thoughts, and as a result start thinking how clever you are.
But perhaps the ego has a vitally important role to play in my personal journey. That as my ego seeks validation through a increasingly larger spiritual community I am also pulled deeper into the realm of spiritual seeking. As I surround myself with vast amounts of spiritual texts, lectures, and gurus, I increase the chance that I will ignite my transformation through encountering the right person, or hearing the right bit of wisdom.
Or maybe, and this is what I believe now, the greatest lesson I will learn through immersing myself into all things spiritual as a means to enlightenment will be its complete and undeniable failure. Perhaps this is where I will finally learn what surrender, acceptance, and stillness truly is.
To truly ask for help may be the most courageous act of the ego, as well as its last.