The Ego and spiritual progress!

Something I am unable to do is:

(1) compare myself to others, for we are all unique and on separate paths to different destinies.

(2) Try to quantify my spiritual progress.. you know to say I am this, for example, mindful, conscious etc. Such statements are generated by the ego, to use as an identity crutch. Your meaning comes in how your perspective changes over time, how you relate to yourself and others and in what you feel, see and understand.

As well, it is important to understand that such thoughts are meaningless … to compare or compete with another is ego driven! In doing so, you are trying to separate yourself, make some distinction between you and others when there is none, there is only your path and your destiny. The bottom line is that you are you, a wonderful unique individual with unlimited potential to follow your bliss. Any limitations we have, come from ourselves, in how we view ourselves, based on our beliefs and experiences.

 

Perhaps the image is simplistic … however it shows the marked difference between ego and the soul, between separation and true love.

Let me illustrate the Ego aberration anecdotally – after a class, I was waiting for a train, two students were talking about which one was more advanced spiritually … they tried to include me in their conversation, eventually I had to suggest the following observation to both of them, that this need to compare with another, shows that as yet, neither of them were on a genuine spiritual path … For if you were, you would know the ridiculousness of comparison, we cannot compare … as the spiritual path is essentially solitary, personal and spiritual, where the ego has no place, because it wants an identity separate from others.

In any case, what is the point of comparison? There is none, except to somehow make you feel better, separate from or feel superior in some way to another.

Just get on with your life; for it is quite easy to understand if you are present, even mindful, because it will be revealed in how you approach each day and how you respond to the challenges within these days.

As we are all different, it does not matter where you are on your path, the object is to be open, to be, and stay curious, to face and go beyond our limitations, to keep growing through learning from new experiences – the ego has no part, in this process.

My posts are simply my perspective and are offered in the spirit of discovery, exploration and evolution – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

Life before Meditation

There is much wisdom in the world, and humanity has gone through instances in the past of great spiritual growth, in the times gone by of the great prophets, the enlightened awakened and the sages and philosophers of humanity, both male and female.

The times in the past of profound spiritual growth, through the wisdom and teachings of Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus Christ and more recently Gandhi, just to name a few, there are many other great and wonderful souls both male and female in our past, that can light our path, if we let them.

For my personal experience the below is a telling quote, which was the beginning of my being present and then creation of mindfulness for me – the quotation is from Lao Tzu, a philosopher and poet, who lived in China around 2,500 years ago, the founder of Taoism and the (probable) author of the Tao Te Ching, a truly wonderful book, which I keep near me. I find new meaning in, almost every time I pick it up.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious, the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present” – Lao Tzu

This is a very revealing quotation for it gives you the baseline so to speak, the beginning point for living in the present … if we monitor our thoughts we can tell for instance is we are living in the past, we are depressed, of perhaps thinking of a time of a lost love, lost fortune, missed opportunity, regret, guilt or shame … if on the other hand we are anxious … we are concerned about something that has yet to happen … and expectation or a fear that is yet to be fulfilled, such as a specific event or perhaps a general feeling of unease or doubt about one’s future prospect … being present on the other hand, is when we are creating something, writing, composing, playing intense sport, or perhaps even making love, being entertained, or something that requires all our attention to be totally in the present moment .. a place where there is no thought of the past or the future only the moment you are in.

There are many other aspects of thought, such as ego that can only thrive when we are not present, it is fed by the way we look at the world and of course our beliefs and fears, … almost every one of these are groundless, but the ego needs them to give you an identity, to separate you from another, so you can pointlessly compare yourself to another … silly really, for comparison like competition is meaningless, more on the ego, another time.

One is in fact always in the present moment, don’t fight me on this, just wait and see how this unfolds, for we view the past as a memory (a memory from our own perspective, our own point of view) from the present moment … we look to the future as an expectation, again only from the present moment … realising this, is the beginning of the path to being present.

If you are constantly referring to the past, the best way (for me) was to accept it, and so come to terms with it, perhaps even to give yourself an apology, one you may never have received from those in your past, to forgive another, to learn, always to learn from the past, in fact from all experiences.

Now we do not forgive past transgressions for the sake of another, we are forgiving the past so we can be free of it, so it won’t control our actions in the present, to move on and more easily reside in the present moment … always the present moment… to at some time in the future, we bring that present moment out of the practise of meditation and live our life that way, almost always in the present moment is the aim of mindful – meditation at this point, for we must remember, that we do not meditate to find peace, we meditate to be at peace with what we find.

The only point we have here to remember that whilst being present, even mindful, once grasped is relatively easy, but remembering to be mindful, not always is … but as soon as we feel ourselves drifting away from the present moment, don’t engage, return to the present, for there is peace and reality, the “what is” of your life.

A perspective on Life and Others

I find talking to people of like and different minds stretches our boundaries, takes us to places we had not dreamed of, breaks boundaries and brings new perspectives, even on the ordinary. Such was part of the reason I left Australia, I disliked intensely the frenetic, chaotic surface thinking that was the norm ….it was mostly about the self and self-gratification … and sometimes even just about survival, I felt in the environment I was within I could not grow any more …. for this was driven by the last thing I wanted to happen was to be on my veranda when I am 90 and think I should have done this or that, I want no excuses, no regrets. So now I often ask myself what to do, or where to next?

Please try not to limit yourself, the Universe will give us what we need …. I too have financial limitations … when I hit something that looks impossible, I always think, I cannot do this … YET … for your life can and will change in a heart beat …. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. For me to ameliorate such thinking, is to have my plans my goals and move little steps towards them, if for instance you wish to live in Provence in France… then think about a dream board … take baby steps and the pieces will slowly come into place, or an event could happen in your resources that makes it eminently viable.

There is an inverse relationship between faith and fear …. The more faith you have in yourself and the Universe the less you will be fearful …. Great Big Hugs!

The past is only for learning from … it does not define who you are or who you will become, in time, we hopefully forget what hurt us in the past, but never forget what it taught you!

Please … forget how things worked out in the past, for you were doing the best you could at the time – forgive what happened, for when you do you will find true freedom, … next time will be different because you are not that person anymore. Don’t limit yourself, the Universe has plans for you … the pain you have gone through brings us a lesson, at some point understanding this lesson will bring strength, which can bring a purpose … I know I went through what was effectively the same lesson three times, before the last and final one (so far) … that was the basis of so much evolution and growth in my life. I am told by my close friend and former teacher, that these lessons are us working through our Karma with the people concerned, to address our own actions or the learning experience which we have chosen …. One of my lessons was the nature of love, the difference between conditional love and love and the difference between a Cathexis and real love – the word love is such an overused word, that it many conversations it has lost its true meaning …. All these lessons are so subjective, I can only talk about how they affected me, I cannot present this as some sort of dogma, because to start, I am not a fan of dogma, it’s a bit like building a prison … and putting society in it … I don’t believe it is our role as people to generate dogma, or to project our beliefs onto others, but merely to help guide everyone back to their own divinity which they have forgotten for the moment.

We speak of others, lamenting on my own country or the countries I have visitied, let’s say America ( typical in some ways for the Western world) or other societies, I cannot in any way understand their thinking, or for the many, the lack of it, their insular behaviours examples like Trump and other unconscious people who are the epitomy of the Kali Yuga, the decline of humankind, such people are all about the ego, driven by an uncontrolled id (Freud’s model). Don’t judge them for as Jesus said, “for they know not what they do” just accept (not agree) and stay detached, the dogma of the current paradigm and the stalled emphasis of the almost dead consumer society that has created them – frankly no one knows what the next stage of society will be, there is no political direction, so its up to each of us to follow their own path

Just remember that everyone, every soul is in transition, from where they are, and given enough lifetimes, they too will reach the light, or in the case of Buddhism, Buddhahood.

Many times on Twitter I have been accosted by some who have a different view than mine, sometimes abusive, I don’t enter into a discussion, because one must realise that we cannot change someone’s beliefs, (this they must do for themselves) – some are there on Twitter purely for their own ego, to tear someone down to enhance their own faltering ego and emptiness …. engagement with such souls is pointless. My response is usually “Thank you for your perspective”.

You may have an internal witness, if not as yet you will in this life or another … this entity acts to witness our thoughts, to ground us, to empower us, to allow us a different perspective on our thoughts, to question thoughts that come from desire, from the egomind, from our past and our “what is” – (in my case, it also acts to tear away or question the internal fears and erroneous as well as assumptive beliefs) that the normal subjective self-judgement would allow us.

When we master the art of staying present, still often we have to remind ourselves that the way to treat this thought, this circumstance is to be mindful, be present in the moment – that reminder to myself was and still is on occasion, a revelation.

The Yugas

According to the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic scripture (the Bhagavad Gita, in only one part of it), there are four ages of truth ….. We are currently in the Kali-Yuga the last, the darkest and most corrupt of the ages – the attributes (?) of this age are all around us. At the end of this age, the dregs of mankind will be removed and we start again at the Satya Yuga, the Golden age. Needless to say, we will not be in these bodies when the new age restarts, it is called the Satya Yuga.

To start the first age, the Golden age – that Satya Yuga here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satya_Yuga

After the Satya Yuga a decline marks the Treta Yuga

After a further decline brings about the Dwapara Yuga

After it comes the final and darkest age the Kali Yuga (like now), a time of wickedness, when man kills another man.

For more informed information concerning the aspects of the Kali Yuga itself here and here

An interesting post on the Kali Yuga … The end of the Kali Yuga in 2025: Unravelling the mysteries of the Yuga Cycle – Here

I am sure there are people who spend their life analysing this aspect of Hinduism … know that I am not very knowledgeable in this area. Hence I would offer Sadhguru to explain the science behind the cycle of four yugas, and calculates the timeline since the beginning of the Kali Yuga after the Kurukshetra War. Here

Any thoughts are welcome.

Meditation – a first look

Let’s look at an overview of meditation itself.

For me, I believe we don’t meditate to find peace. We meditate to be at peace with what we find – in Mindfulness meditation we develop the ability to accept the emotions and feelings that occur during the meditation.

For meditation, we need to develop the ability to stay present. What I mean by that is to stay in the moment, without reliving the past or having expectations about the future.

Imagine yourself meditating half way down a long hallway in a house, from the front door to the back door. The thoughts come in the front door, you note them and accept them (for they are you) … then you lightly move on, without engaging in the thought itself, (it will go, once you don’t validate it) the thought then moves on down the hallway and out the back door, it may come back, each time it does follow the same process, it will lose its urgency – its .. “you need to engage with me.”

The thought may be about the past (depression, regret or shame perhaps) or about the future, such as anxiety or fear about a forthcoming event, or perhaps the fear of loss. We cannot invest or follow the thought (no matter how important or urgent it seems), for the moment we do, we drop out of meditation, because we are no longer present, so we can no longer be mindful.

Once we regularly meditate, we develop mindfulness, in part it allows us to understand what we can change, and what we can’t – to detach from things we cannot control, for instance, other people’s action (or any influence outside of us) that effects us. I find now, that mindfulness itself is not difficult, but what can be difficult is to remember to be mindful in our day to day lives.

Note; Mediation is not something to be achieved, it is something we have to be the person to properly meditate – it can be a slow process of becoming, but take heart, even sitting on a mat for 30 seconds with a clear mind, is worth celebrating, remember little steps forward – often. Each day if you truly wish it, it will get better it – but it does takes time – remember nothing worth having is a easy fix.

Remember also that Sleep – is the great restorer

Once I regularly meditated, it affected my whole life. Sleep, became deep and restorative. Sleep, especially uninterrupted sleep can be elusive, yet mindfulness meditation assisted me in getting more restorative regular sleep, without medication.

Mindfulness meditation can allow us to gradually develop greater control over our emotions, which leads to clarity of thought in difficult situations. For me the revelation was that once I realised that everything changes, nothing seems to be that imperative in the moment, remember it’s not the situation that is causing you pain, it is your thoughts about the situation.