And when you have lived a thousand lives, at a certain point you say: it is enough. 

Advaita Post, Volume 9, Number 12

As eye you are everywhere

Text Satsang

An introduction and talk in Gouda May 14, 2008

The ego, Part 3

Douwe: With every experience, what you experience always comes towards you and you coincide with it. With people, with things. But you consistently hold yourself back, from everything and everyone. But just ask yourself: what’s holding me back? One complete experience without an ego cramp and it’s for everyone. Still there is the ‘I’ that’s always resisting things. It resists the externals and so resists the developing of the experience. Why? Because the ego knows that it will dissolve if the experience develops until subject and object melt together. So the ‘I’ wears not only all different kinds of glasses to restrict and deform experience, but also contains within itself the basic resistance for allowing experience to go all the way until it’s fully developed. Actually the “I” is very pathetic. It wants everything. It wants great enjoyment and will do anything to get it. Then this, then that, then that … but it also holds itself back from real enjoyment. It’s clear that the enjoyment of all sorts of beautiful things doesn’t liberate.

Visitor: It’s the ego that longs for happiness and that happiness is never allowed to come because that would mean the end of the ego.
You see, that’s the basic conflict of the ego.

But what about desire? It’s not just from the ego?
No, because desire goes beyond the ego. But that’s precisely the problem of the ego, it can’t come along.

But the ego certainly desires, for enlightenment for example.
Let’s say that that’s the self, which has a notion of its own nature, namely total openness.

But the ego can never permit this total openness.
No, so that’s why you get that conflict.

The ego just wants to be an enlightened ego.
It thinks: of course, I would like to be enlightened, but without losing myself.  That that could be possible is a misapprehension, an illusion that causes a lot of suffering.

The ego can’t release itself?
No, so the breaking open will come from something else, from something outside. What is that other? That is yourself as long as you aren’t stuck in the ego. It’s very simple.

The ego has a focus, but not beyond the ego.
When you sit looking out from the ego’s position, you can discover all kinds of lines that lead beyond the boundaries of the ego. In order to look further you must dare to look and the ego doesn’t dare. These are very simple things that I’m pointing to, but which are still so difficult for most people to see in their own experience, for example, “can you just experience that you have no boundaries in your (feeling) body?” Why is the experience of unlimitedness not accepted?  Because the ‘I’ doesn’t want to go there.

But isn’t that the problem of everyone? Even for the people who are here?
For all who are still stuck somewhere in an ego, yes. It’s good to recognize that.

Surely the ego is good for something?
Oh yes. When the ego finds it nice to write a check for a good cause … then it’s good for something, yes.

The practical side then …
Primarily, the ego is always good for itself. The ego is by definition first good for itself and if that also means that it’s good for someone else, it’s included. You see it, whenever there is a conflict of interest with someone else, the ego chooses for itself.

What is it really, the ego?
It is the self-being that thinks: I am this person.

But the thought still occurs within consciousness?
Yes, if you experience yourself as consciousness. But then the situation is different.

But is there still no ego?
To the extent that it appears, it’s a phantom.

So it doesn’t exist?
No, of course not. See for yourself.

But there it is.
Yes, from your little stand point as ego that’s the greatest truth. That’s why you always choose for the ego. It’s self evident. So first of all you must see that clearly. You must also dare to see: that’s how the egoist functions.

I heard someone say: I can choose between being happy and being right.
When an alternative becomes clear, then there is another point of view.  And from that spacious viewpoint there is also the possibility of releasing the limited things of the personal.

Then I experience that everything changes.
Yes, but notice that the source lies at a different level than that of the ego. It’s on a different level of self-being, where there’s much more understanding, where the choice becomes possible. For an ‘I’ it’s just not possible, because an ‘I’ normally proceeds on a directly egocentric way. So even just recognizing the self-being with a more spacious insight is in itself already a bit of enlightenment.

But you have just spoken about enlightenment.
That’s a very difficult word, but you can define it if you aren’t stuck on anything specific about it.

But you described the enlightened state as something that is an experience.
No, it’s a recognition from a clearer consciousness.

And that is the experience?
Actually, you can no longer call it an experience. We use the word “experience” mostly for a person, on a psychological level. But on the level of insight, there is clarity of consciousness and it reveals itself as it is. It is directly known.

The thoughts about enlightenment –  should you release them?
Of course, because again that ‘s an idea with a certain label from the thoughts of a person.

So by letting go the ego gives up the fight.  And then?
Then, the self-being that can recognize it, that remains.

But that is totally inconceivable, the ego can’t let go of itself but then you are still going to wait for some kind of breakthrough?
You don’t need to do that.  Just recognize, as long as it’s necessary.

So just keep recognizing it, again and again.
Again and again, as long as it’s necessary.

And when is it no longer necessary?
When it naturally stays on, stable. When the old mechanisms of making separations, trying to manipulate others, holding tight or just wanting to have, until all the mechanisms just don’t function any longer. Then the openness is.

So then the environment doesn’t matter as much any more?
No, because there is no longer an inside and outside, so there is not an environment anymore. When you enjoy a fantastic landscape, there is one thing: landscape/enjoyment. Then you don’t say: that environment is there and that environment doesn’t do much for my happiness any more. You don’t say that any more, because that is spoken from a distance by an ‘I’ that wants to keep everything at a distance. And you see than that is endless. When the circumstances change, for example, when you are back at home, you’ll still want that beautiful experience back again. When you recognize this endless cycle, the motion of a limited self-being that binds itself to conditions, then you see the major problems it creates. For its whole life the ‘I’ rushes after itself. And when you’ve lived a thousand lives, at a certain point you say: it is enough.

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