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Thread: How can I shed my ego?

  1. #1
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    How can I shed my ego?

    Namaste,

    As silly as the question may sound, I really think it is possible to shed one's ego to the point one cannot be deemed an 'egoist' anymore.

    When I analyze my own innate tendencies, I perceive my innate self is tainted to some extent with traits of egotism.

    I want to get rid of this excess baggage and claim myself 'humble' while being honest with such a description of myself.

    I have been making attempt to humble my own behavior (expressed external behavior) but no matter how much I control myself, my inner quotient of egoistic tendencies remain the same.

    What measures can one take to control one's egotism and obtain a humble, pleasing personality?

    Thanks

    Viraja
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  2. #2

    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    Namaste Viraja Ji,



    Lately I have noticed, not here especially but in the new modern spiritual expression the word ego seems to be a total taboo, as if we are not supposed to have one, and anyone who does have an ego is deemed to be less spiritual. I have coined this type of expression as the American translation on the ego. If ones shows some status they are egotistical, if one shows some knowledge they have a spiritual ego, no ego at any stage is allowed, if one has a status then its just egotistical. To me the interpretation of the the Ego in American English is as brutish as the building up of the American individual, be the best, do not accept second best, anything other than 1st is to be considered a failure. The translation of ego into American English by Americans is as far away as understanding the ego as it could ever possible be, and has little or no real reference to ahankara. ( no offence to Americans, I think most the Americans that post here ( I hope ) will agree ).

    In the conditioned stage we cant have a stage of being egoless, it part of the identity of our being, in some way or another we need self referral to identify who we are, that can either be positive and constructive or it can be negative. So firstly what we need to do is deal with this individual being in a constructive way. In Bhagavad Gita Sri Krsna advises the cultivation of sattvic qualities, a building up of the higher self, in 13th chapter he even says that this is knowledge and anything other than the building up of the higher qualities is ignorance. B.G Chp 13 Verses 8-12.

    In Buddhism where there is an ultimate stress on annata or no self Gautama Buddha stressed at the same time the cultivation of wholesome states, Metta or loving kindness being the highest, complete love and service to all sentient beings.

    In the Bhakti tradition when it becomes misunderstood there is the sense of false humility, or the lower ones self esteem is, feeling oneself to be worthless, terrible, not fit for anything is being seen in modern Bhakti as advancement, when in fact its the dissolution via surrender of the unwholesome state that is required through sattva to reach the supramundane levels of pure love for Krsna or ones Ista Deva or object of mediation. So then in modern Bhakti depression and lack of self worth is then seen as some form of spiritual advancement, when in fact its detrimental and one will never get the results of Bhakti through low self esteem, this has nothing to do with Saranagati. The amount of western devotees in the Hare Krsna Domain who are on medications for depression is astonishing, they failed to grasp the divinity of the Bhakta, and the practice is becoming a failure on every level, seva is now slave mentality and humility is self hatred, this is pure ignorance and inertia.

    At the start of Bhagavad Gita Arjuna expresses his concerns, the early part is Arjuna's depression, his dejection, but very swiftly Krsna says give up this petty weakness and arise with strength and defeat this weakness, this weakness and self pity and mundane grief is pure ignorance.

    So if we are to use this word ego, which again like most things is overly used and widely misunderstood then we need to, as with the advise of Sri Krsna is to build up a healthy sense of self in the mood of sattva with in our sadhana.

    Sometimes trying to please everyone is an act of false humility and weakness, not that we should directly be trying to upset people, but there is a higher purpose to sattva and that is to reach suddhi sattva, or a more transcendent state where honour , dishonour , name, fame are not considered, suddhi sattva which has its base in the positive self of good qualities is reaching the boundary where we can start to perceive by intuition the higher realms of something more transcendent and vast. When this stage is being developed the natural attachment to us as an individual will naturally drop off because its aware of something higher. So the Ego is never killed off, it just drops off naturally due to our higher state of awareness and what it is aware of, something with less limitation. To go into that limitless awareness is the highest goal and the only way we can truly understand the Atma and the Supreme Godhead, which is free from limitation in every respect.

    So the goal of the Sadhaka is to develop the mode of goodness~ sattva and then let that take its natural course to then enter higher states that approach the Supreme destination in a natural way, although some effort, will and desire to go higher than sattva is required.

    Any effort to always want to please everyone sometimes to me sets off alarms bells, its a nice idea, but due to the general mass of people being of an exploitative nature you will only ever be exploited and just get weaker.

    I hope this helps
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 10 May 2016 at 01:36 AM.

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    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    Thank you, MD.

    By the word 'pleasing' I do not mean to say I intend to please each and everyone.

    I am just saying that I want to acquire humility and this humility is pleasing, if not for all.

    You have said in BG chapter 13 there are some methods spoken by which one can acquire more sattva guna, if I understood you right.

    I am more interested in that kind of upaya or means by which to acquire sattwa guna and to ward off egotism.

    Thank you for the reply.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  4. #4

    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    Namaste Viraja Ji,

    Ultimately all upayas and Sadhanas require Abhyasa and Vairagya and a lot of patience. Just the desire to be in sattva is the start for all of us. In my experience anything worth while takes time and great endeavour for them to mature. If one sticks to there Sadhana and upaya with resolve its just a matter of time until the fruits start to give the right rewards, Gautama Buddha said that patience is the highest austerity. Once we are fixed and steady on the path its just a matter of time, there are no short cuts or quick fixes unfortunately, only the path and walking along the path with Shraddha or conviction becomes our only dear friend which at some point turns in nistha or a deeper conviction when we experience the fruits and rewards of the practice. Upaya as I understand ( which is probably inaccurate ) is flexible according to ones conditioning, so by self awareness one needs to see what works for the time being and what doesn't, I find it hard to accept there is one size fixes all, so we need the internal introspect and awareness to see whats working and not and then make the necessary modifications to our practice. Each and everyone of us has unique vasanas and samaskaras, and Guru's, Dharma friends, Sadhu and Shastra can only point the way, and treading the path we have to do our self and see what is working for any situation.

    If we manage to get to high levels of sattva that should be enough for us to have a pleasing personality if one so wishes, thats why I mentioned the need for detachment in name fame, success and failure, we do our best and not be attached to the result.

    I am not a guru of any sorts or anyone's spiritual guide and no desire to be that, I just happen to occasionally get lost in typing and hit the send button So please take most of my comments with a pinch of salt and take what useful and throw out whats not.

    In modern spiritual circles people seem to be obsessed with the Ego, I don't worry about it, all forms of conditioning are ultimatly dissolved in the higher nature or the Absolute nature of what we truly are behind all the conditioning and modifications, so the only way I see it is the constant reflection of that which is divine, as it is only the highest divinity which solves all issues and burns out all the conditioning of Mind. Dwelling on our limitations in my experience is not the way, understanding them as limitations and identifying them is important, but more important is to regain our divine nature by constantly surrendering to that divinity, I see no other way and is confirmed by Sri Krsna B.G 18.66

    Again I hope this helps

  5. #5
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    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté


    Let me offer two notions… one is simple, the other a bit more in-depth on the mechanics behind ego.

    Light & Dark
    Let’s say you have a dark room and you wish remove this darkness. Can you push it out? Can you gather it up as if it were a thing to grab , sweep it up and toss it out? This is not possible. To rid one’s self of any darkness is to just bring in the light. Open the curtains and the flood of sun-light comes in to the room. You have removed the darkness by bringing the light. Simple concept to digest.

    Let’s go a bit deeper
    First what is ego? ahaṃkāra. Look at this word ahaṃ+kāra.
    • ahaṃ = aham = ‘I’ + kāra = doer, maker.
    • ahaṃ+kāra also = ahaṃkaraṇa = conception of individuality.


    So, we need to pause… the ‘I’ + ‘doer’ is the notion that via some method, process, or whatever the ‘I’ has become or thinks it is a ‘doer’ of actions, of things, etc.
    It is the notion of bringing ‘I’ into field of prakṛti. A most ~casual~ definition of this prakṛti is ‘nature’ and some would say the field of the 3 guṇa-s , said properly traiguṇya (pertaining to the 3 guṇa-s). So it is this pure ‘I’ that thinks it does things. And, this ‘I’ is associated with ego.

    This is not so hard to consider… ‘I’ go to the store, ‘I’ work, ‘I’ go to school , ‘I’ am happy , sad, insightful, remorseful, clean, dirty, ______ ( fill in the blank).
    It is this ‘I’ that thinks it is actually doing things.

    Just a bit more as we are still setting the stage. Note that prakṛti = pra+kṛti
    • pra प्र - is excessively , very , much ~ incessantly ~
    • kṛti कृति is the act of doing , making , performing , manufacturing , composing


    So pra + kṛti is incessantly acting, doing. Atoms, particles constantly vibrating; Solar systems and galaxies turning, exploding, created and destroyed. Yet on a local
    level it is our walking, talking, doing, not-doing ( as nothing can stop even for a moment), the mind thinking , moving, going from wake-dream-sleep day in and day out.
    It is in every case (kṛṣṇaḥ -jī’s words within the bhāgavad gītā ) the 3 guṇa-s ( which = to prakṛti) that is doing the doing.

    Back to this ‘I’
    It is none other than a ray of the Supreme. Yet it gets co-mingled with doing ; ahaṃ+kāra or ‘I’ maker, or making the ‘I’ think it is the doer.
    If one has the ego subside, what than is left ? Pure I without the notion that it is the doer. And, pure I by itself is then the total/full ray of the Supreme in
    us, it is non-different. It ( the Supreme) is co-mingled in this ahaṃ+kāra and we do not have a clear view of it, as it is mixed with doing.

    So, if the ego subsides ( called inward facing in some other posts, pūrṇatūnmukhyī daśā) one then associates with the fullness of ‘I’ as the Supreme ( non-different)
    and lets nature do what it does best: It (prakṛti) ~ incessantly ~ goes on performing, doing, composing. Think of all the flowers, trees, solar systems that keep on growing
    turning, moving, etc. All that is done effortlessly by this prakṛti; and its fuel ? We can leave that for another time.

    Some observations…
    Trying to rid one’s self of the ego is a noble cause. But, trying to do it with the ego itself is somewhat of a task. It does NOT want to go; you may convince yourself that you wish to get rid of it , but when push comes to shove this ego is a stiff competitor and will hold its ground. So, what is one to do? Bring the light, just like in the first example viewed above.

    rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi would perhaps ask you this...
    Who is this 'I' that is saying 'giving up' ? Find out who this 'I' is and give it up completely. What possibly can be left if this 'I' is given up ? What remains ? You have found the thief that steals your real Being.

    These posts take it another step:

    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...ghlight=facing
    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...ghlight=facing
    the march of the mind inward (pūrṇatūnmukhyī daśā) http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...ABnmukhy%C4%AB

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #6
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    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    MD ji, thank you very much for your reply.

    Yajvan ji, I went through your reply and the attached posts.

    I agree very much with the following:

    You can see by this conversation it is quite convoluted. This ego is always in survival mode. Even during one's sādhana it will allow you to go do your practice, but soon it wishes to drive the bus again! If you have had this experience you know what I am alluding to. The ego says, yes discipline me as you choose, yet I wish to return and be on top again.
    That is why one's sādhana takes some time and focus. The ego wishes to get back to its status - and this is the challenge we are faced with.
    The ego is like an unruly child - the more you wish to discipline , the more the child pushes back. So, various methods have been offered by the wise to win favor over the ego. Like the unruly child with time, patience, and candy one can begin to make progress.


    I have been watching my thoughts lately and 'letting go' only those thoughts that do not seem to be tainted with the notion of "superiority" in them. It feels very difficult to practice this, as it feels like a great big 'sacrifice' with minimal reward - you both shut down your inner self from wanting to 'show off' as well as doing that in front of others who try to portray their 'best' always. And on top of it, your tendencies bounce back on you!

    What I am saying is that, living in a competitive world where 'illusion' matters the most, everyone has a tendency to portray / 'show off' themselves in the best possible way and to practice humbling yourself amidst such circumstances not only poses to be a challenge, but a 'losing game' in that you deny yourself the opportunity to showcase 'your best'.

    And secondly no matter how hard I try, the ego quotient seems to remain the same. Say, for the past several months I have been practicing 'thought watching' and letting go of any feeling of superiority, then by all account, as a reward, my 'ego' should have lessened a bit? But, that does not seem to happen. I am still the very same person I was before I started watching my thoughts.... vibes exactly well with what you stated in the quoted comment above.

    So, I am wondering about 2 things:

    1. As you said, to bring in more 'light' of sattva guna, I can practice thought watching and daily sadhana. This includes measures such as eating food that has been offered first to god, etc. Are there any more practices in addition to this, that will bring in 'humility'?

    2. Will my practice 'grow on me'? Say, I can practice 'humility' in the aforementioned manner (by watching my thoughts, etc) for a long time. Then due to the length of time I have tried to subdue my ego, will the ego quotient get reduced as a reward? What I am asking is, if whether I practice subduing my egotism for a long time... then will the innate pride tendency get reduced as a reward? (I look forward to hearing from you or any learned member). Thank you for your reply, once again.

    Thank you,

    Viraja

    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    Yajvan ji, I went through your reply and the attached posts.

    So, I am wondering about 2 things:

    1. As you said, to bring in more 'light' of sattva guna, I can practice thought watching and daily sadhana. This includes measures such as eating food that has been offered first to god, etc. Are there any more practices in addition to this, that will bring in 'humility'?

    2. Will my practice 'grow on me'? Say, I can practice 'humility' in the aforementioned manner (by watching my thoughts, etc) for a long time. Then due to the length of time I have tried to subdue my ego, will the ego quotient get reduced as a reward? What I am asking is, if whether I practice subduing my egotism for a long time... then will the innate pride tendency get reduced as a reward? (I look forward to hearing from you or any learned member). Thank you for your reply, once again.
    [/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

    Let me offer the following for your consideration...
    Who is watching the thoughts? It will be the intellect pretending to be the SELF. It raised its hand to be this. So, watching the thought with the thing you wish to get rid of is in interesting thing, no? When SELF is co-mingled with the intellect we call it small self ('self' with a small 's') and this we call ego.
    So, what is one to do? One needs to establish a practice that goes beyond thought. That is transcending. This is what is done in (guided) meditation; there are many approaches to this. We are 'coached' that initially this needs to be done singularly, by one's self. Where then is that to be done? We find a comfortable place that is conducive to the silence, outside of busy life. This is where one begins. This is where the 'pure light' is found (prakāśa).

    Now is watching thoughts valuable? To one that is over-active this no doubt is a start. To the one that has been practicing a bit, it is watching
    the gap between thoughts (madhya), where there are no thoughts, where there is silence. This grooms the mind, this is valuable.
    I have written many posts on this, and it is not about watching thoughts but following the breath. Please do a search on this and I think
    you will find the reading material.

    Now these thoughts... they come all the time. Some think they are the enemy but they are not. Then what is? When one engages in them.
    If you , like many, still work and the mind is very active (rago-guṇa) filled with thoughts. Yet there comes a time when thoughts are there
    but there is no need for them ( as a planning tool, engagement activity, etc). Then one can just not engage with them. It is that simple.
    It takes some time but it can be done. It is like a smoke stack. It continues to bellow out smoke, but one does not even look that way.
    Like that , the mind continues to bellow out thoughts, fine and good. Yet 'you' ( your attention) does not have to engage them, correct?
    'You' choose when to engage and not engage. Like a clutch in a car that is stick shift. You choose when you put the car in gear and
    when you dis-engage. Try it and see. Dis-engagement is possible on your terms.

    Will my practice grow on me
    When done with ease and in a natural way it becomes part of you... This comes via
    prakāśa. Excessive trying becomes a burden and the mind
    revolts. 'What good is doing this if I am not rewarded' - this is not the mind-set to groom. What then is the formula? Patience and persistence in practice.
    Gently, but daily. Consistently but daily. Joyfully and with the desire for this, but daily without missing... In a gradual way the practice is to become satatoditam = satata + udita i.e. without break or pause.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  8. #8

    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    Namaste Viraja Ji

    From my own personal experience when the times comes when we get stuck in our practice and there is some difficulty to raise one's energy in practice and it becomes circular or hitting the same problem then I always find its time for some sort of retreat. Many people though have difficulty in finding the time. What ever guidance is given may or may not help. The key word that Yajvan is using is opening up to prakash, or the illumination which is outside of the Mind. And again as Yajvan has said there needs to be some notice or recognition of the gap between thoughts, just watching thoughts alone has never helped me, the manas or thought waves is continuous and revolves on its own axis and will just keep us within that limited sphere, there needs to be a push to reach something higher to that breaks that limitation, but its hard to do that when our sadhana has in some way become stagnated, its far more easy to be stagnated than it is to get that divine intervention of prakash which is the direct link to the divinity, the illumination of the divine which shines through the Atma.

    So sometimes a more concentrated environment where practice is allowed in full flow is needed. From this one can then organize the sadhana and then the required results will come naturally, again what Yajvan has said is to notice the space between thoughts. I learned this many years ago from the Buddhist retreats that I have done, which has long term and even permanent effects to not consider the Mind so important, the only thing that is important is the unity with the Supreme Divinity and as one Sayadaw said, for this you have to be prepared to walk from one end of the universe to the other with bare feet on hot coals, most just want some smaller benefit like peace of mind and happiness in this world, none of this interests me in the slightest.

    To battle against the ego may have some initial benefit, but the ultimate benefit is to get in touch with what lies behind the mind, and its not something distant, in fact its more closer and nearer as it is a our very own self or Self or true nature, to counter our limitation there needs to be some push into the unlimited, thats the only way to deal with Ego and the conditioning. So by what ever means available and within ones own power is to reach out by skillful means to that divinity. That is the ultimate solution and the final solution.

    One thing I do know for sure, that anyone who wants to tackle the Ego or the compounded conditioned being then your directly approaching liberation and transcending everything one is used to......

    Welcome to the real battle, and the real aspiration to end all this limitation.
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 10 May 2016 at 04:38 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté


    Now these thoughts... they come all the time. Some think they are the enemy but they are not. Then what is? When one engages in them.
    If you , like many, still work and the mind is very active (rago-guṇa) filled with thoughts. Yet there comes a time when thoughts are there
    but there is no need for them ( as a planning tool, engagement activity, etc). Then one can just not engage with them. It is that simple.
    It takes some time but it can be done. It is like a smoke stack. It continues to bellow out smoke, but one does not even look that way.
    Like that , the mind continues to bellow out thoughts, fine and good. Yet 'you' ( your attention) does not have to engage them, correct?
    'You' choose when to engage and not engage. Like a clutch in a car that is stick shift. You choose when you put the car in gear and
    when you dis-engage. Try it and see. Dis-engagement is possible on your terms.
    There is a finer point to consider here... Some may read this and miss the core message. Let me explain.
    Some may think, 'let me look at each thought and 'inspect' each one. Pending the merit of the thought I will or will not engage in it.' While this seems to have merit it is not what I have contributed above. The notion is not like a box that is closed with things in it and each box has to be opened to see what is inside. That is not the approach. The approach is, one does not even put their attention on the thought-stream that is coming out at the time. Like clouds passing in the sky - they come and go. We do not matter much which cloud , its shape, size, distance. We know that the clouds are in the sky yet we do not put our attention on them. The person needs to decide when to give thoughts attention: at school, work and the like. When the engagement with that stream of thoughts is meaningful or purposeful.

    Now that said, that is why I also mentioned breath. The breath does not come with a 'decision process' of breathing and not breathing. It occurs.
    And with that occurrence, we put our attention in the middle (madhya) the gap between the two breaths. This is supported by our śastra-s, āgama-s and tantra-s, hence my views ( guided by the
    śastra-s, guru, teacher, etc). Note too I did not say, suggest or infer any sort of deep breathing exercise. This is where people usually go to first. It is not a deep breathing approach. It is easy, light, fresh with no holding the breath. Just a slight pause between the inward breath and outward breath. We note and put our attention on this gap. Yet I still would not put one's attention on thoughts at this time.... just the breath's gap.

    Then what ? Be patient... then what ? Continue practicing. Then what ? Watch and see.




    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  10. #10

    Re: How can I shed my ego?

    Namaste

    Yet I still would not put one's attention on thoughts at this time.... just the breath's gap.

    Then what ? Be patient... then what ? Continue practicing. Then what ? Watch and see.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chidakasha

    Pranam
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 11 May 2016 at 03:59 AM.

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