MIND AND EGO
The mind is at the origin of everything, and this is why defining its constitution is essential. Is the mind an entity or just a process? Is it concrete or nebulous? Without a clear comprehension of its nature, resolving your life will be very difficult.
The mind is never at peace, never silent. It is a process of random and successive thoughts. From thought, the mind continually creates as much anguish as the unknown or void and silence lets it imagine. Thoughts continuously created by the mind make one believe in its existence as an entity – except that, between two thoughts, there is only silence and void. It is at the heart of this silence and of this void that the self is revealed.
Silence and the necessity of making noise… most people suffer when exposed to silence, as if not filling the silence would lead to disappearance. Although, if we let ourselves go and feel the silence, communication takes other paths. We feel good, here, now, with this person, without necessarily adding words, which could interfere with the feeling.
To fill the silence, the mind is unceasingly active. Unbeknownst to him, this constant mental activity tires the individual… Mental noise is comparable to the background din in a very noisy place… We get used to it; we do not pay any attention to it… although, at the first opportunity of silence, we feel an undeniable well-being.
The mind creates opinions, beliefs, values, judgments, and fears through socio-educational, cultural and religious conditioning. It puts each experience through a sieve, it filters it and it classifies it, thereby forging the identity which we make for ourselves. The mind wants to keep a grip on its work, in other words, on the ego, on my sense of “me”.
Derived from Latin, “ego”, meaning “me”, defines the representation and the awareness we have of ourselves, in other words, that which in one’s personality reacts to desire and will. Ego is the greatest hindrance to emotional evolution. Vigilance in respect of ego is thus required.
Nevertheless, the question is, “What would be left of me, if suddenly my identity disappeared?” Only the presence of our being will remain. However, the ego cannot let the mind release its grip… Otherwise it could not resist or keep hold.
However, taking leave of your ego does not mean that you have to lose your identity, instead make use of it from an observer’s position. It is a question of looking at the world from the depths of this space, which our silence and our peace represent. I must become an ocean, where, despite their movements, the waves do not turn anything of my being upside down...
Such as all in life – events, relationships and situations – the waves are only rolling on the surface of the ocean. It is enough to let ourselves sink into the ocean to observe and act on the world, of which the dance takes place on the surface. And, even if some waves are the source of suffering, we will stay within this underlying peace. When we face a delicate situation, a disturbing event, an unsatisfactory relationship, what can we do?
There are three solutions:
- Leaving the situation, retreating, going away;
- Changing the situation, transforming it;
- Accepting the situation, letting go of it.
Choose, in complete awareness, to leave, to change or to accept… and you may then continue living your life in happiness. Whatever the choice, decide on a solution, without remorse. In this manner, you will regain control of your life and you will no longer be a victim. What’s more, not making such a choice, all equivocations, will perpetuate the feeling of uneasiness and discomfort. The time factor of the mind is a source of suffering.
Let me explain. Rehashing events, of which the unfolding is unsatisfactory, and projecting ourselves in an ill-lived future, we continually throw the present back into the past. The same is true of happy events. We always say that we could not experience this or that again… and we put in place a process of nostalgia, of lack… in other words, a process leading to anguish in the face of the future… while missing the present moment entirely.
Emotional suffering is inevitably linked to time. It does not survive in the present. Focus on the here and now, and do not search for a solution in the past.
For example, your friend has left you and you suffer. What provoked the suffering? You miss your friend. Where does this lack come from? This lack is born from the fact that you are going over the fabulous moments you spent together which you will never experience again. Your suffering emanates from your identifying with the “me”. This depressive process is linked to time; the thought is its vehicle.
It is the refusal of accepting one’s nature created by one’s ego. Condemnation is futile and prevents transcendence. If you invent ideals to explain your condition, your ego, which feeds on ideals, will not be satisfied. On the other hand, if you accept yourself, the ego will be no more. The acceptance allows transcendence, and it will enable you to attain the center.
However, we live with, within and around our ego. “I am” without knowing who I am. I do not stop saying, “I am”, but this “I am” is false, because I do not know who “I am”. If I do not know who I am, how can I say “I”? This “I” is false, it is my ego, which prevents me from being available. Ego incites you to an insatiable need for possessions, to intransigent pride, to blind egoism, making the people you care for unhappy.
How can the mind put the ego in its place? The mind is always searching for something. And the subject of its desire is always located in the future. Whatever the nature of the desire, its form is always the same; you are dissatisfied with who you are. You must have something else. Once you have obtained the object of your desire, your mind suggests the need for something else. And so on and so forth. Whatever you obtain becomes useless – because the desire is to become and it is infinite. However, if one day you succeed in accepting yourself such as you are, beautiful or ugly, intelligent or stupid, wealthy or poor, tensions will subside, your mind will center on “oneself” – because the “becoming” will finally stop.
At times you can be centered – when you are relaxed, totally. Let’s say that you were in love and that you were waiting for your love. Suddenly she is at your side. After a long wait, the desired person is there and you don’t think of anything; you are finally here, now, with her. At this moment, there is no more waiting. You are relaxed. You are yourself. Except that…, this moment is so wonderful that you wish to repeat it. You decide to get married. Your intellect takes over… the spontaneity vanishes. Love is spontaneous. Marriage is circumspect. Then, the lovers of yesterday begin to live expecting these moments of happiness to be gradually less frequent… Spontaneity cedes place to routine. Love becomes an obligation, even though once it was all pleasure.
The mind is a source of frustration. We continuously desire something other than what is, in other words, we place our salvation or wakening (happiness) in a future realization. Although, to say that our awakening will come after we obtain this or that, and that this awakening will come in one or ten years, is an illusion – we are fooling ourselves – because awakening never happens tomorrow, in an hour or in ten. Awakening happens now; it is unique to the present moment.
The veil cannot be lifted as long as we continue to hope for more… We waste our lives in wanting…, the week in waiting for the weekend, the whole year for the holidays… and when we reach the hour of enjoyment, we wait again for something else – but enjoyment is now. Joy is always now. Why do we want to attain a particular condition? Why do we want to awaken? As long as we maintain a desire, we stay in the becoming. However, why do we want to become, when we are already everything. The “revelation” takes place the instant we abandon all desires of becoming something other than what we are at that moment: seeing, observing and feeling.
Being a total presence is what is here at this instant. Truth is located in the present. Life is an infinite instant. Become intensely conscious of this instant; feeling before thinking. Life is where you are. Center your life on the location of the presence of your body. It is the only landmark. At that instant, you are here and now. You live intensely the infinite instant – free of all forms of subservience. Do not look for truth in the past or in the future; you are the truth, here and now.
Observe your own thoughts. It allows you to distance yourself from events, emotions, situations, and it allows you to observe how your mind reacts without getting involved. You will then note how your mind judges, analyze, and create unwarranted fears, and resists whatever life has to offer. It welcomes totally all that exists – and let go of everything present within you. You become aware of the difference between the agitation of the thinker and the calm emanating from the presence.
Watch your thoughts as if it were a movie. Do not analyze your thoughts, do not judge them, simply look at them and let them be there. See if your mind is agitated or calm. Examine the manner in which your thoughts appear. A thought that emerges inevitably drags another one in its wake. It could happen that you have forgotten to be there. It is not important – as soon as you realize it, become the observer again. Do not try to control or to chase away your thoughts. Do not follow-up on them voluntarily. Do not feed them either. Let them be and observe. Be detached.
Thus, the mind will get used to the detachment and you will be able then to tackle all of the events of your life with the same detachment. Proceed in the same fashion at will. Do not force anything. Release yourself. Return to action smoothly. Take pleasure and feel happy.