Egoing becomes our “second nature.” The real you is not an ego! Egos are actors and reactors. Egos are not real in-and-of them themselves! They are habitual responses to stimuli. They are modes of behavior and ways of thinking. Our true nature is undivided. Egos are divided.
SO... Egoically, there is a tremendous fear, resistance, and mistrust of the Undivided State - for atonement supplants our dual-natured ego! Without duality our self image has nothing to compare itself to. Without Another - we cannot ego anywhere...
Trees have personalities but no egos. Trees do not live with an internalized self-image of themselves as a tree. They are unconcerned with whether they are 'good' trees or not. No tree is thinking: “I must devise a way to become a better tree.”
Likewise, every puppy or kitten — every newborn baby — is born with its own distinct personality, its own distinctive character traits, its own Spirit... For the human baby, all that will change one day.
The baby will learn how to ego. The baby will grow to see itself through a self-image. The baby will come to believe it is an ego. The baby ego will grow to co-opt the child’s personality. It will take the credit and the blame for his or her innate character. The young developing ego will try to “live up” to social expectations. It will struggle to become a successful “personality” and not the true person it was meant to be.
The burgeoning ego will attempt to control others. The child will strive to “fit in.” And then a new fully formed “ego” is born!
Over the next years It grows into the one we mentally identify ourselves with, the one who is frantically trying to maintain its own Self-image... Habitually coping, we ego...
How do you know if you are egoing?
Whenever you believe you have to somehow change in order to become yourself or whenever you compare yourself to others.. When you feel better-than or not-as-good-as someone else—there you ego again!
My Ego is afraid it’s not good enough! It worries about getting things right!
My Ego is frightened of rejection.
My Ego hates making mistakes! It is ashamed of embarrassment.
My Ego doubts... It loses faith again and again.
My Ego crashes sometimes... It fears being misunderstood.
My Ego despairs and I can’t believe becoming whole again is even possible!
...See how easy it is to slip right back into My Ego? Mine? Me-me-me?
“Ego” is a verb not a noun. Egos are not real things. They are imaginary... That doesn’t mean egos don’t exist. They do! They are like Characters, Masqueraders, Pinocchios, tied by invisible strings to Society, and to what Hinus call: Samsara, Maya and Karma...
Like Pinocchio, our egos hunger to be real. But trying to satisfy ourselves by gratifying our ego is exactly how we lose our way. Never satisfied, never at peace, never at one, never at rest, never at ease, never whole no matter how hard we try. Ego is something we do, not who we are! This is why it is so confusing... You cannot be an ego, but you can use one.
Ancient Masters discovered by becoming physically supple again (yoga) they could become emotionally vulnerable once more: “As supple as a Child.” Emotional vulnerability is not what egos want! Emotional vulnerability this feels like weakness to most Americans. We are conditioned to stay in command of our feelings. Openly expressing our “humanness” leaves us feeling unprotected and exposed. Failure to control our emotions comm only generates shame.
Egos want protection from out-of-control behavior that can get them into trouble. Egos want to save us from ourselves by safeguarding us from mistakes, from making any error that might threaten our success or survival. SO... Egos conclude all we need to do is avoid being who we really are and then everything will be alright. They develop defense mechanisms and elaborate coping strategies to help maintain cohesion and control. Make no mistake about it. This is the opposite of Self-Healing...
What kind of coping devices help support our sense of ego? Well, how about chronic dissatisfaction for starters? Constantly feeling dissatisfied with our self-image, our life situation, our body, job, friends, family, spouse, children; our politicians — or whatever — makes egos seem so real! Dissatisfaction always keeps the ego going. But that’s the tip of the iceberg... There are many defensive strategies.
Take Craving for example; constantly craving diversions, distractions, addictions. Addicted to nonstop activity; constantly keeping ourselves occupied by reading, shopping, thrill seeking, exercising, watching television, going to the movies, going to church, going on a spiritual quest, meditating, or even writing a book.
What about nursing a broken heart? Succumbing to depression? Sinking into self-loathing? How about constantly blaming others? Carrying anger or rage? Refusing to forgive? .All these activities and feelings support the illusion of oneself as an ego. Suffering makes egos seem so real...
The goal of Meditation is not to do away with ego! Many people labor under this mis-perception that Meditation is opposed to ego. Meditation is not opposed to ego. In fact, the goal of Meditation is to perfect the ego; help us realize our ego's’ relationship to Reality and finally put everything in its proper place!
Life is not perfect. It is unpredictable. No matter how hard we ego we will never be able to control it. Life is in constant flux. It is impermanent, constantly changing. Ordinary Mind abhors change. With each new change Ordinary Mind egos through a period of adjustment, an uncomfortable time when they don’t know how to behave, when things are unfamiliar, and they are not sure how to re-act.
Ordinary Mind craves the familiar. It can only re-act to old patterns, old habits, or old roles. Since it cannot re-act to new situations change is too unsettling, too disturbing... Being disturbed is what Ordinary Mind is trying to avoid!
In Meditation, we develop a mind that is at peace with change - an ego like the eye of a storm - that is calm and still. Stillness is the "Achilles’ heel" of Ordinary Mind. Learning to live without a fixed self-image gradually erases our false identity.
Egos are like clouds that block the sun. The sunlight does not stop shining because our ego gets in the way! The ego simply evaporates in the light. No ego has ever been enlightened and survived. When the clouds part we realize: the sunlight has been shining the whole time.
Meditation tells us that despite all our egoing we are enlightened beings already. But Ordinary Mind clouds this. This is why the Buddha asks us, “Can you be still long enough to allow your mud to settle and become clear water again?” Accepting the challenge of becoming “fully human” ...this is Zen. This is Meditation... This is Qigong... It is the gradual undoing of Ordinary Mind - the self-wounding ego-based grown-up that suffers within.
Accepting ourselves in all our many many egos is all that is needed. This is the Zen Realization: "The Turning-Point." The point in your Life where you realize enough is enough. The point when instead of suppressing your emotions, you actually try to become fully aware of all your emotions!
By far the most difficult aspect of Qigong is to free yourself up to feel again — without discriminating — innocent and unencumbered by the desires and dictates of ego. Qigong is practicing "Open Presence." Qigong is just noticing, just watching; just being, just breathing, just feeling—just human. To the egocentric, that all sounds crazy! Why would anyone want to be open to all their unwanted feelings? How about in order to free yourself from endless egoing, from endless suffering?
This is the greatest obstacle... On the quest of becoming one' true self we encounter so much feeling! Too much feeling! Feelings we thought we rid ourselves of a long time ago.
Purposely allowing ourselves to feel our unwanted feelings takes tremendous courage. Doing so requires one to keep our careful attention in the Now. Then when we manage to calm and still ourselves we come to realize — in this present moment — nothing “bad” is actually happening... We have arrived! All that is needed to accomplish this is to remain ego-less.
SO... It should come as no surprise that “skin-encapsulated egos” - people - choose to escape the present moment by retreating into the past or projecting themselves into the future. Anything we can possibly do so we feel “back to normal.”
Ordinary Mind resumes “screening-out” unhappy emotions in a misguided attempt to be: “Happy-all-the-time.” But this is not what “happily-ever-after” means at all. Happily-ever-after means: “Whatever is happening now, I am still OK.” The truth is Happiness always happens by accident. Happiness happens by chance: Happenstance... One doesn’t create happiness by rejecting unhappiness or exercising one’s willpower. One must allow for it. Happiness always happens when we lose our egocentric sense of reality. Happiness happens when one loses oneself in the present moment. Happiness happens when we accidentally forget to be dissatisfied - NOW!
With Qigong you come to realize that whenever you feel stuck with “unhappy” feelings you are polarized by a self-image... This is when the True Self gets neglected... When we are busy egoing, emotionally troubled, when we feel lonely, lost and alone with our negative unhappy thoughts, we stifle ourselves physically, hold our breath, and squeeze out our Life energy.
This is when our mind needs to become Silent.
In Qigong practice, this is when it is time to breathe and simply observe all our egoing. It is no more complicated than watching clouds in the blue sky form, take shape, dissolve, move on, and disappear. In Qigong we practice awareness of egoing, awareness of feelings... Qigong is Moving Meditation... Even when perfectly still, the energy is moving!
For beginners, the thing to pay attention to foremost is PAIN! For when we ignore pain and painful emotions we force ourselves to separate again from our true feelings. We separate from ourselves until we feel “back to normal” with our ego on top. We forget ourselves... First amnesia, then anesthesia; then comfortably numb...
Why Amnesia first? Because first we have to forget Anesthesia never works. Despite our temporary numbness, despite our best efforts, we are still painfully human. But, as human beings we can exercise free-will. We can choose to “not feel” almost any time we want to. This "free-will" is both a blessing and a curse.
The saddest thing about "not-feeling" is we unintentionally shut-out the most honest and truest ally we will ever have: Pain. Pain goads us to find a way out of suffering. It motivates us to move beyond pain and that is good! But when we “kill” our pain, or deny it, we unwittingly turn our backs on our closest and dearest friend: our body. And by doing so we refuse to listen to our own inner-wisdom telling us:
“Something is wrong”... “I have been injured and hurt”... “Something needs my immediate attention, my awareness, my compassion, and my Love.”
My final words concerning: Becoming and Egoing... There is a Tibetan phrase about “Flying your Windhorse.” Every year, Tibetan boys make and fly beautiful hand-painted kites. A “Windhorse” is your kite. They hold festivals with wondrously and brightly decorated Kites take to the skies...
Well, one day, not long ago, my wife and I were having a heated argument. In fact, we were fighting. What it really boiled down to was this: I was trying to defend my ego. I accused her of being a “bad wife” for not properly supporting my ego. What I said to her was:
“You enjoy crashing my ego don’t you?! You’re like that kite-eating tree in the Charlie Brown cartoons and my poor ego is just a flimsy little box-kite I made all by myself. AND... Every time I try to fly it - you come along and wreck it! You cut my string! You make me crash it on the ground or get stuck in your tree!”
My wife looked at me patiently and said calmly: “The ego is a myth.”
“You see?! You see?!” I said. “There you go again! Well... I’ve had it! Enough is enough! I am not building Ego-box-kites anymore!” And for a long time I stopped egoing... I stopped flying my Windhorse at all.
Now when I am all alone: I don't know who I am. Unless I have someone else present that I need to relate to, I am nobody... I am no one... I am nothing... At first this really bothered me. But then I realized - that was the goal of all this Meditation! I only need an Ego to relate to others. But I can only relate to myself without one. I am No Body. I am No One. I am No Thing..
The ancient way of training the mind to stop egoing is by focusing your awareness of your breath. Your breath is the string that helps you control your Windhorse while your body keeps you firmly rooted to the ground. This is the proper way to fly your ego... Not carried away by it! Not upset when it breaks! Not losing your grip on the string! And not of necessity! Just for fun! When you realize your ego is about as substantial as a flimsy little box-kite, then crashing one becomes half the fun. You get a chance to build a newer even better ego. Then instead of having to ride the same old tattered and faded Windhorse next season. I can build a better one!
This I call: “The Art of Self-Healing”... You can learn how you can train your mind to relax your body — instead of chronically stressing it.
Qigong employs simple and practical methods for healing our emotions instead of chronically suppressing them. And you can learn how to increase your vital energy and healing abilities by cultivating Inner-Peace. But don’t take my word for it. Try the exercises yourself; give it some time — 100 days — and discover for yourself just how simple it is to free yourself from Pain.
“Goals: first ask yourself what you want; then you have to do it.”
Can you become “As supple as a child?” If so, then you can become free from suffering and free from pain! You can learn to let go! Don;t take my word for it! All you have to do is take enough time to test it for yourself.
We stand and fall, stand and fall,
Like children first learning to balance.
This obstinate courage: to stand and fall like children,
Is all it takes to rejuvenate and be “born again”.
Like children taking their first
steps — there is no obstacle,
There is only not being afraid to fall...
Again and again and again and again!