Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ego, self and other non-existent considerations

The words that I am posting are a response to a discussion of wisdom from a dear friends's blog: The Alberero Teacings, To get the full context of my response, you may want to read the article and the responses on the blog. Good stuff.

The first major mistake that seekers make is that they are seeking, usually for some thing or idea — God, enlightenment, transcendence, joy, salvation, redemption… the Holy Grail. The second mistake that seekers make is that they think that they will know what “it” is when they find it. The third mistake that seekers make is that in their arrogance, hubris and folly they tell others what to search for even though they themselves are still searching for that thing that cannot be attained.

The self or ego perceives everything as a dichotomy, because the self is the baseline or point of reference — me and you, us and them, good and evil, temporal and eternal. From the standpoint of the ego no matter what “spiritual” concepts or dogma of a comprehension of oneness, transcendence, or unified consciousness that we hold to will always leaves us longing and wanting. The ego or self has no existence except in its own mind. Humans live from this egocentric existence much like “the church” held to a geocentric rather than a heliocentric POV (point of view) — I hope the irony is apparent.

The church, along with all other human religious endeavors, is essentially egocentric in the misguided attempt to objectify, identify and own that which defies any Egoic reference point.

The Buddha spoke in the Diamond Sutra: “’…These arbitrary concepts and ideas about spiritual things need to be explained to us as we seek to attain Enlightenment. However, ultimately these arbitrary conceptions can be discarded. Think Subhuti, isn't it even more obvious that we should also give up our conceptions of non-existent things’”( Diamond Sutra chapter 6,

Our conceptualizations and beliefs around our existence and non-existence do not enlighten us nor do they indicate enlightenment. The Buddha’s concepts and ideas are little more than breadcrumbs along a path that leads us away from our selves, to Being, where we never left in the first place. Once we have truly partaken from the Buddha’s bread, we must allow the inner transformation or digestion of the bread to nourish and enliven us. After digestion, the crumbs are no longer important, nor do they bear any resemblance of what they were. Let us ruminate rather than regurgitate and eliminate the waste of mental attachment.

The psychological dilemma that we face as humans is all wrapped up in the incongruous perception of the ever present numinous itch that we can’t quite scratch. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo in Tricycle stated that “we’re gods acting like monkeys. We are standing in our own light; we don’t see who we really are” (

Our psychology is a reflection of our own preoccupation that we exist as egos and that our ego is separate from other egos. We suffer as a direct result of our identification with nonexistence and the void or longing that is created in this vacuous state.

A spiritual teacher, Wei Wu Wei, was once asked “Why do we suffer?” "Because 99.9% of everything you think and everything you do is about yourself and there isn’t one.” Wei Wu Wei in the book Open Secret wrote:

“’Are you still thinking, looking, living, as from an imaginary phenomenal centre?
As long as you do that you can never recognize [sic] your freedom." Wherever there are others there is a self,Wherever there are no others there can be no self,Wherever there is no self there are no others,Because in the absence of self I am all others’”

The ego is always longing, the seeker is always seeking, the mind is always thinking and the result is that there is no resolution from an egocentric POV. Wei Wu Wei writes: “There seem to [be] two kinds of searchers: those who seek to make their ego something other than it is, i.e. holy, happy, unselfish (as though you could make a fish unfish [sic]), and those who understand that all such attempts are just gesticulation and play-acting, that there is only one thing that can be done, which is to disidentify [sic] themselves with the ego, by realizing [sic] its unreality, and by becoming aware of their eternal identity with pure being” ( Therein lies the rub, as the Bard once wrote. “There is no spoon” (

Our ideas or conceptualization of transcendence don’t actually make us transcendent. We are only limited by our attachment to our egocentric world and our psychological morass. The longing from which Rumi and other enlightened bards have expressed in their ardor and yearning from Divine connection, does not come from a place of comprehension of the nature of the one existence or the lack thereof, because the very nature of the one existence draws us away from our mental assertions and conceptualizations and brings us to Being.

Rumi says it best, therefore I will I end with one of my favorite Rumi poems.

Love Dogs

One night a man was crying Allah! Allah!

His lips grew sweet with praising,until a cynic said, “So!I’ve heard you calling out, but have you evergotten any response?”

The man had no answer to that.He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,in a thick, green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?”

“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you expressis the return message.”

The grief you cry out fromdraws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants helpis the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them.


Mutter with me...