Remove the Ego and Avidya (Ignorance) is gone. Look for it, the ego vanishes and the real Self alone remains.
All unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble. If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it you would be free
– Ramana Maharshi
After putting out the intention to write about the yogic concept of the kleshas in my last blog post, I chuckled to read a comment that my cousin Carol Mc Cadden Rau wrote on Blog’s FaceBook Post – “Ego is not your amigo.”
Then my ego promptly got in the way and my muse dried up. Did I really even understand the concept of ego well enough to write about it? What does ego really mean in the context of suffering? As a woman who has struggled with self-esteem issues, why would I want my ego to vanish?
I thought and thought about how to approach this subject and realized, I really didn’t know much so I thought some more. In the meantime, I went for a retreat to Montana and spent a lot of time practicing restorative yoga and being still. I did some navel gazing, too.
I still may not be qualified to talk about the ego in the context of yoga philosophy, but here are some things that came to the surface this past month.
- My ego is what drove me to excel in life – whether it was achievement in the business world or being liked by family and friends. Sometimes, the actions which I thought would achieve these outcomes were not in my best interest for a balanced mind, body, spirit.
- I need stillness and alone time, to connect to what’s important to my inner Self that comes from a place of Love. I think this is a concept that many spiritual seekers talk about.
- When I come from that place of Love, as it speaks to me, I may not be have “the answer” or be “in control”, but I do suffer less.
So what does this mean from the standpoint of the kleshas? For me, it helps to challenge myself about my perception of the world. Am I seeing things through the veil of ignorance that clouds my “Ego’s” point of view, or am I trying to perceive situations from a place of Love? Are my intentions and actions coming from a place of acceptance and non-judgment? That last bit, is really hard for me, especially when you consider all of the annoyances and really bad stuff that can happen in life.
Even as I write this, my Ego is telling me I’m crazy to put this reflection out there. I’m not sure what drives me to do this. I suppose on this day of all days, September 11th, – eighteen years after the horrific events of 9/11 – I felt compelled to connect to the world from a place of Love. The pain of loss and horror is still embedded in our memories. Sometimes, in the face, of unexplainable hate, we need to tap into our inner Self, that knows there are examples of Love in the world. We have all heard stories of those heroes who came to the aid of 9/11 victims. These are beings who have connected from a place of Love.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I wish you connection to your own Stillness and Love.