Look, No Ego!

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Excerpt from “Better than Sex” by Arjuna Ardagh

How can I get rid of my ego?

How can you get rid of your what?

The ego. I want to get rid of my ego.

I’m sorry. I didn’t catch it. You want to get rid of who? Miko?

No, the ego.

What is it? I’ve never seen one, so I can’t help you get rid of it. 
Have you ever seen it? Have you ever heard it? Can you describe it to me?

Not exactly, no. It’s not something you see or hear.

Do you know for sure that it exists? If you do not think, or conceptualize, or imagine for a moment, do you know that it exists?

It’s when I’m selfish, when I’m fighting for my own interests….
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If you go back to the late 19th century, the word “ego” was only used as the first person singular pronoun in Latin. It was Latin for “I.” It was used in Freudian circles to describe an aspect of the psyche, and now has entered into common language to try to describe certain self-centered behavior. When the organism gets fascinated by itself and its own processes, instead of experiencing the world around it, we call that function “ego.” But it is describing a function, not a thing. You can’t find it. And because you cannot find it, there is nothing you can do to get rid of it. There is nothing you can do to make the ego go away, because it does not exist in the first place.

In the same way, if I take this flashlight and move it quickly around and around like this, what do you see?

I see a circle.

And if I stop moving it, where has it gone now? There was no circle, there was just a point of light moving, and we called it a circle. Similarly, there is no ego and there never has been: there is just the movement of thought and feeling. When thoughts and feelings follow certain patterns we say, “That is ego.” In any moment of clear seeing, there is nothing called “ego.” There is also nothing called “mind.” In this moment there is either a thought or no thought, but there is no mind. There is no past here, there is no future here, there worlds-favorite-sport_lis no national debt. These things are all made up, you see? We make them up, we agree to them, and then we try to get rid of them.

That’s why we talk here about awakening: not achieving a higher state, or getting rid of lower states, but awakening. It means waking up from things that do not exist. What remains is simple, fresh, and easy.

Now tell me, what do you think about that?

 

 

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