The Stage where the event of meditation happens, cannot be reached without first understanding our Ego-mind.
Ego is the memory part of our mind with a further sense that “I” am the doer of the deeds and enjoyer of the fruits.
This sense of doership when related to the thoughts of the past and fears and hopes of the future, create an individuality, which is false but appears to be true for all the practical purposes in the ordinary experience of the world.
How hard we may try we will not succeed in locating this “ego” as we locate any other part of our body like heart, brain, and lungs etc.
We can trace its origin only in the thoughts of the past retained as memory and fears and hopes of the future as reflected by the past experience.
If we somehow, eliminate this collection of thoughts and memory etc from the body-mind organism where does the sense of “I”, the Ego exist?
Do we experience the “Ego” during deep sleep?
During deep sleep also we do not have any thoughts or memory of the past or imagination of the future.
It means that this sense of “I”, the ego which is simply lost in this state of thoughtlessness or during sleep, cannot be a true entity.
It is a rope appearing to be a snake due to very less light of knowledge. But so long it appears to be a snake all our actions and reactions will be the same as they happen at the sight of a real snake.
Formation of Ego
A serious contemplation on the subject shows that our mind is of two types.Thinking mind and working mind.
The thinking mind is a process which always remains active as if under some compulsion and keeps on thinking about the past events and future possibilities.
Thus a storehouse of thoughts good or bad is retained in the memory part of the mind. The constant and recurrent process of thinking makes the Ego to emerge out of it.
The Ego works in the beginning as an instrument or a watchdog of the real Self but later on starts dominating the Self.
The Ego with impure thoughts becomes a dark covering over the real self. When the ego is purified with prayers, spiritual Knowledge and in the Company of saints and sages whom themselves have purified themselves, the dark covering gets dissolved and the real self-appears like a SUN, dissolving the clouding layer over it.
Is life possible without Ego?
Yes, life is possible without ego.
During deep sleep, there is no ego but we are alive. A small kid has no ego but he is alive.
Actually speaking, life is something universal, the ego divides it into individuals, and then a question is put – Is life possible without ego?
No, individual life is not possible without an ego. Ego sense is essential to living an individual life.
The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to move from the individual person to the universal person; from jiva to the Shiva; from scattered to the whole.
Even at the stage of the individual, the lesser the ego, the better is the individual.
The function of the working mind is to act spontaneously without reference to the past or the future. It is always alert and works in the present moment. It is always with us without showing his presence.
It does not brood over events like thinking mind. Thinking mind and ego sense are hindrances in the way of the working mind.
The concentration of thinking mind
The thinking mind is a scattered mind.
It does not stay in one place but goes hither and thither, all over the places and times past and future.
It has a tendency not to stay in the present. The purpose of concentration is to bring this scattered mind together on a single point.
In this process, the thinking mind gathers its scattered rays on some mantra, syllable or sacred name.
It may also concentrate on some sacred figure and chant in praise of it out of devotion. If the thinking mind is pious and persistent in his practice, it enters into the silence zone where there are no fluttering thoughts.
Ego starts watching the activities as well as the silence of the thinking mind. The Ego at first unwilling but finally enters into the silence of the thinking mind and first time experiences the bliss of peace.
Tasted once, it wants to taste the same bliss again and again but its efforts in this direction spoil the whole show. It fails and tries again. It is at this stage that some competent guide becomes of immense value to the aspirant.
Need to understand and live according to the understanding
Lord Budha once said that “events happen and deeds are done but there is no individual doer thereof”.
Now, this is a statement of true knowledge. This is to be properly understood and practically lived. When we understand the truth and live it practically, then that truth, that knowledge becomes our knowledge experienced by us in our practical life.
Let us try to understand by way of an example. Suppose I make a bold statement that my children are successful today because “I brought them up wisely to the best of my ability”.
Now in this statement, Let us find out what is correct and what part of it is wrong. The “I”, who brought up my children wisely, was also brought up by his parents and those parents by their predecessors.
So the existence of “I” in the above statement is dependent on the existence of his parents and the quality of I’s personality also depends upon the personality of his parents and also upon how they brought him up
So it was not only “I” who brought up the children but indirectly the predecessors of that “I” was also involved in the task of bringing them up.
They could not have been brought up without the basic support of Five Gross Elements. The very food and milk etc they consumed to grow were the product of nature, The clothes they used, to protect the body from heat and cold were the product of so many hands and machines.
A number of persons were involved in producing the material which was used in building up their house where they lived.
Pulling our hand back from giving further details of the factors involved in bringing them up, we can safely conclude that they could not have been brought up wisely by me alone.
I was simply one factor among a number of factors at work to bring them up.
Therefore, the statement that “I” brought up my children wisely, is a wrong statement.
However, in ordinary life, we make these statements and believe them to be true. If something good happens, the ego comes forward to take the credit but if something wrong goes, the blame is shifted to other.
This is the nature of our Ego.
If we minutely examine each event and try to understand them properly. We will find that we have a very minor role to play in the happening of those events.
Various factors gather together and events happen according to the law of nature. Credit or the blame goes to one or the other according to the laws of Karmas.
When the five gross elements namely Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Aakash(SKY) do not egoistically claim that they are the creators of the universe and of everything existing thereon then why do the human ego make such haughty claims?
It is out of ignorance. So long the Ego is happy in ignorance the light of knowledge will not descend upon it.
The happiness of the Ego is not of a permanent nature; it is short-lived and sooner replaced by pain and suffering.
Feelings of pain and happiness, loss, and profit, love, and hatred etc continue to strengthen the ego and perpetuate its suffering.
It is only when the light of knowledge dawns upon it that the Ego comes out of its shell and seeks freedom.
The Ego and the Soul
The Soul in a state of a dream playing the role of a poor and hungry beggar is Ego and the Ego on awakening from the dream finding itself as a king is the soul. In simple words soul under ignorance is Ego and the Ego, enlightened is the Soul.
So our Soul while playing the role of a beggar in the dream, has become an actual beggar, the ego and forgot its real status of a king. Now somebody comes and awakens it, and so, it is no more a beggar; it is a King.
We know that we are familiar with our ego-self and due to this familiarity and long association we do not want to lose it. If we lost it, our “I”, “my” and “me” shall also be lost. We do not want to lose them at any cost.
But let us try to understand; this is ignorance. I, my, and me are also present in the dream.
On waking up we do not weep for them that we have lost our friends and precious things of the dream.
“I” of the dream is transformed as the “I” of the waking state. Probably, the same thing happens at the time of death.
The “I”, “my” and “me” of the waking state begins to appear as a dream by the age of 70 years if we have lived our life properly and we wake up once again at our death and emerge out as real self.