If, upon looking outwards towards the external expanse of the sky,
There are no projections emanated by the mind,
And if, on looking inwards at one’s own mind,
There is no projectionist who projects [thoughts] by thinking them,
Then, one’s own mind, completely free from conceptual projections, becomes luminously clear.
— The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; all else is mere opinion.
(Picture by h.koppdelaney)
Wisdom from Steve Jobs:
… When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
But then how do we get in tune with the inner voice amidst all the noise? How does one develop the intuition?
Let’s hear from Steve Jobs himself…
If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.
[From the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson]
In fact, even before Apple happened, young Steve Jobs used to spend days in meditation retreats at the Tassajara Zen Center in California. It’s very clear that Jobs’ exploration of eastern spirituality during his younger days had a big influence in his life and work later on. His Zen meditation practices really poured into his work, his ability to focus on just what’s needed, his design sensibilities, passion for perfection and the way Apple has shaped up as a brand it has come to be. He found his Zen in Apple.
Today, February 24th, is Steve Jobs’ birthday.
“Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.”
— Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks, p. 20.
So, what exactly is this ego?
Ego is that state of awareness which thinks of you as separate from the other. Ego thinks in terms of guiltiness and shames and glories of the past, and it thinks in terms of fears and hopes about the future. It never thinks about what ‘is’, but always thinks about ‘what was’ and ‘what could be’. Ego thinks in terms of many as opposed to the One, the one pure intelligence.
What is pure intelligence?
It’s commonly called ‘common sense’, or the ‘presence of mind’. At any moment, when you do the most appropriate thing in the most appropriate way without any influence of the stored up memories of your past and without any regards to fears of failure or hopes of future rewards, you let the pure intelligence act through you. This pure intelligence may be called the Soul or super-ego or God or universal consciousness. The term ‘pure intelligence’ is used here in preference for others because ‘intelligence’ is one term you can easily identify with compared to the other terms.
So, how is the ego different from pure intelligence?
Ego is self identity. It’s labeling yourself, painting the ‘pure you’ with distinct qualities. And this ego labels others too. The ego cannot but think in terms of these qualities and it always defines yourself as somebody distinct from others. But these qualities and definitions are not fixed or constant. The paint wears off in time and as it wears off, the ego freshly paints the worn off patches of with new qualities and new definitions, and gives an illusion of continuity. This illusion of continuity of qualities strengthen self identity. Now, completely strip off these qualities and definitions, and you will find that the ‘pure you’ and the ‘pure other’ are one and the same, there has always been only one existence, call it the One, or the Soul, or God. The consciousness of this God is pure intelligence itself.
The foremost quality of ego is self preservation. It always tries to impose it’s definition of yourself onto others around you and into your own future. That’s where the problem comes and conflict comes. You define yourself as somebody now, and you want to preserve this definition of yourself into the future until you get a better definition. You are afraid that if you lose this definition of yourself, you will fall. You will become lesser. This fear is the hallmark of the ego. So, when you actually get to the future, your ‘new’ ego tries to define itself anew and comes into conflict with your older definition of yourself that tries to preserve itself. Similarly, when you try to impose your definition to others, the ‘other’ ego resists it and there comes a conflict. So you see, there is a conflict both in terms time and space. Remove this illusion of time and space and there is no more conflict. But pure intelligence doesn’t need any preservation, because it knows itself to be the only existence.
So, how do I identify whether I’m acting egoistic or with God consciousness?
This ‘attempt’ to identify is itself ego. Don’t ‘try’ to identify, but just be. Pure intelligence doesn’t ‘try’ or ‘attempt’, it just IS.
Pure intelligence works in harmony. In reality, there is is only one, the pure existence, consciousness, bliss absolute. It’s not ‘my’ existence or ‘my’ consciousness or ‘your’ consciousness, but it’s THE consciousness, THE existence and bliss. It’s not that I am intelligent or I was intelligent or you are intelligent, but it’s THE pure intelligence. This intelligence acts harmoniously. That is, the intelligence acts through you now in a certain way and it may act through you in a different way in some point of time in the future, but there is no conflict between both the ways. There is harmony. So, when pure intelligence acts through you now and does something, it’s helpful for you in the future, and you’ll never regret. Similarly, the intelligence may work differently through you and somebody else (a different point in space), but there is no conflict between both of you. There is only harmony. All of us complement and complete each other and don’t conflict each other when there is only intelligence and not egos acting.
But the ego is always intent on conflict. The ego says “I’m right and he is wrong”, or, ” I was wrong”, or “I made a mistake”, or “I’m afraid that I will fail”, or “I should be like this in the future”. Note that pure intelligence at times uses idea of future as a guidance for present action, as in reserving a ticket now for your future travel. But, pure intelligence is all about the present. Ego, on the other hand, lives in the past or in the future. When you imagine unreal things, like a future dialogue between you and somebody else, know that it’s the ego. You may imagine your future now, but you can never live your future, sure it may become real when it happens eventually, but it’s unreal as of now, it’s just imagination. When you feel guilty about your past mistake, or relive your past glory, know that it’s the ego.
Pure intelligence is about reality. Ego is about imagination. Note that pure intelligence visualises, but never imagines. Visualisation is creativity, imagination is speculation. Through visualisation, you create your own world for yourself. Through imagination, you lose yourselves in the mires of time.
Ego always needs and craves for something. But pure intelligence is rich by itself and doesn’t need anything from outside, because, it knows that there is no outside.
Pure intelligence fulfills. Ego imitates. When you are in the state of ego, you try to imitate your own past success or you imitate somebody else. Pure intelligence is ever original, ever creative.
Ego always looks up to others for help. It looks for an authority, It wants a rulebook so that it can imitate. Pure intelligence is intelligence itself, so it doesn’t need somebody external to lay down rules for itself. But beware, pure intelligence doesn’t even lay down it’s own rules for itself. When you say you are sufficient by yourself and you will never accept others opinions, it’s still your ego. Pure intelligence, though it doesn’t need external rules, does appreciate the wisdom behind rules laid down by wise men, which is nothing but an expression of the same pure intelligence, though at different time through a different person. Pure intelligence is always intent on finding harmony.
But acting without rules doesn’t mean chaos. Pure intelligence not needing rules don’t mean it acts haphazardly, but it helps you do take the most appropriate action now in the most appropriate way.
This pure intelligence is God, it’s You, it’s Now. It’s the only reality. All else is stored up memory and imagination. All else is unreal.
(On June 20, 2008, I asked these questions to myself and got these answers popped up in the awareness, and I just jotted down the answers, ‘Conversations with God’ style! I don’t mean to instruct others, this is primarily written for myself, I refer to this post from time to time, just as a reminder….)
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
— Rabindranath Tagore (born 7 May 1861)
Do not interrupt the flight of your soul;
do not distress what is best in you;
do not enfeeble your spirit with half wishes and half thoughts.
Ask yourself and keep on asking until you find the answer,
for one may have known something many times,
one may have willed something many times,
attempted it — and yet,
only the deep inner motion,
only the heart’s indescribable emotion,
only that will convince you
that what you have acknowledged belongs to you,
that no power can take it from you —
for only the truth that builds up is truth for you.
— Søren Kierkegaard (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855)
Eckhart Tolle says in his Power of Now, “The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ — and find that there is no death.”
About 2000 years ago, Jesus did just that, literally.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
On this day, lose your old patterns, die to your past, and resurrect yourself anew. Resurrect yourself not only today, but each day, each moment.
Happy Easter dear friends. 🙂
I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart. I asked: Who art Thou?
He answered: Thou.
In my subsistence is my annihilation;
In my annihilation, I remain You.
He is hidden in His manifestation, manifest in His concealing.
Thy Spirit is mingled in my spirit
even as wine is mingled with pure water.
When anything touches Thee,
it touches me.
Lo, in every case Thou art I!
Mansur al-Hallaj (c. 858 – 26 March 922) was a Persian mystic, writer and teacher of Sufism.
Breathe ‘God,’ in any tongue — it means the same;
LOVE ABSOLUTE: Think, feel, absorb the thought;
Shut out all else; until a subtle flame
(A spark from God’s creative centre caught)
Shall permeate your being, and shall glow,
Increasing in its splendour, till, YOU KNOW.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919)