Don’t take it personally…

Empire State Pigeon

The struggles you go through, the injustice and inefficiencies you see around you, the inconsistencies you find in the character of people, it’s all part of the collective human evolution. Don’t take it personally, don’t be judgmental. Be kind and considerate, be hopeful… do all you can to improve things and solve issues, and sometimes when it’s required to take a strong stance, be strong… but never give in to cynicism.

(Photo by ZeroOne)


What is ego?

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….)

Love is a substitute for everything

We may feel jealous of a successful person, but we are never jealous of the success of our own children, even though they are someone other than us. When we see ourselves in the other person, love comes naturally. And where there is love, there is no room for violence, hatred, enmity, or jealousy. Love is a substitute for everything, but there is no substitute for love. And when that love becomes divine, there is no further need to say anything!

Swami Tejomayananda

Why is somebody glad when their own child is successful but jealous when somebody else experiences success? Isn’t it the feeling of ‘mine’ and ‘other’ that makes the difference? I am happy if ‘my’ child succeeds but jealous when some ‘other’ person is successful. If a child that is born out of you is your own, then we are all children of the same God and belong to one God. We are all born out of the same source, live in the same space, and in the end go back to the same source. Ultimately, we all dissolve into each other. Then where is the question of ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’?

Swami Vivekananda says,

If a beautiful picture belonging to another is burnt, a man does not generally become miserable; but when his own picture is burnt, how miserable he feels! Why? Both were beautiful pictures, perhaps copies of the same original; but in one case very much more misery is felt than in the other. It is because in one case he identifies himself with the picture, and not in the other. This ‘I and mine’ causes the whole misery.

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 1, p.101.

‘I’ and ‘mine’ and ‘other’ is the cause of all misery. Drop the feeling of ‘mine’ and ‘other’ and simply enjoy success, appreciate beauty wherever you find it, and you will become the embodiment of success and beauty! ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and ‘other’ is mere illusion. When you drop ‘I and mine’, the whole world becomes yours. Then what remains is the feeling of oneness, pure Love. And when there is Love, where is the room for violence, hatred, enmity, and jealousy?

See also, How to overcome jealousy, hatred, rivalry and ego consciousness?

The entire universe is yours!

Man, made in the divine image, has come on earth to play his role intelligently in the cosmic drama of destiny designed by God. This life is not man’s own show; if he becomes personally and emotionally involved in the very complicated cosmic drama, he reaps inevitable suffering for having distorted the divine “plot.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda in “God Talks with Arjuna”.

We don’t know what caused us to come here on earth, we don’t know where we go in the end, we don’t know how the universe has come into existence. We may or may not believe in God. Yet, somehow all things have perfectly come together to bring us into existence, the chemical reactions, water, the perfect temperature, the perfect gravitational force… somehow, organisms started evolving on this beautiful earth, the sunlight providing life to everything, and the perfect system to assimilate the energies and sustain life, then came the fish and the frog and the monkey and the man.

The System takes care of everything. Our existence as human beings in the universe is tiny. Yet we think that we are the doers of everything. We are anxious to take good care of ourselves (often, at the cost of others). We fight with each other for survival forgetting that in order to survive, the first thing we have to do is to stop fighting with each other. We are just a tiny part of the big plan, our life in the System is for a very very short period, we come and go in a flash. But we entertain our own selfish agendas, petty desires, and behave as if we, with this little bodies, will live forever and even outlive the System! Invariably, the result of such arrogant attitude is suffering and misery for ourselves.

Then what is the way? How to live? The way is to stop identifying ourselves exclusively with this tiny body-mind complex and recognize that we are part of the System. This tiny body-mind will perish, but the System will survive. When we learn to recognize how beautifully the System has brought us into existence and sustains us, how lovingly the System takes care of us like a mother taking care of her baby, when we recognize how harmoniously our lives are interwoven with the life of the System and dissolve our narrow, selfish plans into the big plan and correctly recognize our part in the big plan, life becomes ever so graceful, ever so harmonious, ever so beautiful! Then we are no more separate from the System, we are no more part of the system, we become the System. In fact, we are the System.

The entire universe is one whole; and, when someone drops their holding onto limited boundaries, then what they gain is the entire universe.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

How to overcome jealousy, hatred, rivalry and ego consciousness?

How to get rid of such negative emotions as hatred, jealousy, anger, etc.? We may be intellectually convinced that that these negative emotions are harmful to ourselves and everyone else, but we sometimes find that these negativities lurking around in our own minds. How do we get rid of these negativities?

Well, here’s a suggestion from God himself!

O noble soul, open thy divine sight and regard and honour all beings as myself. Wise is he who looks with an equal eye upon all beings, seeing the one indwelling God in the hearts of all. He who meditates on my divine nature as present in every man becomes free from rivalry, from jealousy, from hatred, and from the consciousness of ego.

Srimad Bhagavatam: The Wisdom of God,
Translated by Swami Prabhavananda. p. 303

Indeed, we all come from the same Source, we all ultimately go back to the same Source, and it’s the same Source or God who lives in the hearts of all beings and expresses Himself (or Herself or Itself) variously. The expressions themselves may be beautiful or distorted, but they keep changing, they are not fixed or eternal. God, the indweller,  outlives everything else, and He alone is the one eternal existence. When I recognize that the same God who lives and works through me lives in and works through the other person too, there is no question of hatred or jealousy in me. In fact, the other person is just another expression of myself, he/she is a mirror reflecting an aspect of myself and helps me discover myself. Only when we forget the oneness of existence and give too much importance to the differences, that’s when these negative emotions raise their head.

What happens when somebody else hates you and attacks you? When somebody attacks you, it’s reasonable for you to defend yourself, it’s perfectly okay to defend yourself. But even then, remembering the oneness of existence and acknowledging that the other person is the same as you in the core will prevent you from introducing further hatred. Further hatred on your part only escalates the problem, whereas when you look at the problem objectively, it always helps bring the situation under control and you can even help the other person overcome his hatred. This attitude has always worked for me. When I find myself having some problem with somebody, I internally acknowledge that we are both same in the core, it’s the same God who expresses himself through both of us differently. When I do this, the feeling of hatred immediately dies down even though the difference of opinion may persist for some time. Just that we both are looking at the same thing from different perspectives, the glasses might be of different colours, but it’s the same eye that looks through the different glasses. These differences are temporary, the clouds of misunderstanding has to pass, however dark they may be, however hopelessly overcast the conditions are, the clouds will disperse sooner or later, and suddenly, we find that the sun of understanding has always been shining resplendently. In fact, when you look at it from the perspective of the sun, the clouds have almost no existence at all!

Let me leave with you with a quote from Swami Vivekananda, who puts it in his own characteristically strong manner:

In one word, the ideal of Vedanta is to know man as he really is, and this is its message, that if you cannot worship your brother man, the manifested God, how can you worship a God who is unmanifested?