Io, Ego, Sé

Per conoscere ciò che è vero dobbiamo scartare ciò che è falso Parlare della natura della coscienza e della conoscenza di sé conduce spesso alla possibilità che ne nasca più confusione che chiarezza. Gran parte ciò dipende dal fatto che se si esaminano le cose...

The Insidious Masks Of The Ego

… Investment in samsara is futile; it is the cause of every anxiety.
Since worldly involvement is pointless, seek the heart of reality!
In the transcending of mind’s dualities is Supreme vision;
In a still and silent mind is Supreme Meditation;
In spontaneity is Supreme Activity;
And when all hopes and fears have died, the Goal is reached.
Beyond all mental images the mind is naturally clear:
Follow no path to follow the path of the Buddhas;
Employ no technique to gain supreme enlightenment.
Mahamudra, Tilopa

A Little story of Awakening

Few years ago in India I had an experience that, although at first sight may seem a trifle thing indeed proved to be a memorable teaching.

I think it exemplifies in very simple terms, with a trivial episode of daily life, one of the crucial  mechanisms by which the mind deceives us, if we do not recognize the difference between thought and actual awareness.


 

Since the late ’70s I spent all winters in an ashram in India situated in a beautiful valley at the foot of the Himalayas, crossed by a pure stream ‘s: There I met the Sri Haidhakhan Baba, that many knows simply as Babaji. After he left his body I continued to spend 2 or 3 months there every year.

I do not intend to tell my long story and I’ll be right to the comic circumstances that once again, sowed me the deceptions of the ego, that are, as we can see very common, in the path of spiritual quest.

One evening, before bed, I listened for a couple of hours a recording of Eckhart Tolle, the author of “The Power of Now.”

Many people know that his writings, on topics that largely agree with, have had a great international success. He covers the subject pure awareness, and liberation from the illusion of a separate self. In many ways he is in line with the message of Jiddu Krishnamurti and Advaita philosophy.

I find interesting characters like Tolle, because they are ordinary people who, after periods of neurosis and depression, awakened to a new state of consciousness characterized by bliss and serenity, without particular techniques and without a Guru.

Ramana Maharshi, Aurobindo for example seem to us exceptional people with a special destiny, favoured by social and historical contexts, while these “new masters” are ordinary people of our time, living within our culture, without anyreligious stigmata, that look very ordinary.

In simple words Tolle was speaking of “awareness beyond all thoughts” and total immersion in the here-now, in a way I appreciated.

Listening Tolle that night I remembered the experiments I did as a boy trying to remain conscious during dreams, or cultivating mind control focusing attention on every movement such as the conscious walking of Zen. As they say: “when walking, just walk” and other similar things.

In those days in India I was in a very clear and peaceful state of mind, I was feeling really at home, and the environment made it very easy to live in the here and now without any mental conflict. I used to spent many hours a day in meditation and studying the best Indian Philosophers, or translating some Upanishads an so on.

But that night, I decided that it could still be “good for me” to intentionally apply the practice of attention that Tolle suggested, with an ongoing commitment for the following hours.

When I turned off light I consciously move from wakefulness to sleep.

As I promised myself, a certain presence remained in the background in my sleep. I woke up at 3.29, (one minute before the alarm clock) feeling that I have been aware of dreamless sleep.

I got out of bed with the intention to keep on doing my best in practicing mindfulness.

I put a special awareness in every movements:  awareness of the toothpaste on the toothbrush   carefully spread, the coffee pot filled without spilling a grain, the gas stove lighted with the first piezoelectric spark, and then the conscious feeling of every sip of the steaming black drink .

It is ten minutes to four o’clock and I go out in the starry night and walk, a conscious walk, through the mango grove, past by the nine temples and the dhuni and down the stairs that lead to the rocky bed of the river, attentive to every step and any sound and feeling.

The moon and the stars are reflected on the surface of the pool created by the dam of stones I built in previous days.

I take off the jacket, kurta of heavy wool, the two sweaters, t-shirt and woollen tights and pants, necessary in these cold days of January.

Every gesture is tasted by knowledge, I carefully put my clothes neatly folded in order to wear quickly and do not get cold after a bath, without getting stuck in a sleeve that is inverted or exchange the front with the back of a sweater.

I’m paying attention to everything and very concentrated. Now I am naked in the chilly night, ready to dive in the crystalline waters of the Ganga.

A biting wind from the North enters the valley just as I’m about to dive into the deep pool … and here… I realize with amazement that for the first time in thirty years, I forgot to bring with me the bathrobe! !!!!

The bathrobe is the most difficult thing to forget because we always remember that just out of the cold water it is fundamental to have something dry.

The funny thing is that I have forgotten it the very day on which I had committed more than ever to cultivate attention!

In trying to live in the present, I left out the most important thing, and, by searching, I have lost touch with the present that is actually always and already there.

A lighting flash through my mind! I understand that I touched one of the classic paradoxes of the ego in is quest for self-improvement.

My uncontrollable laughter echoes through the valley. My God!

I am already Awareness and I strive to become it?

The thought and effort to be aware is not an obstacle to the very awareness that comes from a clear mind free of purposes and not divided in self-observation?

 

The map is not the territory

I felt like never before the stupidity of research of mindfulness through thought, and at the same time, I understand that it is an act of intelligence to realize the deception own ego that wants to “be present.” The ego and thinking are the product of the movement of time and memory and do not lead to this which is beyond conceptualization and planning. The filter of thinking divides the perception “in observer and observed”, while there is only observation, there is only That.

It is so difficult to recognize because this is a collective illusion shared and promulgated by the society in which we live, which is based on ego and thought (and we see the results are a world in which conflict and confusion is rife at all levels ).

To overcome the deceptions of the mind we have to expose ourselves and realize the paradoxical nature of this challenge, which ultimately leads to surrender and genuine transcendence of the ego and the psychological time.

But “Nothing is easier than to continue along streets or children to return,” said Jung.

This is a radical change of perspective and not a gradual improvement within our ego illusions.

It is to do away with the desire to change over time, with the claims of an effort of self-improvement that, from this perspective ego, proves self-defeating.

It takes effort and commitment to build a house with his own hands, but certainly not to be yourself, to realize the natural state … should perhaps make an effort a wave to feel the she is the ocean, or just simply recognize reality and leave the illusion of its own imagined independent nature?

How true all that repeated Krishnamurti!

And how easy it is to betray in practice what has been understood on an intellectual level, as soon as the ego to want to implement himself spiritually.

We don’t realize how foolish it is to be fooled by these “trips” of thought that can never grasp reality by the very nature of its limited areas.

The spontaneous awakening comes when there is no I who pursues and expanded states of consciousness occur in the total inner freedom.

And then: Who is trying to become more aware? Who wants to reach a particular state of consciousness?

As soon as there is the ego, consciousness is clouded by the thought fear and desire.

The ego is made up of thoughts and it is the root of every thought and of the creation of past and future. Wile the chronological time exist the psychological time is a mind creation. Awareness arises when the mind is silent. The mind is silent when we do nothing, in fact: we did not own, so there is no one who wants to silence. The action occurs spontaneously. We are one with the reality because there is only This and That You Are …

The non-dual Self appears spontaneously in the mind free from desire and fear, expectations and choices. Only when we are free from the compulsion to achieve something disappears division into observer and observed and consciousness is one with the All.

Only when attention is spontaneous, meditation occurs without divisions.

How many times I repeated the effort to meditate is antithetical to meditation, which is the inner silence that leads us to the reality, but the deception hides as well even in “reasonable” going to practice mindfulness.

This situation showed me once again the camouflage of the ego in the most subtle: the spiritual ego. Recognizing this mental trap seemed more illuminating many hours of meditation.

Only when the sense of self dissolves we wake up to reality.

Just by seeing clearly the shadow enter into the Light …

Only discarding the mental illusions are Reality …

Just dying to ourselves we live in the Eternal Now …

 

Filippo Falzoni Gallerani

Self-Knowledge And The Illusions Of The Ego

(The Tao we can deviate from is not the real Tao)

 

“If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord on the strength of a resolution taken once and for all. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.”
A.  Einstein

The meaning of religion is: to gather all one’s energies to understand the nature of thought, to recognize its limitations and go beyond.
J. Krishnamurti

Let’s imagine that life is like the ocean, and each individual is a wave. Just as human beings identify themselves with the body-mind, and feel separated from universal consciousness, the wave endowed by conscience perceives itself as separated and different from the ocean. Perceiving yourself as a wave, you realize how small you are compared to the immensity of the ocean that one day will absorb you. Reflecting on this fact, you will face (without any fear) the problem of death. The space that separates you as a wave from the coast will soon inevitably come to an end; the journey of the wave inexorably moves towards its meeting with the shore and that’s its Ending. The wave knows that when it laps against the cliffs, it will lose its identity as a separated wave, it will become an indistinguishable part of the ocean. Even worse would be to lose its identity absorbed and made one with a calm sea.

 

The fear of “not being” has generated marvellous fantasies of paradises and heavens but at the moment reincarnation is very popular among more and more people. (From this perspective resurrection and eternal life are terms completely misunderstood). A frustrated wave may say: “given that I’m an insignificant little wave in this life that nobody pays any attention to, in my next life I will be a magnificent wave fit for expert surfers and (as a person) I will be a famous celebrity.” A second wave, who’s thinking is confused might say:  “I hope all the dead waves from heaven will show me the right path for my life.” A third may think: “if I meditate all my life, through meditation I will remove all the ups and downs in my life and achieve a kind of frozen immortality”. The narcissist one hopes to be admired by everybody. When a violent storm stirred up by powerful winds lifts and buffets the wave, the wave feels strong and brave and probably believes that it’s dancing like Lord Shiva (the magic of Indian Ocean). Yet another is preoccupied by the fear that other waves may be bigger than itself, and if any of them cause any obstruction in its passage over the surface of the sea, it gets very angry. One has the insight that it belongs to something bigger, and it imagines that one-day it’ll meet God, and so become the highest wave ever, as it has always dreamt of being. Just like those waves which come from the East. These marvellous waves, when questioned about themselves reply:  “we rise up effortlessly very high, we are so big only by the grace of the Ocean, and we are not different from you”. It is said that these giant waves reincarnate year after year because of the holy coincidence of some stars (casually it happens always during the monsoon). The petty waves think: “these are the teachers that we should follow. They reincarnate one life after another just to give teachings, they don’t have any pride in their greatness, on the contrary they are so humble that they say that they are nobody, and they do nothing to be so great”.Nobody ever listened, neither understood the message that has been always repeated by the big waves which is: “It’s not me, but the Ocean that acts through me, The Ocean is not different from me because there’s no Me! It’s the mind which separates the Ocean from me.

Everything is the same indivisible Nature, only the Ocean exists, my form is only a temporary appearance, the Ocean is the only truth, with its unchanging movement. So surrender to Him and be in peace, and stop your illusory thoughts interfering”. Very few waves understand the importance of this, the majority continue to look for the magic myths of the Indian Ocean to become better waves with time and practice. The very rare, less narcissistic waves, instead of competing for height, will direct their efforts to find the root of their own soul, establishing a serenity that liberates them from the ups and downs of life. The little wave guesses the depth of the ocean, but is still influenced by the imagines of the superficial polluted water, where many self appointed gurus sell dreams of Omnipotence that suggest that once you find your soul, you will become a wave with a crest but not a valley, and you’ll have the power to create your destiny, and so realize all your worldly desires. But all the mental efforts to become wise and a balanced wave lead to frustration, because storms, currents, winds, and earthquakes are uncontrollable natural forces, and finally one accepts that it is so, and, above all, that a wave that has a crest but hasn’t a valley does not exist. Sudden hurricanes that elevate waves to the sky don’t depend on the number of mantras the wave repeated, neither the depressing dead calm are punishments for its impure acts. The most awakened ones understand that the solution is in the reunion of their individual self with the ocean, but effort in this direction is useless all the time  that the wave sees itself as an individual entity. Some waves think: “Maybe it was better to live like those waves that don’t search for liberation and live day by day. What’s life about? It doesn’t make any sense, all dies all finishes… take the most you can, lord it over some smaller waves, there’s always someone to dominate, enjoy yourself until you can”. The wave that has reached a certain spiritual dimension cannot turn back. It feels that there’s something bigger inside, and guesses that the depths of the abyss exist. After trying in vain for long time to find a stable self, the wave understands that there isn’t a crest without a valley, and no effective methods to stand up when is dead calm. Once it is free from this illusion all of a sudden it remembers in an unclear intuition, that long time ago, at the moment of its birth it was feeling part the Ocean itself. In that moment it had no personality and history, life passed spontaneously moment-by-moment, but this sensation soon vanished with the effort to create a character according to the ideals generated by the ones that surrounded her.The spiritual path that New Age groups suggested consisted in using mental stratagems in the illusion that it’s possible to have all their wishes fulfilled. It was said, that wise waves handed down knowledge long long ago, but the original source was the Creator, finally some authors of bestsellers have rediscovered all this knowledge.  Those stratagems unfortunately were totally ineffective, and with deeper analysis they appeared not inspired by the Ocean, but only a distorted version of the sages’ insights, diffused by fearful waves who were scared of death, afraid of facing life, and anxious to become saints (being without the “valleys”). They pretended anyway that with these methods they would be protected, they will reach illumination and  after death they would reincarnate in the happy seas. Wise traditions were transmitted in a very distorted way, so that the vast majority of the waves keep on looking for illusory hopes to escape from the inconceivable idea of “not being anyone”. The sages only realize to be one with the ocean, and they have no need to change anybody. They speak very little, because when they do, most of the time they are misunderstood. If you don’t stop identifying yourself with a separated self, you are in an illusory world and you distort all the deepest truths. The wave doesn’t want to see the death of the illusory self it identifies with, even though this is the only way to eternal life and resurrection. The wave wants to get rid of faults, but it wants to keep all the good qualities it is proud of. It doesn’t want to give up its illusory projects, and the drama it has created in its mind: the samsaric theatre of life. And so persisting in the impossible task of becoming what it is not, the wave is the victim of the frustrating and insatiable desire to be better. All of a sudden the wave realises how stupid it is to strain for everything, and surrenders and accepts to be the way it is. SURRENDER TO THE OCEAN, OM NAMAHA SHIVAYA… These sentences are no longer a slogan to be repeated, staying still well fixed in separateness, but right action. At once with great relief the wave will realize that there has never been separation between the Ocean and itself. It realizes that if you surrender to it, your life will anyway go the way it should. What happens is inevitable. A clear mind reveals the gap of the separated “I” that’s the end of dualism, micro-macro, high-low, good-bad, heaven and hell, all coexist in interdependence and not in conflict with each other. Finally, this is liberation. Nothing has really changed. The crest and the valley are still there exactly as before, nor does this awareness increase the height of the wave. It’s only the end of all inner conflicts and fears. Without any effort, the problem of becoming someone, the problem of time and death, dissolves. Eternal movement of waves, eternal abyss silent and immutable! Mysterious creatures live within  us and dolphins are playing on our shoulders. Everything is one. More over also the ocean disappears, even that is only a hologram created by consciousness. The Void of the Buddhist, the Brahman of the Hindu, the Holy Spirit of Christian, The eternal Tao of old China, the unthinkable Quantum-mechanic of the New Physics, pervade the apparent reality. And you are That.

 

Filippo Falzoni Gallerani

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FILIPPO FALZONI GALLERANI