By November 6, 2014 12 Comments Read More →

Ego, Illusion and The Eternal Truth Within You

enlightenmentLinda George, Contributor
Waking Times 

The undisciplined have no wisdom,
No one-pointed concentration;
With no concentration, no peace;
With no peace, where can joy be?

When the mind constantly runs
After the wandering senses,
It drives away wisdom, like the wind
Blowing a ship off course
~The Bhagavad-Gita

The mind, contemporary spiritual literature tells us, is the true creative power of the universe. It is through the mind, that everything comes into being. We have this power, this creative energy within us. Our power to think, to use the mind, determines the success and happiness, or otherwise, of our lives. And so we must keep our thoughts positive, focused on what we want to bring into being, and we must avoid negative thinking, negative words. The law of attraction will then see to it that whatever we desire, and concentrate on, will come into our lives. Even more effective and efficient will the manifestation of our desires be, the law says, if we bring the power of our emotions together with our thoughts.

Our thoughts however, are not all powerful. In fact, they are illusory. They are illusory because they are impermanent and therefore unreal…..as everything in the phenomenal world is. The ‘mind’ is a collection of thoughts that come and go, sometimes it is our ally, at others, our foe. Our thoughts have no existence in reality, they are no more real than a dream. Reality is the truth that our essence is at one with the One – the higher Consciousness.


We have a mind, just as we have a body and a personality – but these are temporary, finite concerns. Our essence is infinite. It is part of the ‘Overself’ (or Higher Consciousness System). Thus, the mind and the thoughts that use it, are simply borrowed, as everything in the universe is, from the Overself. The life-current that moves through us, and keeps us alive, is lent to us and because it is temporary and finite – it is not real.

Within us, within the heart centre, the Overself (call it God if you will) lives. If we are moved to desire a relationship with our heart of hearts, several qualities are called for. Standing head and shoulders above all others, is stillness. Intense stillness and peace are requisites to make known the presence, within each of us, of the only true reality we have. Stillness is asked of us, because without it, the mind, our thoughts, carry us away from the presence. It is so close, as close as our physical hearts – closer…..yet how distant it is from most of us in this life, in this world.

In this world the mind, tool of the ego, dominates. The mind can become our ally, if we are disciplined enough to set aside time each day for stillness. As we turn away from the world, turn the powers of our concentrated effort inwards, on the heart centre – if we are lucky, we will, sooner or later, experience the pure peace and happiness of connecting with the Overself within.

As we redirect our gaze from the outer to the inner, we very naturally, and with time and some practice, become the witnesses of our ‘lives in the world.’ A natural detachment brings with it the gift of peace. It is not to be avoided, as some sort of aloof, cold, uninvolved state of being, but rather it is a quality to be sought, bringing as it does, along with peace, a greater connection with truth.

I am talking about the truth that runs like an unseen, underground river, through the affairs and lives of us all, flowing beneath the seemingly solid ground of the material world and its preoccupations with appearance and dubious values in service of egoic needs for security and survival. The river of truth flows quietly, so quietly that nothing but absolute stillness, of mind, of thought, of body, are necessary, in order to sense its presence.

Truth is knowing what is real, and what is unreal. The rewards of a practice of stillness, of turning inward, are those sought by every human who has walked the planet: peace and happiness. Finding truth, we find peace. The gambler, the drunkard, the stressed business executive, the freedom fighter – all are seeking the same thing. It is happiness we want. And peace we crave. Happiness may be mistakenly imagined to lie in the next promotion, the next successful deal or the next drink. And what is the route by which such mistakes of the imagination are made? The mind, and the thoughts – tools of the ego.

Think for a moment (ah yes, the mind is the ultimate paradox – our enemy and our saviour)… on this: all the desires, intentions, goals, ambitions, hopes and wishes that you have ever entertained – have any of them brought you lasting happiness? We all know, if we are reasonably conscious, that happiness is at best a temporary state. It comes and goes as moods, thoughts, emotions, changes in the world and our lives come and go. And this is where thought has got us. The stereotypical miserable, miserly rich man, the suicidal, drug addicted movie/rock star, the cardiac arrested businessman……clearly, the collective’s quest for happiness is somehow missing the mark.

As we shift our concentration, from the world, to our heart centre, the fog begins to clear. We realize the truth of the temporal nature of this life. Everything is a passing parade: our joy, our fear, the people we love, our successes, our failures, our pleasure, our pain. As our relationship with the Overself deepens – we do not lose our capacity to experience any of the richness that life’s passing parade offers us……but what we gain is this: the ability to detach from it. We detach our identification with it all; with the roles we play, the job we do, the state of our health, our joys and pains and pleasures as well.

Why does this happen? It happens because we come to know the truth. We know that destiny will always give us both, pleasure and pain, in this world of duality – no matter how many precautions we take. And we know that who we think we are, is not in fact, who we are. We are not these personalities, these minds, these bodies. Everything we think we are is seen as a garment we choose to wear for a while. But we know that at the end of the day, or the end of the story, or the end of this life, we will take off the garment and stand naked and true. We can choose to put on another garment, live a different story, take a new incarnation. And behind all of it, the drama of it all, quietly waiting for us to make its acquaintance, is our true self, the Overself that lies within and beyond this body-mind human being.

And so yes, we can use our minds, we can create with them, we can shape our lives to a degree, with them. But we have a higher mind, with a capacity to become more conscious, more self-aware. Let us use it. Ultimately, it is our minds, through making the conscious effort to become more conscious, that will enable us to escape the wheel of rebirth. Using the mind to manifest our desires and intentions in the material world may be worthy, in some respects, but it is not real. Our thoughts are impermanent, they are illusory, they are like dreams. What is real lies within our hearts and it has the power to bestow the greatest, most elusive, most desired states of being – happiness and peace. Perhaps now is a good time to begin the practice of stillness. We have nothing to lose, but our discontent.

About the Author

Linda George is a student of consciousness, a writer of words, teacher of yoga, practitioner of astrology, mother of four and cat-mother of four …… She lives in New Zealand and you can email her at:  lindastrologer@gmail.com Her blog is: acosmicride@wordpress.com

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  • Dan

    Thank you for the article Linda. Lot’s of valuable points here about seeing through the insubstantial nature of objects and thought, and “That” which transcends them. My experience suggests a bit of deviation from your premise of a larger God-like over self that one borrows the mind/body from and we should seek a relationship to. This perspective is also a trick of the “duality” you mention. It can be directly experienced that, like other appearances in experience, the sense of being someone separate is also illusion, not what it appears to be, not a “container” for “me”. And when this is seen through it is realized that this essence in the heart you write of is not “over there in the heart center”, but here at your center, and none other that what we are. “You” have been this essence all along, and it is here as your very awareness/presence. So in a very real sense, that which seeks is what is sought.

    Kind regards,
    Dan

  • “It is through the mind, that everything comes into being.”
    Mind gives form but creativity come from inner stillness, an intelligence far greater than the mind.
    So the true creative power of the universe is not the mind.
    🙂

  • Wee Liam

    “The life-current that moves through us, and keeps us alive, is lent to us and because it is temporary and finite – it is not real.”

    So… transient phenomena are not real? Sounds like gibberish to me.

    • Meter

      When Einstein showed that time is an illusion, this seemed like gibberish to many people, including physicists of the day. Yet the theory of relativity can be derived fairly simply, using only basic physical principles to show that time doesn’t exist, and it can be verified experimentally. The evidence that time is an illusion is that time can be manipulated at will – eg by changing your relative velocity, your experience of time changes (time slows down the faster you move). If time itself is an illusion, then it follows that anything transient (anything based on time being real) is illusory as well.

      What is an illusion? It is simply one thing appearing as something else, creating an apparent reality from ‘a trick of the light’. In the physics case, we interpret movement through space as the experience of ‘time’. Yet time as we know it does not exist, it merely appears to exist from a limited perspective. It has no reality outside of our conception of it – we make it real by looking at things from our limited perspective. From a more general perspective, what we call ‘time’ vanishes.

      Does the sun really rise and set? Seen from the perspective of outer space, it doesn’t – it shines continuously. The rising and setting of the sun is an illusion created from a limited perspective, from a relative frame of reference.

      Yet the object of such a teaching in this case isn’t to prove it. It is to make you look up, to help you become aware of something larger going on. The words are pointing to something, teasing you. They are telling you that your world only seems real because of your current, limited frame of reference.

      That all forms are impermanent, and thus constitute an illusion, is a very valuable teaching. It stretches our perceptions, helping us to see beyond what is not real, to what is real.

      One of the best explanations of this teaching that I have found is in the book Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch. And it does take some explaining, but it is ‘gettable’, at least to get a sense of it. Eventually, it does become common sense, or obvious from experience. You will know the ‘reality’ illusion to be an illusion when you can manipulate it at will, just as physicists ‘make’ time slow down. Once you do that, it becomes impossible to believe in it as real. Yet for people still in the depths of the illusion, it will still seem real, and your words will sound like gibberish – unreal.

      Reality is a matter of perspective.

  • JC

    You may find reading Alfred Aiken (Absolute Truth)would give a clearer understanding of what Mind, Reality, Stillness, etc Really is. It seems the one thing that people cherish so much as real, is the one thing that they can not let go of, (body sense).

    • Linda

      Thank you! Alfred Aiken…. will do.

  • Keith

    I dont agree with your coment the life-current that moves through us and keeps us alive isnt real.I would say that whats left after our body dies is this energy and that some how this energy brings with it the experences it had here with this life and as far as we know energy cannot be created or destroyed only transformed from one form to another.

    • Linda

      Thank you…. I think it is a matter of our definition of the word ‘Real’. I am using it here in the largest sense… Of course ‘reality’ in our mind-body lives has meaning…. but it is a scaled down reality, when one considers the larger Consciousness system.

  • John Stoker

    I love that “Being? What do you do with it? It just brings out an insightful chuckle that makes me stare at it’s cleverness.

  • Meter

    The author does a nice job here of selling stillness. This article dwarfs all the other issues here, because stillness is so primary. It really represents an entirely different way of living, still foreign to most people. I would have liked to hear more about the challenges the author faces in approaching and entering stillness. In modern culture, I think the approaches to bliss are often mistaken for dysfunction, and are discarded.

    Here are some challenges I’ve known:

    People! There is a reason why gurus retreat to mountaintops, and it’s not because they don’t enjoy people. Yet most people babble incessantly, their energies unbalanced, intrusive, ever-busy and distracted. It often becomes necessary to turn away from all people, sometimes for extended periods. Solitude and loneliness are not easy states to manage, however, and they are usually made wrong by others. Once you have a reputation for being ‘eccentric’, people cut you more slack. Yet while you’re less confident and established, peer pressure can be a significant deterent to stillness. The more quiet you grow, the more insane the world around you seems, and the more it screams that it can’t stand your stillness! 🙂

    Then there’s the “always keep busy” voice. Growing up, most of us internalize a parental voice that is always telling us to stay busy, and our culture and media reinforces it. Especially as kids get older, they are often made to feel very wrong for simply spacing out and ‘being’. “What did you DO today?” “What are you DOING?” Parents rarely accept stillness, and thus people are trained to reject it when it appears in themselves as adults. In a culture of doing, a state of being is seen as basically wasting time and money, being lazy and unproductive. There is a significant social stigma to this, not easy at first to set aside. Eckhart Tolle puts it like this in ‘A New Earth’, speaking of growing older:

    “In our civilization, which is totally identified with the outer and ignorant of the inner dimension of spirit, the word ‘old’ has mainly negative connotations. It equals useless and so we regard it as almost an insult to refer to someone as old… The First Nation’s “grandmother” is a figure of great dignity. Today’s “granny” is at best cute. Why is old considered useless? Because in old age, the emphasis shifts from doing to Being, and our civilization, which is lost in doing, knows nothing of Being. It asks: Being? What do you do with it?”

    (Eckhart has an amazing humor he brings to these things. And humor is another part of stillness. Life is very, very funny. “Being? What do you do with it?”)

    Likewise, living in a spiritual state, at any age, is not regarded highly, is seen as useless. Once you develop some mastery, many people will be drawn to you and will admire you, seemingly for nothing in particular – they are attracted to your light and freedom. But in earlier stages of finding stillness, they are more likely to try to draw you out of what they perceive as laziness, being lost, depression, apathy, antisocial behavior, etc. And there is a subtle judgment or stigma to this – even among allegedly spiritual people.

    There can also be a great deal of loss involved in shifting from doing to being. Your outer forms (career, relationships, purposes) tend to weaken and dissolve, and you might find relative poverty, loneliness, and just a general feeling of having less. There is less to get excited about, less to live for, less to be happy about, less to look forward to in the ‘future’. The ego feels starved. It won’t help that this is all people will see of you: your fading outer forms. Inside, you may be knowing bliss at times, yet at other times you may feel diminished, and your ego may be very unhappy with the new course.

    Stillness opens up so much that none of this can really stop the transformation, but it can make the change more challenging and painful than it needs to be. Basically for a time you find yourself between two worlds, successful in neither. It does get easier, though, as the dimension of stillness is a powerful friend, even to form.

    Paraphrasing Eckhart, a formal meditation practice is not a substitute for bringing stillness (space-consciousness) into everyday life and activities. Yet when you do so, this is where you confront the norm that is insanity, and a culture that sees no value in Being.

    • B

      Thank you; that was a lovely comment.

    • Linda

      Thank you Meter,
      I always love your writing…. You are so eloquent on these matters… I am happy to share more on this topic. You can always email me if you are interested. All the best, L.

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