In my current meditation practice, I’m going further and further back trying to see what this thing is that thinks it is me. I yo-yo on this a lot and second guess myself assuming that, of course I’m my ego. Who else could I be? What is the point of meditation if the goal is to only find out that you aren’t you, but a wave on the sea? Humanity tends to feel the need to be unique and loved. But what ‘thing’ needs this and why is it ‘good’ to bestow this on others?
The ego is art, love, music, dance, laughter. But it is also fear, anxiety, jealousy and hate. It is a pendulum swinging left and right. Our only hope is to find some comfort in the middle, because without dark, there can be no light. Mindfully, we become aware of the ego and can (hopefully) manage the swing. Sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we explode. This is human. But then we begin dissecting why we explode, diving into our childhood toy-box looking for the lost teddy bear so we can say “a ha! This is why I am that way”. Does it matter? It’s not for me to decide. “I” can’t even do it because that is the ego anyway (and around and around we go).
So why do we even have an ego? This thing that is so destructive? Why did our ganglia decide to team up and say “hey humans, have we got something for you!” Maybe it’s a test. It definitely takes some studying. The sad thing is that a lot of people don’t even know that they are in a school being asked to take an exam whose score determines a lowly outcome: your soul.
People ask: “Are you awake?” I don’t know how to answer. Maybe to the Buddha I’m asleep, but to my dog I am a god. It’s relative and one of those circular questions that has no end. BUT (there’s always a but), it’s something to strive for. To be mindful of your surroundings, interactions, food intake, health and spirit. Because buddy, if you aren’t taking care of it, no one else is!
Alan Watts said in The Book “as the ocean ‘waves’, the universe ‘peoples’”. I’m not sure how this makes me feel. On one hand, I am part of something greater. On the other, I am no one. There is no ‘me’. There is no ‘I’. There is only an observer, who may or may not be ‘human’. The observer sees the human body, but it is not the body. The body and the observer are part of something much larger. But our attachment to ‘I’ keeps us trapped in a circle of suffering.
So me and my ego go walking hand in hand down the path. The path is where I want to be. The ego will never go away, but it might be managed. Maybe it can be happy and content and stop bothering me.
Are you awake? And as you ask yourself that question, ask yourself “who” is actually asking.