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Destroying the Ego?

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posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 06:42 AM
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reply to post by WhiteHat
 



Enlightenment might be achieved by the development of the self rather then the dissolution of the self into nothingness. Yes this part is confusing to me, if you are developing yourself much like an athlete does there is an improvement of self.

It is unavoidable to see that it is the self or ego that makes you seek and practice spiritual/mystical teachings in the first place. To sit in meditation for long periods takes enormous "self" discipline. Desiring to rid yourself of desire, yes it is a paradox.
I guess it could be argued that there are different types of desires, some mental, some spiritual and the lower ones are to be removed leaving the higher ones. If so you would still have desires, just they would be more noble I guess. A human without desire of any kind would be useless I guess, unable to act or move in this world because they would have no desire to do so, like a person with locked in syndrome, basically a vegetable.

The fact that Buddha "desired" to end suffering is proof that he still had wants, desires, goals

The fact that Jesus got angry when he seen people selling items in the temple and kicked them out shows he had desires, ego etc


This idea that a person can completely kill the "I" might not even be possible, I spoke to a Taoist once and he said it was a misunderstanding and that a human could never become like that. He said only the creator can be void like that, the on thing yet all things.




posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 06:43 AM
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reply to post by WhiteHat
 


Okay, then (if I'm understanding you correctly) the Ego is the process of establishing and defining the "self" of the human mind. In my own research, I've labeled this process the Personality Development Trajectory (PDT). This is the process by which the human mind affects the construction of the brain's "memory cloud" and thereby restricts the brain's available inference material (comparing/contrasting data sets available for new cognitive generations as internal and external stimuli triggers it to respond with intellect burst sets) to adhere to an established Reality narrative that's become more and more defined as the brain/ mind survival system endures.

If this is what you're referring to, then you can't "kill the Ego" since the effort to kill it will simply further define it and restrict its focus. Any and all discipline efforts restrict and define "the Ego" regardless of what those discipline efforts are or are designed to achieve. As a person seeks to discipline their PDT, it becomes even more pronounced within the development of the person. In short, "Killing the Ego" simply strengthens it as a net effect, even if that rigidity manifests as a self perception of having conquered all me-centric predilections.

In fact, the relentless effort to completely eliminate one's focus on oneself results in the primary focus being on how one responds to oneself in relative juxtaposition with all else that exists beyond oneself. This actually promotes the self (to the mind that is so engaged) to the level of being equal, perhaps even superior in the end, to all else (as one "other" entity) in balance against the self. Certainly strengthening the impact of the self if anything. Kind of like trying to not think of a white elephant once it's been required that all such thoughts be avoided.

edit on 2/11/2014 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 09:22 PM
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reply to post by LUXUS
 


It's 5 am here (I'm an early raiser) and I'm still in the process of awaking my brain cells with a coffee, so I'll try to answer you to the best of my abilities at this early hour.




Enlightenment might be achieved by the development of the self rather then the dissolution of the self into nothingness. Yes this part is confusing to me, if you are developing yourself much like an athlete does there is an improvement of self.


I tend to almost agree with this part ( I wouldn't put it in these words thou) but there is one question here: when you say self you must be very clear who are you talking about. Who are you. Because, you see, we identify with the ego, with all those concepts learned and borrowed since birth, every one of us has a very clear idea about who he is. But that's only an idea, a construction of concepts and beliefs, what I explained in my previous post as ego. The real YOU, or self is the one witnessing everything, even the ego.




It is unavoidable to see that it is the self or ego that makes you seek and practice spiritual/mystical teachings in the first place. To sit in meditation for long periods takes enormous "self" discipline. Desiring to rid yourself of desire, yes it is a paradox. I guess it could be argued that there are different types of desires, some mental, some spiritual and the lower ones are to be removed leaving the higher ones. If so you would still have desires, just they would be more noble I guess.A human without desire of any kind would be useless I guess, unable to act or move in this world because they would have no desire to do so, like a person with locked in syndrome, basically a vegetable.


No doubt about that, it is the ego seeking enlightenment, as yet another self help practice, a way to improve itself, but I see no conflict in that. It would be if you were the ego only, and the transcending of ego would mean self annihilation. But something in you knows better than that. We all know moments of being free of ego and/or desire. Take the moment of orgasm, for example; we are given the gift of a few moments of freedom, where everything else disappear and we enjoy that enormously. Take the deep sleep period; there is no ego there, no desire, no concepts, no love and hate, nothing. Yet YOU don't disappear, and we return every night eager to repeat those moments.
Also in the process of spiritual practice/meditation we get to know moments when desire subside and we realize that the feeling is wonderful, and we want more of that. We want to make it a permanent state. Yes, it is the ego who starts this journey, and until the very last moments it hopes to get something from it, until the very last moment it is driven by desire for this state, but the moment you realize who you really are the ego is seen as it is, a mental construction, and you are free from it's control. You realize there was nothing to it, nothing to kill, just to stop believing in it. Desires can still appear but you don't identify with them, don't get pushed around by them. You can let them come and go like clouds in the sky, because just like the sky the clouds have no power over you.



This idea that a person can completely kill the "I" might not even be possible, I spoke to a Taoist once and he said it was a misunderstanding and that a human could never become like that. He said only the creator can be void like that, the on thing yet all things.


This why I said that "killing the ego" is not exactly the correct term; transcending the ego is the better one. And I would dare to contradict the person who said that only God is like that, we are also, but that's for another discussion.
My point is that there is nothing wrong in idea of transcending the ego. If someone would told me "listen, the only thing keeping you from winning the olimpic swim contest is the smoking habit; quit smoking and you'll be the fastest swimmer in the world", and if I would be really interested in being the best swimmer I can be, I would try it, even if I know I don't really want to quit smoking. Just out of curiosity to see how good I can become.
I also believed once that we are our ego, but after many searches and studies, and trials I realized that it may be possible that there is another dimension of my self that I never knew about, a better and happier dimension. What do I have to lose if I try to discover it?

edit on 11-2-2014 by WhiteHat because: too early




posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 10:28 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


Yes, you are right about that completely.
The thing is that the expression " killing the ego" is not quite correct, although a practitioner may have no problems with it. What they really do is looking beyond the ego. Let me explain.
If you have a belief, an extremely strong belief that, let's say, if you stay more than five minutes in the sun you will melt away and die ( I don't want to touch religious or any other kind of real beliefs); now all your life is defined by that belief, you live only indoors and get out only at night, you hate the sun and it's brilliance, you teach your children to fear it, and so on, you get the idea. Everyone else around you share the same belief; you even have some proofs that this is the truth, after 2-3 minutes of sun exposure you noticed that your skin becomes warmer, so it must follow that you'll start melting very soon. You feel frustrated about a whole range of outdoor experiences you miss because of that sun, a whole world lost for you.Then some fool comes around and tells you that this is in fact an illusion; you'll have to "kill that belief" and you're free to go and come under the sun as much as you please.

It's exactly the same meaning when we say "killing the ego". Ego is a belief.

Now of course that in above situation you'll feel reluctant, in danger, and if that person you'll throw you outside and let you there you'll panic, have a heart attack and die, confirming for you and for others what you believed to be true
.(Or, you'll survive and laugh out loud at your fears, but that is very rare).

People don't go in meditation or in any spiritual practice (the valid ones) and sit there "now I'm gonna kill my ego". "Now I will refute everything that I am and see where that will get me". Of course that the result will be resistance, antagonism and the strengthening of the ego.
The essence of the practice will be instead to see beyond the ego; as many said here, ego is not a bad thing, in fact is has no power at all if left alone. It's noting. It's because we identify with it, because we believe that our very existence depends on it that gives him so much power over us; it's a matter of self preservation. So let it be, and try to see what else is there beside ego, look beyond the smokes and tricks that it present us.
And like I said in the previous answer to another user, the moment you see that you are more than your ego, that the Self is the same with or without ego you stop believing in it in a very natural and simple way.

We, as persons, we identify with something that limits us, that keep us chasing our own tail, that stops us from being what we really are; this is the part that must really be analyzed and found true. That is the decisive step that must taken before considering any other steps. Our ego makes it impossible for us to ever be happy; desire, attachments, sorrows, suffering; all these come with the ego. Whatever happiness we chase as ego-persons is impermanent, whatever beliefs and concepts we hold as true do not show us who we really are and are not helping us in a lasting manner. In fact, a huge part of these eastern practices is to help us understand these facts. You know the four noble truths of Buddha, which are considered to be the pinnacle of his teachings: "There is suffering, there is a cause to suffering, there is an end to suffering, The end of suffering is the Path." As simple as it can get, nothing mystical, no judgments, no dogmas. If you are concerned about suffering those words will speak to you.

But if you considered all these things carefully, and found that ego is useful, and with a little effort you can make it work, or if you resigned and concluded that this is the best a human can get in this life then nothing else is to be said. We all try to be happier in a way or another. And it's impossible to match the same pair of shoes to everyone.
If you have more questions I will be happy to help to the best of my knowledge and understanding, even if there are people far more capable of that in these forums. I just don't want to come across as pushy or fanatic, and I mostly enjoy an intelligent discussion.
edit on 11-2-2014 by WhiteHat because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 10:47 PM
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The biggest problem in such discussions always seems to be the definition of "ego".

That, and whether one should "kill" it, tame it, educate it, keep it "under control" ....

Personally, I consider it the sense of self as individual. Whatever sense you have of being an "I", of having a separation from others, or "not I".

So of course, this includes awareness of the body, as in the physical world, it is our physical forms which separate us and make us individuals.

But overall, the search to diminish ego as much as possible has some uses as a tool for consciousness- in cases where the current structure of ego generates suffering of some sort, or the person is in situations of powerlessness.
(if you have no problem getting what you desire, desire is not a source of suffering).

I also think that some people have the opposite problem- not enough, or not a big enough ego, which is a great cause of suffering (for themselves and others)- low self esteem, little sense of self, extreme empathy, to the point of being highly influenceable, passive, unable to differenciate self from other, projecting ones own thoughts, needs, desires, affect, upon others....

These people benefit more from the opposite sort of practice, to bring about balance- the development of a healthy ego which will protect them and others.

Unfortunately, I think often, what we find instead is that people who already suffer from a weak and ineffectual ego turn to such philosophical practice in order to justify or claim as superior their way of being and experiencing.
Which is a way of feeding the ego, of course, but without acknowledging that is what one is doing.
Which enhances the problems of projection and non-respect of boundries, only makes the person project just the qualities they consider undesireable (instead of all of them).

In my own case, I like to be able to use both practices, depending upon the environment and context I find myself in.
It is like walls I like to keep sliding, so that they can be opened wide to the exterior, or closed, depending.



posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 10:58 PM
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LUXUSMaybe we should actually grow the ego, which sounds terrible at first but think about it.
Actually, the whole US education system is bent aroudn growing kid's self esteem without telling them what they CAN'T do. You know, the whole "Mine!" mentality that babies are born with. This HAS been fed.

So, we're getting the results of 2 generations, or more, having only fed the EGO wolf in the fight.

And I fear for teachers because of it.



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 12:51 AM
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Eastern philosophy is not about destroying ego but to be aware of it so we would not lose our self / soul into it. We can not destroy or win against ego, the only thing we can do is shift our intention from the ego into now moment.



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 01:25 AM
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WHO are you, WHO is ego is the wrong question

There is no WHO behind ego, there are only causes and effects

It is a very special thing to be a human

we are bombarded with stimuli, bombarded with beliefs

to transcend ego is to transcend the limitations set on ourselves by our product of our upbringing and our own beliefs

As a being our imagination can stretch out to infinity, as a being, we can imagine all of creation, do you not see the miracle in this?

Our usual mode of going about things is bending our will to the path of least resistance, the path which our mind knows and has come to know from trial and error

Instead of being infinite in wisdom, undefiled by attachment, and capable of flowing through problems with solutions, most of the time our defilements corrupt us into acting a certain way, and a lot of those times the way we act just pushes action and reaction further, causing more suffering in the end

If we do not captivate ourselves with our own ego and thoughts about self, and if we free ourselves from corruption in our defilements brought forth from ignorance of desire, attachment, aversion, greed, etc. then we become that being of infinite potential, the path is not set, but rather we translate into whatever comes before us with ease and understanding, with wisdom and the know how to overcome the obstacle, there is no obstacle, just a flow, we only get stuck when we cling on to our attachments

but to truly understand all of this, one has to first test and see for themselves the limitations they put on themselves by their own beliefs, this usually takes a person who has suffered much

come to know all that YOU ARE NOT

its a desire to come out of ignorance, and this my friend, is a great desire, a noble desire

from it there is a place that requires no practice, no doctrine, no way things should be, but true freedom



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 02:01 AM
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reply to post by LUXUS
 


My understanding is that ego is your human role where id (which is identity) is your authentic self.

If life is a masquerade of mask-wearing people, who is underneath? People don't need to "destroy" their ego, they just need to ... take off their masks. People are being encouraged to live their authentic self.
edit on 12-2-2014 by ik9zeroE because: posted a video but it isn't working.



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 09:58 AM
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Man expresses himself, and he sometimes doesn't realize it. He wears certain clothes, listens to certain musics, desires certain feelings, thinks certain thoughts, speaks certain languages according to what he has found enjoyment in over the course of his experience—learning about himself—thereby cultivating his ego. When they force him to wear a uniform, study certain material, learn certain thoughts, follow a certain spirituality, and speak a certain way according to what he is told to, they are essentially destroying this creator. The "ego", as it is vilified today, is the result of this destroyed homogenized ego, where there is no longer individuality, or a memory of one's uniqueness and a cultivation of it. And nowadays, If one wants to destroy it, rather than create it, homogenize it rather than further realize its own power, we are witness to a victim of this process.



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 10:19 AM
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Buddhism - as I practice it - does not want to "destroy the ego."
There is simply no battle in realization.
In Madhyamaka (the classic 8th century work of Nagarjuna) and Zen, for instance, one sees that the concept of ego is empty, so there is nothing to destroy.
It is actually unfortunate that some recent teachers adopted the Western (Latin) word "ego" BTW. Psychology used it over here and from my perspective the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung used it the most useful way.
The Eastern term is "ahamkara" - "I-maker - and its definitions are as different as Tokyo is from Scotland.
So I tend to avoid the use of the Western term "ego" and within Hindu or Buddhist thought I do not encourage anyone to simply translate "ahamkara" with "ego". Let those who enjoy fighting and struggles use it.
Jung for example encourages people to develop an individualized personality. If you literally do not have an ego, you cannot tell the day of the week and others must feed and clothe you... What is dangerous is to have an injured or traumatized ego.
The similar term in the East also refers to the "I" but the fundamental passion is towards realizing its unreality.

As the OP brought up, in Zen one questions the very motive to get enlightened as well, since obviously that stems from the same source whatever it is. And it is best to leave concepts behind when one realizes the insubstantial nature of the separation from the world. (And after you do, you are kind of expected to carry water, chop wood etc.)

When you crossed the river, do you keep on carrying the boat with you on dry land?



posted on Feb, 12 2014 @ 10:44 AM
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It would appear more study is required to define the ego, or rather the development of one's individual ego through one's life time via varing experiences - and who else would the best at analyzing you than you? - that is if you are not afraid to accept truths about yourself, from yourself or from loved ones.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. Buddha.

Ego Development in nine stages - an interesting concept.

the-mouse-trap.blogspot.ca...



posted on Feb, 13 2014 @ 09:47 AM
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reply to post by LUXUS
 



LUXUS
This is one reason I could never really identify with Buddhism, it seams like they wish to remove all desire because they are worried about it bringing sorrow, so they are ultimately trying to hide from sorrow rather then except it as being part of the deal which to me always seamed a bit cowardly.


It's not about 'hiding' from sorrow, it's about seeing from another perspective beyond BOTH joy and sorrow. Once you see that perspective, then whether you feel 'sorrow' or 'joy', you will feel more detached from it and understanding that these are emotions which comes and go.


LUXUS


In truth if you had no desire/Ego you would have no reason to live


You don't need a reason to live, only if you're scared of living life without a reason.


LUXUS
the only reason you move is because you desire to move.


I think you are confusing desire (which in Buddha's language meant 'craving' or 'longing for') with impulse (something that you do in the moment).


LUXUS
Whats all this stupidity about trying to achieve a state of mind in which you are desire less...you would be useless


That only matters if you fear being useless. Again, you don't need a reason to live, unless you are scared of not having a meaning/identity to identify with.


LUXUS
plus the paradox that you would first have to desire to be desire less


Buddha said "Taṇhā " which means "Desire, Craving, Thirst". It is a feeling of lack and neediness, not an impulse to do something.

So while it is possible that someone can be "in pain longing and yearn to be without pain longing and yearning" it is not a paradox, just another pain to overcome.


LUXUS
Spiritual people often repeat a similar phrase to the above but they forget that the part of them that desires mystical experiences, wisdom, enlightenment is also the self.


The Wisdom and Enlightenment is to remove suffering of their lives and the lives of others. It is helping self and others. When most people refer to "ego" they are usually talking about self-centeredness or selfishness. So there is a difference between "The Self" that the spiritual talks about (wisdom, overcoming suffering for self and others) and "The Self" that most people talk about (getting rewards, achieving something, feeling important). This "Self" that most people call "The Self" is what the spiritual call "Ego", and "The Self" that wants to relieve the suffering of self and others is what is usually referred to as "The Spirit".


LUXUS
Maybe we should actually grow the ego, which sounds terrible at first but think about it


It only sounds 'terrible' if you don't like:



* Being obsessed and worrying about your self image

* Feeling more important than others and not being fair

* Having a sense of entitlement and not care about another's point of view

* Easily feel hurt by someone insulting you

* Trying to become 'better' (whatever that is) and always fear 'loosing' because you don't want to feel like a 'loser'


If you don't mind these things, or actually enjoy it, the maybe ego (caring about self and self-image over others) is for you.



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