Tag Archives | ego

Humility: A Supreme Virtue

“Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”
~ Confucius




Q. What is “humility”?

A. Authentic humility is a core virtue and a sign of spiritual evolution.
It is a state of modesty, free from pretension, pride and arrogance;
a state that intuitively recognizes the Divine equality of all beings as blessed with the same Eternal Essence, and their Oneness with Nature; a state which opens us to learning by allowing us to acknowledge our limitations and fallibilities, and to experience with awe and wonder how little we know about the miraculous magnificence of this Creation.
Yet, it is not a state of powerlessness or of low self esteem, but of powerful inner security, inner knowing, and inner-directedness.

Q. How does humility happen?

A. Humility grows as ego goes.  As we ever more realize that we are part a vast universe and not separate from it, we gradually become less and less egoistic and self centered and more and more compassionate and humble.  As Einstein says, this is a process of “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Q. Why is humility considered a virtue, especially in prominent people?

A. Prominent people are subject to great flattery, praise and adulation which can entice and inflate ego, the enemy of compassion and humility.   Those who have resisted such ego temptations have been lauded as truly great beings.  Eg. Gandhi was called “Mahatma” a Sanskrit word meaning “great soul”.

Throughout history, “humility” has been recognized and appreciated as a supreme virtue manifested by great beings from every tradition and culture, who chose to lead non-pretentious, simple lives dedicated to helping others, and who have thereby  inspired countless others.  Today, for example, H.H. the Dalai Lama who is  revered by millions worldwide as a great sage and religious leader, often describes himself as a “simple monk”, and sometimes publicly responds to questions with “I don’t know.” *

[*According to Buddhism, ego and “enlightenment” cannot coexist.  No “enlightened” Buddhist can acknowledge “enlightenment” because any such acknowledgment would necessarily imply an ego-identity, a personality, a being, a separated individuality. ~  Diamond Sutra, Chapter 9]


The Bhagavad Gita [13:8-12], perhaps the most important Hindu scripture, recognizes humility and lack of pride as virtues essential to Self Realization.

In the Tao Te Ching the great Taoist sage Lao Tzu states that the Master’s “constant practice is humility.”; and that: “Humility means trusting the Tao, thus never needing to be defensive.”

Various bible passages attest to the humility of Jesus.  Jesus once said of Himself, “I am meek and humble of heart” ~ Matthew 11:29. And in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” ~ Matthew 5.5. Jesus claimed no special powers but attributed all to God.  eg. “I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doth the works.” ~ John 14:10;   “..I can of mine own self do nothing…I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” ~ John 5:30.

And Jesus counseled humility:  “Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” ~ 1 Peter 5.5.

Of Moses the bible says:  “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.” ~ Numbers 12:3.

Albert Einstein remained simple and self-effacing despite the world’s “genius” label and immense flattery, using his great prestige to advocate for social justice and controversial causes, like pacifism.  Einstein was a very humble man who regarded himself as just an ordinary person, with certain abilities in theoretical physics. [eg. see posting Synchronicity story: Analyzing Einstein’s Autograph]  Einstein explained his humility thusly:  “What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”

The great Gandhi, whose example of non-violent relentless pursuit of Truth and selfless service to humanity continues to inspire countless others, remained a humble man despite his immensely important accomplishments.  His humility was evidenced by these Gandhi statements: “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” . . . .     “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

Thus, authentic humility is a supreme virtue which ever expands as we become less and less egoistic and self centered and more and more compassionate, thereby “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

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Awakening

“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
“My appointed work is to awaken the divine nature that is within.”
~ Peace Pilgrim
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
~  Carl Gustav Jung
My friends, it is through the establishment of the clarity of mindfulness
that you let go of grasping after past and future,
overcome attachment and grief,
abandon all clinging and anxiety,
and awaken an unshakable freedom of heart,
here and now.
~ Buddha [the Awakened One]
“Those who awaken never rest in one place.
Like swans, they rise and leave the lake.
On the air they rise and fly an invisible course.
Their food is knowledge.
They live on emptiness.
They have seen how to break free.
Who can follow them?
~ Buddha [the Awakened One]
“[An] awakened state is possible only when there is …
critical self-awareness devoid of judgment.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“If you want to awaken all of humanity,
then awaken all of yourself.
If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world,
then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.”
~ Lao Tzu , Hua Hu Ching




Through eons of ignorance,
we have been asleep –

Dreaming “I am a body,
a name, a form, a story” separate from
the rest of “reality”.

Now, blessed with a precious human
existence and truth teachings,
we are awakening gradually,

And experiencing ever more
moments of living truth.

But still, from the habits of countless
lives of ignorance,
we suffer a kind of spiritual narcolepcy –
involuntarily falling asleep again and again.

Only when those habits are
totally transcended,
will we awaken –

FOREVER!



Ron’s audio recitation of Awakening

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Life Is But A Dream

“This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.”
~ Rumi
“The world, indeed, is like a dream
and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage!”
~ Buddha
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion,
does not act as if it is real,
so he escapes the suffering.”
~ Buddha
“Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
~ Buddha: Diamond Sutra
“We are like the spider.

We weave our life and then move along in it.

We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream.

This is true for the entire universe.”
~ The Upanishads




Q. “Is all that we see or seem [like] a dream within a dream?” *

A. Yes, each person’s life is like a dream story within a dream of space/time reality.

For millennia, mystics have revealed that all we see or seem is mental illusion, ‘samsara’ or ‘maya’ – like a very persistent day dream from which we can awaken, just as we awaken from nocturnal dreams. And scientists like Einstein confirm the mystics, saying e.g. that “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”; “space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think”; and, that “our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Just as nighttime dreams are mental images arising during sleep on a ‘screen’ of formless awareness, our daytime “reality” arises from mental images projected on the same screen of formless awareness that perceives nocturnal dreams.

Both mystics and scientists say that all the forms we perceive as “reality” are impermanent – ever appearing and disappearing in timeless formless awareness; awareness which is universal and beyond time and space, beyond birth and death. That formless awareness is in the Bible called “everlasting life” [Daniel 12:1-3] and “eternal life” [e.g. John 17:1-2] And it is our Essence and Ultimate Identity.

We can realize the biblical/mystical promise of eternal life upon awakening from illusory egoic self identification as mere mortal bodies, their thoughts and their stories, and thus awakening to self identification with that timeless, formless awareness in which we perceive our lives and all we call “reality”.

AND SO IT SHALL BE!

*Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within A Dream”, 1849


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Players’ Prayer

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:”
William Shakespeare – As You Like It 2/7




May we bless the whole
as we play our role
in the cosmic theater of life.

Ever a part in it,
never apart from it,
in happiness or strife.

May we grow wise and harmonize,
though chaos seems e’er rife.

‘Til we’re the Whole- and not the role,
and holiness is Life.



Ron’s comments and recitation of Players’ Prayer

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Egocide

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“The entire Buddhist path is based on the discovery of egolessness and the maturing of insight or knowledge that comes from egolessness.”
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth. Understand this if nothing else: spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao are not randomly bestowed gifts, but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.”
~ Lao Tzu



Ego’s attrition
is our mission;

Egocide’s our goal.

When ego’s dead
we’ll lose all dread,

Knowing we are Soul.

Then we’ll say
that life’s a play,

Each body/mind a role;

That we’re the Glory
and not the story,

Not just parts – but Whole.


Ron’s recitation of Egocide

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Surrender and Let Go of Ego ~ Quotes and Sutra Sayings

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.
~ Lao Tzu
“Surrender is faith that the power of Love can accomplish anything
even when you cannot foresee the outcome.”
~ Deepak Chopra
“They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.”
~ Rumi
Love is the sacrifice of will.
If you cannot leave will behind
You have no will at all.
~ Rumi
“In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”
~ The Buddha
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi




We have nothing to surrender
but the idea that
we’re someone,
with something
to surrender.
***
Let’s let go
and
let life live us,
as Love.
***
Let’s leave it to the
Lone Arranger.
***
Let’s let go, and “go with the flow”.*


*Being “in the flow” is thought-free, effortless, and focused
merging of intention, action, and awareness
as consciousness – consciously letting Life happen through you.

***

Tao is Now,
Tao is One,
Tao is Doer,
Tao will be done.
***
Tao will be done.
So let Tao do it.
***
Give your spiritual
‘power of attorney’
to God.
***
“Let go, and let God.”*

*Unity Church maxim
***

Leave it to the Lone Arranger.
***
Ego Antidote:
The root of all problems is
I/me/mine.
End it with antidote,
Thy/Thee/Thine.
***
Ego: Use it to lose it!
***
Immolate ego
in the fire of faith.
***
As ego goes
consciousness grows
until it Knows –
Itself.
***
Ego is free to choose,
but is never free.
Self does not choose,
but is ever free.
***
Our only choice
is to accept
or reject
“what is”.
***
Acceptance is pleasure;
rejection is suffering.
Acceptance is freedom;
rejection is bondage.
Acceptance is NOW;
rejection is then.
***
So, if choose you must,
then with faith and trust,
say “yes” to Life.
***
With radical trust
we do as we must.
***
The more we trust
the less we try.
***
Enter a state of enlightened amnesia:
Be now;
forget then.
Remember God;
forget the rest.
***
Forget who you think you are,
to remember what you really are.

***


Ron’s audio recitation of Sutra Sayings- Surrender and Let Go of Ego

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Surrender: Let Go of Ego

“In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”
~ The Buddha




The idea of spiritual “surrender” is encapsulated in the maxims:
“Let go, and let God”; “Go with the Flow”; and “Not my will,
but Thy will be done”
.

Both Eastern and Western religious and spiritual teachings
stress the importance of allowing the inconceivably immense power
of Nature, the Tao, or the Divine to guide our lives;
of simply surrendering to Life, and allowing it to live us as it may.

Before surrendering, we may egoically think ourselves separate from other beings and life-forms, and that we are in ultimate control of our lives.

But, as we gradually realize that we are inextricably part of Nature,
not separate from it, and that Nature Knows best and is in control, we more and more allow Nature, not ego, to guide us.

Surrender is an inner process; an intuitional attitude rather than an outer act,
arising gradually as we gain implicit trust and faith in Nature’s supreme perfection.

And as our faith in Nature grows, ego goes.

We gradually lose the ego illusion of separateness from Nature,
and ever more surrender to Life.

And when we become completely surrendered to the river of life –
the river of existence – ego disappears:

Revealing that our true nature is Nature;

Revealing we are THAT, to which we have surrendered.



Ron’s audio recitation of Surrender- Let Go of Ego

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Wean Yourself ~ by Rumi

You were born with wings.
Why prefer to crawl through life?

~ Rumi
The world is a prison and we are the prisoners:
Dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!

~ Rumi
Why do you stay in prison 
when the door is so wide open?

~ Rumi
I long to escape the prison of my ego
 and lose myself in you.

~ Rumi
You have been a prisoner of a little pond,
I am the ocean and its turbulent flood.

Come merge with me, leave this world of ignorance.

Be with me, I will open the gate to your love.

~ Rumi




Wean Yourself

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From any embryo, whose nourishment comes from the blood,
Move to an infant drinking milk,
To a child on solid food,
To a searcher after wisdom,
To a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo,
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”


You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating.



Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

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What is Ego?

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
“I hold three treasures
 close to my heart.

The first is love;

The next simplicity;

The third, overcoming ego.”
~ Lao Tzu
“When I let go of what [I think] I am,
I become what I might be.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama
“A spark of truth can burn up a mountain of lies. The opposite is also true. The sun of truth remains hidden behind the cloud of self-identification with the body.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj



WHAT IS EGO?

Q. What is ego?

A. Ego is what you think you are –

If you don’t self-identify with Universal Awareness, Nature or Divinity.

And your body is your ego incarnate.

As you learn what you really are,
you’ll change what you think you are –

Until without thinking what you are
or who you are,

You just ARE.


Here are some helpful quotations:

“When you think or speak about yourself, when you say, “I,” what you usually refer to is “me and my story.” This is the “I” of your likes and dislikes, fears and desires, the “I” that is never satisfied for long. It is a mind-made sense of who you are, conditioned by the past and seeking to find its fulfillment in the future. Can you see that this “I” is fleeting, a temporary formation, like a wave pattern on the surface of the water?”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

“As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it …it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind. …..As long as you are identified with your mind, the ego runs your life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

“As long as the egoic mind is running your life, you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled. Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

“Ego could be defined as whatever covers up basic goodness. From an experiential point of view, what is ego covering up? It’s covering up our experience of just being here, just fully being where we are, so that we can relate with the immediacy of our experience. Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well being, unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience.”
~ Pema Chodron

“The individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. When this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name. Confusing names with Nature, you come to believe that having a separate name makes you a separate being. This is—rather literally—to be spellbound.
~ Alan Watts

“When the line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there is no stronghold left for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself not in a world but
as a world which is neither compulsive nor capricious.”
~ Alan Watts

“The ego says that the world is vast, and that the particles which form it are tiny. When tiny particles join, it says, the vast world appears. When the vast world disperses, it says, tiny particles appear. The ego is entranced by all these names and ideas, but the subtle truth is that world and particle are the same; neither one vast, neither one tiny. Every thing is equal to every other thing. Names and concepts only block your perception of this Great Oneness. Therefore it is wise to ignore them. Those who live inside their egos are continually bewildered: they struggle frantically to know whether things are large or small, whether or not there is a purpose to joining or dispersing, whether the universe is blind and mechanical or the divine creation of a conscious being. In reality there are no grounds for having beliefs or making comments about such things. Look behind them instead, and you will discern the deep, silent, complete truth of the Tao. Embrace it, and your bewilderment vanishes.”
~ Lao Tzu

“The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle: Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”
~ Lao Tzu

“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth. Understand this if nothing else: spiritual freedom and oneness with the Tao are not randomly bestowed gifts, but the rewards of conscious self-transformation and self-evolution.”
~ Lao Tzu

Q: “How much “ego” do you need?
A: Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi


Ron’s audio recitation of What is Ego?
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From Role Life To Whole Life

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:”
~ William Shakespeare – As You Like It 2/7

In the theater of life, personality is not reality.
Reality is the whole, while personality is a role.
So, play your role passionately,
but don’t take it personally.
~ Ron Rattner, Silly Sutras
“You are awareness, disguised as a person.”
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
~ Albert Einstein



In the theater of life we each play a role
with which most people identify themselves.

Each role is a mere bundle of thought forms:
Self identification ideas conceived in and from the past,
which we call our personality or life story.

So if we identify with a role,
we identify with and live in the past.

But life can never be lived in the past,
only in the present – the NOW.

And we can never be NOW
while thinking we are then.

So to live as the NOW
we must identify as the NOW –

As Eternal Awareness – Presence –

And not as our past personality role.

Identifying as Awareness,
we live authentically –

A Whole life, not a role life.



Ron’s audio recitation of From Role Life To Whole Life

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Undo Ego!

In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
~ Lao Tzu
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi
On the path of undo we’ll never be through
’til we’re an undone ONE.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Undo ego!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
As ego goes,
consciousness grows,
until it Knows
– Itself.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Q. How much “ego” do you need?
A. Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki Roshi





There’s nothing to do
but undo,

Until you’re through and undone.

Then, when nothing’s undone,
there’s nothing to do,

But to Be –

Free and

ONE!



Ron’s audio recitation of Undoing

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