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Transcending Ego-Suffering

“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda



Introduction to “Transcending Ego-Suffering”

Dear Friends,

Perennial spiritual teachings ascribe all human suffering to “ego” – mistaken mental self-identity as life-forms separate from non-duality Reality. Thus “ego” is considered a psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable. However, ego-suffering can be karmically mitigated as we spiritually evolve, but not ended until it is totally transcended.

To reduce our suffering and advance our spiritual evolution toward ultimate Self-Realization ending “ego”, I have posted below a poem titled “What is Ego?”, a carefully culled quotation collection about ego, and my explanatory comments which help define and explain the fundamental spiritual importance of “ego”, and why reducing and transcending ego-suffering is especially important in these troubled times.

May these writings inspire and encourage us to let go of who we mistakenly think we are, so we can enjoy more and suffer less, until ultimately we realize and BE what we truly are.

Thus, they are deeply dedicated to helping us live with ever-growing happiness, until our ultimate transcendence of ego-suffering – as ego-free LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


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.



Ron’s audio recitation of What is Ego?

Listen to



Quotation Collection About “Transcending Ego-Suffering”


“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”

~ Rig Veda


“Thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth



“I hold three treasures
 close to my heart.

The first is love;

The next simplicity;

The third, overcoming ego.”

~ Lao Tzu

“If you correct your mind,
the rest of your life will fall into place.”
~ Lao Tzu

“When I let go of what [I think] I am,

I become what I might be.”

~ Lao Tzu

“The mind is a bundle of thoughts.
The thoughts arise because there is the thinker.
The thinker is the ego.
The ego, if sought, will automatically vanish.
The ego and the mind are the same.
The ego is the root-thought from which all other thoughts arise.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


“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


“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


“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.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


”When all the false self-identifications are thrown away,
what remains is all-embracing love.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Life is love and love is life.” 

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Only if one knows the truth of Love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only Love, which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.”
~ Buddha

“All bad qualities center round the ego. .. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only.”
“The mind is only a bundle of thoughts [with] their root in the I-thought. Whoever investigates the True “I” enjoys the stillness of bliss.”
“All unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble.
If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it you would be free.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

“This perception of division between the seer and the object that is seen,
is situated in the mind. For those remaining in the heart, the seer becomes one with the sight.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi


“Nothing perceivable is real. Your attachment is your bondage. You cannot control the future.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj



“In Hinduism, the very idea of free will is non-existent,

so there is no word for it.

Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.” . . . .

“To be free in the world you must be free of the world.

Otherwise your past decides for you and your future.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj



“Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen…
In the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation.”

~ Swami Vivekananda


“[T]here cannot be any such thing as free will; the very words are a contradiction, because will is what we know and everything that we know is within our universe, and everything within our universe is moulded by the conditions of space, time, and causation. Everything that we know, or can possibly know, must be subject to causation, and that which obeys the law of causation cannot be free.”

“The only way to come out of bondage is to go beyond the limitations of law,
to go beyond causation.”

“This is the goal of the Vedantin, to attain freedom while living.”

~ Swami Vivekananda – Karma Yoga


“To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe;
it cannot be found here. ….
The only way to come out of bondage
is to go beyond the limitations of [natural] law,
 to go beyond causation.”

~ Swami Vivekananda



“The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage! Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves, but they are like heat haze.”

~ 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

“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”
“In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.”
“We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”
~ Dalai Lama



“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

~ Albert Einstein



“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,

they are modes in which we think”.

~ Albert Einstein



“It is true that we are not bound. That is to say, the real Self has no bondage. And it is true that you will eventually return to your Source. But meanwhile, if you commit sins, as you call them, you have to face the consequences. You cannot escape them.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



“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



“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



“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.”

~ Eckhart Tolle



“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



“Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.”

~ Rumi



“The choice that frees or imprisons us is the choice of love or fear.

Love liberates. Fear imprisons.”

~ Gary Zukav



“Deep down, at our cores, there are only two emotions:
love and fear.

All positive emotions come from love,

all negative emotions from fear.

From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy.

From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt.”

~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler – When You Don’t Choose Love You Choose Fear



“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” . . .

~ 1 John 4:18



“When fear becomes collective, when anger becomes collective, it’s extremely dangerous. It is overwhelming…
The mass media and the military-industrial complex create a prison for us, so we continue to think, see, and act in the same way…
We need the courage to express ourselves even when the majority is going in the opposite direction… because a change of direction can happen only when there is a collective awakening…
Therefore, it is very important to say, ‘I am here!’ to those who share the same kind of insight.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power



“Many people are so imprisoned in their minds that the beauty of nature does not really exist for them. They might say, ‘What a pretty flower,’ but that’s just a mechanical mental labeling. Because they are not still, not present, they don’t truly see the flower, don’t feel it’s essence, it’s holiness-just as they don’t know themselves, don’t feel their own essence, their own holiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle



“The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears. When you reach the place of tears, then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the new age.”

~ Isaac of Nineveh, 7th C. Orthodox Saint and Persian Mystic



”One of the marvels of the world:

The sight of a soul sitting in prison

with the key in its hand.”

~ Rumi



“I long to escape the prison of my ego
 and lose myself in you.”

~ Rumi



“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”

~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)



“One must elevate – and not degrade – oneself with one’s own mind, as the mind is both a friend and an enemy.

For those who have subdued and conquered the mind, it is the best of friends. But for those who fail to do so, the mind remains the greatest of enemies.”

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Six, Lord Krishna to Arjuna



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 Comments on “Transcending Ego-Suffering”

Dear Friends,

Perennial spiritual teachings ascribe all human suffering to “ego” – mistaken mental self-identity as individually separate from non-duality Reality. Thus “ego” is considered a psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable.

Before my 1976 spiritual awakening I was self-identifying only with my physical body and its story; not with Nature or our Universal Source and Eternal Essence. But since then I’ve become consciously aware that (like almost all other humans) I’m psychologically ‘imprisoned’ by mistaken ego thoughts of being separate from others, Nature, and SELF. And I’ve learned that while mentally ‘imprisoned’ by ego we inevitably suffer from karmic cause and effect.

Therefore, to reduce our ego-suffering and advance our spiritual evolution toward ultimate Self-Realization, I have posted the above quotation collection and poem, which define and explain the fundamental spiritual importance of “ego”, and how we can transcend it.

Reducing and transcending inevitable ego-suffering is especially important in these troubled times, because “ego” can be the greatest impediment to spiritual evolution and Self-realization.

However, as human consciousness ever evolves we are remembering our long forgotten true Self-identity, and universal Oneness with Nature and SELF. And thereby we are consciously reducing ego-suffering, with increasingly harmonious, loving and compassionate behaviors and emotions toward all Life everywhere.

Thus, today’s posting is deeply dedicated to encouraging our living with ever-growing happiness, until our ultimate transcendence of ego-suffering – as ego-free LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


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