From ‘Zero State’ to ‘Zero Ego’
We often hear about ‘Zero State of Mind’ or ‘Zero State Meditation’ where the seeker or meditator reaches the state of complete zero. It is that space where everything stays in neutrality. There is no duality, unlike our physical world. With continuous practice, we often experience this state in our meditation. But, is it only meant to be experienced in deep meditations? The real purpose of our meditation is to make us aware of our True Nature which is free of judgments and limiting perspective. I really like one of the sayings in Art and Science of Meditation by Dr. Newton Kondaveti where the co-author, Chitra Jha says our real meditation starts when we are ‘off the mat’. So can we make our life a meditation? Can we free ourselves from our judgments, greed, jealousy etc.? If yes, what do we need to do for it?
Once there was an erudite scientist. After a lot of experimentation, he developed a formula for reproducing himself. With continuous practice, he started to do it so perfectly that it was impossible to tell the reproduction from the original. One day while doing his research, he realized that the Angel of Death was searching for him. In order to remain immortal, he reproduced a dozen copies of himself. The reproduction was so meticulous that all of them looked exactly like him. When this Angel of Death came down, he was confused to see thirteen replicas before him. He couldn’t figure out who is the original scientist. But being an expert in human nature, the Angel came up with a clever idea. He said to the scientist addressing all thirteen of them, “Sir, you are a genius to have succeeded in making such perfect reproduction formula. However, I have discovered a flaw in your work, just a tiny little flaw.” The scientist immediately jumped out and shouted, Impossible! Where is the flaw?” “Right here,” said the Angel, as he picked up the scientist from among the reproductions and carried him off.
The whole purpose of the scientist and his formula of reproduction failed as he could not control his pride and lost his life. Our mastery of any level can be put to ashes by only one thing in us…and, it’s our EGO. It is that part in us which continuously criticises & judges, it typifies things into superior or inferior, good or bad, ugly or pretty. In other words, it is our identification with that form which gives rise to a false sense of self. It gets displayed in our thoughts, words, and actions. It separates us from our True Self which is Love, Clarity, and Oneness.
We need to be aware of our ego which comes in different forms and disguises. Even our spirituality can be ego if we try to use our personality as a status symbol. Some of the other egos can be:
- Experience Ego which says I have twenty years of experience and you are a beginner. I know more than you
- Blame Ego puts blame on others and says it’s your fault or it’s my spouse’s fault etc.
- Self-righteous Ego which projects self, nothing less than the virtuous. It puffs-up himself as better than others. It says I never talk like that to anyone or the meditation that I do is the best
- Superior Ego which says I am better than you
- Judgemental Ego which continuously passes judgment for others
- People Pleasing Ego which tries to cover up insecurities by constantly pleasing others
- Age Ego which says you have to do what I say because I am older than you
- Power Ego which separates us from the True Self because of the status we identify with. It says I am an Engineer far successful than a teacher or I am a politician, I have the power to influence people’s life the way I want
- Money Ego which says I am superior because I have a big house and money in my account or I can influence people’s decision with the power of my money
- Spiritual Ego which identifies with the sense of pride or feeling of being extraordinary. A spiritual ego person might begin to feel as he perceives himself to be attaining what he believes to be important and valuable spiritual knowledge. He forgets that the real spirituality is about being ordinary because it is in that ordinariness our extraordinary potential is staying
Not all Ego is bad. There is something called Positive Ego which helps us to focus on the facts than interpretations. It helps us to maintain the right self-esteem while giving an equal place to others in the creation. Negative Ego says, “I am closer to the Creator because I meditate every day.” Positive Ego says, “We all are divine beings and we all have an equal place in the eyes of the Creator. There is nothing closer or distant from the Creator.”
Among these egos, our negative ego displays a few characteristics. Knowing about them can be beneficial to identify our ego deeply in all walks of life. These are:
- Wanting to be right and prove someone else wrong. It focuses on creating separation
- Being offended and feeling hurt if someone gives you a feedback
- Feeling possessive of anything-possession of a person or a belief system etc. Here, we resist to change
- Trying to be someone
- Comparison with others
How can Negative Ego be dissolved?
We all wish to dissolve the ego, but most of us don’t recognise it. So, recognising or accepting ego behavior in self, makes it far easier to dissolve it. We can transcend it by using some of the tools and tips mentioned below:
Awareness: Once there was a Sufi mystic who goes to a King and asks for a meal. The king shouts at him saying that nobody there knows him. The mystic laughs and says, “Yes, I agree. Nobody knows me here. But I know myself. In your case, everybody knows you. But you don’t know yourself.” The story shares that our ego can be dissolved by being in the awareness of self. So next time, whenever we are in the midst of a strong egoistic reaction, let’s allow our awareness to take over. We become aware of our breath, become completely non-judgmental and non-resistant. That very moment, there automatically comes a gap between our thoughts and us. We create freedom from our ego thoughts. By the continuous practice of this, we will understand that we are much beyond our thoughts and all its identities. We are pure consciousness, a vast intelligence where answers to all our questions is only LOVE
Selfless Service: Being in Seva (selfless service) helps us to crush our ego. Inculcating the thoughts to be in seva for the Nature and all the kingdoms of life will definitely take us to the one who needs this seva the most. Even our small gestures in serving others make us flexible and humble. So next time, when some guest comes at your place, don’t call your help to serve water, rather go and bring it yourself for the guest and serve them as if you are serving it to the one whom you love the most
Being Open to say Sorry: Let’s not hesitate to say sorry. Statements like, “I am sorry” or “You are right, I am wrong” can break the ice instantly and our relationships can prosper with roots strong, deep inside our hearts
Deep Listening: Becoming open to present yourself to listen to others can help us understand others’ perspectives. It helps us to become flexible and look beyond our viewpoints
It is our own ignorance that makes us victim to our ego. We become ignorant of the fact that we all our divine beings and worthy of blossoming to our highest potential. We become ignorant that good and bad, light and dark are tags used in the physical world while in our real world there is no separation as everything stays in One.
Let’s own this truth…Let’s go beyond our ego…let’s make the life beautiful!!