Book Club Notes – A New Earth, Chapter 3

The Core of Ego

Most of us are conditioned to believe that we are our thoughts; we are possessed by our minds.  Many of us are unaware that we are not our thoughts that we are instead the observer of our thoughts.  First though we need to step back out of our story and observe where our thoughts take us.  Our thoughts lead us to take on different roles depending on our life experiences.  “The content of the ego changes from person to person, but in every ego the same structure operates.  …egos differ only on the surface.  Deep down they are the same.  …They live on identification and separation.”(pg 60)  It is easier to stay in this egoic state when we are fault finding or seeing others as our enemy.  This really helps us to find our separateness and at times our “rightness” in many situations.

“Complaining is one of the egos favorite strategies for strengthening itself.” (pg 61)  This is interesting to me that whether you complain aloud or to yourself it is the same.  It becomes your story; it becomes habitual, and unconscious.  We are totally unaware that we are complaining.  (pg 61)  Resentment goes along with complaining.  It helps energize the ego.  When resentful and complaining we apply negative labels to others.  One level below labeling and name calling is shouting and screaming and then down a bit further is physical violence.  In all these scenarios we are feeling totally separate and working to feel powerful and to feel “right”.  The easiest way for the ego to feel “right” is to find fault in others.
On page 62 he says that  “What you react to in another, you  strengthen in yourself.”

“Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego.” (pg 62)  To do this we have to be able to recognize that whatever is happening is coming from the ego, is a part of “collective human dysfunction”.  (pg 62)  Once we realize it is not personal, there is nothing to react against.  Staying non reactive can bring calm to many upsetting situations.  Yet, this is difficult to do and when we are not aware we become reactive, always waiting for the next thing to react to.  (pg 65)  Reactivity and resentment can lead to a grievance.  “To carry a grievance is to be in a permanent state of “against”.” ( pg 65)  Grievances are a recollection often from the distant past of something very upsetting.  These memories are kept alive by compulsive thinking and retelling our story.  When we are caught up in the retelling or remembering of the grievance, we are not living in the present moment, we are missing out on life around us.  Our story becomes deeply entrenched and we believe we are our story. ( pg 65)

When talking with others and we state a fact and another challenges the fact, it is not ego to say the reason behind the fact and let it go at that.  But if we go on to say, “believe me, I know” or “why don’t you ever believe me” that is ego speaking.  (pg 67)  Going into I am right and you are wrong in any relationship is a “dangerous” thing. (pg 69)  He then discusses how this has been used in Religious and Political ideologies.   This has caused divisiveness and conflict between people.  ( pg 71)

Ekhart says “there is only one absolute Truth, and all other truths emanate from it.  When you find that Truth, your actions will be in alignment with it.  Human action can reflect the Truth, or it can reflect illusion.   Can the Truth be put into words?  Yes, but the words are, of course not it.  They only point to it.”  (pg 71)  He goes on to say that “You are the Truth.  If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time.”  (pg 71)  He then quotes Jesus “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (pg 71)  Here he explains that the words I Am, refers to the essence identity of every man and woman, every life form. ( pg 71)  This is what some call the “Christ Within”.   When you are in touch with that aspect of yourself, “all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within.” (72)

War is a mind set and as Ekhart says, when we are crusading in a War on Drugs, Cancer, Heart Disease, etc, we are doomed to failure.  He says when we treat the disease as an enemy we go on to create more diseases.  He quotes a study in the Journal of American Medical Association that state the medical treatment is the 3 leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer.  “War is a mind set and all action that comes out of such a mind-set will either strengthen the enemy,  the perceived evil, or, if the war is won, will create a new enemy, a new evil equal to or worse than the one defeated. “ (pg 76)  He suggests looking at alternative approaches.

When ego is in reactive state it is difficult to stay the observer or “witnessing Presence”.  We want recognition, power.  When we become aware of what the ego is doing and instead go within to silence we realize great peace.  “Once you have had a taste of it, you will grow in Presence power, and the ego will lose its grip on you.”  “All that is required to become free of the ego is to be aware of it, since awareness and ego are incompatible. “ (pg 78)  The realization that I cannot find myself in thoughts and things that continuously pass away.  (pg 78) Then I realize that what remains is the deeper true I.  Life looses its absolute seriousness, its heaviness when we are continuously aware of our inner being, our presence our oneness with all.

Thanks to you ladies who came today.  It was a great discussion thanks to your participation.  Have a wonderful week.

Just a reminder that there will be no Book Club next week, as the Yoga Immersion course is on next Saturday.  See you in two weeks.  Enjoy your reading!


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