In our daily lives we can always be reminded of the deeper meaning of this quote from the bible: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Matthew 6:3 – meaning, that although we know that to do good is to receive good (the two hands), we must work independently of this knowledge. If we think that by doing this or that good deed we will benefit from it, to whatever degree we dwell on this, we ruin the heart motive, i.e., the love of good for good’s sake (also we’re not being in the moment because we’re anticipating a future reward). In this same way, if we set out to dissolve the ego we are doomed. For one it’s already a subtle egotistical aggression against the self (“I’d be great if I killed this ego”).
Currently who we are is so mixed up with who we are not that, on one level, we needn’t start picking apart what to keep and what to discard. Some energy we have is what makes us “crazy” but some of that same energy or personality is what may make us great drummers, motocross racers or ambulance drivers, etc. Again, it seems to me that the only way around this quagmire is to meditate for the sheer love and interest in meditating. Not to become “better” and not to try to dissolve the ego. To be inquisitive without commentary. Just observing. By doing this, one begins to identify themselves as the observer instead of the observed. Celebrated Tibetan author, Sogyal Rinpoche, calls it “Sky-like Mind” as opposed to the clouds (parade of characters, all our stories, comedy/drama). That which sits behind and is never stained or marked by the temporal clouds that come and go. With this clear intention – the inconsistencies, cherished human beliefs, fears, etc., become harder to believe, harder to take seriously and therefore fall by themselves without the ego saying; “I’m never doing that again!” or “I’m gonna beat this thing!” They both sound a bit violent and egotistical, do they not?
The common analogy of your mind being like a shaken jar of water and sediment is a great one but there’s one more point that can be seen from it. The jar that is shaken represents the mind full of distractions (cloudy). Yet, if we let it sit still (meditate, focus to the exclusion of thoughts) the sediment (grasping distraction) stops or settles to the bottom, leaving a perfectly clear jar of water (“empty mind”). Once your thoughts are settled and a thought of anxiety, fear or possession arises, it’s like seeing a single particle floating in a crystal clear jar of water. You can identify it and you can also see the thread that leads to its source. You’re not searching for a needle in a haystack of a million voices all trying to speak at once. Simply put, your mind is not full of chatter. When we see the origins of these things it becomes difficult to cherish them or take them so seriously and therefore cannot maintain themselves in consciousness.
We, humanity, as a species are standing at the threshold of Conscious Consciousness (Consciousness becoming conscious of itself), the ability to deduce from within out. This is the state that allows our enlightening conversations, discovery of meditation, the sciences, music and the potentiality of full enlightenment or what is often called Self Realization, but I will add that this very same virtue is also the destroyer. With the ability to deduce from an abstract supposition comes the ability to say “what if?”, which also brings the ability to be anxious, fearful (“What if they don’t like me?”) regretful, vain and basically the ability to tether way out in dream-like free association requiring the need for meditation or focusing on the now. Fortunately what we are always doing right now is breathing. So this is why the breath is the best way to bring us back every time. If the past is over and the future has not yet come and we are spending most of our lives in these two concepts then we’re not here at all!
Dogs don’t understand mirrors. Nor do dogs understand vanity. Why is this? Because they don’t understand the concept of stepping outside of themselves and looking back. To do this requires deductive reasoning or reasoning from within out and the animal level has only unfolded, in varying degrees, to inductive reasoning or reasoning from without in. With the virtue of deductive reasoning (The Christ) comes the comment. This word is very revealing; communicating with our own mentality. It’s like saying “com-ment-ality” or even “co-ment-ality”, i.e., stepping outside one’s sense of self and looking back and commenting on it (sort of a co-brain).
Again, it is the cause of the neurotic mess that has become the so called “human condition” but at the same time, it is the wonder and glory of this elevated state of life that we are so lucky to be a part of.