How many times a day do you think most of us make judgements and presumptions about people, places or things? Once a day, ten times, a hundred times a day? I think perhaps we may do this thousands of times a day without any real awareness that we are doing it.
Now for some, this may be of no consequence, and you see these judgments as simply a part of human nature. But for me, I am beginning to see that this is my ego, and the very thing that creates separation and unwholesome states. So how do I, or anyone else, eliminate the ego?
Buddha’s teachings are to let go of the self. But as I have studied recently, Buddha would not confirm or deny the self or no-self. So we have both atta (self) and anatta (no-self) to consider. And while the Buddha did not answer the question, he did teach us all to question and examine for ourselves. And in my personal examination, I have seen how clearly that the self is my sole source of suffering and dissatisfaction. And I am not talking theory here, but tested and proven fact.
Whenever my thoughts or words include the word “I”, then I have instantly created an unsatisfactory condition. Whether it is thinking “I like this, or don’t like that” or “I feel good, or I feel bad”. The “I” creates a yo-yo effect and one that may seem to give momentary joy, but in fact creates momentary unhappiness as well.
Without reaching enlightenment I don’t think that any of us will completely let go of the ego. But that does not mean we cannot develop our skilfulness and wisdom greatly while we still have the opportunity. And one powerful way to develop this, is to become more aware of our judgements and presumptions. Increasing our sati-sampajañña (mindfulness with clear comprehension) by being fully present moment-by-moment. Observing these judgements on people, places and things, and being aware that ego is creating separation and unwholesome thoughts. Examine these thoughts for yourself, through your own direct experience, and see if the “I” is the real source of your dissatisfaction. Then, breath by breath, you may experience your own liberation and gratitude.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.