Question: I am still having trouble distinguishing between the I and the Ego.
Jan: The I is an illusion arising from identification with the ego. The ego is a construct of your past experiences and reactions to them. The I is George, the ego is Georges’s personality. Usually the two are identified with each other since they really form a complex and are not as separate as i try to describe them. In reality the Self is neither. I assure you, it is like in a dream, when you totally believe yourself to be some person, then wake up to discover you are not. Self is pure being. It has no ego. With respect to being Selfrealized, the nature of the ego is completely irrellevant. You can be a nice person or a temperamental person, or what ever. The Self does not care. It is an illusion that only some egos are worthy of Self-realization. Unfortunately “spiritual” people use this weird idea to denigrate others and to feel proud internally.
Q: People tell me I have a strong ego and I have to dump it.
J: What people are telling you may be right about the personality of George. My intuition is that what you mean is not that you are selfish, but that you are a strong individual. There is no problem with that. On the contrary: If you want to be able to cope with strong spiritual experiences, you need a strong personality/ego. Weak egos may become disintegrated and may develop psychological problems once one begins to merge with nothingness-being-bliss and kundalini seriously begins to work on one.
Q : Did you dump your ego before you attained Realization?
J: As you have guessed by now, I did not “dump” my ego before attaining the Self. But the illusion of being one with Jan suddenly burst, then “I” imploded into the Self and “understood” my true nature by being it completely.
So I recommend you don’t worry much (a little is good) about what people say when they evaluate you. It is not good to evaluate others, nor is it good to be evaluated. It helps nothing at all, it only causes inner turbulence and more ego-identification. So just ignore them. Instead try to transcend the identification with the ego. One way to do this is very hard and difficult, yet it is what most “spiritual” people intuitively opt for: destroying the ego. Of course, if you destroy the ego, then the separation from the Self MAY (not necessarily WILL) become thinner. On the other hand it may build up spiritual ego instead, which is very difficult to deal with and transcend. An other way is to understand the distinction between Self and the I/ego complex and then try to step out of it with your spiritual practices. Here I followed the path of bliss/kundalini and it took me there. Finally gnan vidhi made the flip for me, but you know that from my website. This path is what I try to convey on the website.
Q: But shouldn’t you fight the ego?
J: Yes, you do have to “fight” the ego. Why? Because the fight itself is a spiritual practice that helps you dissociate from the ego and thus reduce the identification. The results of the fight are of secondary importance. Most people have got this turned upside down and believe the results of the fight are the most important thing, but that is because they identify themselves with the ego and think the changes in the ego is progress towards Self-realization, – in truth it is not. You can change the ego from now on till eternity and still never get a bit closer to Self-realization. What you need is to step out of the ego-game — and remember correcting the ego is one part of the game.
Q: What about unselfishness?
J: As I write in one of the satsangs, you should strive to be a decent person, and strive to be better than that also. You should practice being unselfish. It needs a strong ego to be unselfish! Weak egos have a hard time being unselfish, because they can’t cope with the loss and also need the gratification of the sense of having something or of being right or whatever is at issue. Spend some time every week doing something simply for other peoples sake. I teach meditation for free one evening every week and give free shakti transmissions; that’s one thing to do, which I am good at and enjoy, so that was a natural thing for me; also I run the lovebliss website and spend time answering mails. You find your own field. Find something enjoyable, of course; no need to harrass yourself. Also it is good to practice being humble. You can be very humble internally, while others may see you as a strong ego or arrogant; so once again, do not be overly concerned about others evaluation of your ego — you are NOT the ego, so it does not really matter. Love of God is fine too, since it is a way to develop love without concern for the circumstances or the reward. Love God while thinking he is hiding in others, and thus you will love others also. In reality this is love of the Pure Soul in others, from your Pure Soul to theirs.
Q: My understanding is that if I keep cultivating the love for Self and All that the ego will eventually be displaced
J: No. that is not how it works if your goal is Self-realization. What do you expect to displace the ego with? The Self? No, It can only be an other ego. Maybe a nicer ego, but never the less an ego. The Self is not a new kind of personality, you suddenly acquire. After primary Self-realization, the good old ego is still there; nothing changes in that respect. The Self and the ego are entirely separate. Only much later will they merge, but that is beyond our present issue. Once you reach primary Self-realization (oneness with the Self as nothingness-being, without lovebliss), then the ego will begin to transform by itself, it will begin to dissolve. So don’t worry about dissolving the ego now, concern yourself with getting free.
Once that is said, do “keep cultivating the love for Self and All”. But be carefull it is not just an ego game. You can tell the difference if your cultivation is for your own gratification (in order to fell good and proud about your spirituality and self), or if you do unselfish work simply out of kindness and love for simply doing good to and for others. This is the true meaning of the word Seva (selfless service).
Q: Do you teach that the relative self has to drop the motivation/desire to awaken?
J: No, the motiviation to awaken does not have to be given up. Why should it? If that was so, then all motivations/desires would have to be given up and that is not possible or at least so difficult, you can forget about it. But the state of the Self is desireless. It’s not a matter of purifying the small self to a point where it resembles the Self, that is not possible. Its more a matter of illusion suddenly bursting and you realize you are nothingness-being. From that nothingness-being you witness Georges motivations/desires. So no need to get rid of them. But reducing them is always good, of course. Just don’t set goals that can never be reached. Lastly, it is not the relative self that awakens; self awareness steps out of self and, in fact, collapses into pure being. This is a rather sudden thing, when it happens, but not necessarily dramatic. You just suddenly don’t think you are George anymore and it dawns on you, you are nothingness-being. Only later will the lovebliss emerge.
Q : I think you recommend taking Shaktipat after Gnan Vidhi?
J: I recommend shaktipat any time – and gnan vidhi any time. They are not related.
~ Jan Esmann
View Here on Jan Esmann’s interview.