The Ego

Yesterday, I was out looking for some books to get a head start on some Nursing classes and I came across this book called ” A New Earth- Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle. I have heard of him before by some friends and heard a couple of his dvds but never really took them so seriously at the moment. I am so glad I picked up this book though. I have only gotten 74 pages into it and I cannot put it down. This is the kind of book I def needing to read right now.

His inspiration for the title came from a bible prophecy. In both the new and old testament it speaks of an arising of ” a new heaven and a new earth.” Heaven is not a location but it refers to the inner relm of conciousness. ” A new heaven” is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and ” a new earth” is its reflection in the physical relm.

He starts off by first talking about how in some ways human beings or any life-form in any realm-mineral,vegetable,animal or human-can be said to undergo “englightenment.” There is a certain degree of a presence, of still and alert attention in human beings perceptions. We usually only see our outer forms and are never really aware of the inner. Something or someone with little or no presence can occasionally sense that there is more then than the physical exsistence.

An essential part of your awakening is the recognition of the unawakened you, the ego as it thinks, speaks and acts. The book shows us the main aspects in which the ego operates in the individual and also the collective form. One; we have to truely know the workings behind the ego or we wont be able to recongnize it, and it will trick us into identifying with it over and over again. Two; the act of recognition itself is one of the ways in which awakening happens. When you recognize the unconsciousness in you this is awakening. He refers to it as this, ” You cannot fight against the ego and win, just as you cannot fight against darkness!” The light of the consciousness is all that is necessary and we(you) are that light.

He then goes on to talk about how we have a inherited dysfunction. Certain teachings come close to seeing this dysfunction. Hinduism is the closest; they call it maya, the veil of delusion. the mind is maya.

Buddhism refers to it as, the human mind is in its normal state of dukkha, which could be translated as suffering, unsatisfactories, or just plain misery. He sees it as a charactersitic of the human mind. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you will encounter dukkha, and it will manifest in every situation sooner or later.

According to christianity teachings, it is “original sin.” Sin is a word that has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. To sin means to miss the mark. So to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskilfully, blindly and thus to suffer and cause suffering. The term has been stripped of its cultural baggage which their points to the dysfunction in the human condition.

He then just continues to talk about how science and technology have magnified the destructive impact  that the dysfunction of the human mind has upon the planet and other life forms and even upon humans themselves.

We are generally driven by fear, greed and the desire for power. Those three factors are not only the motivating force behind warefare and violence but also between nations, tribes, religions and ideologies, but also the cause of conflict in personal relationships.  Fear, greedm and desire for power are not the dysfunction that we are speaking of, but are themselves created by the dysfunction. A number of spiritual teachings tell us to let go of fear and desire. But those spiritual practices are usually unsuccessful. They haven’t gone to the root of the dysfunction.  Trying to become a good or “better” human being cannot happen unless there is a shift in consciousness.  You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already there and allowing it to emerge. BUT…it can only emerge if something fundamental changes your state of conciousness.

People make plans without taking into account the blueprint for this dysfunction that every human being has: the ego.

He then talks about the arising of the human consciousness. Here he basically is just saying that in many teachings there is a common insight the our “normal” state of mind is marred by this fundamental defect. The greatest achievement of humanity is not in its workings of art, science or technology but in the recognition of its own dysfunction; its own madness. Many of these teachings, although very simple and powerful, became distorted an misinterpreted(again), even as they were recorded in writing by disciples.  Over the centuries many things were added that had nothing to do with the original teachings. So therefore, to a larger extent became divisive rather than unifying forces. They became ideoligies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them they could make themselves “right” and others “wrong.”

Those unable to look beyond form become even more deeply entrenched in their beliefs, that is to say, in their mind. This is an intensification of the ego.

From their he continues to talk about the many ways in which the ego indentifies with us and how it operates. I had highlighted some key points in which he makes. The ego wants. The ego identifies with having but its satisfaction in having is a relatively shallow and short-lived one. “I don’t have enough yet.” is the egos way of saying ” I am not enough yet.” Some egos know what they want and pursue their aim with grim and ruthless determination.  The energy behind their wanting, however, creates an opposing energy that in the end leads to their downfall. They make themselves and many others unhappy, or, in the larger-than-life examples, create hell on earth. Most egos have conflicting wants. They want diferent things at different times or may not even know what they want except that they don’t want what is: the present moment.

Complaining and resentment are two of the favorite strategies the ego uses to strengthen itself. Resentment is the emotion that goes with complaining and the mental labeling of people and adds even more energy to the ego. When you react to another, you strengthen in yourself. Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways of going beyond ego in yourself. You can only be in a state of nonreaction if you can recognize someone’s behavior as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. Nonreaction is not weakness but strength.

From here on out, i am just going to write out things that I have highlighted that stood out to me. They might not all be on the same topic but all have to do with the ego and the dysfunction.

-The ego loves to make wrong in order to be right.

– The history of christianity is, of course, a prime example of how the belief that you are in sole possession of the truth, that is to say, right, can corrupt your actions and behavior to the point of insanity.

-Doctorines, ideologies, sets or rules. What do they all have in common? They are made up of thought. Thought can at best point to the truth, but it never is the truth.

– Can Truth be put into words? Yes, but the words are, of course, not it. They only point to it.

– Laws, commandements, rules, and regulations are necessary for those who are cut off from who they are, the Truth within.

– Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind.


There will be more to come. I am so excited about being able to finish this book. Its great!! 😀


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