Ego vs Will

Many people believe they need a strong ego to live a successful life and to progress in their spiritual pursuits. This is not true. We cannot be successful in either the external or internal world while we are tossed about by a powerful ego. What success in both realms does require is a strong will.

Ego vs Will: The difference between ego and will is that the ego is blind but the will has vision. Will has its source in the pure Self. Ego springs from avidya, a false sense of identification with the external world, and is usually concerned with preserving self-image and self-identity. Ego is characterised by stubbornness, selfishness and unwillingness to compromise.

The ego is like a little pool. An egotistical person is like a frog crouching in that pool his world is small, his borders insecure. He has only a vague awareness of the trees around the pool, and he cannot begin to imagine the frog-filled marshes just beyond. From his perspective,only his own feelings and his own voice are meaningful.

The power of will, by contrast,is like a spring whose source is the Pure Being. It infuses the mind and body with enthusiasm, courage, curiosity and the energy to act. This intrinsic power of the soul is called iccha shakti, and it is from this force that all the various aspects of our personality, including the ego, derive energy to carry out their activities.

Becoming successful in the world requires a strong will, and that strong will needs to be properly guided so we develop a strong personality rather than a trivial, egotistical one. A strong personality exhibits tolerance and endurance. It has the power to vanquish an opponent, but chooses to forgive and forget instead. When egotistical,on the other hand, we demonstrate our weakness by answering a pebble with a cannon. We lose composure the moment our feelings are even slightly bruised. We have a hard time forgetting injuries we have received from others, but an even harder time remembering how much we have injured others.

A strong ego is as much of an obstacle in spiritual practice as it is in worldly matters. The stronger the ego, the bigger the hurdle it will create. However, the solution is not to kill or weaken the ego but to do our best to purify, transform and guide it properly. We can do this by employing both our intelligence and our power of discrimination.In other words, when we meditate, practice contemplation, pray,study the scriptures, serve others and seek the company of the wise we make our ego purer and less confined, and this in turn inspires us to move one step forward. As we do, the purified ego, accompanied by a sharpened intellect, gets a glimpse of the next level of awareness, and naturally aspires to reach it. Thus the ego becomes the tool for purifying and expanding itself, and in this way the petty ego is gradually transformed into an expanded, more purified ego.

Along the way it becomes increasingly apparent that this transformation must end with the ego dissolving and becoming one with the pure Self and experiencing its union with Universal Consciousness. As the ego of a dedicated seeker merges with the Infinite, all confusion disappears, the veil of duality lifts, and the purified ego sees the whole universe in itself and itself in the whole universe.

Why are we not able to progress quickly

The reason why people do not progress quickly is that they are loaded with a pile of external opinions and thoughts. If you go for a walk in the morning and someone asks you where you are going, you reply cheerfully that you are taking a walk. How cheerful your face looks!

At 10 or 11 a.m., if you are going the same route and someone asks you the same question, you answer dispiritedly: I am going to office. You no longer exude cheer, Why Because your mind is full of all kinds of ideas I have to do this, i have to do that you are burdened with the sense of doership. This is not the way, Go to the office or your shop,but plan your day in such a way as if you were a prince at play.You should take all your duties as if they are acts of amusement.

You may think, If i take my work like pastime, my business will suffer. You’re wrong, if you free yourself from anxiety and stress, you will work better. Why should you worry, You have seen the events of the past, you are seeing the present and you will also see what will come to pass in the future. At the most, you will die, and die you must some day or the other. Don’t be afraid of death; don’t try to save yourself from death, and don’t try to escape it either. Invite and welcome troubles with a challenging and playful curiosity. Then they will lose their severity.

Many people are in perpetual fear of being insulted. Insult is far better than the fear of insult. Death is preferable to the fear of death. Criticism is better than the fear of criticism. Fear fans the fire of distressing thoughts; it diminishes your energy. So live life free of fear, worry and stress.

Poet Miltons wife would chide him when he set out to walk with the aid of a walking stick. Every day you go for a walk, but what do you seek to gain from this You cant even see properly now. Milton would reply, Birds sing, winds play about and caress me. In that fresh morning air, when the dawn comes tearing the nocturnal darkness apart, it brings an untold beauty. I go to see that beauty. His wife would say, But you don’t have vision. How can you see beauty? Milton would reply: Beauty is not seen with external eyes. The eyes that see beauty are within us.

Similarly, to analyse our life there is no need of the external eye; we need the internal eye. To see how calm or happy we are, or what is the state of our mind in adverse circumstances, we don’t need external vision. We don’t require external eyes to see if we behave with equanimity in the face of troubles and insults. We require the internal eye to see whether we are influenced by praise and respect or we remain untouched by them. Therefore,instead of carrying the burden of the sense of doer or enjoyer, one should seek refuge in the enlightened ones and comprehend their witness absolute, eternal, pure, knowledge personified real Self free from all bondage.