Ancient Hindu texts are a rich source of insight into the nature of man‟s ego.
“…The ego gropes in darkness, while the Self lives in light…” ~ The Katha Upanishad
“The ego is like a stick dividing water in two. It creates the impression that you are one and I am another. When the ego vanishes you will realize that Brahman is your own inner consciousness.” ~ Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Ancient Eastern religious texts are available primarily as translations and excerpts. They are filled with references to ego and advice for living with or managing ego. Ego appears to have been a very key concept in understanding their relationship to God.
The Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions are considered to be Western traditions and are relatively young at about 2,000 years old. The basis of Jewish sacred texts is the Torah, which became the first five books of the Bible used by Christianity. The principal message of the Torah is the absolute unity of God, His creation of the world and His concern for it.
The Koran is the sacred text of Islam. However, most of the Western world is more familiar with the wisdom provided by the poet, Rumi; also a Sunni Muslim Islamic Jurist, a theologian and Sufi mystic. His current popularity is the result of his tolerance of all religions, and the emphasis he placed on love and charity in his teachings.
“If the foot of the trees were not tied to earth, they would be pursuing me. For I have blossomed so much, I am the envy of the gardens.” ~ Rumi
“The idol of your self is the mother of all idols. To regard the self as easy to subdue is a mistake.” ~ Rumi
Sylvia Brown provides a concise description of many indigenous and Native American spiritual beliefs in her book End of Days. The recurring theme in these traditions is a deep regard for the earth and for the plant and animal kingdoms. This regard for animate and inanimate creation outside of the human being demonstrates an awareness of the Oneness of creation and sensitivity to the damaging power of ego.
Clearly, man has had ample opportunity to examine the state of his ego long before Sigmund Freud gave us a proper name and definition for it. It appears that Freud ushered in a new era of thought regarding ego. The ways in which he dissected, analyzed, and proposed curing its ailments, removed any and all spiritual consideration. This mentality became the basis for psychology, sociology and much of the self-help literature that appeared through the latter half of the twentieth century.
The Western world has embraced science and disregarded ego almost since the inception of Christianity. The sacred texts of the Western world provided ample guidance on the matter of ego, yet it appears largely ignored. In fact, strong ego is even admired in certain occupations; including lawyers, politicians, sports figures, and business leaders.
Now as we have entered the twenty-first century we are seeing a new kind of literature entering the market. Interestingly, this literature is the result of science proving what spirituality has been telling us since ancient times.
The Divine Matrix by Gregg Braden, describes a web of energy that connects absolutely everything in the universe. Miraculously, this web is affected by emotion pointing directly back to the power of each individual to influence the world by their thoughts.
Blinded by Science by Matthew Silverstone, investigates the ground-breaking principle that everything vibrates and therefore has an effect on everything else. Water is particularly susceptible to vibration, holding on to it for long periods of time. This has implications for sleep disorders, homeopathy, healing, body rhythms, lunar cycles and much more.
The rise in quantum physics, which is where these amazing new discoveries are being made, coincides with a spiritual movement called Oneness. Authors like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Don Miguel Ruiz and others, are capturing large audiences, hungry for a gentler life filled with meaning and purpose.
The literature seems to mimic the circle of life. We begin knowing that ego separates us from the world; we succumb to the darkness of our ego and wreak havoc on the world; and finally we experience an awakening which brings us back to understanding that beyond our ego, we are all one.
The challenge before us is to fashion a peaceful world where some live in ego while others are awakening to the desire to transcend it. The Awakening is in its infancy, and it seems the ramifications of the coming change haven‟t dawned on the world as yet. Books like Suze Orman’s Action Plan: New Rules for New Times may be just the beginning of what we are going to see in coming years. Orman‟s book is an acknowledgement that we are entering a new economic era that promises to be difficult and long term. Practical books like this one help everyone navigate through the changes that are occurring, without regard to one‟s level of spiritual enlightenment.