TAPE 1, SIDE 1
RC: I guess what we're going to try to do is figure out a way to bring together the material about the ego. We've been going through the material and maybe first what we should do is establish an overall context and then try to focus in on some of the details. This quote is the longest one and probably one of the most complete ones I've found so far. It was written fairly recently, in the last couple of years. It was in a brown vinyl notebook and labeled one through twenty eight and it's the first one in section eight which is the section about the ego in the new category.
PB: ``In all human activity the ego plays its role, and so long as this activity continues the ego continues. There is much confusion and much misunderstanding about this point. We are told to kill out the ego; we are also told that the ego does not exist. The fact is it must exist if activity exists. What then is to be done by the spiritual aspirant? He can bring and must eventually bring the ego into subjection to the Higher power. It is still there, but it is put in its proper place. Now why are we told to kill out the ego if it is not possible? The answer is that it is possible, but only in what is the deepest point of meditation, called Nirvikalpa in Sanskrit, where all thoughts are blotted out, all sense reports cease to exist, and a kind of trancelike condition comes into being. In this condition, the ego is unable to exist; it becomes inoperative but it is certainly not killed or it would not return again after the condition ends as it must end. It does not really help to assert that the ego does not exist or if it does exist that it must be killed. The fact is it must be taken into account by everybody who seeks the higher life: whatever theories he entertains about the ego, it is there, it must be reckoned with, it must be confronted. Some of the confusion is due to the fact that the ego is a changing thing; it changes with time and experience, whereas the Infinite Being, the Ultimate, is changeless. In that sense reality cannot be ascribed to the ego, but only in that ultimate sense. We however, are living down here, in time and space, and to ignore that fact is to cultivate intellectual deaf and dumbness.''(8a-indb.4 (bv/75/1) 8.1.190 and Persp. p. 98)
PB: ``Yes the ego is there and must be there if we are to live on this plane. But it can undergo a spiritual rebirth and no longer be a tyrant who denies us our spiritual birthright and our spiritual consciousness but rather a channel serving that consciousness.''(8.1.222)
RC: There are a few more introductory quotes, again for the context. This one is from the second set of eleven, the orange volume in the library. I'm just going to try to pick out a sequence from that set. Here's one on page 27 that says that;
PB: ``A correct estimate of the ego's strength will explain why some aspirants make such slow progress.'' (8.4.3)
RC: And on page 30 he says that;
PB: ``Although the ego claims to be engaged in a war against itself, we may be certain that it has no intention of allowing a real victory to be achieved but only a pseudo-victory. The simple conscious mind is no match for such cunning. This is one reason why out of so many spiritual seekers, so few really attain union with the Overself, and why self-deceived masters soon get a following whereas the true ones are left in peace, untroubled by such eagerness.'' (8.4.316//Persp. p. 98)
RC: He says that;
PB: ``If the ego is to perpetuate itself it must enter into all the mind's activities, not merely in the baser ones. This is exactly what does happen. The spiritual aspirations, the moral ideals, and even the mystical experiences are themselves inverted projections of the ego. Through them the ``I'' is able to expand itself into an ``I'' greater, grander, happier, and stronger than before. If they are not its own creations, providing shelter or disguise for it, then they are soon infiltrated and betrayed, undermined or permeated, until they feed and nourish the very self they were supposed to get away from.'' (Persp. p. 96 only)
RC: And then this one, as sort of the last one for context:
PB: ``If anyone complains that despite all his efforts he is unable to see the Overself, it can only be because he stubbornly persists in seeing his own ``I'' with every effort. It is this which blocks the other from his sight. Hence it is this that he must remove.'' ((11g/35/43) 8.4.84)
PB: ``The fact is that they fear to be given the answer to the question, ``Who am I?'' It might require them to desert their little egos.''((11g/35/44) 8.4.138)
RC: These are from about page 27 to 36 in that volume. There's also one there, maybe somebody else has seen it. It's in this volume. He speaks about how the ego obligingly provides itself with a spiritual path.
AD: Can you read that one that the ego provides the spiritual path?
RC: Page 5, number 33 in the orange number 11.
PB: ``The ego not only obligingly provides him with a spiritual path to keep him busy for several years and thus keeps him from tracking it down to its lair; it even provides him with a spiritual illumination to authenticate that path. Need it be said that this conterfeit illumination is another form of the ego's own agrandizement.''(8.4.321 AND PERSP. P. 99)
AD: Do you think you could find or try to recall anything on what the ego IS?
(Q: RG reading)
PB: ``The ego is cunning, subtle, insidious. Even when the aspirant has long left a grosser kind of life behind him, it inserts itself into his prayers and meditations alike, and enters most of his inner work.''(8.4.288)
PB: ``The persona, the mask which he presents to the world, is only one part of his ego. The conscious nature, composed of thoughts and feelings, is the second part. The hidden store of tendencies, impulses, memories, and ideas--formerly expressed and then reburied, or brought over from earlier lives, and all latent--is the third part.''(8.3.17//Persp. p.102)
(Q: para re-read upon student request.)
RC: Fourteen and eleven, number 27, red. (Q: Page numbers have been changed --jf)
AD: Any others?
RC: One from the orange one, number 11, page 47, #64.
PB: ``There is no real ego but only a quick succession of thoughts which constitute the ``I'' process. There is no separate entity forming the personal consciousness but only a series of impressions, ideas, images revolving around a common centre. The latter is completely empty; the feeling of something being there derives from a totally different plane--that of the Overself.''(8.2.31)
(Q: RG reading)
PB: ``The personal ego of man forms itself out of the impersonal life of the universe like a wave forming itself out of the ocean. It constricts, confines, restricts, and limits that infinite life to a small finite area. The wave does just the same for the water of the ocean. The ego shuts out so much of the power and intelligence contained in the universal being that it seems to belong to an entirely different and utterly inferior order of existence. The wave, too, since it forms itself only on the surface of the water gives no indication in its tiny stature of the tremendous depth and breadth and volume of water beneath it.
. . .The work of the quest is simply this: to free the ego from its self-imposed limitations, to let the wave of conscious being subside and straighten itself out into the waters whence it came. The little wave is thus re-converted into the infinite Overself.''(Q: above 2 paragraphs same quote with some missing; 8.1.102)
RC: 23 and 27, #19 (Q: page numbers have been changed--jf)
AD: Do you want anybody to read some more notes?
PB: ``The ego is after all only an idea. It derives its seeming actuality from a higher source. If we make the inner effort to search for its origin we shall eventually find the Mind in which this idea originated. That mind is the Overself. This search is the Quest. The self-separation of the idea from the mind which makes its existence possible, is egoism.''(8.1.9)
LdA: vol 14, page 10, 34.
AD: Read that again, Louis, please.
(Q: LDa reread the para)
RC: This is from orange 11, page 46.
PB: ``By thought, the ego was made; by thought the ego's power can be unmade. But the thought must be directed toward a higher entity, for the ego's willingness to attack itself is only a pretense. . . ''(Q: only the first part of this para was read (18.1.77))
PB: ``The teaching that the ego does not exist. . . can help no one, can only creates intellectual confusion and thus harm the search for truth. But the teaching that the ego is only an idea--however strongly held by the mind--and as such does exist, can help everyone in the struggle for self-mastery and can throw intellectual light on the search for truth.''(8.2.27)
PB: ``The ego is only a field of force, not a real entity in its own right. Or, it is a composite of thoughts assembled together, not a real individual.''(8.2.36)
PB: ``This ego is a collection of thoughts circulating around a fixed but empty centre. If the habits of many, many reincarnations had not given them such strength and persistence, they could be voided. The reality--MIND--could then reveal Itself.''(8.2.37)
RC: page 50 from the same volume. Excuse me, page 51;
PB: ``The ego to which he is so attached turns out on enquiry to be none other than the presence of World-Mind within his own heart. If identification is then shifted by constant practice from one to the other, he has achieved the purpose of life.''(8.1.127)
S: Will you repeat that?
(Q: above para re-read.)
RC: Then there's one here that's kind of interesting, page 52 from the same volume.
PB: ``Jung thought he had found, in what he called the unconscious, the source which twisted, negated, or opposed the ego's ideals. This source was the shadow. He needed to go farther and deeper for then he would have known the shadow to be the ego itself.''(8.3.29)
PB: ``To trace the ego to its lair is to observe its open and covered manifestations, to analyse, comprehend and note their ever-changing ephemerality. Finally it too turns out to be but a thought structure--empty, and capable of dissolution like all thoughts.''(8.4.387)
DB: Are we permitted to ask questions if we don't understand something or do you want to read all of them . . .
AD: Let's stop and ask questions if not sure.
DB: The quote just prior to the one you read I think--where I believe he said that the ego turned out to be the presence of the World Mind within the individual part. The one just before that he spoke of the ego as being before . . . before that he spoke of this empty fixed center around which these thoughts were collected--that the center would be investigated and found [?]. So are we looking at the same thing from two different points of view or I'm afraid I don't understand. I can't put both those ideas together under the same name.
RC: What's your question?
DB: There are two definitions given for the ego: the one where it's spoken of as being present to the World Mind and the other definition is as what . . . ?
RC: . . . An empty center, with strongly thought thought swirling around it.
DB: Right. Now the empty center is what is discovered upon analysis or introspection--something. I mean you don't start out with that idea. You start out with the notion that there's something quite real about that. And it's only after investigation when you come out with that's what it is.
AD: Shouldn't you read the two of them then?
(Q: long silence.)
RC: Let's see. Maybe these two.
PB: ``There is no real ego but only a quick succession of thoughts which constitute the ``I'' process. There is no separate entity forming the personal consciousness but only a series of impressions, ideas, images revolving round a common centre. The latter is completely empty; the feeling of something being there derives from a totally different plane--that of the Overself.''(repeat, 8.2.31)
PB: ``The ego to which he is so attached turns out on enquiry to be none other than the presence of World- Mind within his own heart. If identification is then shifted by constant practice from one to the other, he has achieved the purpose of life.'' (repeat, 8.1.127)
(Q: unintelligible question)
RC: The way I'm understanding . . . there's another quote I don't seem to have right . . . available right now . . . but it distinguishes between the feeling of being an ``I'' and its participation in its universal feeling of being and the lower plane of personal thoughts, feelings, attachments and so on into which that feeling gets projected. And the way that I'm understanding it is that insofar as you project that legitimate feeling of being, the presence of the World Mind within the heart, as long as you project that into the level of the personal attachment and self interest of the personality, you take the . . . plane that it's projected into to have more reality that it does.
(Q: unintelligible questions)
LD: Is he equating those two? I think that's David's question. Equating the World Mind as in the heart and in the other quote as thought going around the empty center--the empty center and the World Mind in the heart.
MB: I thought he clearly said that the center which is supposed to be the center which the ego takes as its own center is empty on that level, but on another plane there is that presence of the Overself in that center. But not at the same level which the ego takes it to be at.
BS: Did he say it was empty, but not empty as the Overself in that center? Therefore it seems that the Overself would be the real ground for the so-called fictitious ``I'' which is called the ego, or the ego which is called the ``I''.
(Q: VM reading)
PB: ``There is no real ego but only a quick succession of thoughts which constitute the ``I'' process. There is no separate entity forming the personal consciousness but only a series of impressions, ideas, images revolving round a common centre. The latter is completely empty; the feeling of something being there derives from a totally different plane--that of the Overself.''(repeat, 8.2.31)
VM: In other words, the heart center gets involved in this ego complex--the whirling thoughts and desires and attachments and empirical personality--its sense of being or its sense of identity is coming from another plane--the heart center. And I guess the idea is to make that transition out of the life of the ego and desires and so on and try and refocus the energy and turn inward and that's the meaning of life--in another quote--or to being able to accomplish that . . .
HS: Would you say that what you take to be that center is an instantiation of an idea of a person?
VM: I guess you could say that it's a perverted expression of the idea.
HS: At the epicenter, the presence of the Overself is now taken to be captured by the whirling series of thoughts.
VM: I was trying to say that I think maybe one way you could look at the ego is that it's the most imitation expression of the idea of man that you could imagine.
HS: The ego?
(Q: short jumbled discussion)
HS: At the heart. Would you take that to be an immaterial kind of presence?
VM: Remember when we were doing the Vedanta class, there were three levels in the heart. So I guess the question can be answered on three levels: the vital center, the subtle center, and the causal center.
HS: PB did speak about three levels of same that the ego was composed of? (Q: reference is to the para "The persona . . . "(8.3.17) )
RG: No, but here he calls it the Overself. Didn't he call it the Overself in the quote? That it's the feeling of BEING anything at all comes from the Overself and that would apply to any of the three levels of the ego, whether its causal, subtle or gross.
(Q: unintelligible discussion)
HS: So you're saying that there's a feeling of being that's in each individuality--heart--whatever the heart might be . . .
S: That's the center of (unintelligible) individuality.
AD: There's something we could use as an example. Think of a dream. We have a series of thoughts one after the other but they all revolve around the unknown center--the person who's having the dream. If the entity in the dream has the feeling that he has or is real being.
HS: And the dream itself can continue on the basis of the fact that it's being given real being by the person who has the dream.
AD: Yes. The reality is coming from the person. The congerie of thoughts is what the dream is all about. And they devolve around the reality of the person. But if you look at the congerie of thoughts and you expect to find a real ego there, all you'll find is one thought after the other.
HS: In that when thought does the looking thought can only deal in its own meaning? And can't reveal something that's immaterial or prior to it.
S: Well, if the reality of thinking as a process is--so to say--prior to, or in our terminology, immaterial to the process--thought seeking that immaterial reality can't find it.
AD: All right. (Q: unintelligible sentence) Herbie, don't allow the ego to perpetuate its devious you-know-what. The point here is that there's a level of higher being which we're equating with the person, and there's a lesser level or a lower level of being, and we're saying that's the dream. The person is immanent in the dream. That immanent (Q: break in the tape) gives the ego the feeling that it is SOME THING. Then that's a misconstruction, a misunderstanding.
DB: The ego of the level of the dream turns out to be the reflected power of the individual who's having the dream.
AD: I didn't hear you.
DB: The ego of the dream turns out to be the reflected power of the individual who's having the dream. So it's the dream person taking itself as being real. Now, actually I've got two questions--two or three hundred--but one of them is: the characteristic of the ego--there was one quote I think that Dickie read which described the ego as being cunning, quick, swift, tedious, whatever, right? Subtle, (laughter) insidious, right? All those things. I mean, I'm certainly not refuting that but I don't quite understand if that's a property now of the way the thoughts are organized. I mean it doesn't really seem to me that you could say those were characteristics of that center, which is reflected power, because when that's investigated it turns out to be derived from the presence of the World Mind in the individual heart. But you've listed all these devious characteristics and so forth. I mean, is that the way these thoughts are organized or what?
AD: I didn't make you out. You'll have to try again, clear, distinctly and precisely, because this IS the worst confrontation you'll ever have.
DB: We speak of . . .
AD: The question, just the question.
DB: Where does the characteristics of the ego-as being subtle, devious, insidious, and cunning--where are they derived from? I mean those are like its primary characteristics are trying to perpetuate itself . . .
AD: . . . and you've been practicing that for a long time.
DB: Yes, right. It has that ability. It works in this way. But the level of the ego, we examine it and find it to be this empty circle.
RG: David, it's only empty when it's realized to be empty but the third level he defined as the ego which is ``the hidden store of tendencies, impulses, memories, and ideas'' that are all latent. That could give you an innumerable amount of irrelevant ideas, and the ego of which is the constellation of all those. Now, from the level higher, from the level of the Overself, you can look if you have that level, if you experience it and say ``Ah! These tendencies are empty and there are other powers or phenomenon''--or whatever you want to say. But from the level of the latencies themselves, they are real while you're experiencing them.
DB: So you're saying then that the ego--you're equating that center around which thoughts and feelings revolve--you're equating that center now with all the latencies.
RG: No, not at all. Those latencies themselves revolve around a center which is not the ego.
AD: Let's go back to what we've said. We've said that center would be the equivalent to the intrusion from a higher level of the ``I am.''
AD: And around that "I am" will revolve the "I", the lower personality.
AD: And that revolution or that construction, that constant self-reconstruction, is what he refers to as the ego.
AD: And it can provide itself with all the necessary means and all the necessary material to persist in its own identity. Now what is its identity?
We can go back to two things. One that Louis read and the one that Dickie read when he spoke about the wave that separates itself. Let's go over those two.
PB: ``The ego is, after all, only an idea . . . ''
AD: No, first I want Dickie's . . . "the wave separates itself from the ocean."
RG: (Q: reading)
PB: ``The personal ego of man forms itself out of the impersonal life of the universe like a wave forming itself out of the ocean. It constricts, confines, restricts, and limits that infinite life to a small finite area. The wave does just the same to the water of the ocean. The ego shuts out so much of the power and intelligence contained in the universal being that it seems to belong to an entirely different and utterly inferior order of existence. The wave, too, since it forms itself only on the surface of the water gives no indication in its tiny stature of the tremendous depth and breadth and volume of water beneath it. . .
The work of the quest is simply this: to free the ego from its self-imposed limitations, to let the wave of conscious being subside and straighten itself out into the waters whence it came. The little wave is thus reconverted into the infinite Overself.''(Q: 8.1.102, middle section of para not read here.)
AD: Let's talk about that.
RG: I think there's part of that quote that's left out. (Q: Yes, see published para)
DB: It seems like he's got on the one hand, the life within the universe--the infinite life of the universe and within that you have specific activity which is limiting that life to a very particular point. Right?
AD: Yeah. There's an infinite life and something is separating itself off from that.
DB: Now, it would seem to me logical . . .
AD: What we want to do is discuss the sentence.
DB: Well . . . the power that does that--the power that provides for that separation--that creates the wave, differentiates it from the water and keeps it in ignorance of the totality of the depth of the water beneath it and so forth--it seems like THAT power is something other than what we started out with as the infinite life of the universe. Is that so?
AD: I don't know . . . pick on anyone . . .
AD: Everyone's got an ego here.
MB: Yes! It sounds like your separating force is not this life of the universe? Isn't that what you're asking?
RG: (Q: unintelligible)
MB: Well, I don't know if the quote sounds like that exactly. But if you conceive of something separating the ego, separating itself off from the ocean--what need does the ocean have to separate off a part of itself? How can you really conceive of it really DOING that? So David seems to want to know WHERE this separative thing arises. But I don't know if we can ask.
DB: Personally, I wanted to establish whether it WAS just another aspect of the infinite life of the universe, or whether it was something else. I mean that was the first question.
RG: Doesn't that seem on the way you take it? (Q: unintelligible remark) Doesn't that fact depend on the way you take the wave? When you take the wave to be its own entity, then you don't experience it as part of the infinite life of the universe.
DB: Yes. Right.
RG: When you realize the wave is nothing but the ocean and infinite life, then it is. Then it's a vehicle for it.
LC: What can the ocean do, except make waves? (Q: laughter) That's what it DOES!
AD: Dickie, you're saying what, that the ocean gives rise to the waves?
RG: Yes, and when the wave takes itself to BE the whole ocean, for example--
AD: Takes itself to be separate . . .
RG: . . . takes itself to be separate (?) its own self-existence, then the ego exists--takes itself to exist separately or independently.
But if the wave could recognize that it owes its complete existence to the ocean itself, that can do nothing but make waves, then one would recognize its inherent source in the ocean and could be a vehicle for the ocean.
DB: So the separating power comes down to being just as much a part of an expression of this infinite life as anything else--or not?
RG: Then this separative power becomes as much a part of this infinite life as anything else. But . . . some people . . .
AD: You mean that the wave is as much a part of the ocean as anything else.
RG: Well, what about the separative power? That which takes itself to be different. Is that as much a part of the infinite life as anything else? I think that's David's question. In other words, what ontological status does the separative power of the wave have, per se? And to the ocean, it doesn't have any.
AD: What ontological status does that separative tendency have?
RG: Right. Shall we discuss that?
AD: See if they want to.
AH: They call that separative status the ego?
RG: Do you want to discuss that?
AB: Isn't that where the paradox is? I used a bad word, but isn't that what's illusory about the ego?
AB: In other words, the ego is based on a real principle which we're saying is the Overself.
AD: Yes, but is ego-TISM based on a real principle?
AB: No, it's based on a misplacement or a misunderstanding of a real principle. So the misunderstanding is what's illusory. The egotism of the ego is what is illusory about it, not the fact that it's derived from the Overself or the cosmic--you know--being or the ``I.'' So, it's what makes the wave think that it's other than the ocean that's egotistical or illusory. The fact that the wave has being--it does have being--it is part of the ocean. And there's something valid in the ego.
RG: And in this you would agree with the Vedanta.
HS: The question is like what gives the wave, so to say, its power to take itself as other--which it is intrinsically NOT.
RG: Right, well. That's another way to state the same question.
LDa: You're asking WHY is the wave--WHY is the wave. And it don't seem relevant; all you can say is WHAT is the wave, not WHY is the wave. The wave is.
HS: But Louis, you started from a so to say whole--you know, the whole ocean and you're trying to differentiate it from the top down. I think from here we don't have any problems--We know it's here. It's differentiated here.
Lda: Now you're asking WHAT is it, not WHY is it, though. That's what, I mean, seems to be asked.
VM: You can ask where the principle of difference comes from or where it resides? Or you know, discuss the idea of matter, idea of instantiated matter; if it's a material substrate that has this potential power to give rise to distinction and if that distinction is . . .
TAPE 1, SIDE 2
RG: The first question was what is the ontological status of that power . . .
VM: I'm trying to say it's matter and now how do you discuss what matter is? Do you take it all the way to the first quadrant or you can say anything I can say about matter--merely an instantiation of reason principles, deific forms, in that matter--though I can't grasp it by any valid form of reasoning. It always eludes me no matter what I try and do. I don't know if that's terribly satisfactory.
SD: Vic, you're not--are you trying to identify that power of separation with the principle of being able to make a distinction? I mean, isn't something extra involved? I mean, on the one hand, yes, a distinction can be made, that seems to be part of cognition, that doesn't seem to be part of, the uh, that doesn't seem to be the same as the power of separating it and considering it to be self-sufficient.
PA: If you keep your analogy of the wave, it's more like a motion that makes it separate and distinct. It's not like matter--something that starts out as something separate.
VM: But I'm using matter almost like you could use the space of the mind. OK, what allows me to appreciate the distinction--Well, you come from the side of form, you can say because the form of the tree is in this and the form of rock is in that, and that's a valid way of approaching it. On the other hand you can say the very spatial--using space in a very broad sense--the very spatial arena within which the mind unfolds itself also allows for there to be distinction between them and so it doesn't seem like you could rule out that principle too.
JC: Couldn't you say the soul images itself in matter but wouldn't necessarily have to become caught up in that projection?
VM: OK I think maybe that's what Pat's trying to say. Look, you can't allow the principle of matter to be that power which drives the distinction, the differentiations, but on the other hand, why not?
AB: I thought the problem or the question was to state it the way Jeff did: Why does the image get caught up in itself? If it's just a reflection of the soul.
RG: That's the second question. I don't think we've dealt with David's question yet. Not what is the ontological cause or basis of the distinction but what--what is the ontological status of the distinction itself on that level? On the level of where the wave takes itself to be different from the ocean.
HS: Is that prior, so to say, existence at that point?
RG: I don't know.
AD: If we say that the ocean gives rise to waves, and is their support, is their ground, and then the next point is that something that occurs here and that is that this life differentiated out of this cosmic life now can speak of itself as separate from the rest. Now isn't that the point?
RG: Yes. That's the point.
AD: And is that the problem?
AD: So then it's the attachment, the emotional attachment, to this differentiation . . . or I should say the separation that it conceives itself to be from the universal life? That around this revolves egotism?
MB: You mean it's an emotional problem, not a metaphysical problem?
MB: You mean it's an emotional problem, and not a metaphysical problem? (Q: laughter/comments)
AD: Let's go over it again. If you think of life as an infinite ocean and it gives rise to waves--the waves are not separated from the ocean, they're part of the ocean. Alright? But that a wave should conceive of itself as distinct from the ocean and other than the ocean--then that's where you would have to look for the problem. It certainly doesn't exist in the ocean. So this arisal of the feeling of separateness from the ocean is something going on within that wave. It doesn't get . . . there's no hiatus even though it thinks so.
RG: Excuse me, could you say that last sentence?
AD: There's no hiatus between the wave and the ocean even though it thinks so.
AD: And this thinking keeps going on.
RG: Right. Now, one question--to follow the next part of the question . . .
AD: . . . Just to finish off, uh, Myra, the point here was that it's the emotional attachment to this separativeness that's the problem.
MB: . . . and that gives rise to these erroneous conceptions.
AD: Well, what you said--I wanted to know what you said after that.
VM: Is it a metaphysical or an emotional problem?
MB: Yeah, oh you mean that question. . .
AD: What do you think? Do you think it is an emotional problem? You have to tell me what you mean by emotional 'cause that's the whole point we're getting at. The ego is dependent on that emotional attachment to its separateness. That's what keeps it going. Otherwise metaphysically a person could understand that--he should be released? Right? But it doesn't work like that. The emotional attachment persists.
MB: Like when Vic brought in the notion of matter to explain--we don't want to conceive of that . . .
AD: I don't want to get into that . . . I like this one better. (Q: silence.) If that emotional support was taken away you would feel like you were falling into an abyss.
VM: And is that emotional support connected to the body?
AD: It can be but not necessarily.
JB: Would that be enough?
AD: Would that be enough?
JB: It seems that it's more than that emotional attachment making the problem . . .
AD: Well everything that's done by the ego will be to lend support to that attachment, that emotional attachment.
AB: Aren't those emotions what . . . think that there's something to lose by letting go of the attachment. The emotions which believe that something would be lost, if you let go of the attachment, that's why we cling to it. In other words, I think that there'd be something bad if I let go of my ego. . .I'd lose out on all these emotions. (Q: laughter)
AD: Go ahead Dickie.
RG: Well I almost, you know, I mean . . .
AD: I just want to see how you people understand these things you read in PB, you know.
RG: In this context it seems that there are two things: There is a meaning to separateness and it has a rational basis. But there's also a meaning to separateness that has a non-rational basis. This is one that has a non-rational basis. And you could apply your reason to it all you want and understand that the principle of difference is operating to separate you off from everyone else. But in the end it doesn't help that that particular understanding--doesn't help the uh emotional configuration that you call your ``I'' or the intellect--I don't know . . .
AD: Do you want to try again?
RG: Well . . . I was only trying to fit it in with the philosophical idea that there IS a legitimate. . . there is a way you would speak that would say that anything that arises out of the ocean, the causes have to be found in the ocean. It's a familiar way of speaking. So in some sense you might, there has got to be a sense in which the wave arises out of the ocean. I mean, it's nothing but the ocean. But even the separateness of the wave--you can make a case that the separateness of the wave, too, arises out of the causes that are embedded in the ocean. But the belief in the wave having a completely separate existence--that isn't necessarily embedded in the ocean. The wave is a distinct principle rooted in the ocean maybe, but not the wave as rooted in itself. That seems to be the irrational part.
AB: The quote that we read very often of PB--about the spark (Q: 26.4.257//Persp. p. 368)--you know the individuality--and it has to go through this evolution, and that it doesn't get discarded. And isn't that what you're trying to bring in? That there is some kind of spiritual necessity or reason or results of this so-called mistake that's good in the end--that a vehicle of spiritual understanding is built up which can allow itself to be a vessel so that it's not just arbitrary that this whole process of separation and then reintegration takes place. Just until the re-integration DOES take place there's a state of misunderstanding that's perpetuated.
DB: But there is something very specific about this process of the perpetuity of the ego . . .
DB: I mean it has this characteristic of being able to perpetuate itself. Now, insofar as it has that characteristic, and tremendous ability to do so it almost seems that it doesn't even believe in its own separateness. If it did it wouldn't feel necessary to perpetuate it. But since it almost seems to be aware of its status and is trying to heighten that. (Q: unintelligible & laughter) Does that make any sense?
AH: I want to support what I think David's saying. One of the first quotes we read tonight we spoke of misplaced feeling as the reason for separateness. And misplaced feeling concerns the nature of the Overself. We feel ourselves to be separate because we have our own Overself, not because we have our own ego--that feeling is appropriated by the ego.
RG: There's a little quote here that says just that.
PB: ``The Overself-consciousness is reflected into the ego, which then imagines that it has its own original, and not derived awareness.''(8.1.33//Persp. p. 101)
HS: Do you think the felt separateness belongs to the Overself?
AH: No, the feltness, the feltness belongs to the ego.
HS: The separateness belongs to the ego?
AH: We can speak of a feltness at a much higher level where you can feel yourself (Q: as) an individual as Overself. I thought what David was driving at was that the perpetuity--the necessity for continuity--has its origin in the status of the Overself. I mean what really incarnates from one birth to another is not the ego . . .
RG: . . . It's not the Overself either.
HS: I'm not clear. You're saying it's the Overself that likes it down here?
AD: No. I think that what they were saying was that if the soul is bliss and peace and the ego are these thought tendencies and they envelop and wrap themselves around this bliss then that ego would take itself to be a separative entity in its own right and so that's a case of misplaced feeling, or ignorance.
HS: . . . appropiating the feeling of bliss to itself?
HS: I thought David was saying that . . .
AD: Is that so? Or isn't it? Do we or don't we worship our ego?
AH: But it's not experienced as bliss!! (Q: laughter)
AD: You don't experience it as bliss? I dare you say that out loud again . . .
HS: You get a certain joy, so to say, out of horizontal emotions.
(Q: student discussion)
AD: You don't worship the ego right, Andrew?
AH: Oh yes!!
AD: You do, right? Don't you?
AH: But frequently, Anthony, it's not a very pleasant experience.
AD: That could be, that could be, yes, but does that stop you?
RG: Don't you love the suffering?
AD: You value the ego so much . . . and even your suffering won't separate you from it.
RG: A Leo can't sit there and tell you that they love suffering. (Q: laughter)
RC: There's another thing that we have--this quote brings in something that I think might help . . .
AD: Well, Randy, can you hold on? I think now it would be appropriate for Louis to read the second part of that.
(Q: Louis Damiani reading)
PB: ``The ego is after all only an idea. It derives its seeming actuality from a higher source. If we make the inner effort to search for its origin we shall eventually find the Mind in which this idea originated. That mind is the Overself. This search is the Quest. The self-separation of the idea from the mind which makes its existence possible, is egoism.''(repeat, 8.1.9)
AS: There he seems to be defining that second act of separation--not the fact that an ego is a differentiation out of the infinite ocean of life but the fact that it takes itself as a self-separate entity he's defining as egoism. The ego is OK but looked at from the other side it's just the fact that it takes itself as a self subsistent separate entity is what he's calling the ego, which is equivalent to what we call attachment to self subsistence.
HS: And in this discussion would you make the equation with mind and infinite life in this way?
AD: You mean mind and soul. Yes, you could use the term mind as soul here.
AH: Is it being said in this last quote that the separation between Overself and ego is equal to the separation between mind and idea? The parallel structure Overself and ego are separate, in the same way that mind and idea are separate?
RG: I make the analogy right, but wouldn't you have to say that only when the idea takes itself to be not grounded in mind?
AS: Yeah. But the other way is the proper way. The mind has an idea; the Overself has ego. And it's OK as long as the ego doesn't take itself to be it. Maybe that word ``inherent self existence'' is the appropriate term.
AD: Well, let's get back--this is too serious to get involved with word games. It's probably the deadliest game you'll ever play in your life.
AH: Could someone explain please what is meant by ``it takes itself to be?'' Like it's OK as long as the idea ``doesn't take itself to be'' . . . itself?
AS: As long as it doesn't take itself to be the actual, the real identity. Like the real identity, the thing that gives it the feeling that it is really an ``I'' is really the Overself. It's just a bundle of thoughts, but what imparts to the bundle of thoughts its feeling of having a real continuing existence, is that Overself, as it were. And then that bundle of thoughts takes itself to be what gives itself that feeling.
AD: Once it takes itself to be that bundle of thoughts it cuts itself off from the ocean.
AH: But my question is: How could that idea take itself to be anything other than what it is??
DB: Such as disturbing mental factors.
LdS: It's not self sufficient, and that's where it's in error.
AH: How can it correct itself? How can an idea become other than what it is?
LdS: It can recognize its distinction, but at the same time, by taking itself to be self sufficient from its ground . . .
AH: Louie, I'm asking a very specific question, pardon me. What is the correct device within . . .
AD: Self will. The question you were asking--self will. Go over what you said. What is there IN it that makes it take itself to be other than it is.
AH: The idea.
AD: Well, what is there IN it that makes it take itself to be other than it is?
AH: But, I'm sorry? . . .
AS: What is there in the ego that allows it to take itself or makes it take itself as something . . .
AD: . . . to be other than it is. Now, what is that?
AH: Pardon me, I'm confused.
AD: No. Just follow. Just follow.
AH: Are you talking about other than what it is that it separated itself from the Overself?
AD: Yes. And the question arose, how can it take itself to be OTHER than it IS?
AH: Yeah. My answer was self will.
AD: WHAT - IS - THE - ANSWER? You've got to look it straight in the eye.
JC: Is that principle of separation, isn't that inherent? . . .
AD: It's not a principle.
JC: Alright, not a principle. Isn't the self will you're speaking of inherent in the soul itself? The tendency to break away from intellection, to look toward, the lower worlds? That very will will . . .
AD: I don't want to get into metaphysics. I want to keep it at this level of egotism.
JC: But . . .
AD: Yes, every soul, every soul, has its own desire, and accedes to them, and descends into manifestation and I don't want to get into that.
JC: I'd say that the root of the problem of the involvement with the animal nature or, you know, this whole emotional congerie of thoughts . . .
AD: No, no, no, no, no, no. You're getting away from the point. The point I made I aimed it right between his eyes. Deviate and you'll lose it. You'll get caught up in all the subtle urges that the ego wants to practice. I told you, we're going to try to keep this class DOWN, so that we can decimate it.
AH: Anthony, we were just trying to . . .
AD: You want to go over that again Andrew?
AH: Please, could we? I asked the question how can . . .
AD: Yes, how can the idea take itself to be other than it is?
AD: And I said, that's the answer. That's the ego.
AS: That's a (Q: inaudible) quote to defined as egoism taking itself to be what it isn't.
AH: In order to speak of any kind of corrective measure in terms of the quest . . .
AD: Andrew, try to understand the technique I'm using. I'm only going to use one technique. I want to put the nails in the coffin, not in the dirt. Just in the coffin. I'm not going to use these discussions as metaphysical springboards. I want to avoid that. We have enough metaphysics during the week. This has got to be real dirty excavation.
AS: Could I ask? It seemed like you formulated it very precisely: The ego is the ``it.'' It takes itself, the ego, to be other than what it is. It does that in two different ways. In other words, first of all, it is really a part of the Overself but it takes itself as separate. But secondly, it really is a distinct part of the Overself but it takes itself as the whole of the person. Which seems like in two different ways it's taking itself to be what it isn't. On the one hand it's taking itself as separate. It's that's a mistake 'cause it really is a part. But in taking itself as the whole, that's also a mistake because it's only an efflux.
AD: And you don't have to think of an animal body.
JC: Well, what is the congerie of all the thoughts and the feelings--and all the tendencies from many lives?
AD: It's the mental being. People have the same.
JC: Well, I'm including the lower mind and maybe even the higher mind as part of the animal organism and it's the life inherent in the bodies that are operating in the universe.
RG: But he seems to imply that it was the latencies that contained all the _samskaras_ of previous incarnations. All the thread that continues from life to life.
JC: All that's connected with imaged experience. That's what I'm including in my general organism.
RG: That's a large definition of image.
Lda: He's even using it in mystical experience that is still there--the ego.
AD: It'll come right in and take over your mystical experiences. That's why it's so dangerous to have mystical experiences without having metaphysical training. All right, let's continue, go ahead.
LR: That's the question. . .
AD: That will come up in some other . . .
(Q: Someone blew their nose.)
AD: I'm sorry, somebody blew a horn. Let's try again. (Q: laughter)
LR: There's a quote that says the ego invents its own spiritual illumination. That's a puzzling statement. How does one ever try to (Q: distinguish) a spiritual illumination or an ego-mystical experience or a real experience when. . .
AH: You have to go to a teacher.
RG: You have to get the spiritual illumination of the ego (Q: hard to hear.)
Class: Oh umm. . .(Q: more remarks)
DR: Randy, you read that quote earlier, did you find it again?
PB: ``The ego not only obligingly provides him with a spiritual path. . .authenticate that path.'' (beginning of para)
AD: And don't try to correct a person who's going through that either.
CdA: How would you describe the ego's getting a spiritual illumination?
PB: ``Need it be said that this counterfeit illumination is another form of the ego's own aggrandizement.'' (end of repeat para 8.4.321 & Persp. p.99)
AD: Look honey, just go back, in your past and just think of all the times you've been illuminated by the ego. Just go back. Think over the things that you did which you thought were spiritual and then were corrected for you.
CdA: . . . the word ``spiritual'' . . . pardon?
(Q: a jumble of remarks)
CdA: I wonder what PB means that the ego could have that kind of power.? (Q: faint)
AD: It'll suddenly tell you: ``Look! You're wasting your time studying the doctrine alright? You should be out exploring the world and making your way through to the top of the pyramid and that's spiritual.'' It could come in any form. It could come any way.
CdA: But he's not speaking about some mystical experience that the ego has the power to evoke?
AD: That, too, could take place. You could have a mystical experience, a true authentic glimpse of the Overself and it could be completely distorted by what the ego brings to bear on it. As a matter of fact the ego is there present, interpenetrating, and is immediate in its response to what you're seeing. So that the reality that you experience and your interpretation of it are two different things.
CdA: That's something different than the ego having the power to have . . .
AD: But isn't that the power??!! Isn't that POWER?
CdA: Yes! That's power.
AD: All of a sudden you get a glimpse and you say ``I'm the new messiah.''
CdA: I'm not denying that power, I'm asking a different question.
AD: And it creates the visions for you.
CdA: Yes, well, yes. You said it could have an authentic . . .
AD: It does it every night!!
LR: The quote said the ego can provide a spiritual illumination.
RG: A counterfiet one!! (Q: ref=8.4.321//Persp. p.99)
AH: In regard to the quote that was read about PB's analysis of Jung's notion of the unconscious. That's fairly simple to see what the ego can do but he's going to call that his definition of ego--that whole dynamism of the unconscious. It can provide us with all sorts of marvellous . . . (Q: ref=8.3.297)
AD: Well, we did the same thing if you remember in class. Very often I refer to the ego as the same as the shadow. The ego is the shadow projected by the light of the soul coming through the personality. And if you want to make this distinction within it, you're welcome to do so. You'll have to remember that they're aspects of one and the same thing.
AH: In reference to Carol's question . . .
(Q: some overlapping remarks)
JB: I'd like to return to the koan surrounding Andrew's remark. ``The answer is the question itself.'' It's the feeling that I got which is that I need some help in speculating upon--If you could focus on the mechanism that generates or sustains this imputation of separateness and selfhood, then that is a likely resource for the treatment, for the remedy. It just seems to me that that flowed out of Andrew's question. I don't have anything to contribute there except that that parallel seems reasonable and if we could get at that mechanism more than just to say that it's the emotional attachment. I mean, I wasn't just being smug when I wondered if we could get rid of the emotional attachment--is that enough?
AD: Yeah. But the revelation or the fact that you can even recognize the mechanism that is being used, will eventually focus your attention on the fact that it's an emotional attachment that separates you from everything else. But that is going to be very difficult to perceive. You're not going to see that. You only have that experience when you go through what they call the mystical death. The second mystical death when the ego dies thoroughly is the entrance into the void. There the emotional attachment is cut off.
JB: So the parallel to a wave is not a good one in that respect because the wave that comes arising out of the ocean is law bound. I mean there's physics in it--motion and rules of amplitude and so on and it seems similarly that the arisal of the identification of the self has a physics in it also. I mean this perpetuity that we mentioned--its uniformity thoroughout the human species, more or less--and it seems likely that there is a mechanism in it that may be valuable studying but I accede that you suggest later that we find out it's just in the attachment to it. I could accept that.
RG: Yes, but maybe there's physics in the wave arising from the ocean but what's the physics of the wave taking itself to be other than the ocean?
JB: Well, people that do that are not waves. So, I mean . . .
RG: But that's the part of the analogy--of the separateness part.
JB: I'm not attached to the analogy . . .
AD: I think the point you're making is very worthwhile--to recognize the mechanism. Because it's one of the clear signals. It's like a bell--you get to know that mechanism and you can always see that the ego's active behind that mechanism because it becomes stereotyped. Once you recognize THAT it will use another mechanism. I mean you're not going to get to it that easy.
AH: Anthony, this mechanism, the way we've talked tonight it's like in some sense its modus is subliminal to the conscious ego. The fact that it can provide us with a spiritual illumination of a counterfeit kind. The fact that PB equates that with Jung's notion of the unconscious. It's like we're speaking of that ego as like the taproot of life itself--as the taproot of life--as subliminal, subterranean origins and . . .
RC: (Q: inaudible)
AD: Randy, I didn't hear you.
RC: I would say he's calling it a choke-hold on life, not a taproot of life.
AD: Because once you start believing these things, alright, you already impose limitations on who you are. But I think he also made a--has one quote where he points out how cunning the ego is. Could you repeat that--the one on the cunningness and adroitness and the superior understanding of the ego--so vast that it'll frighten anyone if they ever got a look at it?
RC: Oh yeah. OK.
AD: A lot of people think it's something all they do is take out their sword and cut off its head. You can use an A-bomb and you won't succeed.
(Q: RC reading)
PB: ``Although the ego claims to be engaged in a war against itself, we may be certain that it has no intention of allowing a real victory to be achieved but only a pseudo-victory. The simple conscious mind is no match for such cunning. . . ''(repeat, 8.4.316//Persp. p. 98)
AD: ``THE SIMPLE MIND IS NO MATCH FOR THE CUNNING OF THE EGO.'' You could write that and put it alongside your bed when you get up in the morning, look at that first. 'Cause you're gonna lose--by the end of the night you'll lose.
AB: I think I have a quote that follows up on that.
AB: It says very simply, it just says;
PB: ``The ego's interest in its own transcendence is necessarily spurious. This is why grace is a necessity.''(8.4.423)
(Q: RC reading)
PB: ``The ego is by nature a deceiver and in its operations a liar . . . ''(8.3.79//Persp. p. 106)
AD: Go ahead--some more! I'm getting interested! (Q: laughter)
(Q: RC continuing)
PB: `` . . . For if it revealed things as they really are, or told what is profoundly true, it would have to expose its own self as the arch-trickster pretending to be the man himself and proffering the illusion of happiness.''(8.3.79//Persp. 106; quote begun above)
RC: Page 38, #11, Orange.
AD: You know I made a remark sometime ago that the only time I consider a person a quester is when he recognizes the ego. Until he knows who his enemy is he's just imagining he's a quester. But once he knows who his enemy is then the decision, then the decision will come. Am I going to fight this or join it? Not before.
(Q: RC reading)
PB: ``We may distinguish the ego by certain signs: it is not stable, for its characteristics fluctuate; it is not sinless, for somewhere in its nature there will be one or more flaws, no matter what the judging test may be; it does not feel totally secure for a fear, a doubt, an uncertainty about the future there will be.''(8.3.9)
PB: ``If we analyse the ego, we find it to be a collection of past memories retained from experience and future hopes or fears which anticipate experience. If we try to seize it, to separate it out by itself, we do not find it to exist in the present moment, only in what has gone and what is to come. In fact, it never really exists in the NOW but only seems to. This means that it is a phantom without substance, a false idea.''(8.2.14//Persp. p. 101)
RC: He also says in another place on one of these sheets--that it can't be itself, that only someting transcendental to the ego can perceive it. So he's saying like when you're working at the level of the ego you're not going to catch it, but if you go over some of these signs and characteristics about it, then you, the real person, can catch it.
He's got one lovely one here, where he's got a little note . . .
AD: What page you've got? It's very possible that when we read enough, some kind of order might fall out.
RC: I've got some more about its relation with the physical body, so let me paraphrase for a while. There's a beautiful little one that follows on those things which--it just starts out and says:
PB: ``My dear ego: `. . . get out of my way!'''(8.4.176)
AD: Get out of my way . . . you're blocking the light!
(Q: RC reading)
PB: ``The ego gets in its own way and shuts out the truth. It is so immersed in itself that it sees nothing else than its own views, its own opinions. And this is true even when it apparently undergoes a mental change or emotional conversion, for in the end IT IS THE EGO ITSELF which sanctions the newly accepted idea or belief.''(8.4.90)
PB: ``The ego stands in the way: its own presence annuls awareness of the presence of the Overself. But this need not be so. Correct and deeper understanding of what the self is, proper adjustment between the individual and the universal in consciousness, will bring enlightenment.''(8.4.369)
(Q: MB?): Read that last part . . .
RC: (Q: rereads the para.)
DR: Do you think he means nirvikalpa there?
DR: Well, that's what he said before didn't he? He said there is a way to--where he had that one quote where he said some doctrines that teach to kill out the ego and he says that's not possible except there's one possibility--nirvikalpa samadhi.
AD: But that doesn't kill the ego.
DR: Well he seems to say it annihilates it for a while.
AD: Yeah. Suspended temporarily. But when you come out of nirvikalpa it's right there. You pick it right up.
DR: So then what's the import of this quote?
AD: Let's hear it again OK?
RC: OK, I'll read through it . . . They're different quotes but they go together.
VM: These are notes that Anthony gave me and they don't have page numbers on them. So I . . . but in any case, it doesn't have numbers. . . Q: inaudible). . . Volume 11.
(Q: VM reading)
PB: ``The ego gets in its own way and shuts out the truth. It is so immersed in itself that it sees nothing else than its own views, its own opinions. And this is true even when it apparently undergoes a mental change or emotional conversion, for in the end IT IS THE EGO ITSELF which sanctions the newly accepted idea or relief.''(repeat, 8.4.90)
VM: Then there is another separate quote:
PB: ``The ego stands in the way: its own presence annuls awareness of the presence of the Overself. But this need not be so. Correct and deeper understanding of what the self is, proper adjustment between the individual and the universal in consciousness, will bring enlightenment.''(repeat, 8.4.369)
VM: I think he's espousing the jnana path saying you can't just go into some mystical states--nirvikalpa samadhi--that has to end--back you come. But he's saying that continuous improvement of the understanding of what the true self is--how the individual relates to the universal (Q: unintelligible).
RG: There's another quote that elaborates. #23, 14. page 23, red volume.
PB: ``It is both true and untrue that we cannot take up the ego with us into the life of mystical illumination. The ego is after all only a reflection, extremely limited and often distorted, of the Higher Self. But still it IS a reflection. If we could bring it into correct alignment with, and submission to, the Higher Self, it would then be no hindrance to the illumined life. The ego cannot, indeed, be destroyed so long as we need its services while in the flesh; but it can be subjugated and turned into a servant instead of permitting it to remain a master. When this is understood, the philosophical ideal of a fully developed, mastered and richly rounded ego acting as a channel for the inspiration and guidance of the Higher Self will be better appreciated. A poverty-stricken ego will naturally form a more limited channel for the expression of the Higher Self than would a more evolved one. The real enemy to be overcome is not the entity ego, but the function of egoism.''(8.1.206//Persp. p. 100)
AD: I'd like to discuss that point.
AH: He calls the ego ``entity'' and he calls egoism ``function.'' Could someone amplify that please?
LdS: I think I could comment on that. Dickie, you were speaking before about the analogy of the wave and the ocean. Within rational analysis it wouldn't be a violation of reason to see that the wave does have a distinction from the ocean but the irrational part comes in when the wave takes itself to be separate from that ground of that ocean. I think in this case here--Andrew's question about what is egoism as opposed to the ego--in this quote he seems to allow for the distinction of the ego from let's say the Overself, but the mechanism of egoism or the function of egoism, isn't taking itself to be self-sufficient is that irrational mechanism.
AH: Lou, I'm sure that's correct but he says that the ego is AN ENTITY.
LdS: He says it has some kind of status distinct from the Overself. It's a tool.
LR: It's necessary that an Overself entering an experience in the world has to project itself through an individual center.
LR: And that's what we mean by the entity of ego--I mean he even says himself I think that the ego is a necessary channel.
LdS: While in the flesh, in this world . . .
RG: He also says in a later quote that it is the ego that reincarnates, so that's the entity that reincarnates . . . (Q: ref. to 8.1.232//Persp. p. 106)
LR: So that's the justification for calling it ``entity,'' but what he means by the function of egoism . . .
AD: By ``entity'' he doesn't mean an inherent self-existent. He's simply postulating a matrix of possibilities that can go on evolving.
AH: But for that entity to function, in the body or in the world, as is the necessity for even a sage, how is that not egoism, how is that function not . . .
AD: You can't tell the difference between saying, ``this tea is good'' and ``I like this tea?'' You mean that doesn't exist in us--the ability to impersonally know something? And the same thing we know in an egotistical way?
AH: So it's a question of preference?
AD: The important thing here is he's making the remark the ego has to be developed, rounded out, filled up with experiences, alright, reach maturation--after all, if you're going to renounce it you want something good so you can say ``Here! This is yours!'' You don't want to give Him some crumbs. Give Him a good big solid fat ego. (Q: laughter)
But the important thing here is notice that--the development of the ego is one thing, egotism is another.
AH: See I'm not really clear on that distinction.
AD: I can't help you, Andrew. If you can't tell the difference between . . .
CharleneM: Here's something that might be relevant. Unfortunately I don't know where it's from, I'd have to look it up. I think it's in volume 4.
PB: ``The sacrifice demanded of the aspirant is nothing less than his very self. If he would reach the higher grades of the path, he must give up the ego's thinking and desiring, must overcome its emotional reactions to events and persons and things. Every time he stills the restless thoughts in silent meditation he is giving up the ego; every time he puts the desires aside in a crucial decision he is giving up the ego; every time he disiplines the body . . .
TAPE 2, SIDE 1
. . . bathed in the blood of the heart.'' Thus the Quest is not for weaklings.''(Persp. p. 8 only)
AD: Where is that quote from? The quest is not what?
S: ``The Quest is not for weaklings.''
AD: Andrew, maybe the direct answer to your question was something like this. If you take the sage, you will say that he has a distinct personality, an ego, which you can distinguish from other egos. But then if I ask you ``Is he egotistic?'' How would you answer it?
AH: I think it is possible for the ego to function without egotism. And that's a hard distinction.
AD: But we have to see the difference between them.
AH: That distinction--that functioning without egotism--seems fundamentally an attachment to that emotional connection.
AD: So you know, someone will come over and say, ``Well, you like Tchaikovski's Fifth?'' Well I liked it ten years ago, but I hate it now, OK, so I say, ``No that's horrible.'' It's egotism. It may be the most appropriate thing in the world for that person at that time. When all I'm expressing is MY reactions to MY situation. The ego function of, let's say, listening to the music and appreciating it, you know, absorbing and assimilating it, growing. All right, that's the ego. It has to go through that process. But then the judgements, condemnations, or all the other--is unnecessary. That's egotism. ``This tea is the best because I like it.'' That's egotism. There's a big difference.
AH: Fundamentally then it's a question of affect?
AD: Fundamentally it comes back to asserting that the separateness that you believe yourself to be is it. As we go along we'll distinguish ego and egotism.
DB: Could I go back four or five quotes to one that Randy read where we were speaking about the cunning nature of the ego and how its vast resources is no match for the conscious mind.
RC: The conscious mind is no match for it.
S: Simple conscious mind.
DB: Right. Terribly sorry. Yes, simple, whatever. Now it seems that we've got three things basically. You've got the higher power--the World Mind, and the Overself--ego, and the conscious mind, which in later quotes he seems to relegate to the same status as the ego. I was wondering, could we discuss that cause I'm not sure I quite understand it.
RC: It's actually, from what I can tell from these notes, there's one more factor that we haven't talked about yet. We've talked about an intermediate between the ego and the Overself.
DB: Right. Well that would be what I thought he was referring to as the conscious mind. Or, not. OK, Whatever . . .
RC: I think by conscious mind he meant, you know, what we ordinarily walk around and think that we're being attentive to what we need to do and stuff like that but let somebody insult us and the ego will sort of come up and displace that feeble veneer of civility . . . (Q: pause)
(Q: AD can't hear, silence, etc.)
PB: ``. . . an intermediate compounded of the ego's best part and its point of contact with the Overself. Call it the higher mind or the conscious--or the intellectual intuition, if you wish. (Q: see below)
JC: Would you read that again?
RC: This is from the orange, #11, page 34.
PB: ``There is an intermediate entity, compounded of the ego's best part and the point of contact with the Overself. Call it the higher mind, the conscience, or the intellectual intuition if you wish.''(22.1.7)
RC: I think most of the quotes that I've seen--I think I've seen most of them--most of the time by ego he means the body-based personality. And its inherited affects, everything that comes with birth in this body.
JC: What we put within the dragon for instance. And this other one would be from the dragon to . . . the rational soul. Well it would include the planetary spheres and the stars. What's above that would be the Overself.
AH: Randy? That intermediate point, that best (Q:last words unclear) possibility of the ego. And what's the other half of the . . .
RC: . . . point of contact with the Overself. I think he meant, that's what we usually call the bodhicitta, the evolving, reincarnating part--rather than the way he's using ego in 99% of the quotes. There's even some quotes that he refers to the ego as--the ego is not going to get reborn--not that part.
JC: Randy, when he speaks of the ego, does he mean to include that central, empty so called empty core as well as all the thoughts and feelings that are whirling around it? Is it a compound entity we're talking about?
RC: I think it's a false idea that he's talking about. All these ideas whirl around a false idea. And the false idea, that this vortex, is the soul (Q: sentence hard to hear). Everything else revolves around that. And as we get a better idea of what the soul really is, then we can displace that false idea.
HS: When you say, ``We can displace that false idea'' what do you mean?
RC: Well, I mean, (Q: tape break here)
RC: . . . a person that has the ego.
HS: A person who has the ego. Is this the person who understands? Which person understands in this discussion? Is it the ego as so to say ``real principle,'' you know, in quotation marks? Egotism as a congerie of ideation, or is it this Overself?
RC: The distinction between ego and egotism seems to be useful to me, because if the ego is there, the problem isn't so much the presence of the ego as something's excessive attachment to it, then it seems to me that that ``something'' is the evolving entity that might have an excessive attachment. But it's the ego that's being built up.
HS: There's a real ego being built up. In other word, like you have a nice structure to offer up. That's the real ego being built up?
RC: Yes. Not a real entity, but there is a factual process going on.
HS: Which in some sense is neutral though.
RC: Yes. Not like a permanent unchanging thing that you could point to and say that's the ego.
DB: . . . a developing set of mental faculties . . .
HS: This is not the congerie of thoughts, feelings, emotionality?
RC: Which isn't?
HS: The one you just said. A real developing faculty.
RC: Not as frozen. You know like when he says that the thing exists only in the future, only toward the past and toward the future.
HS: Which is that?
RC: That would be to me the false one. But the one that's really developing I think really is in the now.
AH: What's this other one? Is this other one, that is in the now, (Q: cough, inaudible phrase), the highest part of the ego?
RC: Insofar as we talk about the soul living, the soul's act being conascent with temporality, the soul's being a natural outflow, a natural productiveness. If that has the necessary relation in time and that aspect obviously is involved in developing, if the karmic continuity of its own contemplation of the intelligibles above it, that it's developing perpetually.
RG: Is this the third part of the definition? The hidden store of tendencies? memories, ideas that are latent and carried over from life to life?
RC: Well, yes. I'm thinking. Maybe incorrectly. Most of these quotes about the ego aren't meant to include that much. That's what I'm thinking. I don't know if that's right or not.
(Q: a few sentences, by RC & students, jumbling over one another . . . )
MB: This may be wrong, but it's partly a comment on something that you said before which was, you mentioned that the center was empty and a false idea of the ego. But I think from what we've said tonight--that center which is empty is completely neutral, and that the false ideas and the attachments arise within the structures and the ideas surrounding that center. But that center is sort of like a bindu and it doesn't have a nature one way or another. And maybe this higher part that we're thinking of as the link is not a structure with a location, but is more of a purification process, for purification of those ideas that encircle that center and allow the true Overself to shine through. And that gives you a little more flexibility when you interpret the quotes about the ego.
RC: Say it again one more time about the ego?
MB: The first thing was a comment on what you said before. Remember you said that the center which is an empty structure is a false idea. And I think, from what was said, that that center is not a false idea, but is something that's neutral. This could be wrong, but the false idea arises within the egotism which is part of the thought structure around that. But that egotism takes the center to be something that it isn't. That's how the original quote went. So that the center itself isn't a false idea. It's an idea maybe, but it's not false, I mean . . .
EM: I think the thing that you said that it was like a bindu, that point through which individual manifestation has to take place. There has to be that differentiation.
MB: And that building of the higher mind takes place within the ego to a certain extent. And allows the Overself to come through. But it isn't a separate structure, necessarily.
VM: Here's one that Randy read that's germaine to what you're saying. (Q: inaudible)
PB: ``My dear Ego: `It is obvious that in this world I cannot live without you. Your presence is overwhelming, fills every instinct, thought, feeling, and action. But is is also obvious that I cannot live with you. The time has come to adjust our relationship. So I have one request to make of you. Please get out of my way!'''(8.4.176)
VM: So I mean, you know, on the one hand you recognize the sort of centrality (Q: inaudible ) of fundamental nature of the ego, and he's trying to suggest a readjustment or realignment (Q: inaudible) becomes certain. (Q: & more inaudible)
HS: From what point of view do you think that was written?
VM: Right here.
HS: Excuse me?
VM: Right here. I mean, you know . . .
HS: From what point of view of identification could you say that in truth?
VM: Oh in truth!
RG: What would you say, Herb?
VM: The ego could fool you . . . that's the tricky thing about the ego. It could say, ``OK, I'm really going to beat the ego,'' and it winds up with a very convincing story. And convinces itself that it's making real spiritual progress, when in fact the ego is taking credit for that. That's the part that scares me.
HS: Yeah. You could come up with, you could become very reasonable.
AB: If you use the terminology that we're evolving tonite. If you take that message to the ego that you just read. Would it be more appropriate to say that egotism--``get out of my way!'' I mean isn't what's in the way--the egotism, not the ego?
HS: Yes, OK.
AB: Unless you want to go into nirvikalpa.
JB: We'll that's why Myra's question about, technical question about, whether the hub was neutral or wonderful or the enemy has a bearing. I mean, find out what you get rid of and you want to know whether that central thing is a mistake itself or is the awareness of it or what . . . .
AD: Let's try another. We could take--imagine a film, a cinemagraphic image, and there's a light. And the light shines through the film. If it's possible, imagine that the contents within the film all now seem to have an ``I''. Their ``I'''s based on the fusion of the light in the film. It's the same like we said about the dream. The dream represents a congerie of thoughts, impressions, images, etc. It is only the immanence of the person having the dream in the dream that now makes it possible for a dream ego to arise. The center of the vortex is NOT neutral. The center of the vortex is the presence of the I AM in the matrix of possibilities.
JB: Then hardly the enemy.
AD: Well, for most of us it is the enemy. Because the matrix of possibilities are all these thoughts, each wants to live its own life, each wants to go its own way. I'm not referring to Vic's quotation.
AS: No I mean with reference to John. What gives the center to the presence of the I AM are actually the presence of the light of the soul. That itself is the presence of that light as in the film example. It's the thoughts themselves which are the egotism, appropriating that light as their own, as if they were that light.
AD: So those thoughts have only a past existence, or a future possibility. They don't exist in the present. The only thing that exists in that subtle now is this light. Always.
Again, we`re back to the problem. The presence of this light IN thought makes thought think that it is a self-existent entity that has a right to its own views.
(JB:. . .)
AD: On the one hand, and this is paradoxical, you have the I AM which is present in the matrix of thoughts, allright. And then the matrix of thoughts takes itself to be the I AM, which it clearly is not. Now that will also account for egotism. That will also make a person think, ``Look, I'm superior to everyone else.'' It's inevitable, the consequences are inevitable. Once you accept the congerie of thoughts with that light fused into it, as separative, each one is going to think itself superior to every other one. And each present thought does. Just like each ego thinks itself superior to every other one.
AH: Anthony, in the case of the bare experience of I AM, he describes that as immediately being associated with the body and with a world thought in another place. Is that what you're speaking of?
AD: Yes. Yes.
AH: We've described that as a central hub of the bare givenness of I AM which has its validity, it has its status apart from that congerie of thoughts. There was another point that was brought out earlier on this intermediary point between the highest part of that congerie of thoughts and the Overself.
AD: He's speaking about the middle section. He's speaking about the Witness I. There's better quotes on that. That's the intermediary between the soul and the empirical personality.
AH: My question is, is that intermediary point really a way of speaking about proximity to that bare I AM?
AD: I'm sorry . . .
AH: That intermediary point. Is that a way of speaking about close proximity to the bare givenness of I AM.
AD: Yes, it could lean in either direction. The reasoning soul, or the highest phase of the soul--not the intellectual soul itself, because there is no reasoning there, all right--could lean towards that, or it could lean towards the empirical.
AH: I was going to ask, in the case of an example, when watching just human activities, certain forms of noble or heroic behaviour, whatever on the part of one person--selfless activity. Would that be like the higher part of the ego functioning?
Like what would be an example of the best part of the ego? like behaviour in accordance with philosophical ideas?
(Q: can't hear)
S: . . . `Virtue the unconquerable' . . .
DB: The conflict that is between the bare I AM, reflected light of the soul and the thoughts. You know, where he says--I'm still trying to find the quote on the cunning of the ego and how the conscious mind--which I think is perhaps similar to the intermediate . . . the conflict is there. The conflict is not a thought, or in these thoughts between the rational soul of the I AM and these thoughts . . . I mean, Anthony, is that, uh . . .
AD: I didn't make you out--what you said.
DB: The conflict. In reference to the quote where he speaks of the cunning of the ego as completely overmatching the simple or conscious mind--that conflict there. (Q: ref. 8.4.316/Persp. p. 98) That is another way of speaking about the relationship between the reflective light of the soul, I AM, no? No. Then, I don't understand.
AD: There's no conflict between the I AM and the conflict that's going on in the matrix of possibilities.
DB: OK , so the conflict between . . .
AD: Within the matrix of possibilities.
DB: That conflict is within the ego.
AD: Uh huh.
DB: So, in a sense the conscious mind is as much an expression of egoism (Q: inaudible) . . . Randy, I'm sorry, could you repeat that quote? The cunning of the ego is no match, I'm sorry--the conscious mind is no match for the cunning of the ego? Simple, conscious mind.
RC paraphrasing PB: ``The simple conscious mind is no match for the cunning of the ego.''
AD: The mind that you're operating with now Dave, is no match for your ego.
AD: . . . which has resources, all right, of all prior perception and experience.
DB: OK. Now, mind if I pursue this?
AD: No, not if you follow me, I won't mind.
DB: This conflict between the mind I'm working with now and the totality of thoughts and experiences that I've had in the past--that conflict--is . . . is that another way of speaking of this egoism? as distinguished from the ego?
AD: I don't even understand your question.
DB: There seem to be three things. Alright. On the one hand, leaving aside the intellectual phase of the soul, there's this bare I AM--that's reflected by the soul. OK. Now there's the ego, constituted of all these thoughts, feelings and so forth, lives in the past or in the future and is this conscious standpoint OK? Now I was trying to understand, first of all, whether the conscious standpoint was the same thing as this reflected light of the soul? and it's not, ok. So then we have this conflict which we all experience inwardly, consciously--
AD: Look. The conscious mind that you have now, and that you're working with now, is the result of all prior experiences.
AD: And now if that, so to speak, posits itself against the ego, it will be defeated on the simple grounds that the ego's experiences are VAST, (abyssmally?/dismally?) vast (Q: hard to hear words) in comparion to the experiences that your conscious mind has now.
DB: I'm you know, thirty, whatever.
AD: And that's (Q: the ego--only `that's is on the tape) about two million years old.
DB: Right. OK. I've noticed that there have been several (Q: feet?) (Q: laughter). The point: if this interaction, this tension between the conscious mind I have now, and this ageless thing, is this thing called--is this another way of describing that process, that functioning of egoism?
AD: I don't know what you mean.
AH: There's a discrepancy between the conscious mind and the two million year old tendencies.
AD: There's a discrepancy between them?
AD: But what's egoism got to do with this?
DB: Yeah, Ok. But what it's got to do with it is . . .
AD: I'm trying to see where to plug it in. You're positing the empirical conscious mind that you have now which is about thirty years old, all right, compared to the matrix of possibilities which constitute even prior.
AD: What conflict?
DB: Well . . .
AD: There's a conflict between them you said, OK? Fine. We know who's gonna win. What's this got to do with egoism?
DB: Because . . . this con . . . I mean . . . It seems like the very positing of this conscious mind, all right, which is thirty years old as being separate and so on and so forth from this two million year old ego . . .
AD: That's what it thinks.
AD: It's already defeated.
DB: Yes. That's why I asked. ``Isn't this conflict just another expression of egoism in the first place?''
AD: Now that I don't follow. I just . . . I was on the ground and all of a sudden . . . Let someone else show me . . .
SD: He's saying the ego is the ego taking itself to be separate from the light that constitutes it and by analogy here the conscious mind takes itself to be separate from the ego. Is that what you're trying to get at?
DB: Well, we try to do that. I mean, you know, I say well, my ego's dead, I'm good, I'm going to be better and so on, so forth, and then I fall down.
AD: But that's the ego saying all that.
DB: That's all I wanted to know.
(Q: student discussion)
AD: All right. We'll make this the last one.
(Q: VM reading)
PB: ``Egotism may take different . . . '' (8.3.152)
RC: Oh, I don't know where this came from . . . sorry . . . Number 36 on page (Q: inaudible).
AD: You have to try to get these down because when we get them all down, then I'm going to work out and see if there's an order, maybe . . . (Q: ?) we'll see if there's a sequence available.
By the way, I mentioned to Randy, I consider this the most important book that will come out. None more important.
VM: (Q: continuing)
PB: ``Egotism may take different forms, and the one wherein it most successfully cloaks itself is that religio-mystical form whose theme is all ``me'' or ``I'', or the expectation of personal gain. But whether this is to be preferred to a hard, soulless materialsm is questionable and arguable.''(8.3.152)
VM: I mean this is so depressing . . . but I want to read it again. (Q: laughter) I want to read it for the ego's enjoyment.
PB: ``Egotism may take different forms . . . '' (repeat, 8.3.152)
AD: ``I am the new messiah.'' (Q: said after the words ~`personal gain.' in above PB para)
VM: Exactly. You appropriate all that grace and twist it to your personal gain.
AD: It's also, I think, the ground for the Vedanta assertion that ``I am God.''
VM: You mean the very high form of it.
RG: Whoa! Wait a minute . . .
AD: Did you hear any of the great mystics say that?--the real great ones?
RG: Wait a minute. There's a line in here, ``Be still and know that I am God''--from the Bible and he interprets it. (Q: entire para read later)
AD: Yeah, but how does he interpret God there? Soul? or One?
AB: Yeah, but Dickie he retranslates that to ``Be still and know the I AM-God'' so he's taking out the egotism by saying that I AM-God.
RG: Well (Q: inaudible) missing the point.
AD: That's alright. We'll push that aside.
AD: Go ahead, we'll push that aside. I can perfectly understand when someone says ``I am soul'' which is like saying `` I am God''--for one who's had the experience of soul. It's another thing when a philosophic mystic was involved. He wouldn't say that. ``I am soul'' is high enough. And like Plotinus pointed out, when you are God, there's no one there to say so.
HS: Remember Al Halaj? He came out saying that (Q: inaudible).
VM: this is from p. 14, orange #36,(Q: finishes the para, rereads para)
VM: And the way I'm trying to interpret that is you take this numinous, overwhelming experience, and this tremendous identification with it, and some expression of you, the personal entity, it's all me, I, or ``personal gain,'' you have a following now big group of students, or whatever. Then he says here,
PB: `` . . . whether this is to be preferred to a hard, soulless materialism is questionable and arguable.''
VM: He really asks the question, I'm not sure its better . . . than a real hardnose kind of materialism which in some way perhaps is preferable or more honest, anyway, . .
AD: You only have to read some of this (Q: inaudible) . .it'll scare you out of your wits.
EC: It's the hardnosed materialist that becomes the mystic that creates an inquisition, bloodbath (Q: inaudible).
VM: It's perhaps too down-to-earth an example but there's a man whose name I can't even think of now--in the PTL club--it was ``Praise the Lord.'' And the thing that was quite frightening . . .(Q: this guy was) very much taken up with this whole mission; he has an enormous following--Jim Baker. And the thing that's so frightening about it is the fanatic egotism that comes with it. It's perhaps a too (Q: inaudible) subject . . . (Q: inaudible) Oh, it's fantastic. These people have a hot line to God.
LR: But, you know, I don't know why we're just taking this to be just talking about mystics . . .
VM: . . . No, no . . . I'm just saying . . .
LR:..I'm talking about the path wherein we say we're focusing on our self now, you know . . .
VM: I agree . . .
LR:..(Q: inaudible) a lot of responsibilities in the world (Q: inaudible) just rely on. (Q: inaudible) I think he's . . .
VM: . . . at that level, sure . . . sure . . . but Anthony was, I think, stressing how enoromous the problems you get . . .
AD: . . . (Q: faintly) It's strange, it's unbelieveable.
VM: So, and I just thought that this was appropriate in that respect, to show how it can completely pervert except that you don't even know you've perverted. (Q: inaudible)
AH: You could even compare it to like political mythologies that some of us were involved in--a tremendous sense of meaning and . . .
VM: (Q: inaudible) behaviour.
AH: . . . and that can get translated into this religio-mystic mythology where's this self centered motivation. I think that that's what is being discussed--it's not the charismatic leader of a group but the disciples that think of themselves as being part of his (Q: inaudible).
AD: I remember the picture I saw that really fascinated me. I think it was called Khartoom? In which two mystics came across each other.
VM: Chinese Gordon.
AH: . . . and the Arab prince.
VM: Where they kill each other?
AD: Yeah. Well Chinese Gordon got killed. His head was lopped off by this Mohammedan, but Chinese Gordon came across the Arab mystic. He said ``I'm God.'' And the English mystic always thought HE was God! (Q: laughter)
AB: (Q: inaudible) They have these three psychotics and each one thinks they're Jesus Christ. So the psychologist gets (Q: them . . . inaudible) . . .
AD: These are men of tremendous power, I mean, General Gordon was well known, respected. In his own right he felt he was a mystic in his own right. It's always these . . .
AD: . . . Damati, yeah. And he also was a mystic. So the quotation there is almost like saying something like this--it seems like the mystics could have continuous wars going on as to who is God (Q: Anthony starts chuckling)
HS: But Damati died about eight months after (Q: inaudible).
AD: Yeah. Yeah. Later on he died, yeah.
(Q: Alan reading)
PB: ``The wisdom of the Psalm 46--``Be still and know that I am God''--may be tested by experiment. For in the ego's silence there will be whispered the revelation we await.''(8.4.236)
AD: Yeah, well, that brings up the whole notion of the interior word, the whole experience of the interior word. Where you get guidance on exactly what to do and how to do it and all that. That's a little more advanced. Down to the details. There's a chapter in I forgot which book it was-do you remember? --Unrevised Essays I think, on the Interior Word, we could read that. It follows through with what we just read. Randy, we're gonna close now. We're just warming up.
RC: Can we do the (Q: inaudible)? I don't think I understood.
AD: Huh? Oh, we'll go over it again. We won't understand it all at once. But, some of them are quite pivotal. I think the one about the emotional attachment to the separative tendencies, that's the hard one. That's where-that's tracing it back to its lair.
No, we won't get to it right away. It'll take a little time.
VM: That little book, LIGHT ON THE PATH, one of the things they say in there is you must tear the heart out by the roots. It seems to me it's speaking directly to that attachment, that emotional involvement.
AD: Yeah. Except that I . . .
VM: . . . frightening . . . (Q: inaudible)
AD: I would modify it and say IT would be torn out by the roots.
VM: Yeah, right . . .
AD: . . . You won't do that . . .
VM: Of course, (Q: you won't?) commit suicide like that..
AD: . . . (Q: inaudible) you won't commit suicide. (Q: very hard to hear)
AH: Vic, in that tradition the heart is spoken of as the seat of the emotions.
VM: Yeah, but also the seat of the spiritual . . .
VM: But also, you know like when they say, Anthony you said before how vasanas are held close around the heart. It seems to me that this is in harmony with the idea we were saying before how light from the Overself illuminates this whirling (Q: inaudible/cough) of thoughts--gives it a certain kind of being, a certain kind of center of being and these vasanas, if you like, are almost like that cluster of thoughts around that light.
AH: Actually, PB speaks of that in his work as the point instant (Q: inaudible).
AD: You'll try looking up some more by next week?
VM: Yeah . . .
(Q: end tape)