The work we have to do in this lifetime is the greatest challenge we have ever faced in all our incarnations. Each of us in our own specifically designed, mind-made world can hold on to only so many things, which are all constantly struggling for our attention. Each thought is saying, “I matter the most.” Which comes first? Which objects and thoughts do I need the most at this moment? What do I focus on next? What problem am I going to give my attention to? Will it be the demands that are placed upon us by our family, our work, our own internal desires and fears? Or the flood of things that our attention is being drawn to by advertising, friends, books, the internet, and movies? These all cause our mind to become so very scattered. These numerous demands force us to move through life in a state of emotional strain because so much matters to us in our life.
If I am sick and in pain – it matters. If I fall in or out of love – it matters. If I lose my job – it matters. If someone attacks my thoughts or feelings – it matters. If I do not get what I want – it matters. Giving our attention to all these things that cause stress diminishes our health and often makes us miserable. They all derive from that aspect of our mind that in Sant Mat we call ego.
Dr. Johnson writes in The Path of the Masters:
The normal ego is all right, but when it begins to swell up out of all proportion, then it takes on the nature of a disease. So vanity is an overgrown ego. Ahankar is a malignant enlargement of the ‘I.’ That faculty, which is quite necessary for the preservation of the individual in this life and for the proper placement of that person in relation to all others, becomes so overgrown that the normal self becomes for him the centre of the universe.
Our egos are dysfunctional and our minds have identified with this dysfunctional ego to the extent that we are motivated fundamentally by our senses and the desires of our mind, which have overtaken the interests of our soul. From a spiritual perspective, this is a sickness. In many countries of the world there is an organization called Alcoholics Anonymous to help people with the disease of alcoholism. At the beginning of each of their weekly meetings every person in attendance, one by one, stands up and says, “Hello my name is so-and-so and I am an alcoholic.” For us, the organization should be Ego-centrics Anonymous and the statement, “Hello my name is so-and-so and I have an overgrown ego. I believe I am the centre of the universe.”
Our dysfunctional egos are constantly forcing us to pay attention to what they want. To make things worse, what matters to us at any moment constantly keeps changing. Karmas from past lives, which the ego labels as good or bad, are constantly arising. The ego goes into action to mobilize thoughts, words, money or actions to protect what matters to it and keeps us distracted.
This life-dominating ego, which wants to control things, thinks it can bring about what really matters to it, and at the same time it resists so many things that the Master sends us that would benefit it. What is the solution? To learn to see the ego the way the Master does: as a small illusory spot in relation to our entire spiritual being.
In an evening meeting at Dera, a brother told the Master: “I have such a big ego. Everything is me, me, me, me. I have little compassion and think I am so important. How can I ever make progress on this path with such a big ego?”
The Master started to laugh. He looked directly at this man and told him that he was wrong, that his ego was actually very, very small; it was nothing.
The Master can say that the ego is miniscule because he is looking at who we really are, at the soul. The reason he loves us is because he is not looking at our ego, he is not judging our ego. To him it is nothing, a tiny illusory spot. He is looking at what we cannot see, and that is our soul. He so often asks if we think he would have initiated us if he thought we could not do this work. Our lives can be transformed if only we prioritize and let go of all these things that we think matter so much and concentrate on the one big thing. The one big thing that the Master tells us does matter most is our meditation. This alone will release the soul from the mind and ego that bind us to the creation.
What matters most is that we strengthen our will-power and experience the fact that we can do it. There is power in keeping a commitment, in knowing that our word is worth something. There is great value in just making the commitment to meditate.…
Through repeated action, we become stronger at what we do. Even a small spark of determination will be enough to burn to ashes all the limitations put on us by a mindset that refuses to sit in meditation. Practice makes perfect.