If you place value on the thoughts, opinions, and judgments of others (good or bad), then, most likely, you also place value on your own thoughts, opinions, and judgments, which means that you are giving more relevance and importance to ego fabrication than is truly necessary for maintaining basic communication and interaction within Maya (the illusion of the perceived and perceivable world as an Absolute reality) if all of your thoughts do not come from your Buddhi mind (or the higher functioning part of your mind that is purely logical and neutral and helps you to navigate though life effectively without a personal agenda).
Though it may be really hard to part with your precious beliefs and world-views (since, after all, they were what helped you to “make sense” of an insane world, and you may have an underlying fear that if you are unarmed with the thoughts that you have accumulated along the way of navigating through this chaos, you will surely be devoured), when you are on the path to liberation, at some point, you will realize how everything must be dropped so that you can enter the still point of expansive awareness that grants you “eternal life” and True knowledge that sets you free.
Or, as the “Negro-Spiritual” Down By the Riverside states, you will realize that you have to lay down your burden, or your heavy load, and carry it “oh no more.”
Jesus (who needs no introduction or last name, as we stick to a Christian example for now) is quoted to have once said ‘it is easier for a rich man to ride a camel through the eye of a needle [or for a camel to go through the eye of a needle] than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven…’ Why?
Well, there are multiple interpretations of this, since, after all, Jesus spoke in parables for a reason. In the context of this post, and Yoga sciences in general, however, we are looking at how man’s lack of “salvation” has to do with the enormity of his “accumulations” in the form of false attachments.
The camel, to be as simplistic as possible, is always “a camel,” in the parable. And for the 6 foot animal to pass through the eye of a needle, as impossible as it may seem for the large, furred, creature to pass through an opening that is measured by a few millimeters, is not entirely improbable or impossible at all because the camel’s size is relative to the size of the needle’s eye. Even just looking through a normal sized needle-eye from a distance will have the camel easily passing through, and certainly creating a needle that has an eye larger than the camel itself will have the creature pass through quite easily.
The Kingdom of “Heaven” (and, therefore, getting into the Kingdom), however, is not relative.
Being a Truth, and Absolute, (assuming that we are referring to a perfect Kingdom, which we obviously are, based on everything that Jesus spoke about previously) there is only one way to (although multiple pathways leading up to this entrance certainly exist since there will be people coming from different places with different means of transportation and at different times) enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And this way, according to what Jesus has himself also declared, is through a main doorway through which only your “childlike” Self (meaning your unworldly, unconditioned, un-clinging, “uncontaminated,” uncorrupted, Self), purified and washed clean (purged) from all false senses of identity, can enter.
“Man” (which obviously, also means “woman,” since both are technically, and inseparably, one and the same God image, and being of the same elements, and of each other, ie. rib and dust/Earth according to the book of Genesis) can enter freely into the Kingdom, purified as a child (not literally, but metaphorically, which is a whole other post onto itself), but for a “rich” (all kinds of conditions and attachments apply) man to enter (with all his “stuff”), it is virtually impossible.
So, the formula for making sure that you do not have too much baggage (ego in the literal and symbolic senses) to fit through the door is to get rid of everything that could possibly hold you back, from your eye, to your feet, if they cause offense (metaphorically and literally), according to Matthew 19:24.
Beyond The self-serving Ego
Other than formulating desires and shaping the way that things interact and play out within Maya for the purpose of preserving the individual “self” conception and physical unit, the ego, and all of its desires and creations are–like our technologies, art, music, language, actions, and so forth, similar to the sense of self that is constantly changing, dying, and being reborn into new forms–only “child’s play,” to which we should not remain attached.
Humans, however, have bowed down to the statues that they created (often in their own image) thinking that they were great because their statues were large and required a lot of effort, humans have revered idols in homo sapien form for their ability to do things like accurately throw objects or make rhythmic sounds with their voice, they have sat in awe at what they perceive to be the great “mysteries” of artistic expression, been flabbergasted by tools that facilitate new discoveries about things that already existed to be discovered, drooled over experiences that they perceived to be extraordinary (like going into space even though we are all technically always already floating in space right now), and so on and so forth…when existence itself is just effortlessly all of this, unaffected by it, making all things possible (without “breaking a sweat”), and yet, existence (as it is, and as all that it is) barely gets acknowledgement most of the time…even on Sundays in some religions where people honor “God,” most mainly set aside time to pray to a man-made (and dysregulated, temperamental, man-like) God that they are absolutely terrified hates their guts for even existing.
Regardless of our collective or individual reverence to the plain Truth of the Absolute Reality (eternally shining through) or complete ignorance of it at any given time, however, existence itself, with nothing making it more or less amazing at any given time (no matter how fancy the buildings or structures that we make to honor desired aspects of it may be), remains the most important and magnificent Reality that could and will ever be (if we qualify/quantify it). Period(t)–lol. (And, if you think that the previous statement–before the statement of ending the sentence–is a matter of opinion, and not a matter of fact, please share your argument as a comment to this post in the designated area below. I would be curious to know how many think that the fact of existence itself is not more essential than anything that exists within it).
Every amazing thought that you have, or could, ever think in any given minor blip in time in your manifestation, every pure desire that inevitably emerges into the form of objects that human imaginations fabricate, every evolutionary process that collective species influence, every galaxy that forms, every breath that you take (interconnected with all of life and tied to the process of transporting elemental space dust, like those called iron, through your blood made up of molecules that formed over millions of years of development so that your body functions), on this planet that was born about 4.5 billion years ago in the endless span of eternity, is present here, and yet humans still think that the little thoughts that they think about these things are anything more than a small part of something far greater…something that even makes these thoughts possible to begin with.
In our species, you will find egos (fabricated, illusory senses-of-self) so inflated that they believe that they either create and/or control existence itself (even without proof–which is required of “God” and even existence itself–since, why would they need proof since they are the God itself, because they think so?), or that existence is there to serve only them in the short 70 or so years that any human form will remain in animated form.
Some people even feel entitled to “reject” Truth and Reality itself if it does not fit their ego desires and fabrications. In Yoga philosophy, for example, I often read some writers/interpreters who are convinced that because an understanding does not give them (in their individual expression) ultimate control over all of reality, or ultimate importance in it, then there must be “another truth” that does. And, so, they search for/fabricate a more suitable substitute for The only universally verifiable Truth itself as opposed to coming into a purer understanding of what the Truth (of existence itself) reveals beyond their ego’s role posing as the Self, which can perceive itself as all that there is (in a variety of different ways).
Remember please, that there are 5 primary things that will hold you back on this journey to liberation, in which inner purification is essential and selfishness is a contraindication to Samadhi (if you do not get distracted by 9 other obstacles altogether and/or slip off the path entirely), leaving you repeating that metaphorical “high school” class of the inner path over and over again until you are 30 in your 12th year: “ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred, and clinging to bodily life” (Sutra 2.3).
Despite the fact that we (meaning everything in existence) are intrinsically magnificent in our connection and expression as this great magnificence that represents all of who we are as one being-ness, many cling to limited self-identifies, and give more weight and significance to their fleeting and trivial desires and the fleeting and trivial (and even suffering-inducing) lower creations that keep them (and our species) bound in cycles of destruction (for example, like in dysfunctional societies, or through habitat-destroying technologies and consumption patterns and habits).
Humanity’s ego is like that of the mythological Greek character Narcissus, who was so infatuated by his own image, reflected in water, that he failed to see how neither his image, nor the water that reflected it (in my interpretation here) even touched the surface of all of who he was, and could be if he embraced parts of himself beyond his limited reflection, to sustain a greater love of himself, that does not lead to death, suffering, and/or destruction. Many are so interested in, and infatuated with, the self (or selves of others) that they have created/fabricated, that they lose full connection to the True Self that is inherent, and is a “given,” and is far greater than any limited version of themselves (or others) that they could image or play out.
♪ “Me, me, me,”♪ is such a familiar and common tune amongst humans that most forget that this “me” includes everything and everyone else, and that beyond this sense of Self, there is a greater Truth that has no limitation such as any one person’s importance, and represents who we all are in our essence as existence itself, which nothing can be greater.
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