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rumblingspire
light all the fires
10:40 PM on 05/06/2010
it is foolish to deny the ego. the ego is. I.
my wonder lies with wether there be oneI or many.
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rumblingspire
light all the fires
10:50 PM on 05/06/2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaT32erN3ZM
The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free

hnts of the truth hidden in sarcasm
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David Nichtern
02:58 PM on 05/07/2010
Great Caesar's Ghost! The Mothers of Invention.... a classic song no less.... they were nothing short of amazing live.... some deep deep stuff there.... fun that you brought that into the picture! Best, David N.
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khanti
Cultivator
08:13 PM on 05/06/2010
When we are born there exist a "self" and we protect this existence from the very beginning. Babies cries at birth when feeling pain and when there are hungry or feel uncomfortable. To protect this 'being' although impermanent and ever changing we develop like and dislikes, in fact all those so call positive and negative traits are for life preservation. This instinct of protecting the self goes overboard as the mind develops and learning experiences gathers. The ego become its extension. To discover the ego is to back track our actions to its source why did we get angry in the first? Why do we hate? What is the cause? We search for the answer from within because no one can make us angry if we choose not to. As the wise saying one can lead a cow to the water but you cannot force it to drink unless it bent its head.
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Turtleposer
I have micro-bios in my tummy.
08:05 PM on 05/06/2010
A friend of ours said he didn't want to be a writer, even though he's very good at it, because he has no ego. My husband and I laughed about that because his statement in itself sounded a bit egotistical.
10:01 PM on 05/06/2010
Or is it your ego that made you think he sounded egotistical?
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Turtleposer
I have micro-bios in my tummy.
11:16 PM on 05/06/2010
Could it be that your response to my comment is due to your enormous ego?
08:41 PM on 05/07/2010
I like your avatar - what kind of turtle is that? I listen to a lot of Eckhart Tolle and I also studied with a Tibetan Buddhist sangha for a few years. One of the things they teach about is a sort of reverse egoism, where you renounce your worldly possessions and the personal traits that you feel make you unique (in this case, "talent for writing") in an effort to realize egolessness. The irony is that the ego can become just as identified with this new identity, i.e, how evolved you are by not having or "being" anything. Ego is still as firmly entrenched as if you lived in a castle surrounded by possessions, convinced of your fabulosity when compared to the rest of the human race.
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David Nichtern
12:20 PM on 05/08/2010
What you are talking about here is what Trungpa Rinpoche used to call "spiritual materialism"... just giving the ego a new suit of clothes that appears more "spiritual"... there is a big warning about doing that.... always....and even sometimes our best friends won't tell us when we're doing exactly that... so you are making a very very potent point here!

Best, DN
08:03 PM on 05/06/2010
Rule One in the manual of cosmic mechanics: a linear wrench will not turn a spiral bolt.

~Tom Robbins
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miggiepdx
Time goes by, and things change.
02:35 AM on 05/07/2010
I have the honor of becoming your first fan.
09:20 AM on 05/07/2010
Thank ~you miggie,
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BetteB
07:45 PM on 05/06/2010
Where ever I go, ego. Or as my friends put it, where ever I go, wego since we are all One. What we are is nonphysical digital information, part of a system of Consciousness as Individuated Units of Consciousness (IUOC) per a fractal, digital, model of reality put forth by my friend Thomas Campbell in his trilogy "My Big TOE" (MBT) that IS the theory of everything that actually covers EVERYTHING, as all good TOEs have to or they are little toes limited by their constraints. So far there has not been one important question about reality, about why we are here and what we are doing here that Tom's model has not explained in a way that matters. Ego in the MBT model is used differently that the Freudian use, and even the Freudian use isn't what Freud had meant as he was mistranslated (ref. on hand), but it is what we are here to deal with. Egolessness, a IUOC with little ego is mostly love, what we are helping to do here in each of our own ways as best we can. This is useful information, life changing even.
Love
Bette S Baysinger
www.mbtevents.com
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silk olive
07:45 PM on 05/06/2010
To the question "why are we even here?", I like the idea that perhaps we are the result of the universe attempting to become conscious of itself. Its so easy to become wrapped up in my own little drama and the people around me, I find it important to stop and reflect on a more expansive notion of existence beyond body & personality.

I spoke to a man recently who was diagnosed with terminal cancer several years ago but had recovered. He said that when he was very sick, he got to a point where he was sure he would die and said he felt a deep calm and connection to everything on the planet. But when he recovered the feeling slowly went away. He said he would do anything to get that back.

I am fascinated by those who seem to have found either short or long term egolessness. I personally find it next to impossible to achieve unless meditating and even then it is difficult.
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T4
Entreprenuer and financial consultant
07:18 PM on 05/06/2010
You couldn't be more wrong - buddihism ios the personification of the ego. It is you who is giving, at the center of the universe, etc. and by giving you absorb back into you personal energy and power to free yourself from constraints. Egolessness, that for peple who follow Obama and think giving money to bankers to evict us from our houses to charity to poor deserving bankers.
10:05 PM on 05/06/2010
Huh?
10:24 PM on 05/06/2010
One can only define a "center" by drawing boundaries. One cannot exist without the other. Since you have no way of knowing the boundaries of the universe (other than ones you create with your mind), then you cannot define the center.
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racetoinfinity
restore Glass-Steagall now!
07:12 PM on 05/06/2010
Very true, but one has to move from dependence and become a whole, HEALTHY, independent autonomous being, before one can transform to true ego-transcending (not ego-obliterating) interdependence, and realize that we are all one.
10:29 PM on 05/06/2010
Hello God! It's me...God
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racetoinfinity
restore Glass-Steagall now!
04:10 AM on 05/08/2010
I don't know if you're being sarcastic or sincere, but you are correct:

I AM THAT I AM
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Craig Lane
you got Habeas in my Corpus
06:27 PM on 05/06/2010
Love the article and the comments...Thank You. Would it be accurate to state that our ego and our ability to feel compassion/empathy would be similar to polar opposites?
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David Nichtern
06:34 PM on 05/06/2010
Interesting way of putting it.... but it seems that genuine compassion (not just trying to feel better by thinking we're helping people, but really offering that which is needed) is not really convergent with protecting our own territory.... I think you are hitting an interesting point here.... ego is the definition of selfish and compassion could be seen as the definition of self-less.... thanks Craig.... and thanks for your comments and for writing in.... all best, DN
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T4
Entreprenuer and financial consultant
07:28 PM on 05/06/2010
ego is the definition of the recognition of self as a functioning human being - not some anonymous cog in a universal machine without impact - a being of mental tapioca. To give honestly requires the ability to receive the experiental impact of the gift - this are reflections of ego strength not selfless ness. Weak egos become suicide bombers and see their actions as selfless but actually they are the ultimate expression of being sleffish.
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T4
Entreprenuer and financial consultant
07:22 PM on 05/06/2010
absolutely not and totally false. The only way a person can be honestly empathetic is to have a firm fixed sense of self. Without a vibrant sense of self - you lose a mental anchor to your reality. We are experiential beings - we receive data and translate it to something we can understand and deal with. No ego - no ability to translate
10:20 PM on 05/06/2010
"you mental anchor to your reality"

That's why you're not grasping the philosophy in the first place. You do not become dumb when you lose your ego....ability to "translate data" is enhanced
06:12 PM on 05/06/2010
David - I'm a little confused here. When we talk about "ego" aren't we talking about the concept of self (i.e., what you called "the assumption that we exist as a permanent, unified, independent being") rather than the actual "self". The concept/assumption is there, even if the actual self is not. In other words, saying there is no self is not equivalent to saying there is no ego. Ego is the delusion of self. So then it would make sense to talk about "getting rid of" the ego or getting rid of the idea that we actually exist as a real thing. As you say, this is "accomplished" through insight.

It might symantics, but since it was the title of the piece, it had me scratching my had throughout the article. Let me know if I'm missing something here.

Thanks for writing and teaching!
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David Nichtern
06:36 PM on 05/06/2010
Greetings.... so to follow thru here.... what would the "actual self" consist of? how would you describe it as a discreet entity....? Just let's keep looking into this together OK? Best, DN
07:55 PM on 05/06/2010
David: my apologies if I am intruding on a question meant only for NSDANIE. The answer would be that it is a double illusion--one caused by the other. A mirror of a mirror. The idea of the Self causes Ego which strengthens the concept of the Self which increases the strength of the Ego. Is the idea of the Ego and the Self True? Yes. Is the idea of the Ego and the Self False? Yes.
07:40 PM on 05/06/2010
Very nicely done and very accurate. My guess is that the Buddha meant just this (at least based on the Theravada tradition). It is True and It is also False. Note, however, it is "accomplished" thru Mindfulness and "achieved" via "Insight." Consider me a fan!
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BetteB
05:48 PM on 05/06/2010
Strawberry fields forever....
Love
Bette S Baysinger
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David Nichtern
06:37 PM on 05/06/2010
Great.... yes ... strawberry fields forever! Why not?

DN
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BetteB
07:48 PM on 05/06/2010
Hi David,
Yes, we do create our own reality.
Love
Bette
05:47 PM on 05/06/2010
Without the ego, we're left with the id and the super ego, if you believe Freud.

Without the ego we would be unorganized intuitive moralizers, with no reason to balance it out.
Sounds evangelical to me – except for the unorganized part. Just sayin'.
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David Nichtern
06:40 PM on 05/06/2010
Different frame of reference I think... maybe different use of the word (ego).... used to have this conversation with my dad who was a psychiatrist.... ego meant healthy sense of individual identity to him.... in Buddhist lingo it refers more to clinging to some fixed notion of who one is.... could say healthy ego would be strong but fluid notion of one's own authentic being, but maybe hard to characterize without giving too much of a solid feeling as to what that is and how to maintain it.... anyhow.. let's keep exploring this point.... I think it's an east-west language kind of deal but there's something meaningful in there.... let's keep going.... DN
10:26 PM on 05/06/2010
Ahh...the limits of language
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situationcritical
SuperMegaUltraUberLiberal
05:32 PM on 05/06/2010
Ego-lessness is a myth. Keep "emptying" your mind as they say in the East, if you like.
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David Nichtern
05:34 PM on 05/06/2010
That's a good one..... of course the other folks might say ego is a fairytale, but at the end of the day you put your money down and play at the table of your choice in any case.... by the way.... love your email address.... funny... all best, David N.
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situationcritical
SuperMegaUltraUberLiberal
05:56 PM on 05/06/2010
I agree - at the end of the day it's what you choose. It took me too long to learn that. If you're referring to my handle Situationcritical (as my email) - it's meant as humor. I wanted something that sounded harsh, but actually it's just a song title.
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Russ Vanover
Lebowski Little Urban Achiever
05:10 PM on 05/06/2010
I've put the effort, done the work in and ended up at the roadblock of nihilism. There needs to be more teachers to help people overcome this knot. My whole life shifted with a Vipassana but I have been slowly sliding back ever since.
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David Nichtern
12:37 PM on 05/08/2010
Russ....

There are teachers around... the advantage is that while you are chipping away at that roadblock of nihilism from your side, the teacher can be chipping away from the other side.... also sangha can help in that regard.. one of the things about nihilism is that we can stop looking cause we think we found the end of the road.... in the Buddhist path there are stages beyond vipassana to explore... mahayana, vajrayana... further sense of journey unfolding..... it is possible.... sending best, DN
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Marcus01
It all just seems like it's real
05:00 PM on 05/06/2010
Thank you for this article. With your help more people may learn that it is the ego-driven left brain that creates our sense of separation from each other and the oneness of Unity.

The world could certainly use a lot less ego and a lot more compassion. Thank you again for your efforts.
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David Nichtern
05:35 PM on 05/06/2010
You're welcome... more compassion in any shape or form would be a good thing....and thanks for writing in.... sending best, DN