Any advice on how to stave off ego, shuck ego, kill the ego?

I think this . . . and I feel this . . . so self-absorbed . . . I’m sick of it.

Can anyone share their success stories in ending their egocentric behaviors? What are some of the pitfalls you’ve encountered along the way? Are you better off now that the ego as disappated? Help?

Holla back, all ya’ll thinkas

Learn to love jokes and caring for people.

Alcohol helps. Other than that, I hear medication helps.

If you kill your ego too much people end up taking advantage of you because of your passivity.

running in traffic works more often than not

-Imp

Low-to-no self esteem seems to do the trick.

Meditation helps loads: it helps you see your place within your family, circle of friends, society at large, country, continent, the world, the known universe - it really puts one’s ego in check: knowing that things will happen around you whether you have input or not.
But remember to keep at it, and not be scared when you go within: grown men get scared to go any further, but when you pass this point: you see that there is nothing to fear, and you wonder what you were so scared of in the 1st place - this process alone dulls the ego, but you become more alive/aware/non-judgemental in the process.

To meditate properly: you just sit (preferably on a floor) and watch your thoughts as they enter and leave your mind: with practice you will have no thoughts left, only a mind that helps you live from moment to moment: then there is no room for the ego.

Or if Imp’s suggestion fails, getting other people to play in traffic may avail you of a lessened ego. (Caveat: some individuals may be resistant to this activity, having a brick handy is recommended as a persuasion tool)

Neither desire nor aspire, my friend; and your ego should sort itself out - ego is driven by the need to possess objects (desire) and compete over everything (aspire).

An egoless state leads to permanent happiness: as there is nothing to be disappointed about - imagine not having to wait for some-one or something to make you happy, but instead just being so: for no reason: other than that you are… When you reach here: you’ll also be able to see people in this pre-enlightened state: some are happy there/some are not, but it’s all they know!

So basically do loose competitive drive.

Watch fight club 50 times.

You only lose that need to compete against others/the world: which only really hinders you anyway, but your drive to better yourself takes over: which saves you energy in the long run for bigger and better things…

You can’t beat UFC and a huge bowl of popcorn on a Saturday night.

and that’s enough from me…

Thanks all, for the advice. Especially the meditation.

For those who told me to play in traffic, come join this little club I started. Its an underground boxing club that you cant talk about.

Millions of years to evolve an ego and now we want to destroy it?

Just look at egos as a diverse flower garden,
some of them bloom into some cool arrangement
even though
there are more weeds than flowers at the present time.

I agree with Lovetothink. You need your ego. You just need to learn how to direct it correctly. Our ego does not have to hinder, it can be of great assistance.

Would you peoples agree that the word ego sounds of a negative connotation. I mean, try telling someone you even like your ego, and you’ll get a screwed look.

The wisdom I’ve been introduced to in the east has me puzzled in the intellectual west.

The ego has it’s uses, but can hold you back if all you do is constantly exercise it.

Use it wisely, and it will serve you well…

Use it inappropriately, and your whole life becomes a batlle of wills with other people’s (boring) egos, and then you exist on that level of being…

The ego is still there: if only to keep others in check/in their place, but not for egotistical warfare: you are then removed from the world of ego driven people, and into a place where you can just ‘be/live/thrive’.

People might think that you are weird because you do not indulge your ego, but you will be in a place where this does not matter anymore to you: as other priorities take over where the ego once ruled (these priorities will be down to your own individual needs.)

The ego should be regarded more as a tool to use to forge ahead: and not to belittle people with, or make crappy gains from such practices - you Can still the ego, and live in the Western world (the ego is stilled: not eradicated) you can then see things more clearly: as your mind is not filled with egotistical crap…

that’s all it is…

Don’t work to kill the ego, look for peaceful balance. A simple tool to smooth out the everyday fluctuations in our life is: forget perfection and look for direction. We can either be going up, down or sideways with our goals. Just work on humilty each day, but don’t try to ovgerdo it and lose all self worth.

…My discussion of this topic from an earlier post.

(name removed) writes:

“i am having trouble understanding the idea of why the buddhist say I do not exist. i have ben
losing sleep over this idea and need some help plea,se”

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

V writes:

Personally I do not spend much time on this subject of no self, no me, emptiness, mind - no mind and the like. I just accept what is and I’m done with it. It makes great fuel for the ‘over thinkers’ among us. The concept of no self is of course mandatory to accept if one is dedicated to escaping samsara with their Buddhist practice as I will go into at the end of this post. But for the vast part of the Buddhist population, they do not have such a dedicated practice. In this case, just believe whatever you wish … you exist or you don’t exist…but whatever you believe be at peace with it and do not ‘force the belief’ onto yourself. A successful practice should always be natural and authentic.

Over thinking blinds us to living right, for when a man’s mind is concentrated he is blind. Over thinking is also a great escape from thoughts of death or to pull us out of the ugly lives we have created for ourselves. A man or woman can spend their whole life pondering no self and emptiness and never come to a satisfactory answer and then one day they die. Yes, emptiness was an important question is such a life, as their life they lived or actually the life they did not live was indeed empty. I once heard a lecture by Alan Watts where he quoted Anton Van Leeuwenhoek (The father of the microscope) “The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.” Yes, we need to do some time in contemplation, but for the most part a flourishing life is spent ‘actually living’ and not just ‘thinking about’ living.

The reason that this debate of self or no self comes up is that we exist only temporally with our body due to the law of impermanence. But such extreme views as ‘no self’ and ‘no mind’ must be balanced with how things really are in the physical world if we wish to live within society and to be at peace. Confused Buddhists wishing to be at peace with this subject can balance the 2 extremes of existence and non existence with a middle path. From extreme views of no existence to convectional ideas of existence, we get a blend of the two to see how things really are in our life - we exist temporality but not ultimately. (at least not in our present form) It is the same with a river for example. the river is never the same from millisecond to millisecond, yet just because it is in flux it does not mean it is not real or exist. Just because it died up does not mean it never existed.

For enlightenment we need to seek a place of 'self without self. What does that mean? We need to transcend our own little fixed and limited conceptions of how things are in order to see the big picture. Protagoras, an early 5th century BCE philosopher said, “Man is the measure of all things” As such, within your own little sphere of life, you as well as I, are each our own measure of all things. We need to absorb life and make some sense of it to try and be at peace. But to be successful at it we need to develop a good vipassana practice of seeing things clearly in terms of impermanence, suffering and non-self. Seeing things for what they are helps prevent further uprising of new passions from ignorance. With any interpretation of phenomena whether spiritual or mundane there are 3 things that come to play:

  1. Observing signs.

  2. The interpretation of those signs in the mind

  3. The expression of the interpretation of the signs in words either spoken, written or visual communication.

If one does not go beyond self and all the attachments and prejudices, likes and dislikes contained within that self, then one will have hard time getting at the true nature of things. The ‘interpretation of signs’ is where most people get lost. They lose themselves as Psychologist William James pointed out by ‘confusing thinking time with just rearranging their prejudices.’ One time a discussion came up at eSangha at the women corner about the possibility of a woman finding enlightenment. She recounted how when she asked her teacher if a woman can ever reach enlightenment the teacher told her no. As she was perplexed, she continued questioning the teacher until he told her in essence that a woman cannot reach enlightenment until she transcends the concept of being a woman. Or as I told you in the beginning…self without self. If we look at the average woman what does she do in the morning? She spends a half hour putting on a mask to be something that she is not. Can such a person reach enlightenment? (No) Is makeup up all that is holding her back from enlightenment? (NO) If makeup was the only issue, men would have it made. But we each carry our own self with us and define our lives with who we ‘think’ we are via this conception of self. And for men, they define life and self for the most part tough their penis, whereas most women define self though beauty.

This ‘delusion of self’ will be seen in the hate mail I get from women from this post. Some women will see only what their ‘self’ wants them to see and nothing more. Other women are more clear thinking in nature and can see truth without obscuring it with their own prejudices. Delusional persons concentrate on personalties, whereas persons not of this deluded nature concentrate on truths. When we invest excessive time and energies in acquiring or building attachments to self, these attachments become veritable extensions of our being and come to define us for ourselves as well as define who we are for others. When these attachments take on this role we become susceptible to pain via these extensions. If the person, place or thing we are attached to gets rebuked it is a personal rebuke on us, if they get damaged or defaced so goes the defacement and damage to our very being. The ancient Greek philosophers knew that when passion rules the mind, that the only job left for reason is that of the subservient task to find cleaver ways to satisfy the passions. They called it “putting passion before reason.”

Passions are rooted in the self and the self is always is in flux which accounts for the rise and fall of these passions.

Whereas, truth is stable - for the truth is that which does not change.

No self is a concept that was meant to help dispel one of ego based attachments as well as attachments whether they be material attachments or concepts. It is also used to detach one from ideas of an eternal life in the hereafter. With regard to an immortal soul. no one can definitively answer that question. Sure we all have opinions, but as the famous saying Clint Eastwood used in his ‘Dirty Harry’ series, “Opinions are like assholes - everyone got one.” My own tool for peace is the tool of acceptance coupled with mindfulness. I have worked to create a practice for me that seeks change first and if no change is possible it readily accepts what is. In this case, if an immortal soul or spirit is the truth I accept it, if an immortal soul or spirit is not the truth I accept it. But in either case I know that no man, except the ego based individual that claims to be God can claim to answer this question.

For practitioners that cannot move as freely in all directions as I do, they must work to disassociate self form self and convince themselves that a self does not exist. And in this way they can find peace with the no soul theory. This topic is complicated somewhat since Buddhist generally believe in no self, yet they believe in reincarnation and the accumulation and transference of karma. If there is nothing that survives death, then there is no entity or spirit that will be reincarnated. Sure, the reincarnation is in a different form than the previous, but it still carries the seed of karmic debt or surplus from original owners previous carnations. If death is ultimate in Buddhist eyes, they would have no fear of future pain in future lives. One could do as one wishes in this life with no fear of future retributions. But is fear all that drives you to do good?

These “fear based” reasons for being a Buddhist, Christian or any other faith are not authentic or natural. The persons actions are based on fear or negative consequences otherwise they would not do them. My actions are based on inner peace and if I stray - there goes my peace - it is my choice. Take away the fear of pain of karma or hell and you have a different person? A truly virtuous life remains the same irrespective of such fears and is not based on them. You see much over thinking going on when the topics of dependent or conditional arising and the like. Don’t get lost is such things. Align right actions with a right life and you will have no need for such fears. Ground your practice in peace and not in fear and if not then feel free to stay grounded in fear and not in peace.

Many contradictions with religions. Religion was created by man and as such every religion is imperfect, since their creators were imperfect themselves. But, just as each religion contains imperfection they also contain many perfection’s within them. It is up to the practitioner or end user to use the tools in the right way. Accepting what is beyond our control is the way to peace as long as we have done our foot wok in the area of the eightfold path as our foundation to peace. It is a common fault with humans that they look for an enemy to blame their problems on whether it be karma, God or a golden calf. We must always remember that all problems are created in the mind and our problems are individual as well. Sometimes there is someone to blame for these problems which is usually us. Other times it is just how things are and no one is to blame. When you stop looking for an enemy to blame for your problems on you have made a big breakthrough with finding acceptance and peace. The universe does not discriminate against us…we do the discriminating. My earlier post ‘Enemy God’ discusses this topic in detail

Some Buddhists say we have no self since you cannot point to it or upon dissection of a body you cannot find it. You cannot find the mind as well. But neither can you dissect and point to gravity, the wind or magnetism but they exist as well. You can’t point to smells and odors, hot or cold yet they exist. So it also goes with the self and mind. Humans are not fungible commodities for the most part. We all have our natures and personalties. Can you point to a personality? Can you dissect a human and find their personality? Does this mean personalities do not exist? If this was not the case, no one would bother dating before marrying and you could substitute one person for another without issue and get the same result in marriage.

Throughout history man has needed an escape to concentrate his or her mind on. As I told you above, over thinking and the endless speculation over religious fervor makes a great escape from thoughts of death or to pull us out of the ugly lives we have created for ourselves. Just work to change or readily accept what cannot be changed and you can circumvent all the needless concentrations to be at peace in the present. One day your life, just as mine, will be spent. And the defining characteristic of our lives will not be not be much money we grabbed, or how many posts we sent in. But a very important component that will define whether a life flourished or not will be if we ‘really lived’ our lives in the present and in an authentic manner. Or was our life spent empty and devoid of real expedience, a life in a haze of delusion, always fixated on speculation of the past or the future, but seldom living in the now…the now of actually experiencing life first hand for OURSELVES.

I know many of you have problems you wish to escape from. If you wish to change things, then take that first step in the ‘opposite direction’ from where you have been headed in for so long. Walk in the path of right living and peace and as you as you make this change you will see your problems starting to diminish. As they diminish, your capacity for rational thought and clear thinking well increase. And then you can start thinking about balanced living instead of useless speculations as way to tie up your mind. Remember…a constantly busy mind cannot heal itself.

You see, while pondering such unanswerable questions as the immortality of the soul and trying to decide if I exist ultimately or temporally or not at all, I can still do great damage to other sentient beings with my actions that ‘do exist’ in the present moment. As such, I prefer to spend my time being mindful of my actions and am wary not over concentrate in theory and debate. I’d like to point out that my views are not the orthodox or traditional vies on these subjects. So, please do not think I speak for anyone other than ‘myself’ with whatever I write. Of course, as this topic discusses, traditional Buddhists also believe there is no ‘my’ or ‘self’ so, I guess it really doesn’t matter in that case since ‘V’ is empty and ‘V’ does not exist. In addition, belief of self is also one of the ten fetters that binds a being to samsara, so if you wish to escape samsara, then do not believe in self. But also realize you need to get off the computer this instant, as a ‘being’ that is attached to such electronic passions will not be escaping anything.

Good luck,

V (Male)