Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Relation of Ego to Thoughts

~By Eckhart Tolle

Image by Davide Restivo


Question:
Is the ego the source of our thoughts or are our thoughts generated elsewhere and pass through the ego?

Eckhart: There is no ego apart from the thoughts. The thoughts identification with thoughts is ego, but the thoughts that go through your mind of course are linked to the collective mind of the culture you live in, humanity as a whole, so they are not your thoughts as such, but you pick them up from the collective, most of them; and so:

You Identify With Thinking
&
The Identification With Thinking
Becomes Ego
Which Means That
You Believe In Every Thought
That Arises
&
You Derive Your
Sense of Who You Are
From
What Your Mind
Is Telling You
Who You Are.

Opinions, viewpoints, that’s me. Some people talk to themselves: “You are, oh you’re are so good.” Why doesn’t the world recognize you. Or, the mind says: “You’re no good.” Same thing. “You’re no good at all. You fail at everything don’t you?” And then you believe in it. And, then you suddenly have a low view of yourself. Why you have a low view? Because you believed in your thoughts. And, why are you thinking those thoughts? Probably you picked them up somewhere, maybe in childhood. Maybe your mom was so stressed out that she said that you were no good. And, so you pick up certain thoughts and they get stuck in your head.

Thoughts that you hear in childhood, they are little energy forms, like entities and they get stuck in your head and don’t  refuse to go. And the more you believe in them the more lodged, more deeply lodged they become in your mind. And so some people are stuck with very hostile entities. I’m saying entity, not in some spooky way, but every thought is an energy form, and as such you can call it an entity.

And, there are many people in this world who are stuck with hostile, life denying, continuously critical and attacking entities that they carry in their head and they believe that is who they are. And they are continuously attacking themselves and if they are not attacking themselves they are attacking others around them. “Let me tell you who you are.” Of course, what they are really saying is, “Let me tell you who I am.” They project, you know the famous saying, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Which means:

You look at reality through the screen of your thinking and your judgment, which is conditioned by the past.

A dreadful present to live in, it’s like blinkers, worse than blinkers, it’s like looking at reality through heavy veils.

So, the identification with thinking, believing in your thoughts, having no space outside of the movement of thought—lack of space inside. That is the unconscious condition, spiritually, completely unconscious. And, then you are burdened with a heavy ego—you are the ego, which is not an entity apart from thought. It is thoughts that you have identified with. And, the first moment of Freedom comes when you realize that certain thoughts have been going through your head for years, perhaps, and that:

They Are Only Thoughts
And That
You Are Not The Thought
You Are The Awareness.

In my case, I became aware that I had a thought, for example, that started in childhood, one of many negative thoughts that I had, “Bad things always happen to me. Bad things always happen to me.” I saw people—ok, they have got all of these nice things and always there would be bad things happening to me. And, of course, your perception then becomes selective, when you have a thought like that you notice much more, because in everybody’s life, things in daily life, things go wrong, you miss a bus, you get stuck in a traffic jam, or you lose some money; but, yet this is normal, but if you have the thought, “Bad things always happen to me,” you are extremely aware of those things and they confirm to you that the thought is correct. And this is:

The Selective Perception of Reality Through the Screen of Thinking.

Not only that, that thought or any thought of that kind actually attracts bad things, negative things, or if you believe people are basically bad (and that’s a deep seated belief) and you don’t realize it, it’s only a thought in your head or a belief, not only would you single out, when you observe unethical or bad behavior in others (ah, there it is), not only that, you actually are much more likely to encounter people who manifest that kind of behavior, because you attracted it. And so, that’s just incredible how people create their world through that; so, freedom comes from stepping out, encountering, first of all, a little bit of space inside of you, presence. And then from there you realize certain thoughts as repetitive and just a thought. “Bad things always happen to me.” Oh, there it goes again. I thought that before.

So, to become free of ego means becoming free of thought—identification with thought. That’s the end of the ego. Or, it may reassert itself from time to time, but at least that’s the awakening.

Eckhart asks the attendee: What about your thoughts? How about your thoughts?

Attendee: Probably that I have to get everything right. An intense figure it out and get it right. It rules me.

Eckhart: And, if it is not right?

Attendee: I escape. I just won’t do it. I pretty much predict ahead of time, so I won’t try a lot of times.

Some people are afraid of not succeeding in whatever they do, because their self-image, which is derived from thinking would suffer. If I fell at something then my self-image will be injured, and therefore I’m not even going to try. And again, that’s to do with deriving your identity from thinking. And, even the thought “I have failed” is a lie. “I am a failure,” is an even greater lie. You have not failed, you can simply reinterpret it and say, “I have learned something here. This is not for me,” for example. So, but why believe the lies that your mind produces? So, as you know, many people live with a very hostile mind, but those people, their motivation would probably be very great, I would hope, to get out of their minds. But, first they need to realize that their problems are self-generated, mind generated—not world generated.