Ego-mind and No-mind

The ego is a cloud-like illusion created by our thoughts, emotions, fears and beliefs. It is the source of all our personal and collective problems, pain, and suffering. Our desires and judgments about ourselves and others and identification with the past and future sustain the illusion created by the ego. This illusion separates us from the truth of our inner being, from one another, and from everything that exists in the universe. 

We stay in the illusion of the ego when we believe we are our body, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. In short, the ego is who we think we are, and who we truly are is pure consciousness. Most people think that having an ego means being selfish, but in the sense that I am using the word, the ego or the ego-mind is any aspect of our energy that is unconscious. When we struggle with the ego, what we are really struggling with is our mind. We judge and condemn the mind and struggle to be free from it without understanding that we are in fact using one part of the mind against the other, and therefore, keep moving in an endless circle. 

We maintain our pain and suffering by protecting our pride, beliefs, and conditionings, instead of understanding and transforming them into consciousness. The mind is as much an inseparable and necessary part of our mysterious existence as is consciousness. By battling with our mind and emotions and projecting them out onto others and the world, we create more suffering for ourselves and others. The only way to be “free” of the ego-mind is to see that it is an illusion. Look inside right now and see if you can pinpoint where your ego-mind is located in your body. You will discover that it is impossible to find any specific place because the unconscious that makes up the mind is everywhere in the body.

We become conscious of the mind through awareness. Normally, our identification with our mind is greater than our awareness of what it is and how it works because our focus is mainly in the past or the future. What makes our ego-mind challenging to see is our inability to be present in the Now. In the Now, the ego-mind simply vanishes. The Now is like an open blue sky without any clouds where there is only pure space within which we can effortlessly see what passes by moment to moment. In the Now, we stay watching the passing clouds without identifying with them and judging that they should be different. 

If you close your eyes and look inside right now, you will see darkness, feel an emotion, or see a thought. If you identify with the darkness, the emotion, and the thought, then you are in your ego-mind. If you remain a witness to them without judging anything as good or bad, you are in the Now and in consciousness. In other words, you are in the ego-mind if your focus is on the object (tangible or intangible) instead of the witness that itself sees the object. If your witnessing awareness is not strong and centered in the body, it is difficult not to identify with the illusion of the mind that always comes and goes within the infinite Now. 

To be conscious and live in the Now, we need to continually witness our thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Those who keep looking in and focusing on their inner witness eventually come to discover that their ego-mind disappears with the observation of what comes and goes. Through continuous observation, the only thing that remains is a detached witnessing awareness in the center of your being. This awareness always sees whatever is happening around you without identifying with anything. We often experience moments of no-mind and presence in the Now throughout our lives but fail to recognize them. When we look at a colorful sunset by the ocean, or see thousands of sun rays explode through the trees in the forest, our mind stops and we are held in the wonder of the present moment. These are moments of transcendence. 

We don’t realize we have experienced a moment of no-mind and quickly return to the mind, labeling the already past experience as beautiful or breathtaking. This way we completely miss the next moment that has arrived with its own unique presence. We don’t recognize how we go back and forth between the mind and no-mind because our witnessing awareness is not fully centered in our body. With growing awareness of our being and inner center, we begin to have more experiences of no-mind and begin to recognize how it would be to be in the Now all the time.

Joko