The Ego, the Reference Point

Or See Through the Ego ?

If we SAW that the ego does not have any substantial existence - this knowledge is then more than just words, more than just a concept, more than just a belief.

If we could SEE the non existence of the ego from personal experience? Would that make a difference? The actual!

Does the 'me' actually exist? "Can I find it?" "Where is it?" All that comes up is plenty of thoughts, but nothing else. The ego does not have any substantial existence.

It is very simple to do. After you notice an egoic thought - just look - "Can I find the 'me'?" "Where is it?" "Does it really exist?" "Where does it start?" "Where does it end?" "Can I find the 'me' that the thought mentions?" "Can I find anything other than the Aliveness?" "If so - who is noticing that?"

When you DO that you are seeing the Actual - the Real - not a conceptual idea. The ego does not exist in any way other than thought.

When we get upset with someone who is rude to us - who is getting upset? Who is defending themselves? Who wants to fight back? At that point the ego is definitely REAL. We believe in it completely.

But then we look - "Can I find the ego?" "Can I find the one who wants revenge?" You look - and see that the 'me' referred to does not exist actually. "Who is getting upset now?" The 'who' cannot be found. "Who is defending now?" The entity referred to cannot be found. No-one. This is Actual, not a comforting concept. It is Real.

And so you begin to see through it. You start to lose the belief in it. It loses its credibility. What power, then, do thoughts have, if we do not believe in them.

What about the very close and very personal thoughts about the 'me', the person? We do not believe them either because we have seen through the ego. There is no egoic entity there and there never was. Just an unquestioned belief that there was one.

There is nothing esoteric in this - it is utterly practical.

As you get into this it gets more and more interesting. This is not a one-shot wonder. You look at all the obvious 'me' references that show up. Occasionally the 'me' thought may 'get you in', but you just look into that too.

After a while you begin to notice the subtly of the references to the 'me'. When the existence of the 'me' is inferred, but not directly stated, for example.

"Why are you doing that?" but really what is meant is "Why are you doing that to me?"

Whenever there is a "you" there is a "me" as well. If there is an entity - a person - over there, then there is an entity, a person, here as well (at least in terms of belief). That is very subtle and the example above shows that.

Judging another is another version of this. "Gosh Barry is judgmental" when all Barry did was sit there quietly. (The "me" is being judged by Barry, apparently - but only in thought)

Very often the "you" and the "me" are in the same sentence, or the "you" word is inferred but not stated. "I did not come here to be treated (by you) like that".

After a while you will notice the nonexistence of the 'me' at the same time as the thought about the 'me' occurs. And you laugh.

Notice when the 'me' thought is absent in circumstances where it used to be there.

Notice that when a familiar thought stream runs about the "me" that it does not "stir you up " any more. Seen through, just like the bucket of blue water. And you laugh.

There are many more variations, some obvious, some subtle. Notice them all. Look at them all - look for the 'me' to which they refer. No hurry at all.

You notice through this that suffering is reducing of itself - nothing is being done to make it start falling away.

The 'me' thought is just like any other thought. You just let it run through. After all, we do not choose the thoughts and we cannot stop them, or eradicate them.

Thoughts about the 'me' do not necessarily go away. They may very well continue - but that does not matter. Their credibility is 'shot'. So you just smile as they go past. (See ya!)

And the words "me", "I". "you" etc are used just as labels. Just like the words "chair", "cat" and "elephant". There is no identity or entity in them any more (there never was actually - and that is what has been seen thought) ). Just a label.

Just because we have seen that the water in the ocean is not blue, it does not means that we now see a different color, or no color at all! The illusion is still there, but it is seen as such in the immediacy of the present moment.

Not fooled even for a second. Or not fooled for long.

What Ramana Maharshi said was right

"All that is needed is that you give up your realisation of the not-true as true."

Written by Mike Graham, 19 Jan 2008, last edited 26 November 2009

Alan Watts

Alan Watts