The formation of the Ego serves the purpose of giving a certain amount of stability to conscious processes and also secures a working equilibrium which makes for a planned and organized life. It would therefore, be a mistake to imagine that the arising of the Ego is without any purpose. Though it arises only to vanish in the end, it does temporarily fulfill a need which could not have been ignored in the long-drawn journey of the soul.
The Ego thus marks and fulfils a certain necessity in the further progress of consciousness. But since the Ego takes its shelter in the false idea of being the body, it is a source of much illusion which vitiates experience. It is of the essence of the Ego that it should feel separate from the rest of life by contrasting itself against the other forms of life.
In the ripeness of evolution, comes the momentous discovery that life cannot be understood and lived fully as long as it is made to move around the pivot of the Ego: and man is, therefore, driven by the logic of his own experience to find the true centre of experience and reorganize his life in the Truth. This entails the wearing out of the Ego and its replacement by Truth-consciousness. The disintegration of the Ego is a condition of realising the Truth.
The false nucleus of the consolidated sanskaras must disappear if there is to be a true integration and fulfilment of life.
While provisionally serving a useful purpose in the development and progress of consciousness, the Ego, as an affirmation of separateness, constitutes the chief hindrance to the spiritual emancipation and enlighten-ment of consciousness.
Every thought, feeling or action which springs from the idea of exclusive or separate existence binds; all experiences—small or great—and all aspirations— good or bad—create a load of impressions and nourish the sense of the ‘I’. The only experience which makes for the slimming down of the Ego is the experience of love and the only aspiration which makes for relieving the sense of separateness is the longing for becoming one -with the Beloved. Craving, hatred, anger, fear and jealousy are all exclusive attitudes which create a gulf between oneself and the rest of life; love alone is an inclusive attitude which helps towards the bridging over of this artificial and self-created gulf and which tends to break through the separative barrier of false imagination. The lover longs too; but he longs for union with the Beloved; and in seeking or experiencing union with the Beloved the sense of the ‘I’ becomes feeble. In love, the ‘I’ does not think of self-preservation, just as the moth is not at all afraid of getting burnt in the fire. The Ego is the affirmation of being separate from the other: and love is the affirmation of being one with the other: so, the Ego can be dissolved only through real love.
The Ego is implemented by desires of varied types. The failure in the fulfillment of desires is a failure of the Ego; and success in the attainment of desired objects is a success of the Ego. Through the fulfilled desires as well as through the unfulfilled ones the Ego gets accentuated. The Ego can even feed upon the comparative lull in the surging desires and asserts its separative tendency through feeling that it is desireless. But, when there is a real cessation of all desires, there is a cessation of the desire to assert separativeness in any form: therefore, a real freedom from all desires brings about the end of the existence of the Ego. The bundle of the Ego is made of the faggots of multi-coloured desires; and the breaking of these faggots amounts to the destruction of the Ego.
The limited Ego of explicit consciousness is only a small fragment of the real being of the Ego. The Ego is like the iceberg floating in the sea. About one-eighth of the iceberg remains above the surface of the water and is visible to the onlooker; and about seven-eighths of the iceberg remains submerged below the level of the water and remains invisible to the onlooker. In the same way, only a small portion of the real Ego becomes manifest in consciousness in the form of an explicit I; and the major portion of the real Ego remains submerged in the dark and inarticulate sanctuaries of the subconscious mind.
If the Ego is submitted to curtailment in one direction it seeks compensating expansion in another direction: and, if is overpowered by a flood of spiritual notions and actions, it even tends to fasten upon this very force which is originally brought into play for the ousting of the Ego.
When, through the grace of the Master, the ignorance which constitutes the Ego is dispelled, there is the dawn of Truth, which is the goal of all creation.
The superiority complex and the inferiority complex have to be brought into intelligent relation with each other if they are to counteract each other; and this requires a psychic situation, in which they will both, for the time being, be allowed to have their play at one and the same time, without requiring the repression of the one in order to secure the expression of the other. When the soul enters into a dynamic and vital relation with the Master, the complexes concerned with the sense of inferiority and the sense of superiority are both brought into play and they are so intelligently accommodated with each other that they counteract each other. In himself, the disciple feels that he is nothing; but in and through the Master, he is enlivened by the prospect of being everything. Thus, at one stroke, the two complexes are brought into mutual tension and tend to annihilate each other, through the attempt which the person makes for adjusting himself to the Master. With the dissolution of these opposite complexes there comes the breaking down of the separative barriers of the Ego in all its forms; with the breaking down of the barriers of separation there arises Divine Love; and with the arising of Divine Love, the separate feeling of the ‘I’, as distinguished from ‘you’, is swallowed up in the sense of their unity.
The Master, when truly understood, is a standing affirmation of the unity of all life; allegiance to the Master therefore brings about a gradual dissociation with the Ego-nucleus which affirms separateness. When the Ego-nucleus is completely bankrupt and devoid of any power or being, the Master as Truth is firmly established in consciousness as its guiding genius and animating principle. This is at once the attainment of union with the Master and the realization of the Infinite Truth.
The long journey of the soul consists in developing from animal consciousness the explicit self-consciousness as a limited ‘I’ and then to transcending the state of the limited ‘I’ through the medium of the Master, in order to get initiated into the consciousness of the Supreme and Real Self, as an everlasting and Infinite ’I Am’, in which there is no separateness and which includes all existence.
– Meher Baba
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