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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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Ego and its expressions 

Definition of Ego 

It is reflected consciousness. A part of the soul's pure consciousness that reflects in the mind and acting as the subjective knower, observer and experiencer, is termed as Ego. Mind is simply a subtle form of energy; it has no consciousness of its own. It however, acts as a conscious entity, because of soul's consciousness reflecting in it or working within it. 

A small part of the sun's light reflecting from the moon's surface makes the moon appear lighted. We say moon's light, the light however is the sun's light reflecting from the moon. Similarly a small part of soul's pure consciousness working in the mind identifies with the mind and its limitations and feels itself limited. So Ego then is not only reflected consciousness but also limited consciousness. Limited consciousness will also mean limited intelligence, limited understanding and limited ability of perception. Our eyes have a limited vision. We see the earth as flat, the truth is the earth is round. Since we see only a small part of the earth's circular surface it appears to us as flat. Similarly as the Ego's ability to perceive things are limited, so instead of seeing the whole it sees everything in parts and feels each part as separate and independent. 

Ego is the ‘I' in our mind around which all our thoughts, feelings and experiences revolve. It is the author of all our thinking, feeling and desirings. It is the subjective enjoyer and experiencer of all our activities. When we say I think, I feel, I see, I love, I like, I enjoy" we are referring to the ego in us. This ‘I' with which we are so familiar is our limited duplicate ‘I'. It is this ‘I' that experiences all our pain and suffering. Our real ‘I' the Self, the Soul in us lies behind the ego. This ego consciousness has to be withdrawn from the mind and dissolved in the Self or its effects annihilated by non identification and non attachment with the body and the mind. 

Yoga and Meditation teaches us to slowly drop this identification and attachment. As the ego is slowly trained through meditation to drop its attachments, it becomes free and automatically withdraws inwards. Step by step in deep prolonged meditation the ego consciousness first withdraws from the body and then withdraws from the mind. As it begins disconnecting itself from the activities of the mind and withdraws inwards it becomes aware of its source or origin and its oneness with its source. Ego has expanded itself in the Soul. The duplicate ‘I' has merged with the real ‘I' this is called Self-Realisation the object of all meditation. 

Kama (Lust) 
In the name of fulfilling one's genuine physical or mental needs, the ego lures man to continuous seeking of self-satisfaction resulting in frustrations and pain. The real need of the Soul is forgotten and the ego goes on endlessly trying to satisfy its insatiable sensory pleasure seeking desires. Kama is the compelling desire to indulge in sensory pleasure. This is the central desire that ties the immortal Soul to the mortal body and its inherent limitations with its resultant pain and suffering. Kama applies to the abuse of any or all the senses in the pursuit of pleasure or gratification. 


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