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Prayer and Meditation Versus the Ego

NM sunsetToday I was made very aware, on several fronts, that the primary reason I have been so uncentered is because of my lack of connectedness. I was reminded how important it is for me to take time out of my day to pray and meditate, to center myself. It helps my view of the world, both inner and outer. Part of my plans for this solitary journey I am on, is to have time for introspection and to more deeply explore the realm of the spiritual. I was made aware today how much I have been avoiding that, how I have been staying “too busy”. “Too busy” just being an excuse of the ego to prevent me from my spiritual aim – for when I am centered and connected my life emerges from a state of love – love of myself and love of those around me. And no, the ego doesn’t like that one bit.

I was reading a bit about Sufism, and they speak of the ego as Nafs. Rumi, a sufist, on the nafs states “Your thinking is like a camel driver, and you are the camel: it drives you in every direction under its bitter control.”   If one is not recognizing or experiencing Goddess/God’s “closeness” or presence, the responsibility for this condition lies with one’s own self (nafs).  Almost conversely, it is through awareness of the nafs that brings one closer to Goddess/God, because Goddess/God is present in everything, we merely maintain the illusion that we are separate or disconnected (nafs). It is when we are not aware, that the nafs run wild and create the illusion of being separate and we create discord in our lives. Ah, so this is what I have been doing the last few weeks! 

 Buddist teacher Cheri Huber also speaks on this extensively in her book “There is Nothing Wrong with you”. So it is ego that drives the separation from Goddess/God, so my natural inclination is to fight ego – to strive to control it, dominate it, so that I can win in the struggle and regain my serenity, my connection with Goddess/God. Yet in the very struggle, it is ego against ego and ego wins, for ego is struggle. When I can cease the struggle and find the stillness, it is there that I find connection. Looking beyond the struggle, looking beyond the fear of separation, I find that there is no need for struggle other than that I create it so.

For the past year or so, I have had a daily meditation/prayer practice that has helped me to cease the need for (some anyway) of the struggle in my life. For some reason, over the past month I have let that practice go. And as the time passes, my struggle with ego becomes bigger and bigger until the thought of sitting in stillness in meditation practically drives me to distraction.  So after being confronted in this today by someone I love and respect, I engaged in the struggle again and then because of the challenge by this loved one, I let the struggle go and found stillness again. The thing is, I have found, and I know it to be true, that if I can create a space of intentional stillness in my day, I then carry that stillness with me and it reflects in all my interactions. When my thoughts are in chaos, I too carry that chaos with me in all my interactions. So my prayer today, is to remember this lesson and continue to seek stillness of heart that I find in a daily practice of prayer and meditation.

Rumi:  Fast from thoughts, fast:  thoughts are like the lion and the wild ass; men’s hearts are the thickets they haunt.

Nisargadatta Maharaj:

Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,

love is knowing I am everything

and between the two my life moves.

And I will end in contemplation on the 2nd verse of the Tao, speaking wisdom of this unification and lack of separateness of self:

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty,

only because there is ugliness

All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Being and nonbeing produce each other.

The difficult is born in the easy.

Long is defined by short, the high by the low.

Before and after go along with each other.

So the sage lives openly with apparent duality and paradoxical unity.

The sage can act without effort

and teach without words.

Nurturing things without possessing them,

he works, but not for rewards;

he competes, but not for results.

When the word is done, it is forgotten.

That is why it lasts forever.


3 Responses

  1. Hey there!

    Long time no see.

    I just wanted to inform you about my new Words of human freedom blog

    Soon my related website will go running as well.

    Wish you a lovely 2008

  2. Hi there – I just wanted to say thank you for your post. I lost my way from stillness via mediation almost a whole year ago and have been struggling ever since to find my way back. Today I wondered if this struggle was another way my ego was fighting back for it’s very survival. I did a google search and found your blog. It was comforting to read of someone else experiencing the same and inspiring to just go within.

    Love and Light,

  3. Thank you Karen for your kind words. I needed to reread this post today!, and I thank you for bringing me back to it. It is just amazing how much the ego does struggle to stay in control – when it is just me fighting me. When I stop, and am still within myself, all of the ‘stuff’ the ego has been plaguing me to be or not be just dissolves and I am okay just as I am.

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