The Ego and "Seeing Things as they are"

In Arabic the word "nafs" means ego/self, & breath. So the term dissolution of ego would mean something similar to suicide.


As in the Christian idea of spiritual rebirth. I think all religions have the idea of dying to the mundane in order to know the Divine. This idea is just phrased differently in different religions/spiritual paths and it is too bad that people's individuated egos force them to emphasize supposed difference instead of the unity of vision.

Incidentally, 'nafs' as breath could be referring to prana as in all the Hindu scriptures. If so, then dissolution of the ego would mean cutting off any supply of prana to the lower chakras or talas below the Muladhara and instead taking prana up through the seven main chakras in order to know the Oneness of Divinity.
 
'Ego expansion' was a linguistic device to get people to think outside their box. Rather that considering themselves as individuated egos, the idea of spiritual transformation is (to) know oneself as God
In the Sufi and Kabbalistic view, it might be G-d knowing Himself through His Creation. That way of seeing it actually makes more sense to me.
 
I'm not disagreeing with what any of you are saying. My point is, when I say something like "I'm perfectly fine the way I am," why do certain people have such a problem with this?
 
In the Sufi and Kabbalistic view, it might be G-d knowing Himself through His Creation. That way of seeing it actually makes more sense to me.

Sorry, but that notion makes zero sense to me. You have just limited God and made Him human, in the sense of having limits and frailties. If God needs know Himself and needs a creation to do it, then God is not perfection, nor omniscience, nor omnipotence, nor omnipresence.

Your view may well be a Kabballistic Old Testament view of God but I doubt very much that it is a Sufi view of God.
 
Sorry, but that notion makes zero sense to me. You have just limited God and made Him human, in the sense of having limits and frailties. If God needs know Himself and needs a creation to do it, then God is not perfection, nor omniscience, nor omnipotence, nor omnipresence.

Your view may well be a Kabballistic Old Testament view of God but I doubt very much that it is a Sufi view of God.

But it does raise the question of why creation exists in totality. If God is complete and self sustaining as pure being, why create what we know is suffering? This is why I believe creation is a necessity which you could say denies God's impotence since creation satisfies a need. An omnipotent God doesn't need. Yet I don't see any other explanation for the totality of creation other then it is necessary in relation to a basic need.
 
Sorry, but that notion makes zero sense to me. You have just limited God and made Him human, in the sense of having limits and frailties. If God needs know Himself and needs a creation to do it, then God is not perfection, nor omniscience, nor omnipotence, nor omnipresence.

Not really - it doesn't limit God - it assumes God as observer.

It's rather profound, actually, especially in context with quantum physics and how an observer can fundamentally affect the direction of reality.
 
In the Sufi and Kabbalistic view, it might be G-d knowing Himself through His Creation. That way of seeing it actually makes more sense to me.

Not really - it doesn't limit God - it assumes God as observer.

It's rather profound, actually, especially in context with quantum physics and how an observer can fundamentally affect the direction of reality.
The bible says we can discern God's qualities from creation. If God is observing us, what does that tell us about God?
 
Your view may well be a Kabballistic Old Testament view of God but I doubt very much that it is a Sufi view of God.
It has been a Sufi view for over a thousand years.

My glance is the Divine glance (or my consciousness is the consciousness of the universe), the witness in the heavens...the light coming through our eyes is that of the heavenly witness... Ibn’ Arabi says we know God...by God Him/Herself. That’s a real breakthrough. That’s awakening.
~ Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan


God makes Himself known to us through Himself, reveals to us His knowledge of Himself through Himself.
~Ibn Arabi


When my Beloved appears,
With what eye do I see Him?
With His eye, not with mine,
For none sees Him except Himself.
~Ibn Arabi


It has no mouth, no tongue to speak, yet through our mouths that power is speaking. It has no eyes, yet it is observing through our eyes. It has no ears, yet it replies to the sounds that we hear with our own ears. It has no nose, but it senses fragrance through our sense of smell. It has no hands, but that power makes our hands the agency for giving and receiving. It has no feet or legs, but it walks throughout all the universes.
~M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
 
>>>>? ? ? <<<<
what does that tell us ??

The bible says we can discern God's qualities from creation. If God is observing us, what does that tell us about God?
Romans 1:18-23
In the Sufi and Kabbalistic view, it might be G-d knowing Himself through His Creation. That way of seeing it actually makes more sense to me.

I see what you mean, but I see a minor linguistic snag: how can there be 'ego expansion' when there is no ego to be expanded?

There is not even a self,
Like the image of the moon in water,
The cycle of the three worlds is misleading
~The Buddha
What do you see when you look in the mirror? How does it affect you?
avatar4909_1.gif
 
I see what you mean, but I see a minor linguistic snag: how can there be 'ego expansion' when there is no ego to be expanded?

There is not even a self,
Like the image of the moon in water,
The cycle of the three worlds is misleading
~The Buddha
Actually my understanding is that Budha spoke of the self not ego of course, as, before Freud there was no such term as ego. Ego is a psychological term denoting psychological functioning. What we term ego is essentially that set of executive cognitive functions that allows one to discriminate sensory data, memories, etc and make decisions upon them. All humans unless severely disabled will always have an ego function. Now self is another matter. Self-ing is also a seemingly innate human thing to do but not synonymous with ego. Self is taking all that data and sifting through it in such a way as to draw up a "picture" of ourselves, a conclusion about ourselves centered around an "identity." Some transformational literature speak of "ego dissolution" which is technically erroneous as the ego function does not cease, at least until death. What seems to disolve with deeper spiritual realization is the self. Earl
 
Romans 1:18-23



What do you see when you look in the mirror? How does it affect you?
avatar4909_1.gif
I see the reversed image of my face. Well, it does exactly the same thing I do, when I do it, only backwards. But it does move in the same direction that I do...hmmm backwards yet in the same direction I move, that could get complicated to consider.

Good question.
 
It is often said that through dissolution of the ego, one can see beyond its limited misconceptions and "see things as they are." But does this necessarily mean that there is never congrance?

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(Link): http://assets.devx.com/articlefigs/6887.gif

To illustrate my question another way, if one circle represents the viewpoint of the ego and the other represents "reality as it is" (unadulterated by conceptions/misconceptions), then can there still be a red area where the two itersect?
Ironic. Your "symbol" as noted above reminds me of the union of man and woman in marriage, wherein one must submit one's "ego" to the other, for the sake of the other...the "red" is the resulting projection of reality of that marriage as seen by those outside looking in...

just a thought.

v/r

Q
 
Hello Earl, thanks for the careful and thoughtful reading, and for the thought-provoking response.

I think it would be fair to say that a traditional psychoanalytic view of "ego" is that it involves certain information processing functions - as you say, "discriminating sensory data, memories, etc and make decisions upon them." You might say it's our interface with the world.

You go on to say that "Self is taking all that data and sifting through it in such a way as to draw up a 'picture' of ourselves, a conclusion about ourselves centered around an 'identity.'"

Agreed. I notice that view of ego fits in well with your rendering of the self as "taking all that data and sifting through it in such a way as to draw up a 'picture" of ourselves, a conclusion about ourselves centered around an 'identity.'" I see the self as a highlighted area in the data stream of consistently/reliably re-curring sensory experiences and relatively constant mental objects. I would say the main value of memories is that they provide a schema for interpreting and organizing current experiences.


Actually my understanding is that Budha spoke of the self not ego of course, as, before Freud there was no such term as ego.
True. Arguably there was as ego, but they didn't call it that.

I would emphasize that the self as you describe it perhaps not really a picture because it is in flux: it is modulated situationally in the word of forms like any other reactive monkey mind phenomena. It might seemingly have the quality of being a clear-cut and vivid "still-life" picture. I would suggest that it tends to reference a stable and readily recognized subset of sensory experiences and mental objects (specific perceptions and cognitions), as well as more commonly used ego functions that are called for by our social roles and other forms of adaptation.

I agree with you (again) that unless severely disabled humans will always have an intact ego. For one thing, We need it to track a physical body in order to coordinate with the physical world in time and space.

What we see in "transformational experiences" is (1) a shift in the sense of self - no longer identifying the self in terms of the usual cognitive and sensory modalities because of a spiritualized way of seeing things; (2) a significant reduction or even a temporary cessation of some of the usual cognitive functions as new spiritual functions become operative; and (3) a re-organization of ego functions within a new spiritual context, i.e., with reference to a new set of motivational directives and goals (e.g., a Christian love ethic, compassion, wish for others' happiness, etc.).

The cognitive functions may be pretty much the same as before. The sensory and mental apparatus may not change either, but the frame of reference for their operation has changed. What Paul calls the "new man" would appear to be the old man whose functioning has been re-organized by the addition of some new spiritual qualities that were previously dormant, with a subsequent change in the frame of reference. The re-organization would likely involve the ego functions becoming increasingly directed by newly internalized spiritual interests.

In Buddhism, you see descriptions of how the person structures their idea of self in terms sensory impressions and mental "fabrications." The person's idea of self is kept in place by the person's belief that the composite of sensory impressions and mental "fabrications" that we think is self has permanence. The Buddhists see this belief as delusional because there is no such thing as a stable "self." Indeed, it does not make much sense to think of the self as being stable once you see it as an aspect of a data stream.

From the perspective of Buddhist Emptiness doctrine, "ego dissolution" is a misnomer. There is no 'new self' and no 'old self,' as seen in the New Testament. There is only a change in the frame of reference that leads to a shift in attitudes and a new understanding of responsibility.
 
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