Don’t abandon the Ego-Use it Skillfully!

Don’t abandon the Ego-Use it Skillfully!

If you think Buddhism is all about self-annihilation or blissed-out escape from a world too awful to bear, then think again.  Buddhism is all about being here, now, fully present.  But present in a way that changes everything and helps us skillfully remove suffering from our own lives so we can help others.

In this practice, our own minds can be our worst enemy, or our best friend.  What meditation and metta practice show us is how to make the ego a friend, even a skillful ally, in our path to freedom.

As Thanissaro Bhikkhu writes in The Problem of Egolessness:

“…A person devoid of ego functions would be self‐destructive: either a beast with uncontrolled impulses, or a neurotic, repressed automaton with no mind of his or her own, or an infantile monster thrashing erratically between these two extremes. Anyone who tried to abandon ego functioning would arrest his psychological growth and lose all hope of becoming a mature, responsible, trustworthy adult. And as we know, self‐ destructive people don’t destroy only themselves. They can pull down many of the people and places around them.

This is not only the view of trained Western psychologists. Buddhist communities in the West have also begun to recognize this problem and have coined the term “spiritual bypassing” to describe it: the way people try to avoid dealing with the problems of an unintegrated personality by spending all their time in meditation retreats, using the mantra of egolessness to short‐circuit the hard work of mastering healthy ego functioning in the daily give and take of their lives…”

Click here to read the rest of this helpful essay:

The Problem of Egolessness

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About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

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