If you are not living Life, fully, freely – it could be that your ego is coming in the way!
Humility is the key to your spiritual growth. But your ego is a big deterrent. It has to first be expunged.
A Japanese king sent his minister to meet the Zen Master Lin Chi. The king had a question. He wanted to know the difference between hell and heaven. Lin Chi told the minister to ask the king to come personally if he really wanted to learn the answer to his question. The king arrived to meet Lin Chi and bent down to touch the Master’s feet.
Lin Chi reacted violently to the king’s gesture: “You idiot! You don’t even know manners?”
The king was shocked. And in a rage, he immediately drew his sword to attack Lin Chi.
Lin Chi said: “Wait a minute! This is the door to hell”
The king was surprised. He put his sword back in its sheath.
Lin Chi now said: “Good. Now that is the door to heaven.”
The king said he did not understand what this was all about.
Lin Chi explained. “Hell is not anywhere else, in some after-Life, but is in your ego. How does it matter if I called you an idiot? Why did you get so angry that you were ready to take a poor man’s Life? Who was hurt? Think carefully – it is your ego that was hurt. And when you abandoned the hurt – in your quest for learning from me – you put the sword back in the sheath, you expunged your ego and so rose in your heaven. Heaven is where there is no ego.”
Lin Chi’s wisdom is so pure. So beautiful. The biggest hurdle on the spiritual path is the ego. How does it matter whether people call you an idiot or a great mind? At the end of the day, it is what they think, it is their opinion. You cannot concern yourself with people’s opinions. You cannot live your Life based on them. Know who you are. That’s enough. You don’t really need to depend on what society thinks of you. It is your ego that depends, that thrives on societal opinion! Your ego keeps you enslaved in a social context. To live Life fully, freely, that context does not really matter.
The ego is what causes all your misery. So, to rid yourself of your suffering, get rid of the ego. A simple way to expunge the ego is to drop the “I” in every context in Life. A friend of mine came to me to share his feelings over a messy divorce that he was going through. He said, “I have been betrayed, I have been trampled upon and I am being accused. I feel so stupid, so used. I must get rid of this feeling of injustice and shame. Is there a way?” The Buddha has taught that one way to be free is to drop the “I”. I shared that learning with my friend. And asked him to say the same statement again without using “I” anywhere in it. My friend tried and this is how it sounded: “Have been betrayed. Have been trampled upon. Am being accused. Feel so stupid, so used. Must get rid of this feeling of injustice and shame.” And that’s an interesting method, isn’t it? Without the “I” the statement is without a personal context. It is just a reporting of fact and feeling. And therefore, a solution to the situation, appears almost instantaneously! With the “I”, a resolution, or an escape from that hurt, would have been unthinkable!
Osho, the Master, points to what a beautiful Life await us if we can drop our ego. He says: “The ego is preventing everything. Your ego is making you a beggar, while you are an emperor of a vast empire. Of course, that empire does not belong to the outside world. It is in your own being. Which has the vastness of the whole Universe.”