Your ego obstructs your living Life fully

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.”

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To rid yourself of your negativity, go to the source within!


Learning to deal with emotions you don’t want in you, requires a deeper understanding of yourself. You are the source of all your joy, your miseries, your habits and your overall attitude to Life.

Fundamentally, no one wants to be angry or sad, worrisome or anxious, fearful or complaining. Ask anyone and you will be told that all they want is to be happy. Yet why do the other emotions come into play?

The simplest way to understand this is to know yourself. Let’s say someone did something nasty to you. Broke your trust, or cheated you or conspired against you. Then your entire system erupts in response and emotions like anger and hatred come to the fore. “How dare you?” and “Let me teach you a lesson!” are the manifestations of these emotions. And you project your anger or hatred on that person or on that object. That is really of no use. Because while that person will perish, at times, unable to bear your shower of negativity, the source also gets scarred. And the source is you. So, if you want to check your emotions, go to the source. This happens also when you are sad. Someone dies. And you feel sad. You feel infinitely sad for days, weeks, months. The person who died is no longer there, the object of your grief is absent. But you keep on projecting your emotion on your memories. These emotional projections are like cinematic projections. They are magnified and become larger that you! They rule you, possess you only because you allow them to. For them to become inconsequential, you must go to the source. And that source is within you, not in the object that you project your emotions on. So, if you want to get rid of your anger or sorrow or fears or anxiety, stop focusing on what triggered it and focus inside you, on what’s continuing to cause it! You will need to turn off the projector if you want to stop the projection!

We are doing this projection business all the time. With a variety of emotions. In India people go to the beach for various reasons early in the morning. A jogger sees the rising sun in the Bay of Bengal and feels refreshed and energized. A child sees it and is excited about wanting to make sand castles. A man sprinkling the ashes of his dear father who he has just died the previous evening, wonders sadly, fearfully, anxiously, how the first day of his Life without his father will be. A lady looks at the sun and later at the sea, which appears surreptitiously calm, fearfully and angrily wondering how it will react the next moment – because that has been her experience with the tsunami of 2004 when she lost her entire family! The fact is that the sun and the sea are the same. It is the same sun and sea that people are seeing. But each one’s projection is different.

So the hatred, the sorrow, the fear, the worrying about that comes out on to objects that are causing you to behave that way are actually a reflection of how you are at the source. Some part of you dies each time you express yourself with any of these negative, debilitating emotions.

That’s why in Buddhism, everyone is encouraged to be a Buddha. And a Buddha is about compassion. In being unmoved by what’s coming at him or her, the Buddha projects compassion, because she or he is compassionate at the core. To reach that state, we only have one way, to understand who we are. We are all centers of love. If we bail out all the negativity in us, what will be left is love. Become that center of love, and you will be unmoved. In fact, you will attract everyone in the Universe, just as a magnet does.

Osho, the Master, often shared this marvelous Zen story: “One of the greatest of Zen Masters, Lin Chi, used to say, “While I was young I was very fascinated by boating. I had one small boat, and I would go on the lake alone. For hours together I would remain there.” Once it happened that with closed eyes I was in my boat meditating on the beautiful night. One empty boat came floating downstream and struck my boat. My eyes were closed, so I thought, ‘Someone is here with his boat, and he has struck my boat.’ Anger arose. I opened my eyes and I was just going to say something to that man in anger, then I realized that the boat was empty. Then there was no way to move. To whom could I express the anger? The boat was empty. It was just floating downstream, and it had come and struck my boat. So there was nothing to do. There was no possibility to project the anger on an empty boat.” So Lin Chi said, “I closed my eyes. The anger was there, but finding no way out, I closed my eyes and just floated backward with the anger. And that empty boat became my realization. I came to a point within myself in that silent night. That empty boat was my Master. And now if someone comes and insults me, I laugh and I say, ‘This boat is also empty.’ I close my eyes and I go within.””

Maybe you may want to use this technique of the empty boat. It works miraculously!