The Shimmering Dead End
Thoughts on the packaging and sale of nonduality

The fantasy known as “no ego”

Referencing the map for a moment, we can see that the entire constellation of ideas I’m calling the folk theory of enlightenment find their center of gravity in the notion of “no ego.” There are millions of people around the world fervently and sincerely trying to destroy their own sense of themselves as a path to nondual enlightenment.

Our sense of ourselves is our social nav system. Nondual enlightenment does not affect the nav system, as it’s always shining within the nav system’s functional awareness. Every enlightened person on the planet has a nav system. We experience our nav system, our sense of self and place in the world, as our personality.

But what we don’t need is to be that personality. We aren’t ever that anyway. None of us. But most hold an idea that we are. There’s a lot to support the idea. Here’s my body, I’m somehow in it. That’s all it takes—the idea of there being a “me” contained by my body—to make a me. That’s what the Upanishads refer to as the ahamkara, and that’s what’s been called the “ego” ever since Helena Blavatsky and others brought home the booty of the Vedas to misconstrue for the Western world.

So we can all stop hating on ourselves, and love who we are, and then learn firsthand that we aren’t. Expecting to lose our sense of ourselves in order to know ourselves can only result in an occluding idea about not knowing ourselves. The misuse of the term “ego” by gurus has traditionally been a significant business driver, but only by means of the prophylactic effect of the notion.


3 Responses to “The fantasy known as “no ego””

  1. Part of where things go “off” is the lazy use of language by most teachers. Typically when they say “no ego” they aren’t referring to the lack of any sense of self (or the nav system), but rather than examine and describe what they *are* referring to, they fall back on old, trite, inaccurate language that they heard. And “no-ego” is a great sales pitch…because most people believe their personality has led them to unpleasant circumstances (at times), so “no-ego” MUST be better.

    One reason accurate description is difficult is that we don’t have a language that maps internal states well. For example, there are certain “qualities” of different thoughts that we don’t typically notice (we tend to overlook qualities for which we don’t have words). For example, there’s a “location quality”. Some thoughts “feel” like they’re in different places — forward, backward, left, right, up, down, and all the combinations. Thoughts about the future, have a different “feeling/location/tone” than thoughts about the past, than thoughts about our selves.

    The “me thought” usually has a location quality of being in the center.

    So, putting it all together, what some call “no-ego” is sometimes just recognizing the arbitrariness of the “central location quality” of the me-thought. When that quality seems inaccurate or transparent (which, like balancing a bike, once it’s experienced it’s easy to recreate in a moment), it’s easier to say “no-ego” (especially if you’re trying to impress students) than, “When I pay attention, the location that previously seemed like the receiving end of the perception of all objects — including self-perception — seems less localized or tangible, giving rise to a more ineffable sense of ‘me’, or one that seems more connected to, and co-arising with, all incoming sensory experiences than feeling like a separate entity.”

  2. Check out this article here:

    Basically, your ego is not something to be killed. No part of your whole self should be dissociated from.

  3. […] לא נעלם – הוא רק נראה כפי שהוא: מערכת הניווט החברתית […]

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