It's Just Ego Again

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It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:17 pm

Am I right in understanding that emotions like depression and loneliness are just more aspects of a persons ego? I know that humans being social animals need some social interaction to stay mentally healthy. I know the expection is monks in the forest tradition, but that is pretty unique and an example of a person far along in their path of the Dhamma. I feel, however, that society pressures us to be interactive and that maybe we socialize more than we have in past times. This means that depression and loneliness might be more controled, or better, avoided if one was able to remove their ego from their thinking. So, am I right in thinking that these emotions are just ego, or does socialization really need to happen to keep ones mental health? Even most monks live with other monks, so even if there is no talking there is still a sense of socialization or being apart of society, right?

:anjali:
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:30 am

Did I jumble my words again? My post does make sense right? :thinking:
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby appicchato » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:53 am

No, I don't think so...(word jumbling)...my understanding is that the emotions you speak of are ego, which is basically a sense of self...so we're chin deep in guano as it is...because, as we know, the sense of self is a hard one to shake...

Even though I, personally, could definitely be known as a recluse, I would find it pretty difficult not to have some contact with others...and (although unrelated), as one hitting his mid-sixties, solitude and self-reliance (or lack thereof) become factors looming larger on the horizon all the time...samsara at it's finest...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby christopher::: » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:57 am

Good insights, Bikkhu.

What you wrote makes sense to me, Thaibebop. Sangha is social, we are all social beings. I think a central challenge of the dharma is watching how our minds work. The ego is a name we give to the self-referential emotions and thoughts we experience. From a certain perspective the ego is a fallacy. There is no self. But we feel there is, and all these emotions and thoughts keep arising continuously.

Practice i think is learning to see that, understand how it all works, freeing ourselves from the patterns of mind that cause us suffering. Its also something most of us still need one another for, need the dharma, our teachers and friends, to do this successfully.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby pink_trike » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:06 am

appicchato wrote:and (although unrelated), as one hitting his mid-sixties, solitude and self-reliance (or lack thereof) become factors looming larger on the horizon all the time...samsara at it's finest...

Aging is a never ending series of small and large compromises - all of them excellent opportunities for realization. :jumping:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby pink_trike » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:30 am

Thaibebop wrote:Am I right in understanding that emotions like depression and loneliness are just more aspects of a persons ego? I know that humans being social animals need some social interaction to stay mentally healthy. I know the expection is monks in the forest tradition, but that is pretty unique and an example of a person far along in their path of the Dhamma. I feel, however, that society pressures us to be interactive and that maybe we socialize more than we have in past times. This means that depression and loneliness might be more controled, or better, avoided if one was able to remove their ego from their thinking. So, am I right in thinking that these emotions are just ego, or does socialization really need to happen to keep ones mental health? Even most monks live with other monks, so even if there is no talking there is still a sense of socialization or being apart of society, right?

:anjali:

It's convenient to invent something called "ego" and then blame it for our unhappiness, but it's a fiction...a little religion. The circumstances of life that help create depression and alienation can't be fixed. Modern society isn't very inspiring so it's not surprising that so many of us end up de-spired, flattened, depressed. Modern society also severs the bonds of intimate community...we live most of our lives among strangers who didn't grow up with us, that don't know our families, and that are unaware of the circumstances and environment that contributed significantly to who we have become. As a result we're alienated, lonely,un-intimate, dis-connected...from community, body, mind, and the natural world.

In an attempt to compensate for our lack of inspiration and our alienation we try to construct a social persona and an artificial sense of intimacy with the strangers that surround us with varying levels of success - but with the side effect of becoming strangers to ourselves. So we indulge in feeding our hungers and avoiding reality in the hopes of appearing normal to the world and ourselves.

This is why we need Dharma friends, and why we practice seeing what really is, letting go of our hungry and fearful reactions, resting in the space that's cleared when we let go of our hungers and fears, and then refining our circumstances so that we can become contented and reintegrated with reality and other people on the same path - only from this does authentic happiness arise. We have to reverse engineer the whole catastrophe.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby kidd » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:44 pm

Human beings are social by nature.
What is regarded negatively as ‘ego’ generally refers to preoccupation with one's self.

:juggling:
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:29 pm

pink_trike wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:Am I right in understanding that emotions like depression and loneliness are just more aspects of a persons ego? I know that humans being social animals need some social interaction to stay mentally healthy. I know the expection is monks in the forest tradition, but that is pretty unique and an example of a person far along in their path of the Dhamma. I feel, however, that society pressures us to be interactive and that maybe we socialize more than we have in past times. This means that depression and loneliness might be more controled, or better, avoided if one was able to remove their ego from their thinking. So, am I right in thinking that these emotions are just ego, or does socialization really need to happen to keep ones mental health? Even most monks live with other monks, so even if there is no talking there is still a sense of socialization or being apart of society, right?

:anjali:

It's convenient to invent something called "ego" and then blame it for our unhappiness, but it's a fiction...a little religion. The circumstances of life that help create depression and alienation can't be fixed. Modern society isn't very inspiring so it's not surprising that so many of us end up de-spired, flattened, depressed. Modern society also severs the bonds of intimate community...we live most of our lives among strangers who didn't grow up with us, that don't know our families, and that are unaware of the circumstances and environment that contributed significantly to who we have become. As a result we're alienated, lonely,un-intimate, dis-connected...from community, body, mind, and the natural world.

In an attempt to compensate for our lack of inspiration and our alienation we try to construct a social persona and an artificial sense of intimacy with the strangers that surround us with varying levels of success - but with the side effect of becoming strangers to ourselves. So we indulge in feeding our hungers and avoiding reality in the hopes of appearing normal to the world and ourselves.

This is why we need Dharma friends, and why we practice seeing what really is, letting go of our hungry and fearful reactions, resting in the space that's cleared when we let go of our hungers and fears, and then refining our circumstances so that we can become contented and reintegrated with reality and other people on the same path - only from this does authentic happiness arise. We have to reverse engineer the whole catastrophe.

So, then you think that loneliness and depression are more by products of attachment? Would this attachment be to your own 'needs' as you see them or other people?
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:35 pm

kidd wrote:Human beings are social by nature.
What is regarded negatively as ‘ego’ generally refers to preoccupation with one's self.

:juggling:

That was just my question. Is being lonely an emotion that comes from having a mental need unfulfilled or is it an attachment to your need for people to be in your life or perhaps an attachment to other people? I can see how a person who felt they should have friends could be said to have a preoccuption with themselves, for that is a pretty vain thought. "I am cool I should have friends." What about those persons who feel they don't deserve friends? Isn't that also a preoccupation with one's self?
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:37 pm

christopher::: wrote:Good insights, Bikkhu.

What you wrote makes sense to me, Thaibebop. Sangha is social, we are all social beings. I think a central challenge of the dharma is watching how our minds work. The ego is a name we give to the self-referential emotions and thoughts we experience. From a certain perspective the ego is a fallacy. There is no self. But we feel there is, and all these emotions and thoughts keep arising continuously.

Practice i think is learning to see that, understand how it all works, freeing ourselves from the patterns of mind that cause us suffering. Its also something most of us still need one another for, need the dharma, our teachers and friends, to do this successfully.

:group:

So, we need them to help us become unattachted to them? That is assuming loneliness and depression are attachments.
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:34 am

Thaibebop wrote:So, we need them to help us become unattachted to them? That is assuming loneliness and depression are attachments.


I think its important to differentiate between those who can help us and those who need our help. Its like most people are living their lives in a river we might call samsara- 3 to 5 feet deep- with strong currents. Those who have attained some mastery or enlightenment are like friends and teachers on the shore, like lifeguards sitting on rocks. We often need help in that sense, from others & from the Buddha's dhamma- at least until we get ourselves out, away from strong currents...

There are different kinds of relationships. Feelings of loneliness and depression are signs that one is starting to drown in the river, and indeed help is often needed...

But who (and what) do you turn to?

Where does wisdom lie?

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby pink_trike » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:54 am

Thaibebop wrote:So, then you think that loneliness and depression are more by products of attachment?

Would this attachment be to your own 'needs' as you see them or other people?


Yes, by-products of circumstances and the attachments that form in relationship to circumstances as a result of an inaccurate view/understanding of the phenomenal world. Although it's important to note that depression can have other causes also - chemical imbalance, medications, diet, repressed trauma (extreme attachment that benefits from professional help), physiological response to weather patterns, etc...

Attachments are our own habitual, usually unconscious expectations based on a view of reality that is inconsistent with what really is. When circumstances don't match our entrenched expectations, which is frequently, we react in hunger and/or fear which manifest in a variety of mind states/emotions, physical states, and actions.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:32 am

pink_trike wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:So, then you think that loneliness and depression are more by products of attachment?

Would this attachment be to your own 'needs' as you see them or other people?


Yes, by-products of circumstances and the attachments that form in relationship to circumstances as a result of an inaccurate view/understanding of the phenomenal world. Although it's important to note that depression can have other causes also - chemical imbalance, medications, diet, repressed trauma (extreme attachment that benefits from professional help), physiological response to weather patterns, etc...

Attachments are our own habitual, usually unconscious expectations based on a view of reality that is inconsistent with what really is. When circumstances don't match our entrenched expectations, which is frequently, we react in hunger and/or fear which manifest in a variety of mind states/emotions, physical states, and actions.

So, depression aside, a person does not 'need' other people, if they have developed a certain level along the Dhamma path? Am I reading you right?
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:34 am

christopher::: wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:So, we need them to help us become unattachted to them? That is assuming loneliness and depression are attachments.


I think its important to differentiate between those who can help us and those who need our help. Its like most people are living their lives in a river we might call samsara- 3 to 5 feet deep- with strong currents. Those who have attained some mastery or enlightenment are like friends and teachers on the shore, like lifeguards sitting on rocks. We often need help in that sense, from others & from the Buddha's dhamma- at least until we get ourselves out, away from strong currents...

There are different kinds of relationships. Feelings of loneliness and depression are signs that one is starting to drown in the river, and indeed help is often needed...

But who (and what) do you turn to?

Where does wisdom lie?

:heart:

You are saying we need people but if we are lonely we are just attached to them, not attached to the idea of needing people, as in people feeling compelled by society to have friends and if they don't something must be wrong with them? Right?
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby pink_trike » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:48 am

Thaibebop wrote:So, depression aside, a person does not 'need' other people, if they have developed a certain level along the Dhamma path? Am I reading you right?


Practice and clear view would help to minimize the "need"....and at the same time it may also create the internal circumstances that results in easier more meaningful relationship with people as we clear out and make space.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:53 am

pink_trike wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:So, depression aside, a person does not 'need' other people, if they have developed a certain level along the Dhamma path? Am I reading you right?


Practice and clear view would help to minimize the "need"....and at the same time it may also create the internal circumstances that results in easier more meaningful relationship with people as we clear out and make space.

I see......
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:27 am

Thaibebop wrote:
You are saying we need people but if we are lonely we are just attached to them, not attached to the idea of needing people, as in people feeling compelled by society to have friends and if they don't something must be wrong with them? Right?


Well, this all ties in with Pink's point i think. The key issue is what are your relationships founded on? If you are trying to get away from people because you dont want to be attached, then maybe those relationships were lacking what Buddha talked about as being primary, with human relations.

As Ben put it (see my sig):

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."


If your relationships are based on metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha, there's no problem. You can enjoy people, you will be a blessing in their lives, they will be a gift in your life. If these are lacking, then relationships do feel needy, disfunctional...

There's nothing deep there between you....

But the only way to change that is start changing how you relate to others, what you bring to friendships, what you are looking for when you start spending time with people...

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:29 am

christopher::: wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:
You are saying we need people but if we are lonely we are just attached to them, not attached to the idea of needing people, as in people feeling compelled by society to have friends and if they don't something must be wrong with them? Right?


Well, this all ties in with Pink's point i think. The key issue is what are your relationships founded on? If you are trying to get away from people because you dont want to be attached, then maybe those relationships were lacking what Buddha talked about as being primary, with human relations.

As Ben put it (see my sig):

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."


If your relationships are based on metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha, there's no problem. You can enjoy people, you will be a blessing in their lives, they will be a gift in your life. If these are lacking, then relationships do feel needy, disfunctional...

There's nothing deep there between you....

But the only way to change that is start changing how you relate to others, what you bring to friendships, what you are looking for when you start spending time with people...

:heart:

I need to think on this while. I understand what you are saying and it makes sense, yet how can it be applied?
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby christopher::: » Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:01 am

Thaibebop wrote:
I need to think on this while. I understand what you are saying and it makes sense, yet how can it be applied?


Check out this discussion:

Buddha's Views on Love, Compassion, Joy & Equanimity

Make sure you read the first link there (and here, below)...

The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity

I'd go so far as to recommend printing this article out, reading thru it slowly, cause this is very very important. You can meditate 12 hours a day, but if you aren't cultivating the brahma viharas something very essential will be missing....

This is the core of the dhamma, when it comes to social relationships, imo...

Hope that's helpful.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: It's Just Ego Again

Postby Thaibebop » Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:44 pm

christopher::: wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:
I need to think on this while. I understand what you are saying and it makes sense, yet how can it be applied?


Check out this discussion:

Buddha's Views on Love, Compassion, Joy & Equanimity

Make sure you read the first link there (and here, below)...

The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity

I'd go so far as to recommend printing this article out, reading thru it slowly, cause this is very very important. You can meditate 12 hours a day, but if you aren't cultivating the brahma viharas something very essential will be missing....

This is the core of the dhamma, when it comes to social relationships, imo...

Hope that's helpful.

:group:

Thank you. :anjali:
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