Handling my Writer’s Ego – A Deep Introspection to the Truth

Why am I writing this? Does this make me superior, because of my readers?

Are my readers therefore ‘inferior’ because they choose to read?

What gave me the power to write? My education.

What gave me good education? My parents and a supportive environment.

Does this mean I am ‘deserving’ of rewards such as education and a good family? Does this mean that others who are uneducated or don’t come from good families are undeserving, because of the very nature of their birth and early life?

If I start classifying people into ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ based on their education and fortune, do I not become a bigot of sorts? Being a bigot is hard, for it causes division of the soul.

The moment I become a bigot, I will feel happy only as long as my readers read what I write, only as long as I seek out friends who are less educated than I am. The moment I meet someone who is more educated, my ego will become extremely insecure and cause incredible pain. To hide my pain, if I am insecure and also immature, I may lash out at others and make others feel small to hide my own feeling of inferiority.

As long as I am a bigot, I am dependent on feeling superior to my inferiors; and causing pain to those I consider superior to me (to bring them down). Is this a true sign of my education?

Thus, the question should be- how do I not become a bigot? How do I not classify anyone in the world as lower or higher than me, be it on the basis of education, race, caste, creed, color? For being a bigot traps me in a pleasure – pain cycle and I don’t want to feel that pain.

How did I become a bigot? I classified people into categories.

Why did I classify? Because I asked questions about why I was educated, why I am able to write, why I am fortunate, why I have people reading what I write.

So, being happy leads to bigotry? Yes. But feeling sad with what you have also leads to bigotry? Yes – starting the other way round – from feeling inferior to trying to act superior.

So, feeling happy or feeling sad about your life and your position in society can cause suffering? Yes.

But how do I resolve this? Is it so wrong to have emotions? No – emotions are natural. It is okay to like or not like things.

If it is okay to like or not like things, how do I prevent my preferences from blooming into a bigotry and suffering? By coming out of the world itself- the world is a pool – as long as you are immersed, there will always be people floating on your left or right, above or below. Your immersion in the world causes you to know where you are. Because you know where you are, you can choose where to go – your direction. Because you choose a direction, you automatically classify people ahead of you as superior and behind you as inferior.

So, I classify because I want to move? Yes. As long as you want to move, you need to know where you are relative to others. And the moment you think about where you are, you experience emotions of liking or not liking your situation. Your emotions help you move, take action, make changes in your life.

So, if emotions are so necessary, if action is necessary (or I won’t educate myself, eat or have a job), then is bigotry / division/ pain impossible to eliminate? No, it’s not. You can eliminate it by asking a much larger question – why ARE you in the swimming pool of the world? Who put you there?

Who put me here? God? If you start thinking it is God, you will start fearing God, and start praying to him/ her for blessings and salvation. Prayer cannot be driven by fear, for fear itself is suffering.

So, if the truth is something that will not make me fear, what is the truth? You put yourself here. You created yourself, you created the world. You created the people around you. You chose your strengths; you also chose your weaknesses. You chose how rich you want to be, and how much a failure you are. After creating the world, you had to place yourself somewhere. The moment you placed yourself anywhere in the world, even if at the top, you created division and suffering.

So, do you mean I created suffering? Yes.

Am I mad to create my own suffering? Not really. You created suffering accidentally because after creating the world, you forgot that you yourself had created it. Realize this and you will neither fear nor over-idolize anyone. You will realize that everything in the world is equal. The thing that made things unequal is your own presence. By entering the world, you classified people based on the kind of life you manifested.

So, there are two things I created? Yes. The world and your life. The container and the contents.

Why would I choose to forget I created my own world? You can’t remember everything in the limited mind of the human form you have taken. The world can’t be contained in a single human mind, but you can be contained in the world. It is like going to sleep- you pull the blanket up and go to sleep and forget that you are sleeping, until you wake up and find a blanket on top of you.

Why would I do something this silly? Perhaps it is a game. Or as the Hindu scriptures call it, a Leela (game or play).

Why would I want to play such a game by putting myself into a world and forgetting that I created it, and on top of that creating unnecessary suffering for myself? Perhaps you were bored. Perhaps this was the only way you knew how to grow further. Perhaps you are sleeping and when you die, you will realize this entire life was just a dream.

If I am dreaming, where am I sleeping? I surely can’t be sleeping in this world- the real world always exists outside the dream. Yes. You will know the real world only when you wake up, or perhaps when you die.

So, if I commit suicide, will I end this dream? Maybe. Maybe not. If you created this world, you won’t wake up until you are ready. Trust your reasons for creating this world – you can’t remember why you created this world but trust you had a reason.

How can I trust myself when I don’t even know who I am? Well, trust is a bad word I guess, a better word would be faith. Have faith in the reasons behind you creating this world, behind you creating your parents, behind you creating your wife/ husband, behind you creating your friends, behind you creating your college, behind you creating your enemies – yes, you created them all.

So, I should have faith in myself? Yes, faith is trusting in the absence of evidence.

This is blind and stupid – I want evidence before I have faith! That is of course your choice. You see, faith is not a mandate by some fancy religion (by the way you created all of the religions of the world – you created Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc.). Faith is a choice – you can choose to have faith or you are perfectly at liberty not to have faith.

What will happen if I do not have faith? Absolutely nothing. You will simply continue suffering because you refuse to see the truth. But apart from that, there is no great damage that is going to happen. Rebel all you want – the world you created is free, you see, you created the concept of freedom too. You created enslavement, you created evil and you also created ethics and morality. You are free to pursue any path and of course face the consequences.

You mean, I am free to rob someone? Sure, if you are okay going to jail – you yourself created the rules of this world before you entered it.

How do you know I created this world? Because the only part of the world you can experience is what you see, hear, smell, feel and touch, not to forget what you experience through your sixth sense/ gut feel. You can only see the world when you are awake, conscious, not sleeping. This blog is being created because you can type, which in turn is because you can see. Close your eyes and the blog will cease to exist, except in your memory.

So, everything exists only when I am seeing, or hearing it? Essentially yes, they exist in your present. But they move into your past the moment you close your eyes. Close your eyes and this blog will become your past, by a few minutes. But the words you are typing now are your present and your present exists.

So, being in the present is proof of me creating the world? In a very twisted way yes.

Will I continue to suffer? If you want to, yes. Suffering is not bad, you know – classifying suffering as bad is also a form of discrimination. Classifying suffering as suffering only creates suffering again due to you dividing/ classifying things again.

So how do I find peace? By remembering you are the creator, whenever you want to.

What is Prayer? A Practical ‘Non-religious’ Guide

Ever made a decision? It could be about going to college, whether to take up a new job or stay at home vs going abroad. Sometimes, it becomes extremely confusing regarding which direction we should take in our lives.

In such situations, we run from pillar to post asking people for advice. The end result is that we get multiple pieces of advice from people who know a lot about the subject. And yet, you may feel discontented …a sense of malaise. None of their suggestions seem to work. People seem to know a lot about what to do in a situation, but somehow nothing strikes you as ‘right’ or ‘true’.

The missing link is you – you have asked everyone but yourself. We need to consider everyone’s inputs as just that…inputs. But the only person, I repeat, the only person, who needs to live with your decision is yourself. And therefore, you need to ask yourself what you want.

But how do you ask yourself? Can you truly see yourself? If you go to a mirror, you can see your reflection – but that is merely your body. You can’t see your mind to split apart the tangle of thoughts that trouble you. More importantly you can’t see your soul to talk to, not in the mirror anyway.

Different people have found different ways to address this. Some realize that inside us exist different energies – the energy of time exists inside us (the Hindus call this Shiva) – this same time energy produces new life through sex (again Shiva). Some see other energies inside themselves – the energy of fertility (we have another god for that), the energy of sustenance (another god) and so on and so forth. For every aspect that troubles us, we can find a god – this was the approach taken by Hinduism and even the Greeks (Zeus, Athena, Dionysus – God of wine etc.). And thus, to help us analyze different aspects of a problem, we try to find the ‘energy’ within us that is causing the problem. But it is often difficult to separate these energies for one who is struggling with self-awareness. Finding and asking this energy is easier if we can have an external representation of this energy.

But how do we create an external representation? The easiest way was to write a story about how this energy had its own ‘personality’, about how this energy was born and grew within us. We find these as stories of how gods were born or created, and how they used their powers to solve problems. The stories of gods are nothing but stories of how the equivalent energies were created within us. Once we have a story to help us understand the energy better, it is important to keep a bookmark of sorts, to quickly refer to the energy – we may even give this energy a name – Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and the like. And we create a physical bookmark to help us remember the various energies within us – we call these idols.

And so, when we pray to an idol for help or advice, we are essentially asking ourselves for advice. We are talking to our souls.

However, having idols was not sufficient, people needed to relate to their soul in a more ‘human way’. Many of us struggle with the concept of the soul, especially if we are not very abstract-minded. And so, several religions created a ‘human’ manifestation of our soul. Hinduism refers to them as gurus, Christianity calls this person Jesus, Muslims may reach out to a Mullah, and the Jews to a Rabbi. These are human teachers who have been able to talk to their own souls. These teachers can’t talk to your soul – they cannot give you answers and it is dangerous to ever ask them ‘what to do’. Always approach a Guru, or Jesus, Mullah or Rabbi to ask them how YOU can find the answers BY YOURSELF. Seek guidance, not answers.

Realizing this, the Buddhists took it a step further. They eliminated God as a concept altogether, and directly talked to their soul through meditation. Many of us live in a noisy environment where everyone has an opinion on what we should do with our life. Sometimes, the only way to get away was go outside a city where no one knew you and where no one would interfere with your thought process. Today, we travel and take vacations to ‘get away for a bit’. In ancient days, people didn’t have that luxury- all around the city were forests and that is exactly where they went. They left their home and went away to a forest and meditated. What do I mean when I say meditated? It simply means roaming freely outside and inside your mind allowing your thoughts to flow freely, till you find the path that works for you. That is the crux of meditation, not sitting cross-legged and repeating words or chants. Meditation that can’t help you be happy or make a decision produces few results, unless you like chanting as a hobby. Chanting can give you peace, only because you have blocked everything else out. But blocking out the world can never solve your problems; it only exacerbates them further.

Christians created a two-step process – a God that represented our soul, and a teacher – Jesus who died like any other human on the cross. The life of Jesus was only to show that we are all Jesus too – if a carpenter was able to see his soul and be happy, so could you. Muslims looked to their Prophet for guidance in finding God (soul). But the Prophet couldn’t be everywhere and so they created Mullahs, not very different from priests in their function.

The end goal of this system was to help people be happy, not create a ‘religion membership club’ of Hindus, Muslims or Christians. The aim of every one of the original teachers in each of our religions, however small or large, was to help people find peace WITHIN themselves. Many religions realized that they could not accurately describe such abstract concepts in a boring manner. No one would have read a blog on religion or faith, if written like a philosophy thesis. So, they used stories and examples. A collection of these stories and examples became the Bhagwad Gita, Bible, Koran, Buddha Charita and the Guru Granth Sahib. All of these writings refer to the same entity- our soul.

Following one religion over another is merely a choice of PATH. In reaching a destination, some may prefer to take a train and enjoy the view. Some of us may be disabled and may prefer flying. Some may prefer to sneak into a cargo ship and hide till the ship reaches the port and then escape to our destination when the captain isn’t looking. These different methods are effectively the various religions today. Sometimes, it is not possible to reach a place purely by flying. You may have to get down at an airport and then take a cab, for instance. Similarly, Hinduism or Christianity may not answer all your questions, you may have to refer to Buddhism or Islam for part of your journey. And then perhaps transfer to Zen for the last mile- and vice versa. We need all our teachers; we need all our religions, to complete our journey. One teacher alone cannot provide all of our answers, just like one single friend or just your spouse can’t fulfill all your emotional needs. We need many friends, we need many teachers, we need many religions to find our path to our soul.

With the help of these teachers, we can talk to our souls. We need silent spaces where no one will disturb us – we call these temples, churches, mosques and well, even ‘sitting under a tree’. Sometimes, our homes can be the most silent place we know – then our home becomes our church or mosque or temple or gurudwara. Every place on Earth (and even the universe or Milky Way) is a religious place of worship. And when I say worship, it does not mean putting your soul on a pedestal because it is superior, it simply means listening. You can’t talk to your soul; you can only listen. Hence, we call this worship – we listen and understand and follow our soul’s path.

And thus, when we worship, we pray. When we say prayer, it simply means listening. When we say listening, it simply means we seek guidance, not to fulfill some higher magic purpose of a revengeful god, but for the simple down-to-earth reason of being happy and at peace. Only our souls know what can make us happy, at work or at home. All we need to do is learn to listen to our souls, hence we look towards teachers or scriptures. But often, we pray.