Adyashanti – and I am sure many others – sometimes talk about the dream of the ego.
The dream of the ego are the thoughts we, in our confusion, may have about a permanent state where what we see as good and desirable is present, and what we see and bad and undesirable is absent. This dream may take many forms: A paradise after this life. A permanent state of enlightenment in this life. A life with money, house, family, success, admiration and so on.
It comes from a series of beliefs and assumptions: (a) There is time and space this can happen within. (b) There is an I here that this happens to. (c) It’s possible to find a permanent state, something within content of experience I can rely on. (d) Life – situations, experiences – are inherently good, bad or neutral.
What does “ego” refer to here? It may sound like an entity of some sort, and yet, it’s really just the dynamics created when a thought – any thought – is taken as true: The identification with the viewpoint of the thought, and the sense of I created from this. The assumptions that the boundaries and the labels inherent in the thought are real and solid. The shoulds that may come from the belief. The emotions created from the belief, especially when life aligns with the belief or not. The life that comes from the belief.
So what’s a more realistic approach than pursuing the dream of the ego, thinking it will solve all problems and give me a state of permanent bliss? For me, it’s to find peace with what’s here, whatever it may be. Examine my beliefs about it and find what’s (already) more true for me. Perhaps even recognize what’s here – whatever it may be – as the divine, just as it is.
Some basic beliefs to look at: Clarity (health, happiness, contentment) is better than confusion (illness, sadness, discomfort). Something else is better than what’s here. I am…. a name, person, age, nationality, man/woman, human, being, smart/stupid etc. There is space. There is a past/future/present.
– the dream of the ego: permanent solution/awakening, a permanent state, no problems after awakening, happy every after etc.
– it’s what comes out of believing in an I + stories about the world (there is an I, I need to be happy etc.)
– the “ego” is just the dynamics created by those beliefs, how they filter the world, the labels and boundaries created and solidified, the emotions they create, the apparent needs/wants/shoulds created from the beliefs etc.
(if talk about “ego” then see it as just wanting to help, and a bit confused and afraid, and sometimes a lot afraid)
(beliefs in what’s good/bad, right/wrong, splits the world/experience, hopes to get rid of half of God/the divine, in a certain sense quite violent)
The dream of the ego is the thoughts we, in our confusion, may have about some ideal state “out there” in others or in the future. A permanent solution or awakening or life in paradise. A permanent state of no problems. The dream of “happy ever after”.
The “ego” of course just refers to the dynamics created when a thought – any thought – is taken as true. It refers to the sense of I that’s created when the viewpoint of the thought is identified with. The filtering of the world inherent in the belief – with boundaries, labels, shoulds and more which – when the thought is taken as true – appears real and solid. The emotions created by the belief. The life that follows from the belief. And much more.
I usually don’t use the word “ego” because it may suggest an “entity” of some sort, while it really just refers to the dynamics created when a thought – any thought – is taken as true. Still, in this context it can be a useful word since it makes for a catchy way of talking about it.