The Spiritual Road to Peace and Happiness
In a very practical or mundane sense, the essence of spirituality is to live with a deeper awareness of yourself and the world around you. It is attained by the mindful observation of what goes on in you and around you. When you excel in that, you will notice that you will transcend the limited awareness of your mind and enter a boundless state of consciousness, in which truths present themselves in their pure state. You will find that your understanding of the world and people increases in proportion to the degree of unity or absorption that you achieve with it.
When you enter that state, you will also feel oneness with all creation. Instead of being one, you become one with all. With that your understanding of others and the world vastly improves. You will also feel the suffering and pain that is inherent in existence and from which no one is free. We can relate to others for empathize with them because we have so much in common with others.
The same factors that guide your behavior and shape your personality are at work in others also. They may not be equally effective in all, but they have the potential to produce the same results if right conditions or circumstances present themselves. This is an important revelation because it helps you feel affinity and kinship with the world.
You will experience an all-inclusive universal vision, as you erase the boundaries of your distinct individuality and see aspects of others in yourself and aspects of yourself in others. In that boundless, egoless and indistinct state, you will intuitively know others, understand their problems, motivation, pain and suffering and develop compassion, empathy and tolerance.
The feeling that you are a distinct and separate individual who must live for yourself arises from your ego. It is that part of your consciousness, which gives you the individuality. When you are centered in your ego, you will be driven by pride, envy, fear, lust, greed, anger and other negative emotions. They prevent you from seeing things as they are, or relate to them without feeling negativity or the compulsion to control them or manipulate them for your own gains, happiness or any selfish cause.
In the ego state, you will see everything from the narrow perspective of your belief system, worldview or individuality, driven by your own desires, expectations, predominant beliefs and attachments. They prevent you from seeing certain truths or recognizing your own faults and shortcomings. You may also be assailed by low self-esteem, negative self-talk, fear and doubt, and become even more defensive or aggressive in your behavior, attitude or relationships with others.
One of the central purposes of practicing spirituality is to overcome the ego and erase all notions of pride, envy, competitiveness, etc. When you erase your ego or the boundaries of your individuality, you will transcend your limited awareness, which is created by your individual mind. In the absence of ego, you will develop a unified awareness in which the duality between subject and object and the mind itself is absent.
The Buddha considered it the highest state (jhana), in which one is free from all notions of egoism and individuality. In that state you transcend the mind and enter pure awareness, in which the notion of ego or individuality is completely absent. The ego is responsible for all the struggle and suffering that you go through in life.
It is what makes you react and respond, seeing a threat or danger in everything that seems to oppose you or stand in your way. In the egoless state, you will be free from those habitual reactions. It is why in spiritual practice people are advised to attain this state through purification and transformation.
Therefore, practice concentration, mindfulness and other meditative techniques to become free from the shackles of your ego. Spend some time every day to silence your ego and see for yourself how it feels to be without individuality, feelings of separation or distinction. Avoid the impulse to defend yourself or assert yourself or control others when you are questioned or criticized.
Instead of letting your mind become distracted by desires and temptations, allow yourself to be mindful and focused on the moment or the event. When you are in the presence of others, pay attention to them and try to know them with compassion, empathy and understanding. Think as if you are not an individual but pure consciousness without boundaries, egoism and individuality and you are one with everything.
Seeing all as you see yourself is an attainable spiritual goal to cultivate an egoless, inclusive vision of things and easily identify with others to feel harmony and commonality. It can be reached when you silence your ego. By ego we mean the feeling that you are a special or different individual, and you have a sacred duty to protect or defend yourself and your interests or engage in selfish actions.
Your ego makes you compete with others to secure your gains and avoid losses or assert yourself by proving your superiority or exceptional individuality to establish dominance, control, authority or superiority. If you want to experience true peace and happiness, know how to silence your ego and merge your mind with the boundless consciousness, in which there is no notion of the self or the individuality.
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