"Contemplation of my real nature has certainly taken hold," you write. "Yet my life does not look much different, and habitual reactions are still appearing."
As a consequence of what one can find in much of the spiritual material, there is sometimes an exaggerated expectation as to how life will "look" after Self-realization.
Twenty, thirty, forty or more years of (dualistic) societal conditioning does not necessarily disappear overnight. There are some acquired habits, especially, which may not be amenable to much change at all.
The significant change that does relate to Self-realization is the relinquishing of the tendency to hope that the real facts of life will be something other than what they resolutely are.
For those who are viewing life from a dualistic framework, there will be an effort to move away from what is perceived as negative (or un-pleasant) and to move toward the positive end of the spectrum (whatever is deemed pleasant). The teachings of nonduality assure us that it is possible to transcend such dualistic distinctions, in our general perception, as "better" or "worse." In other words, we view matters in terms of 'what is,' rather than how they could be or should be.
Therefore, in the wake of Self-realization, the world (good, bad or mediocre) has not changed; but one's perspective, concerning all that one is aware of, has changed. Put another way, the world looks no different than it ever has--but our expectation, that it ought to appear any way other than it does, is recognized to be at the root of suffering and conflict.
So, we're not talking about the elimination of worldly reality, but of accordance with all of actuality; not exclusion, but inclusion.
This would be expressed by the nondual rishis as "Being present with what's present"--as contrasted to what one wishes or hopes was instead present.
As to "the dissolution of the ego," the "ego" is one of the dualistic ideas we have been enculturated to conceive as having substance. (Try to find an "ego" before Freud was born.) Ego is Latin: it means (in English) I. Is there an ego apart from an I? Ramana would put it this way: The ego is as real as the self. If there is no such separate entity as a "self," what becomes of the ego?
The notion of an ego is the scapegoat for a person's (mainly "undesirable") behavior. What role can an "ego" play for a person who no longer critiques her behavior in terms of "better" or "worse"? When you recognize your behavioral expressions to be 'what is'--factual in occurrance, rather than some would-be ideal--you will experience them as you would experience any other element of the 'what is.' This, then, is effectually the dissolution of the ego.
The fundamental question is, what is your "real nature"? If you "reject the conventional view of the separation of objects," is there a "you", a "self", that is in actuality apart from all else that is? If you comprehend that ultimately "everything is the Absolute," is there an "I" which is separate from anything?
by Robert Wolfe on July 6th, 2011
Posted in Living Nonduality, Questions, Advaita, Unpublished Tagged with ego, Self-realization, reality, inclusion, dualism, presence, advaita
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