THE SELF AS ENEMY

 THE SELF AS ENEMY ENEMY

 

Stone: Suleiman

The Mantra: Om Abhyantara Ripu Nirodha

 

The Key:

 

Language can be very confusing: by the Self some Teachers mean our inner being and say that we must realize it, but others mean the ego and advise to get rid of it!

 

Everything in us which isn’t pure love, joy, enthusiasm,

understanding and vision is part of our false self,

the “enemy”.

 

Until we become free of it we cannot achieve

our Great Liberation.

 

a) Mère introduces the issue thus:

 

It is in one’s own self that all the obstacles lie,

 

it is in one’s own self that all the difficulties abide,

it is in one’s own self that there is all

the darkness and ignorance.

 

Where else could they possibly be?

Shantideva agrees:

 

All the violence, fear and suffering
that exists in this world

comes from grasping at “self.”

What use is this great monster to you?

If you do not let go of the “self”
there will never be an end to your suffering.

 

And so does Najm al-Din Kubra

 

The false self is the veil between the Throne and the heart.

When this veil is torn a Door

opens in the heart

 

According to Ikkyu:

 

Like vanishing dew, a passing apparition or the sudden

flash of lightning – already gone – thus

should one regard one’s self.

 

How do you regard it?

As The Viveka-Chudamani pointed out,

 

If it were not for the mistaken identification with a false self

you would not be subject to samskara.

 

Adyashanti adds that:

 

The false self grows out of unconscious being.

It is a fragmented amalgam of many selves tenuously bound together by a façade of normalcy.

It is a divided house built upon an imaginary foundation,

a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

b) The problem is that our false self, the Enemy,

 

is not just one but a veritable legion

of little “I’s”

 

all based on the ego like flies and ticks on a dog, and in the measure in which we still identify ourselves with them

 

we will experience ourselves

as unreal.

 

Do you experience yourself as real?

Well….

Hawthorne asked:

 

What jailor can be as inexorable

as one’s self?

 

William Von Hippel and Robert Trivers noted that:

 

The self can be both deceiver and deceived

at the same time

 

through a dissociation of mental processes: conscious versus unconscious memories, conscious versus unconscious attitudes.

 

Wu Hsin adds that:

 

For many, the first step

on a spiritual journey

is to become lost.

 

The final step is

losing one’s self.

 

The way that Sri Aurobindo put it is:

 

He harbors within him a grisly Elf

Enamoured of sorrow and sin.

 

c) Many Teachers spoke of the negative aspect of the false self:

for example, Bassui said that seekers ought to renounce all techniques and just get rid of the notion of self, and Saadi with his

 

If you must destroy an idol, then destroy

the idol of the self.

 

Others went as far as saying that our worst enemy isn’t anyone else but our own self: for example, Pascal affirmed that the self is hateful.

The extreme of this line of thought was Abu-Said Abil-Kheir who advised:

 

Sit with whoever you like – a black snake even –

but not your self!

 

According to Osho,

 

The stagnant energy becomes the self.

 

When the energy is like a river, you have no self.

So self is a sort of block.

 

Whenever there is no flow, energy is not going anywhere, Suddenly

the block is there; one feels confined.

 

Nevit O. Ergin also speaks very strongly about it:

 

Self is the greatest enemy in this journey.

 

Self is a hair in the eye, a thorn in the bottom of the soul’s foot. Unless it is removed, non of us can see or walk.

 

There won’t be peace on earth until we all

wage war against the self.

 

When we become the martyr of our selves, then we conquer eternity.

 

It would be better to say

 

when we conquer ourselves.

 

Nothing can conquer Eternity because we are all part of it.

Shabistari has a warning:

 

If you get so engaged, entangled in Self
This self of you will be a veil,

imprisoning you from the

surrounding universe

The Veil:

 

It is the Veil which makes us identify ourselves with our lower self

instead of our Higher Self, the Friend.

 

The Dreamgame:

In the Dreamgame, the Self as the Enemy is a BLINDSPOT which makes us fall into a TRAP, the false identification with our lower aspects.

The reason that most people are unhappy or unfulfilled is that they identify themselves with it,

 

thus becoming like a tiny island isolated from almost all,

blind to all Divine’s joy, love and wonder.

 

As an Unknown pointed out,

 

The false self grows out of unconscious being.
It is a fragmented amalgam of many selves tenuously

bound together by a facade of normalcy.

It is a divided house built upon an imaginary foundation,
a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

Laing adds that:

Many of us are only too successful in acquiring

a false self to adapt to false realities.

 

The Devil’s Advocate:

Fortunately for our interests, not only your self is your enemy but YOU are the worst enemy of your own self as well, and don’t even know it!

Darlings, you have been had, but good!

 

The Khdir:

 

It is actually not our Self who is the Enemy, only

our wrong perception of it.

 

Words of Power:

 

I never confuse my true

and false self.

 

“Defend me, God, from myself.”

Spanish Proverb

 

“We must enter into ourselves armed

to the teeth.” Paul Valery

 

How do you enter into yourself?

As if going for a walk in the park?

 

“You must become the enemy of yourself so that

the Friend may show His Face.” Rumi

 

How so?

 

“The false self can become just dust, dust in which

only His footprints remain.” Rumi

 

“One’s Source is revealed in the absence

of one’s self” Wu Hsin

 

Living it:

From “The Quest”:

 

When still far from the Path I was deeply touched by this sentence that I read somewhere although it made no sense at all to me at the times:

 

“We have met the Enemy,

and he is US.”

 

How true!

Indeed I never had a worse enemy in my whole life.

After realizing it I wrote this:

 

A dark spell casting upon my Journey,

but a shadow he appears to be:

whenever in pure Vision abiding

no trace of him is left anywhere;

but when in the Seen’s mazes lost

I am hardly there anymore at all;

 

and yet as both Vision and the Seen am I,

somehow he must also be me…

 

This is a most horrifying thought.

 

From the Poems:

 

…rebelling at last he goes to war

against himself,

the battleground his brain’s mazes,

of unfulfilled wants and regrets a minefield,

each treacherous corridor of his mind

like a razor wire fence to be overcome…

 

The Way Out:

Follow Farid al-Din Attar’s advice:

 

Since love has spoken in your soul, reject
the Self, that whirlpool where our lives are wrecked;

As Jesus rode his donkey, ride on it;

Your stubborn Self must bear you and submit –

Then burn this Self and purify your soul;
Let Jesus’ spotless spirit be your goal.

 

The Yoga Vasishta’s advice is even better:

 

The thought of self in what is not the self, is the parent of all our woe;

when you no longer think of the not-self as the self

you are then reckoned among the wise.

 

Are you still thinking of the self in what is not the self?

Don’t be deceived.

As Najm al-Din Kubrasaid,

 

The false self is the veil between the Throne and the heart.

 

When this veil is torn and a door opens in the heart, like is drawn towards like.

Light ascends towards light and light descends upon light

and “it is light upon light.”

 

Never say: “I am the self that I know.”

But tell yourself:

 

The enemy within abides in my unexamined self, therefore

I get rid of it to become myself at last.

 

Question/Ko’han:

How clearly can you perceive your real and your false self, the Enemy?

Question/Ko’han 2:

 

Most people somehow act and think as if they were

their own worst enemy.

 

What about you?

Question/Ko’han 3 and 4:

On the Path the whole world is like a battlefield and so much of yourself

 

is the adversary that you must conquer.

 

To which extent have you conquered it already?

HOW?

Question/Ko’han 5:

 

The greatest limitation is to conceive of our Self

as “I am only that!”

 

Do you perchance believe that you are only what you appear to be?

Don’t be deceived.

You are INFINITELY more than that.

Question/Ko’han 6:

Franz Kafka said that Don Quixote’s misfortune was not his wild imagination but Sancho Panza (the false self.)

 

Which may still be the equivalent of Sancho Panza in you?

Question/Ko’han 7:

The Voice of the Silence’s advice is:

 

Make hard thy Soul against the snares of the self and earn for it

the “Diamond Soul.” name.

 

How hard is your soul against the snares of the false self?

 

The last word is that:

 

When our energy is not flowing in harmony with the truth of our being it creates

a block on some of our levels and a restless vortex on others

which feeds our false self, the “enemy”

 

How is your energy flowing?

If not in harmony, why not?

 

Practice:

1) Consider this passage of the Bhagavad Ghita

 

To him who has subdued the lower self by the higher self, it acts like a friend. But to him who has lost his higher self by the dominance of the lower one, the self functions as the enemy, always hostile to him.

 

For the self verily can be both the friend

and the foe of the self.

 

The soul of man is his friend when by the Spirit he has conquered it;

but until a man is lord of his soul it becomes

his own enemy.

 

2) Meditate on these words of Vivekananda:

 

Without self, there would have been no religious system. If man had not wanted anything for himself, do you think he would have had all this praying and worship?

Why! he would never have thought of God at all, except perhaps for a little praise now and then, at the sight of a beautiful landscape or something.

And that is the only attitude there ought to be. All praise and thanks.

 

If only we were rid of self!

 

3) Follow Hakim Sanai’s advice:

 

If from your selfish self yourself disentangle,

 

all heavenly beings readily will serve you; if you finally

hunt down your own beastly self the right you will gain

to claim Solomon’s kingdom: that blessed are you

who in the garden of paradise belongs.

 

Un-self yourself…until as a speck of dust your self will you see:

you can’t possibly reach that place; your self

never could that air breathe,

 

so find your way there

without the self.

 

Can you see the false self as a speck of dust?

Which “place” is Hakim Sanai talking about?

How can you find your way there… without the self?

 

Contemplate:

 

1) These verse of Tagore:

 

I came out alone to my appointment, but who

follows me in the silent darkness?

 

I move aside to avoid his presence but cannot escape him. With his swaggering walk he raises a lot of dust and adds his loud voice to everything I say.

 

He is my own little shameless self, my Lord, but I am ashamed

to come to Thy door with him.

 

Are YOU not ashamed of going to His door with your false self, the Enemy?

When Vijay did, he was MOST ashamed!

 

2) These verses of Kabir

 

The self forgets itself, and as in a glass temple

 

a frantic dog to death barks to himself…

his fistful of sweets has the monkey and won’t

let go, from house to house gibbering.

 

… man’s mind is the dupe of his animal self.

 

3) This prose poem of Tagore:

 

He whom I enclose with my name

is weeping in this dungeon.

 

I am ever busy building this wall all around; and as this wall goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight of my true being in its dark shadow.

I take pride in this great wall and plaster it with dust and sand lest a least hole should be left in this name;

 

and for all the care I take I lose sight

of my true being.

 

– Then ask yourself:

 

To which extent have I lost sight

of my own being?

 

Haikus:

 

I always knew my false self; most times

it was ALL I knew…but why

in terms of an “enemy” still think

when ultimately there is only Him?

 

Although it’s no longer my habit to complain

there is no harm that at a time or another

the false self upon me did not wreck –

it was a way to lead me to You after all!

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