How To Achieve Spiritual Enlightenment By Overcoming The Self
Getting rid of our ego helps in our spiritual evolution
We, human beings, have a gross physical body that has various vital organs like the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys, amongst others. We are conscious of our 5 sense organs, just like we are aware of certain organs of action like our hands, legs, fingers, etc. However, these make just the hardware of the human body. Human beings also have a software that drives their body to act. It is MIME – the Mind, Intellect, Memory and Ego. Unlike the physical body, this is the subtle body. We can't touch or see it, although we know that it exists. As we live, we think that we are the ME, the Mind and Ego, the 'I'. We have a name, a surname, a nationality, a religion and an occupation. We identify ourselves with all these attributes and further, when we say, 'My height is... and my weight is...' all of this collectively defines our existence. A computer cannot function only with the hardware and the software but also needs a power supply to fire it up. Similarly, our body needs Power to energize it, to bring life into it. The life force within us is our Soul. The SOUL is a Spark Of Unique Life. Thus these three essential aspects—the gross physical body, the subtle body or MIME and the Soul, together, make us a human being.
Who is this 'I' that keeps saying that this is 'my' hand or 'my' eyes? Who is this 'I' that proclaims that this house is ‘mine’ or this car is 'mine'? The 'I' that constantly tells 'me' and 'mine' is our ‘ego’! All through our life, till our last breath, we keep on believing that we are the ego. We have a body, mind, and Soul but we don't realize the truth. We live and die in ignorance as we are lost in the myth that we have been taught and grew up with. We believe in the lie, till we die.
As long as we don’t realize that I am not ‘I’, we will never realize that we are the Divine Spirit, the SOUL, the Spark Of Unique Life. So, how does one achieve this Spiritual Enlightenment or Awakening? One can achieve this by overcoming ignorance. Ignorance can be overcome by going on a quest and seeking answers to the vital questions of life. Ignorance can be overcome by asking the most important question – ‘Who am I?’
When we ask, ‘Who am I?' we will get various answers. ‘Am I this body?’ Of course, we have a body but are we the body? When was this body created? This body was created over nine months in the womb of our mother but we were born much earlier than that. We were conceived when the first cell of existence, the zygote, was created. A Spark Of Unique Life, SOUL, gave life to the zygote and then from one cell, it multiplied to two, to four, to eight, to sixteen, to thirty-two and so on, till it became twenty-five billion cells and then, we were delivered to this earth on a date, which we celebrate as our birthday. Our birth certificate tells us that it is the date of our birth but in reality, it is only an arrival date on earth. Therefore, we are not this body that was formed. One day, this body will die. Death is certain. Every ‘body’ must die and when the body dies, people will say that we passed away. They are so sure that we passed away that they would destroy our body by either cremating or burying it. These facts prove and ensure us that we are not the physical body.
So, are we the mind? Where is the mind? When we try to find our mind, where it is, we cannot find. Mind is just a bundle of thoughts. As long as the thoughts exist, the mind exists. The moment the thoughts cease to exist, the mind ceases to exist too. Therefore, we are neither the body nor the mind. If we are neither the body nor the mind but we exist, then, who are we? Realizing ‘Who am I?’ is Awakening. It is Spiritual Enlightenment.
Spiritual Enlightenment is a journey of finding out that I am not ‘I’. When we realize that I am not ‘I’, then I am able to let go of my ego because it is the ego that says, ‘I, me and mine.’ The ego will say, ‘I am John’ but was I John when I was born? No! I was just a baby boy. The baby that was born was not John. John is just a name but unfortunately, we believe that we are our name. When we look at a picture or a group photograph, we will point out and say, ‘Hey, that is me.’ But that is not me, that is just my body. The ego sticks to the false identity. Unless we overcome our ignorance and realize the truth, we will always live as this body, mind and ego and will suffer the triple suffering - physical pain, the misery of the mind and anguish of ego in the form of anger, hate, revenge and jealousy. All of this disappears when there is a Spiritual Awakening, an Enlightenment. All this happens with the Realization of the truth.
Therefore, we have to let go of our ego, the ‘I’. There is a simple formula -
Man – Ego = God
God + Ego = Man
Because of ignorance we believe that we are the body that we appear to be while in reality, we are the Divine Soul. Ignorance creates the ego. We human beings live and die but this is not the end. If we do not find out, ‘Who am I?' then we will return to this earth in a rebirth because we will have Karma to redeem. Karma is actions performed by the physical body, directed by the Mind and Ego, ME. Each action, good or bad, becomes a seed that is planted and has to bear fruit. To reap the rewards or fruits of our actions, the Mind and Ego, ME makes us return to earth in a rebirth.
If we want Spiritual Awakening or Enlightenment, we have to let go of ‘I’. We have to realize – ‘I am nothing. I am just a Spark Of Unique Life, a SOUL that arrives at conception and departs at death. The Soul is a part of SIP, the Supreme Immortal Power and so, I am the Divine Soul.’ The moment we realize this, we are awakened. We achieve the goal and realize that we are the Divine Soul. Then, we do not return to earth in a rebirth. We attain Liberation and ultimately, at death of the body, get unified with the Divine, SIP, the Supreme Immortal Power.
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