I and i

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Egoism is the identification, as it were, of the power of the Seer (Purusa) with that of the instrument of seeing [body-mind].

In this sutra Patanjali explains egoism. The ego is the reflection of the true Self on the mind. The two appear to be the same, but one is the original, the other a reflected duplicate. The Self will always be falsely represented by the ego until our ignorance is removed. I often refer to these two “I’s” as the little “i” and the capital “I.” What is the difference? Just a small dot, a little blemish of ego. The capital “I” is just one pure stroke, just as the highest truth is always simple and pure. What limits us and makes us little? Just the dot. Without the dot, we are always great, always the capital “I.”

All the practices of Yoga are just to remove that dot. How simple it is. All the difficulties and turmoils can be removed from our lives in no time just by taking away that dot. But preparation for that is what takes time. Many times we climb up only to slip down. Sometimes we get all the way up there only to find we have forgotten to take along an eraser to wipe off the dot. So we have to come down again.

 

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Attachment is that which follows identification with pleasurable experience. 

Aversion is that which follows identification with painful experiences.

Attachment to pleasure, or raga, is another pain-bearing obstacle. We attach ourselves to pleasure because we expect happiness from it, forgetting that happiness is always in us as the true Self. When we expect joy from outside things, we become attached to those things. If we find these things make us unhappy, we create an aversion toward them (dvesa). So raga and dvesa, likes and dislikes, are impediments on the spiritual path. One we like because it seems to bring happiness; the other we dislike because it seems to bring unhappiness.

Everyone wants to be happy. Is there anything we can think of that doesn’t? Even a small worm put in the sun immediately rolls toward the shade. If we put a plant indoors, it will slowly turn its face toward the light, because it too wants to be happy. Happiness seems to be the basic need of everything in this world; yet rarely does anybody find it. Why? Because happiness is like the musk deer. The ancient scriptures have a fable about this animal which has a scented spot above its forehead that gives off the musk fragrance. This deer runs here and there in search of the scent, not knowing the scent comes from its own forehead.

Just like that, happiness is already in us. Wherever we go we reflect our happiness onto people and things. When we see a smiling face and feel happy, it is because the smiling face reflects our happiness. Just as a pure, clean mirror reflects our face beautifully, certain pure, clean faces reflect our happiness. Then we say, “This person gives me happiness.” In other faces, our happiness reflects in a distorted way and we say, ” I don’t like the person.” It’s absolute nonsense. No one can ever give us happiness or unhappiness but can only reflect or distort our own inner happiness.

 

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