"Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don’t see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself."
~ Marianne Williamson
I'm greatly enjoying the current Yoga Sutra translation/commentary, I'm reading/studying at the moment. Haven't exactly counted how many Yoga Sutra translations I've read, but it's been a fair amount. Good to get various perspectives, ultimately putting the threads into practice, coming to experience them on a deep level. Yes, gaining true understanding is more than simply reading text. At this stage in the game, I'm still very much a novice. Naturally, it is a life long endeavor and practice. No rush. Slowly, slowly.
When understanding the nature of the ego, I really got a kick how the author, Reverend Jaganath Carrera, described it. Here it is as follows.
The ego is something like a dog marking its territory in a forest. Before the dog came along, the trees were simply there, belonging to no one. When the dog adds its scent to the trees, it feels that they're his. The pooch now has something to defend--property to worry over. Likewise, the ego stakes out the borders of self-identity and then exerts effort to maintain and strengthen it, while avoiding anything it regards as threatening or unpleasant.
It is at the level of ego that suffereing arises. The ego prevents us from perceiving the Purusha (Divine Self) as our True Identity. It harbors expectations and cravings, becomes frightened, insecure, angry and envious. Yet it is the same ego that experiences love, caring, and compassion. So, in the name of Yoga, what will we be asked to do with the ego?
The yogi's first task is to eliminate not the ego but the selfishness that pollutes it. When this is accomplished, negative traits disappear, leaving the virtrues intact. But even a clean ego has limitations--the ego, by definition is limitation. It defines and maintains our most basic parameter: our sense of separateness. Enlightenment requires one more stage: the transcending of the ego, a shift from identifiying oneself as the body-mind to the realization of oneself as Purusha.
~ Inside the Yoga Sutras, A Comprehensive Sourcebook for the Study and Practice of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, by Reverend Jaganath Carrera
The description of the ego being like a dog marking its territory, makes sense. I've never quite heard it described as such. Kinda gave me a bit of a giggle.
I move in waves when it comes to philosophical study. Often, I feel it is best to put all that stuff away and simply live life and maybe stop contemplating so much, but continuing to observe the raise and fall of emotional reactions, getting a feel where patterns may stem, continue. There's really no going back on this matter entirely. Once delving into this practice, by putting space around reactions, begins the process of taking responsibility for one's own circumstances. We do create our reality, even though we may not want to except it. However, there is great empowerment in understanding this as well. I'm not saying it's easy, nonetheless.
Most importantly, as simple as it sounds, if I'm not laughing enough on any given day THEN surly I need to lighten up. :-)