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4

 

It is, therefore, most necessary for the aspirant to keep free from the idea "I do this," and "I do that." This does not mean that the aspirant is to keep clear of all activity through fear of developing this form of the ego. He may have to take to the life of action in order to wear out the ego which he has already developed. So, he is caught up in the dilemma that if he keeps inactive, he does nothing towards breaking through the prison of his ego-life; and if he takes to a life of action, he is faced with the possibility of his ego becoming attached to these new acts themselves.

 

For spiritual progress, the aspirant has to avoid these two extremes and yet carry on a life of creative action. Treading the spiritual Path is not like riding a saddle horse, but like walking on the sharp edge of a sword. Once the rider is on horseback, he is sitting more or less at ease and can go ahead with very little effort or attention. But treading the spiritual Path requires one's utmost attention and carefulness, since the Path affords no halting places. There is no room for the expansion of the ego-life, on either side. He who enters the Path can neither remain where he is, nor can he afford to lose his balance, or the "sword" on which he walks may cut him fatally.

 

To avoid inaction on the one hand, and pride of action on the other, it is necessary for the aspirant to construct, in the following manner, a provisional and "working" ego which will be entirely subservient to the Master. Before beginning any activity, the aspirant should think it is not he who is doing it, but that it is the Master who is getting it done through him; and after doing it, he does not tarry to claim the results of action or enjoy them, but becomes free of them by offering them to the Master. By training his mind in this attitude, he succeeds in creating a new ego, which, though provisional and "working," is amply able to become a source of that confidence, feeling, enthusiasm and "go" which true action must express. But this new ego is spiritually harmless, since it derives its life and being from the Master who represents Infinity, and since when the time comes, it can be thrown away, like an outworn garment.

 

There are thus two types of ego—one which can only add to the limitations of the soul, and the other, which helps towards its emancipation. The passage from the binding ego of the worldly man to the egolessness of the infinite life lies through the construction of the "artificial" ego, which can be generated through wholehearted allegiance to the Master.

 

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