Einstein said: “Ego is an optical illusion of consciousness.” Many centuries before him Buddha compared this illusion to mistakenly seeing a snake where there is only a piece of rope and pointed out this misunderstanding to be the cause of all our miseries. I know it sounds like something we can correct in no time but this mistake has a power of its own.
It all starts with the feeling that there is someone here, separated from his own experience, who is experiencing it. Because we never deeply investigate the nature of this perceiver, we let this illusion run our lives and make us miserable.
This sense of separate entity then grows out of proportion, becoming an extremely painful point in our experience, difficult to uproot. External things and internal sensations create identification as we extend our creation and solidify it. All sorts of destructive and painful processes can then emerge and become “us”, causing more and more pain.
Paradoxically it is relatively easy to have egofree moments in meditation. Like Buddhist teachings keep saying, ordinary thinking mind is like stirred water – there is no way we can see what lies at the bottom. But should some calmness come into it, dust particles will settle down and the transparent quality of mind will start shining trough.
At that time we may turn our eyes into this “Here I am watching it all” and witness, feel, taste… Eventually we may find that the one we expected to find is not there.