Here is an easy way to catch the ego; to know when the ego is coming up.
Whatever makes you uncomfortable is ego!
Look at your own life.
Whenever you experience pain, anger, jealousy, it is always the result of feeling separate from someone else, of feeling alone, of feeling cheated. In times of misery, you always experience yourself as being all alone. This is the ego at work.
In times of joy, you feel naturally connected with everyone and everything around you. When you are joyful, happy, laughing – these are the times when your ego is at its weakest.
In your present life, you may experience these moments temporarily. But meditation is going to take you to a permanent state of bliss. Meditation is the process of falling in tune with the whole of Existence. In meditation, there is simply no place for separateness, no place for the ego. Once you sense the lasting harmony of everything, once you sense the deep interconnectedness of all of Existence, what will be the need for maintaining the ego? The ego is your armor against the world. The ego is your shield in times of war. If everything is peaceful, if everything is harmonious – then where is the need for armor, a shield? You can just relax, that’s all.
But you are used to struggling for everything!
We have to create a big problem and then fight with it. This is what your ego wants. That’s why you find it so difficult to meditate – because meditation is such a simple thing! It is too simple, actually. All you have to do is sit silently and unclutch from your thoughts as they come up.
Is that so difficult?
Actually there is no need to teach or learn meditation! Meditation should simply happen. Just sit still for a few minutes and watch your mind, it is enough to get a glimpse of reality.
Just for a few seconds, if you can sit silently, watch your racing thoughts, just be – that will be enough to convince you of the truth. And once the truth is known, where is the place for your ego? The ego will have to be dropped. You will drop it naturally. That’s why the ego fights meditation so hard. Meditation is the death of ego!
So the only problem you will face is the strong resistance from your ego. When you are meditating, the ego will raise a thousand questions. Doubt is the most deadly weapon that the ego has! The ego will continuously create doubts and questions in your mind.
In the beginning it will make you worry, Can I really meditate? Can I sit for so many hours with my bad back? Is this path really for me?
What if I get drawn too deeply in? What will happen to my family? Will my friends call me crazy? Am I really crazy?
If you are working with a master, it will raise doubts against the master! Is the master really authentic? Does he know which technique is right for me? What is his purpose in teaching me meditation? Is this some kind of hypnosis? So if you find these kinds of questions arising, don’t bother. Simply drop the questions and continue with the meditation. Don’t feel guilty about having these questions!
These questions arise naturally in everyone’s mind. And don’t try to struggle with these questions. Don’t make the mistake of struggling with the ego!
Ego is just something imaginary; it is nothing but the lack of awareness; it has no positive existence. Just like darkness is a state of no-light, ego is a state of no-awareness. If you are in a dark room, can you fight the darkness and push it out to make the room bright? Does it make sense to struggle against the darkness?
In fact, your solution has nothing to do with the darkness. You have to simply bring in a lamp and the darkness will disappear on its own! In the same way, don’t waste your energy fighting with the ego. Focus on bringing awareness into your meditation. By and by, the questions will drop naturally.