This weekend I went to Toronto to visit my family. I heard so many storylines, each person has a world of their own which we live out. What I do in writing, most people do by speaking, we tell our stories to other people so that we make sense of what we live through.
Throughout my own sense-making I've noticed the people I admire do not have this compulsive need for telling their own stories to other people. I don't say this to put down my family, I'm the main culprit of this self-centered way of experience the world. Self realized people might indulge in their own stories if asked, but most of their communication involves a sense of us rather than a sense of I. I intuit that when they speak of "us" they are actually speaking of themselves, but it feels as if they were speaking of me, because we all share the human experience, so their experience seems to be my experience.
From this I understand I'm just one step away from becoming the person I admire--that is, to understand that my experience is not my own, it is the experience of humanity, and the reason I write is not to understand myself but so that other people may understand themselves. This makes sense.
Even as we experience ourselves to be at the center of the universe, knowing that other people have the same experience qualifies us to state that every experience is shared. Someone, somewhere, knows how you feel because that person shares that experience with you. Furthermore, we all have an inkling of that experience even if we haven't lived it. The person who won the lottery shares that experience with all of humanity because we have all imagined how it would be if it happened to us.
It feels as if my task--our task--is to transcend this thing we call ego. For those spiritually inclined, we embark in a senseless battle against it, trying to kill it, to suppress it, to shrink it, but this is the ego operating on another part of itself. Transcending it does not involve battling it, but it is a movement difficult to describe. I will try anyways.
You are trapped in ropes. You struggle to free yourself, for a long time. Eventually, the struggle will make you sweaty and exhaust you. You give up and relax deeply. As this happens, your relaxed state and your sweat make you slide out of the ropes effortlessly. You wouldn't have been able to free yourself out of your bind without a struggle, but it is not the struggle itself that freed you, it was the relaxed state you found after the struggle.
So, people with a small ego footprint were not successful in hacking it away through self-violence, they simply outgrew it. There is a wonderful dialogue with Sri Ramana Maharshi, here is the relevant part:
How will the mind become quiescent?
By the inquiry 'Who am I?'. The thought 'who am I?' will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.
"Who am I?" will first dive you into the ego, and then out of it. It is the spiritual equivalent of Heisenberg's dictum: "The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you".
We cannot help but become more and more perplexed by this thing we call life. What is life? What does life want? I dance better when I stop trying to dance and I let the music dance me. We live better when we stop trying to live and let life live through us.
All I have left to say is a little prayer: God, I give up, I don't know what to do with myself any more. Allow me to become a vehicle of your will.