Question: I am still having trouble distinguishing between the I and the Ego.
Jan: The I is an illusion arising from identification with the ego. The ego is a construct of your past experiences and reactions to them. The I is George, the ego is Georges's personality. Usually the two are identified with each other since they really form a complex and are not as separate as i try to describe them. In reality the Self is neither. I assure you, it is like in a dream, when you totally believe yourself to be some person, then wake up to discover you are not. Self is pure being. It has no ego. With respect to being Selfrealized, the nature of the ego is completely irrellevant. You can be a nice person or a temperamental person, or what ever. The Self does not care. It is an illusion that only some egos are worthy of Self-
Q: People tell me I have a strong ego and I have to dump it.
J: What people are telling you may be right about the personality of George. My intuition is that what you mean is not that you are selfish, but that you are a strong individual. There is no problem with that. On the contrary: If you want to be able to cope with strong spiritual experiences, you need a strong personality/ego. Weak egos may become disintegrated and may develop psychological problems once one begins to merge with nothingness-
Q : Did you dump your ego before you attained Realization?
J: As you have guessed by now, I did not "dump" my ego before attaining the Self. But the illusion of being one with Jan suddenly burst, then "I" imploded into the Self and "understood" my true nature by being it completely.
So I recommend you don't worry much (a little is good) about what people say when they evaluate you. It is not good to evaluate others, nor is it good to be evaluated. It helps nothing at all, it only causes inner turbulence and more ego-
Q: But shouldn't you fight the ego?
J: Yes, you do have to "fight" the ego. Why? Because the fight itself is a spiritual practice that helps you dissociate from the ego and thus reduce the identification. The results of the fight are of secondary importance. Most people have got this turned upside down and believe the results of the fight are the most important thing, but that is because they identify themselves with the ego and think the changes in the ego is progress towards Self-
Q: What about unselfishness?
J: As I write in one of the satsangs, you should strive to be a decent person, and strive to be better than that also. You should practice being unselfish. It needs a strong ego to be unselfish! Weak egos have a hard time being unselfish, because they can't cope with the loss and also need the gratification of the sense of having something or of being right or whatever is at issue. Spend some time every week doing something simply for other peoples sake. I teach meditation for free one evening every week and give free shakti transmissions; that's one thing to do, which I am good at and enjoy, so that was a natural thing for me; also I run the lovebliss website and spend time answering mails. You find your own field. Find something enjoyable, of course; no need to harrass yourself. Also it is good to practice being humble. You can be very humble internally, while others may see you as a strong ego or arrogant; so once again, do not be overly concerned about others evaluation of your ego -
Q: My understanding is that if I keep cultivating the love for Self and All that the ego will eventually be displaced
J: No. that is not how it works if your goal is Self-
Once that is said, do "keep cultivating the love for Self and All". But be carefull it is not just an egogame. You can tell the difference if your cultivation is for your own gratification (in order to fell good and proud about your spirituality and self), or if you do unselfish work simply out of kindness and love for simply doing good to and for others. This is the true meaning of the word Seva (selfless service).
Q: Do you teach that the relative self has to drop the motivation/desire to awaken?
J: No, the motiviation to awaken does not have to be given up. Why should it? If that was so, then all motivations/desires would have to be given up and that is not possible or at least so difficult, you can forget about it. But the state of the Self is desireless. It's not a matter of purifying the small self to a point where it resembles the Self, that is not possible. Its more a matter of illusion suddenly bursting and you realize you are nothingness-