In the Buddhist tradition it is said that the cause of all human suffering is ego delusion. What is meant by this is that identification with the ego and it’s needs, cravings, desires and limited understanding and perception is the root of all our misery. The following excerpts, drawn from many and varied sources, emphasize and expand upon this theme. These excerpts highlight one or more of the following ideas: (1) The apparent external world that we perceive via our five senses is in some sense a “dream” or an “illusion”; (2) from the moment of birth we are conditioned to perceive the world as others perceive it; (3) even our sense of self is an illusion—the ego was never meant to carry the entire burden of our identity; (4) we have a “higher self” or “higher mind” that is part of our greater identity; (5) since “the fall from Grace” the totality of our perception and awareness has been “trapped” in the ego, and consequently we think that this is all there is to us. We can, however, learn to expand our awareness to include more of our higher aspects and greater multidimensional identity. This is, in fact, what spiritual awakening or enlightenment is all about.
“Awakening involves only the process of exposing and relinquishing the false view of the self, and choosing a direct view of the Self. The experience of our true, awakened, enlightened nature is available in every moment when we choose it. There is no distance to travel and nothing to ‘earn’ or prove. Enlightenment is a done deal. It is already our true nature. Because of our deeply conditioned misidentification, however, we may need to… find our way back to reidentification with our true nature.”
–Yoga and the Quest For the True Self, Stephen Cope
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