The Ego

Haumai kithhu ūpjai kiṯ sanjam ih jāae.

Haumai eho hukam hai paeiai kiraṯ firāhi.

Haumai ḏīragẖ rog hai ḏārū bẖī is māhi.

Kirpā kare je āpṇī ṯā gur kā sabaḏ kamāhi.

Nānak kahai suṇhu janhu iṯ sanjam ḏukẖ jāhi.

Where does ego come from? How can it be removed?
This ego exists by the Lord’s Order; people wander according to their past actions.
Ego is a chronic disease, but it contains its own cure as well.
If the Lord grants His Grace, one acts according to the Teachings of the Guru’s Shabad.
Nanak says, listen, people: in this way, troubles depart. (sggs ang 446)

Guru Angad Dev Ji states that ego has its own cure but what does that mean?

It means that by becoming aware of our ego we can identify the kind of karma that we create and have created through our emotions, thoughts and actions. Much of the ego is held, hidden and repressed in the unconscious mind. Some of it is being acted out. Ego is our first identity before we discover the soul. Ego is the process of “becoming” until it is no longer needed – just like the training wheels on a bike that help you to balance and ride and are then discarded. Similarly, the ego is needed to learn and expand our psyche. The problem arises when we become the ego, thinking "I have done everything" or "I have achieved everything." We become attached to concepts and store them in the mind and believe that they are the truth. In fact, we become the concepts and the mind. It is only when we start seeing our own ego that we can start being aware of it as a separate entity.

If we did not act out our ego, we would not know to what extent it exists. This does not mean that we act out our ego all the time, it just means we become aware of its intentions sooner, we are able to let go faster and hence stop ourselves from doing the wrong things.

How can we transmute the ego? By acknowledging and expressing the feelings or expressing oneself through the word of the shabad thereby surrendering oneself to the divine. In doing this the emotions are not held any more, rather they are surrendered through the heart. Guru Granth Sahib has many shabads for many emotional states (raags) to help with emotional expression.

But what does that mean? Should we simply recite the Nitnem daily and all our sins will be washed away?

The answer is no. Psychological changes must occur within also. We must let go of concepts and belief systems that do not serve us. We need to question which belief systems we choose to give our attention to and nourish from those which have just become a habit over the years. The changes must be felt within and believed. If another person was involved, they must be forgiven. We must view the experience as a journey of development for the soul and realise that all people and experiences are presented to us for our own learning and are only a mirror showing us parts of ourselves.

By expressing our feelings we release old emotional and psychological baggage and build a bridge of communication to the soul thereby learning how to love and respect ourselves and others. We learn to master the three qualities of actions, emotions and the mind. The more we do this in the presence of love, compassion and forgiveness, the more we experience presence and stillness. We then reach a stage in life where we don’t really talk a lot – we just do a lot of smiling!

The Heart Meridian

The heart meridian is the meridian of love and forgiveness, mothering and nurturing.

When it is not open and flowing freely we experience ignorance to personal, universal and divine love.

The heart meridian can be blocked by grief, hate sadness and anger.

The heart is a muscular pump. When it beats, it pumps blood to the lungs and around the body. Blood provides the body with oxygen and nutrients, as well as assisting in the removal of metabolic waste. Internally, the heart is associated with the thymus gland which influences the immune system and both our physical and spiritual health. The thymus is a lymph gland that plays a vital role in the production of T-cells, which fight against bodily intruders like viruses. Unfortunately, this gland shrinks after puberty.

The thymus gland can be reactivated by spiritual awakening, by accepting the existence of the divine, by accepting our life and manifesting our “soul purpose.” It also represents our will to be well. An awakened heart is the true immune system as it is said to be the gateway to the divine – bringing in divine love and dissolving negative emotions – hence protecting the health.

The emotions of grief, sadness and anger close the heart and have an immediate suppressive effect on the immune system by inhibiting thymus function. This renders us more vulnerable to dis-ease — a concept little understood by western medicine.

Anger is one of the most misunderstood emotions. We are all told that anger is bad and destructive and that we should repress it. In fact, expressing our anger and consciously using it to work on ourself with the intent to forgive and let go is very healthy, as it balances the heart meridian. This can be done through counselling, speaking to a close friend or through physical exercise. Unexpressed anger eventually leads to rage (governed by the gallbladder meridian) and resentment (governed by the pericardium meridian.)

Forgiveness is another important aspect of the heart meridian. When we are young we do not realise the true power of forgiveness. We do not forgive because we believe we are right and justified and are not interested in the repercussions of our actions – another way the ego strengthens itself. As we mature, our consciousness brings in new wisdom and we realise that forgiveness is the true way to freedom. We realise that all experiences are created in such a way as to bring our emotions and thinking into the light and have us deal with them. We realise that “the other person” is merely the trigger to “blast” out what we have buried in our own psyche.

To forgive someone is to release someone from your mental prison of judgement. Until then the heart meridian remains unbalanced and karmic ties remain undissolved.

The heart centre also governs nurturing and mothering. Here is where we hold our belief systems about nurturing and mothering (and also fathering!) The pain is often felt here when our children grow up and become independent – parents often feel that loss (empty nest syndrome) and the heart meridian becomes unbalanced. In this case the feelings and expectations we hold about our children need to be examined and released.

There are two types of love which emanate from the heart – personal and transpersonal. Personal love is human love – for family, husband, wife, children etc. This type of love initially starts off as an attachment but should transform into a love which understands, respects and holds compassion for other people. Transpersonal love, or higher love, is unconditional love. It encompasses love for the divine in all creation and certainly in all other people. The Heart centre rules all our relationships, our perception of love and our ability to give and receive it, with others, with ourselves and with our Higher Self. Ultimately, the primary focus of the Heart centre is to balance Wisdom, Power, and Love (Gian, Miri/Piri and Bhagti), in our relationships and in our actions.

When the heart centre (which includes the yin meridians – heart, lung and pericardium) is clear and in balance, we have compassion for all life, we are empathic and we can see the Divine in other people. We are humanitarian and nurturing,and we can express, give and receive abundant love. We are happy and fulfilled because we are fulfilling our Divine Purpose in service to humanity. Our sense of self is not limited to the ego, our consciousness is expanded and we realize that to love others is to love ourselves, because we are all one and the other person is you.

First, the heart meridian and thymus gland needs to be in balance and a sense of love and forgiveness must be felt in order before all the other meridians can be in balance.

The attributes of the heart meridian are love and forgiveness. Also.....


I am love

I am loving

I am lovable (by the divine)

I am able to give and receive love

I am forgiveness

I am forgiving

I can express my anger safely.

These affirmations balance the heart meridian and should be expressed with humbleness. If there is a difficulty or resistance in expressing them then it is a good idea to look into the reasons why, or you may try writing the reasons in a journal or diary. E.g., start your sentences by writing: “I feel unloved because…” or “I am unforgiving because…” etc.

By expressing and releasing your feelings in this way, you may find it easier and more natural to say the affirmation afterwards.

Extract from Guru Granth Sahib

Jo mangey thakur apne tey soee soee davay
Naanak Dhas Mukh Thae Jo Bolai Eeha Ooha Sach Hovai
Chathur Dhisa Keeno Bal Apana Sir Oopar Kar Dhhariou
Kirapa Kattakhy Avalokan Keeno Dhas Ka Dhookh Bidhariou
Har Jan Rakhae Gur Govindh
Kanth Lae Avagun Sabh Maettae Dhaeial Purakh Bakhasandh

Whatever I ask for from my You my maker, you manifest it for me.
Says slave Nanak, let me be connected with Your will, that whatever I may utter out of my mouth, becomes true, here and hereafter.
The Infinite power permeates in all four directions, and guides my conscious mind.
As the One looks into the eye of the One, the suffering of its humble slaves are removed
The Guru, The Enlightener, the Manifester of the Universe protects its humble servant.
Embracing me closely, the merciful, forgiver of all is always compassionate. (sggs ang 681)

Any Shabad from the Guru Granth Sahib may be recited as all of them can open the heart.

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