On ego

Life is what it is,
you cannot change it;
but you can always change yourself.
- Bowl of Saki, by Hazrat Inayat Khan


Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
In Sufi terms the crushing of the ego is called Nafs Kushi. And how do we crush it? We crush it by sometimes taking ourselves to task. When the self says, 'O no, I must not be treated like this,' then we say, 'What does it matter?' When the self says, 'He ought to have done this, she ought to have said that,' we say, 'What does it matter, either this way or that way? Every person is what he is; you cannot change him, but you can change yourself.' That is the crushing. ... It is only in this way that we can crush our ego.

Every time that we notice its pinprick, every time that its thorns appear before our eyes, we should crush it and say, 'What are you? Are you not thorns, are you not the cause of unhappiness for others and myself as well? I do not want to see my own being in such a form, in the form of thorns! I want my being to be turned into a rose, that I may bring happiness, pleasure, and comfort to others.'


If there is anything needed in spiritual teaching, in seeking truth, in self-realization, it is the refinement of the ego. For the same ego which begins by being our worst enemy, will in the end, if developed and cultivated and refined, become our best friend.

from http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_40.htm

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