IV. 4 nirmanachittani asmitamatrat Constructed of created mind springs from the sense of individuality.
Finally, the door started to open with this sutra.
Our ego creates a division between ourselves and others and creates a sense of separateness. It is responsible for making us think that we are different from everyone else. And with that division comes all sorts of insecurities and uncertainties. We then begin to speak and act in accordance with this idea that we are different, that no one understands our challenges, and that life is really too difficult to live. Fear then rules our actions. We react to the “what ifs” that spring from this ego-constructed mind. Our chests tighten, breath shortens, and necks shorten with growing tension. Arrgggh!
Years ago, I was plagued with anxiety attacks. Anyone in my shoes would have surely suffered the same. My mentor at the time suggested that for every “what if”, I simply ask a follow up question. “Then what?” This trick is still part of my daily thought process.
Moods and opinions are something we have to work with. We have to learn to observe and identify instead of reacting always. The purity of who we are is veiled and discolored with reactions. These reactions define us in the world. Reactions and opinions give us individuality. When we have such strong reactions to life, we trick ourselves into reassuring our insecurities. And it is our insecurities that veil our true selves. Instead of shooting into the dark, we learn to shoot from the hip, and then eventually to not shoot at all.
The moral of the story is that as much as we like to feel special, it’s the ego that creates that division between ourselves and others. Following our ego leads us down a dark and lonely path. An important step in liberation is to identify when we’ve invited our ego to take the wheel.