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Letting go of the ego

For 20 years, I have tried many methods to dethrone the ego or what some call the conditioned mind, such as meditation and chanting.

My favorite has been applying the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle. The very moment one catches the ego’s attempt to pull one into its negative warp, there is a brief gap where there is no thinking. Just a stillness or peacefulness. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between.

My goal for several years has been to prolong these moments of peace or stillness.

In the last two months I have read and reread a book that has given me a simple but very profound lesson on getting beyond the ego more often and in longer duration. It is titled “Not I, Not Other than I: The Life and Teaching of Russel Williams.”

Mark Taylor, the editor, summarized, “Russel’s teachings are ‘very naked’ and pure — that is, they are free of theories, concepts and categories — this gives his teaching a very rare clarity and power. There is no system. There are no rituals or rules to follow, no ideas to take on board. You don’t have to believe anything. You don’t have to accept anything. You don’t have to become anything. All you have to do is be!

Even though my physician warned me not to tell others that they should read this book; my reading again motivated me to share this with the world because of its simple insights.

Taylor heard from a friend that this older gentleman was holding an ongoing discussion group every week and was enlightened. He became an active participant for 17 years before he was able to convince Russel that he could write a book.

After my second and third reading I had a gut feeling that this book needed to be shared because he is telling the reader how he or she can attain peace in this very divisive world.

I have a long-term friend who is suffering from some serious health issues. As I was driving him home from a meeting we had, he asked me to tell him the most important aspect of Randal’s meditations.

My reply was that there is one very powerful word: Feel. Rather than just think or repeat words, as one practices being attentive or conscious, whether that is petting your dog, brushing your teeth, viewing flowers, trees or clouds, really feel the presence or stillness or peace that envelops each and every experience.

Rather than me summarizing his ideas, I will quote him in order to really get his profound wisdom.

“Knowledge is one of the most important aspects of this feeling that there are sometimes entities of a very high order at our meetings,” Randal wrote. “We’re so used to accumulating knowledge by reading books, and listening to teachers and collecting information, but I’m asking people to do the opposite. We’re relinquishing knowledge, going into emptier and emptier spaces, creating areas of appreciation which cannot be with any thought or understanding.”

“Our two natures are different. Consciousness and thought are not the same. In a state of anxiety, consciousness contracts so much that it becomes nothing. In moments of peace and contentment, it expands so much that it becomes everything.”

“Think less, and the world becomes incredibly beautiful.”

Jim Hawes, a retired Medford school teacher, has published “Ageless Child,” and is working on his new book, “Ageless Living.” Rogue Valley residents are invited to submit articles on all aspects of inner peace. Email 600- to 700-word articles to column editor Sally McKirgan at innerpeaceforyou@outlook.com.