and difficulties we are going through as we come to know

ourselves on the teaching, and even on the teacher: "These

gurus don't care anyway, whatever you're going through.

They are only out to exploit you. They just use words like

'compassion' and 'devotion' to get you in their power ..."

Ego is so clever that it can twist the teachings for its own

purposes; after all, 'The devil can quote scriptures for his own

ends." Ego's ultimate weapon is to point its finger hypocritically

at the teacher and his followers and say: "No one around

here seems to be living up to the truth of the teachings!" Now

ego poses as the righteous arbiter of all conduct: the shrewdest

position of all from which to undermine your faith, and erode

whatever devotion and commitment to spiritual change you


Yet however hard ego may try to sabotage the spiritual

path, if you really continue on it, and work deeply with the

practice of meditation, you will begin slowly to realize just

how gulled you have been by ego's promises: false hopes and

false fears. Slowly you begin to understand that both hope

and fear are enemies of your peace of mind; hopes deceive

you, and leave you empty and disappointed, and fears paralyze

you in the narrow cell of your false identity. You begin to

see also just how all-encompassing the sway of ego has been

over your mind, and in the space of freedom opened up by

meditation, when you are momentarily released from grasping,

you glimpse the exhilarating spaciousness of your true nature.

You realize that for years, your ego, like a crazy con artist, has

been swindling you with schemes and plans and promises that

have never been real and have only brought you to inner

bankruptcy. When, in the equanimity of meditation, you see

this, without any consolation or desire to cover up what

you've discovered, all the plans and schemes reveal themselves

as hollow and start to crumble.

This is not a purely destructive process. Alongside an

extremely precise and sometimes painful realization of the

fraudulence and virtual criminality of your ego, and everyone

else's, grows a sense of inner expansiveness, a direct knowledge

of the "egolessness" and interdependence of all things,

and that vivid and generous humor that is the hallmark of


Because you have learned through discipline to simplify

your life, and so reduced the opportunities for ego to seduce

you; and because you have practiced the mindfulness of meditation,

and through it loosened the hold of aggression, clinging,

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