Third Core Mistake – Misuse of what we have

Re-mentioning three core mistakes in focus and let’s reflect on 3rd one today.

  • ATTACHMENT as “mine” to things and people WE HAVE – Possessiveness
  • ATTACHMENT to an object, person or situation WE DON’T HAVE – desire to possess more and more.
  • ATTACHMENT to short-lived pleasures and self-centered projects. Misuse of whatever LIMITED WE HAVE i.e. time, things, relations, power, strengths, abilities, situations. Let’s call it misuse factor.

Just like sin θ, cos θ, tan θ in trigonometry did sound scary when first introduced but later on became quite easy to grasp. Interestingly still after these experience shifts, hard in beginning and later easy, there was resistance when some new concepts were introduced in advanced classes of maths, science or whatever. This is one of the mental block in learning new concepts – to label new concept as hard and known as boring – which builds up resistance for the new learning and already known gets into unusable bin due to boring tag.

Knowledge matures to wisdom when valued, viewed from fresh angles and experimented otherwise it is simply a burden or poison, if fused with ego of “I know more than others”. In self learning, openness and experimentation play a big role.

Misuse of what we have

Yes, we do  misuse what we have when we don’t value

  • Limited Time available to us
  • Strength, energy and abilities
  • Relationships

and we use it up mostly in ego gratification, self-centered projects or hoarding money for secured and luxurious future. We all know death is certain and will super clean us by wiping all the dust we are trying to gather all the way, but still we don’t value life and it’s treasures – silences, wisdom, loving and giving.

Underlying causes of Misuse

There could be some specific to personality but common underlying causes are two –

  1.  ego and tendencies which nourish it.
  2. Momentum of seeking-pleasure-outside-self

Reflect over it, and if you find any other please write back in comments or email.

We will contemplate in detail on first cause today. Second one is rooted in UN-examined assumptions about finding happiness in wrong places which turn into deep-seated tendencies & habits, we call our nature. It is misdirected search of finding steady happiness in outside world. We covered this in detail in desire driven life post in some question viz. what’s in desires that traps us.

Chaos of Ego

Ego does not let us believe whatever life period, resources, strength or abilities we have is limited. It intoxicate us with local and never-ending needs of winning, achieving and securing. In reality there is no fear if we don’t entertain ego – nothing to prove and no one to fight and win over.

“No Self – No problem” – Essence of Buddha’s teachings.

On the other side ego makes simple, easy and doable, appear of less value as it may not bring glory. Little and simple are of no interest to ego, however, little efforts and simple steps actually add up to make big achievements. What really matters gets procrastinated.

Many of us fail to spot our passion or live it because there does not seem the possibility of great success or minting money easily. Money and attention are ego’s symbols. This keeps us away from satisfying core needs and passionate life.

Ego hampers existing relations or builds only shallow ones as it breeds anger, resentment, blame game or reduces other person as means to an end i.e. desire fulfillment or stepping stone in ambition success.

Source of ego, nourishment & ways to dissolve

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein

1. Notice tendencies which nourish ego

Ego has special property, it can not be seen in self but easily in others. And if at all we observe it in self then we may mistake it as pride and pride in others as arrogance. Conflicts in relationship seems to me the most easy signal of ego-suffering life. Ego’s opposite is not humility but love.

Some other places to recognize ego influence

  • Trying to be right in any conversation
  • Want people to behave in certain way
  • Listening less and wanting to be heard more
  • Listening to reply and not to understand
  • Experiencing struggle to prove something to someone not knowing why and what
  • Justifications and being defensive in arguments
  • Self centered ambitions
  • Being judgmental
  • Possessiveness and
  • Desires to posses more and more

These are few of many tendencies which keeps the dragon alive and nourished. We need to just observe and the simple act of observation will reduce the grasp of ego based tendencies, which develop in darkness and leave when light of wisdom grows stronger.

2. Discover the source of ego

Seeking happiness is like dog chasing its own tail but tracing ego is way to lose it. Ego is result of ignorance and foolery, so when searched in light of wisdom, it disappears.

Our relation to body and mind is through two strings; 1) it’s me 2) it’s mine. Both are false and former gives rise to false sense of self which we refer as ego, and latter creates possessiveness and boundary of personal-ness.

If we respect our intuitive intelligence or pay attention on what self realized souls have hammered then we can easily find the real self and eliminate ego without any explicit effort to do so. Body and mind are our instruments for physical and psychological expression but identification with them as “me” or “mine” is cause of all misuse.

We can observe mind, body, each and every thought then how can the observed BE the Observing presence. Observer and observed have to be separate for observation to happen. This is core of Vedanta philosophy and aims to disidentify with false sense of self. Sublime scriptures such as Bhagwad Gita mentions that knowing observer (self ) as separate from observed is the real knowledge, rest are details. Intuitively we can all simply observe; the hand that we see, we are not that; the food that we eat we are not that; the limbs, the senses, the thoughts, the feelings all are encompassed in our observation. And we are not that.

This is direct way to dissolve ego but only for those who can align to this truth based on inherent wisdom and their own subjective experience of self as observing presence.Self awareness exist without false sense of self in deep sleep or meditation. Another name for meditation is wakeful-sleep and main purpose of meditation is to drop false sense of self supported by repeated experiences of truth of being separate than observed.

Other famous ways to dissolve ego

  1. Pure love or devotion
  2. Self-less contributions
  3. Meditation / Restful awareness

which we will detail contextually in future posts.

Call to action

Some key notes to chew upon and integrate:

  • Most important understanding about ego – we exists independently and separately from it and it is simple to experience and integrate, we need to be open to this realization. It will sink in with time like trigonometry example I gave in start.
  • Pay quality attention to person or task in present moment.
  • Invite love and selflessness and prefer win-win solutions
  • Be open to all the lessons life teaches and avoid mistake repetition.
  • Be sensitive and empathetic.
  • Listen more and understand others’ point of view as well
  • Drop jealousy, comparison and competitions.

Dissolving ego or love is the doorway to being, which helps us to find abode in restful nature of Soul. Love is the secret of secrets and encompasses all learning and knowing we do in life.

पोथी पढ़ पढ़ जग मुआ पंडित भया ना कोई, ढाई आखर प्रेम का पढ़े सो पंडित होय । ।   ~ Saint Kabir

All those who try to attain wisdom merely through reading great scriptures have failed but one who understands love attains wisdom effortlessly.


Absorb the best and park the rest,



9 Replies to “Third Core Mistake – Misuse of what we have”

  1. > ‘Ego’ as one key cause of misuse of what we have and dissolving it by simple act of observation &
    awareness—are important and useful insights of this post.
    > Seeing the false self (ego) as false naturally brings us more closer to our real self , real needs and in turn discourages identifications and misuse of existing.
    > Also feeling truly grateful for what we have can help us to value them more and avoid misuse.

  2. Wow… such a wonder…what’s really important doesn’t feel that important and makes us keep chasing the mirage whole life. Though it is helping me to introspect and figure out ‘what I want’ vs ‘what I need’ I do have questions arising…
    How to get rid of ‘This is me and mine’ while living in a household setting and carrying out the responsibilities that are a must. I feel at times the necessary drive/motivation will be missing if I don’t feel ‘me and mine’.

  3. Thanks Yogendra for note and particularly putting up relevant question. Every question gives me opportunity to contemplate and bring more clarity to topic.

    Let’s take your question in 2 parts, first the primary thing.
    [ How to get rid of ‘This is me and mine’ ] – First thing to realize irrespective of who you are household / single / separated, is that we can not get rid of “me and mind” easily or it is rather impossible if we go down the track of “how”. How means another structure of doing-something-to-get-to-somewhere. For all such realizations one has to only drop the idea, which simply means understand “me and mine” concept is false based on subjective experience of witnessing presence now and always. Understand this well and raise as many doubts as you can to yourself, contemplate and reason out until doubtless.
    Understanding is dropping, nothing else need to be done. You gave example of mirage,what can we do to destroy the experience of mirage? Nothing. It will appear even if you realize it to be mirage. But once you realize mirage as “miragae” then you don’t take it seriously nor run after it. So point here is to NOT CONSIDER IT REAL – concepts of “me and mine” are false and have roots in foolery and un-examined assumptions. And solution is simple, refuse to accept such assumptions as true. That’s it. No “HOW”ling further …:) as any process to destroy unreal distracts and delays the understanding and the beauty of realization which right here right now.
    Feel free to come back, if doubt persists.

    [Now on responsibilities part ….]
    Responsibilities are must and they are of help than hindrance. Motivation driven through false “me and mine” is also weak and can crumble any time. Motivation coming from love, compassion stays long and gains momentum as we go further. Sometimes we mistake calmness that comes from equanimity of mind as of less strength than local stimuli that comes from “me n mine” – that is a serious mistake. Calmness, attention on task rather than results, working with broader picture in mind all satisfies deeply and that contentment raises the task performance bar naturally. Another thing to note here is conditioning – we all have been made to feel secure to do something to get something for the needs of “me and mine”. And for the sake of “needs” value if we work then we don’t enjoy the work and for enjoyment we depend on other sources.
    Moreover work remains a drudgery, a compulsion for us. So expressions like “NEED TO” ..”HAVE TO” remains part of our reasoning models. If we follow passion and needs will be met as by products of following passion then our sentences would more have phrases like ..we LOVE TO do this / that. So lack of motivation may not have any connection at all with realization of me/mine as false. What you call motivation could just be compulsion disguised as motivation.

    Hope it helps and in case response doesn’t sink in then extend the thread with further questions.

    Cheers !

  4. “But once you realize mirage as “mirage” then you don’t take it seriously nor run after it” —- that makes so much sense !! …and I feel the strength of this conviction keeps guiding us from within in unknown ways …and in turn keeps increasing… Personally found the previous 2 posts on core mistakes : Possessiveness and Desire — very relevant and meaningful in getting to the ‘me’ and ‘mine’ nuances, and worth slow rereads.

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