“God gave us two ends. One to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one you use; head you win–tails, you lose.” – Anonymous
Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker.
Extract from one of my books and addresses some of the spiritual traps that beset a psychic. Egotism and what in the east they call the ‘monkey mind’ can pull a genuine psychic seeker from the path and cloud the spiritual vision. (is a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical.) This short article addresses some of the problems of a spiritual ego and the trap of the monkey mind. Do you think sometime psychic mediums fall victim to their egos? Add your comments.
Could it be that whatever we see in others is only a reflection of our own self? Very often, we blame others for our own faults and vise versa. Often our impressions about another person are a reflection of our feelings towards them. I mentioned this in the section where I spoke about the shadow, and I believe it is one of the main reasons people extend negativity in everyday life. The truth is that our impressions of people–and perhaps our impressions about everything we know of the world–is just a reaction and resound of our inner state. Perhaps we should question ourselves when we find fault in another. Is this fault perhaps an echo of something we dislike about ourselves, or a reaction to our own weakness? Similarly, when people criticize us unduly, perhaps we can spot hidden motivations and inner weakness in that person.
The Spiritual Ego finds fault…
Do we have the right to find fault in another? Our assessment is limited to our single experience of him or her. There are many aspects of our adversary’s personality that we do not know, so cannot we truly judge them. Every person is a mixture of high and low consciousness. There are times when I stand in front of large crowds and melt their hearts with my talks about human values, spirituality, and mediumship. There are many instances where I have acted from good motivation and high moral principle. Yet there are also times when I can be petty and childish and behave like a jackass! Aren’t we all a bit like this? We are all a mixture of high and low.
The wisdom of the East describes this lower self as the “monkey mind,” and only the fully enlightened are free of it. The monkey mind is motivated by selfish desire and can interfere unexpectedly in all our lives. The analogy may come from the way they catch monkeys in India. A small pot is left outside near an area where monkeys live. It has a small opening and is filled with some sweets or solid fruit. When a monkey spots the sweets, he puts his hand inside the pot and grabs a big handful. But, alas, his greed is such that he cannot get his full hand out through the opening. Even when the person who set the trap approaches, the monkey will not loosen his grip. He is bound to his desire!
Freedom from the Spiritual Ego
In the same way, desire holds us to this world. It is the source of most of the negativity that I have described in this book. The outer world is the pot and the situations in life are like the narrow opening. Just like the monkey, we try to grab what is good from the world, but in so doing we sacrifice our freedom. We blame the world for our imprisonment, but the irony is that we enslave ourselves by our refusal to let go of desire. If we can shed this desire, then we will live in the world freely.
It is the “monkey mind” that is the enemy within ourselves and also in others. When qualities such as envy, anger, greed, revenge, lust, and so on arise in a person, it is the monkey mind wanting to grab the sweets for itself. There is a conflict in people between the spiritual essence and the lower mind. By taming the monkey mind and overcoming our greed and desires, we find a way to free ourselves from the material world and set foot on the path to the eternal.
I said at the beginning of this site that what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves. It is my understanding that when we let ourselves fall victim to our own monkey mind then we bring out the monkey mind in other people, too. Have you noticed this? And it is not only our observable behaviour that does this, but our thoughts also appear to influence the behaviour of others. I have spoken about how telepathy influences other people, but could this also be part of the cosmic interconnectedness that I spoke about? Call me paranoid, but I believe that whatever goes on inside our heads changes not only the reactions of people around us but also the world itself. Our thoughts and desires pluck the threads of the cosmic mycelium and these vibrations change the world around us and future trends.
Breaking the Cosmic Cycle
The truth is that we generate our own misfortunes and “lessons.” These arise as a result of our actions and thoughts in this life, but we also may carry forward positive and negative potentials from previous incarnations. In the East they call this law of cause and effect by the name “Karma.” It can be summarized in the words of Jesus when he said, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Karma could be thought of as one’s destiny or fate, which has to be worked in your life. This may account for why we sometimes encounter situations that are almost the same as previous problems we had. “Oh, no! Here we go again!” we may say, as once again we seem to face a crisis or problem that is almost a clone of what went before. We think that destiny has it in for us and that we are like the monkey, caught by a wandering beggar, dancing at the end of a rope. But just like the monkey-with-the-jar karma is of our own making, we can free ourselves from our potential destiny if we simply manage to let go of what binds us. Perennial wisdom teaches us that we can free ourselves from the bind of karma instantly if, instead of being the slave of the senses, we make the mind the servant of God.
The progress of our soul is in our own hands. We can protect the soul and guide its course if we master the monkey mind and regulate our conduct. In this way, the goal of enlightenment is won, for we move away from desire and focus on the supreme reality. It is my belief that this is not only the way to protect the soul, but that it is the meaning and purpose of life. Until such time as we realize the divine in our nature, the world will press on us and sometimes nearly suffocate us. But once the goal of liberation is achieved–the monkey lets go of the sweets–the world will fall away and freedom be achieved.
Working to develop our spirituality not only protects your life now but your future as well. Indeed, as someone who knows the afterlife to be a reality, I would argue that this life should be used to make ourselves into better people. What we do now determines our spiritual progress in the future and this includes the length of time we may spend in the afterlife and the quality of our future incarnations on earth.
Spiritual Ego Problems
We can protect ourselves from the negative influences in the world but, more importantly, we must protect us from ourselves. Our ignorance and selfish desire are the monkeys that must be trained. This requires spiritual work and the nature of this work will vary from person to person. For one person, yoga and meditation may be the path; for another, it may be prayer or service to others. In my ordinary life, I try my best to be observant of myself and correct myself when necessary. The method I favour was told to me in India. The guru explains that one should think of this maxim every time we look at our wristwatch: “WATCH = Watch your Words, watch your Actions, watch your Thoughts, watch your Character, watch your Heart.” Self-observation is certainly a splendid and easy way to control that monkey mind.
Now, everything I have written above sounds fine, but in the real world there are many people who do not give a hoot about spirituality. They spend a good part of their time catering to the needs of the monkey mind. There are many instances in my life where I have acted in a spiritual way, with the good of others at heart, and been betrayed. Harm can come at unexpected times and from people you think you can trust. Even our loved ones fall into error and can be moody, irritable, jealous, unreasonable, and sometimes downright nasty. The monkey mind plays tricks all the time; we see its selfish ways appear in many everyday situations, and it is responsible for most of the negativity that I have mentioned here.
Enlightenment is LIGHT
Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously and the ego causes harm. We forget that in reality we are playing a role, like an actor on the stage, and that our true self is not what we put on display to the world but lies somewhere behind the mask. That true self is the soul, forever shining behind the complex quiz of life.
Sometimes the world may appear to be filled with darkness and negative energies, but this is only because we are clouded to the truth. In reality, the soul shines all the time, like the sun in the sky. It is our true nature and it is full of light and love. If we look, we can see it everywhere: in the face of a child, in a loved one or friend, in the eyes of an animal, and even behind the glare of our enemy. Life is a quiz played in a dream. When we awake, we will see that nothing can harm the soul, for its light can dissipate the darkness and its wisdom can tame the monkey within us. When the light of the soul is allowed to shine, we are protected from real harm.