Yoga Sutra 2.6
"Egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrumental power of seeing."
-translation by B.K.S. Iyengar
...so my few readers may have noticed that I took a break from ponderings on the Yoga Sutra lately. I paused in reading the sutras to read this book by Chogyam Trungpa along with a great group of fellow Ashtangis, bloggers, and others. You can read more of our discussion here.
It's interesting to me that it was at this particular sutra that I paused because the book that I was reading during the break is essentially a book about this sutra...
I like both Mr. Iyengar's and Chogyam Trungpa's broad definition of ego. It's easy to think of ego as pride, but that seems too simplistic to me. The broader yogic and Buddhist definition of ego makes sense to me. The Yoga Sutra seems to be saying that anytime I identify myself as being "something" in particular, that is ego. Having now examined my practice with the background of Chogyam Trungpa's definition of ego, I feel like this practice is a genuine one. I feel like the practice is a genuine path (even if I wander off the path from time to time) because I see the practice constantly nudging me out of the ego traps that I fall into. Every time I start to define myself in practice as one thing, as "bendy" for example or as "not strong enough", the practice changes and the definitions are no longer true...if they were ever true...
I'm starting to realize that as soon as I define myself as something, I limit myself to that and all the other possibilities become unavailable. If I rein in the ego and resist the urge to define myself, then I have a world of possibilities in front of me.
Chogyam Trungpa has some wise words to say about this:
"We really know when we are fooling ourselves, but we try to play deaf and dumb to our own self-deception."
-from 'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism' by Chogyam Trungpa