Letting go of the ego – Trying to understand the Middle Path

A conversation with dad recently led me to the understanding of what letting go of one’s ego actually means. I was always filled up with a lot of questions around its actually meaning. For Eg:  Does one stop seeing oneself as a person and sees oneself only as an idea OR Does one cease believing in his existence and thinks of everything around him(including himself) as a mere illusion? I just couldn’t understand either of the extremes: egoism and selflessness or as Buddha puts it: Inherent existence and Utter emptiness. Buddha prescribed taking the middle path for developing an understanding of it. However, as i have stated before, reading about a truth is pseudo knowledge, true understanding is borne only out of experience.

I was talking to dad about my dreams and plans when he cut me in the middle to share how when he was my age all he could think of was feeding his parents and family. This made our conversation shift to the fact on how lucky i was to be at a position from where i could go around doing anything without being bogged down by responsibility. I told my Dad that the fact that i was even dreaming of aiming so high was because of the extended vision that i have from standing on their sturdy shoulders. I don’t know if i would have done anything without their support. Our conversation then shifted towards figuring out all such people who had a role to play in my being where i am today.

The list begins with Mom and Dad, both truly hard-working souls who always put their children before themselves. My dad runs a successful shop which ensures the financial stability of my family and thus, helps me evade responsibility  His shop wouldn’t have opened had it not been for a benevolent uncle of his who invested in him. He got dad trained and helped him with the funds to set up the shop. This uncle of my dad was the son of my grand-mom’s cousin sister. He had in his childhood received a lot of love and care from the hands of my grand-mom and thus, was very close to her. My grand-mom was very poor and after her marriage used to stitch cloths to make ends meet. My dad’s uncle family on the other hand was well-off and  he hated seeing my grand-mom living in such poverty. Since, my grand-mom was a person of honor and wouldn’t have accepted any monetary help so my uncle decided to help out my father. This was for him a way to help out his mausi(my grand-mom).

Now, enters my mom, a woman of utmost determination and will-power. A lady who literally single-handedly ensured that me and my sister’s education was nothing short of top-notch. She’s a main reason behind my dad’s shop doing so good for she was the person who always pushed dad to do more.

While discussing all this, i suddenly realized just how little i had myself to congratulate on being where i am. Had it not being for my grand-mom’s loving nature, my dad’s uncle would have never felt indebted towards her. He then wouldn’t have helped my dad open up a shop. Had my dad not opened up his shop, my maternal grand-mom wouldn’t have married off my mom to my dad and i my friends would have never even be born.

Amazing right, how totally unrelated and small events happening across the universe add upto something bigger together in the future. I am able to follow my dreams only because my parents are stable and behind that are the hands of so many people and their sacrifices( i have just included few of them, there must be so many more). So, if i am to stand up today and proclaim to the world that i am doing what i am doing because of my own-self,  i couldn’t be more mistaken. The fact that i am existing here today in this favorable situation is borne out of so many different situations and people and i can never ever even know just how many of them are responsible for making it so for me. The moment i realized this, bang went off the ego. The feeling of me being complete in myself was no longer there. it was replaced by an yearning to truly understand just what i am and from what all am i borne. Hopefully, with time i will gain that understanding and i will urge each one of you to try this out as well, it really is a mind-numbing realization. 🙂 

P.S: I have just focused on one area of stability- the financial one. There are a lot more people who have truly shaped me up as a person in a lot of different areas. 🙂

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