When we see a warning like “Beware of Dog”, we are instantly alert and look around for any dangerous dogs. In the same way, the warning “Beware of Your Self” should make us alert and watch our dangerous selves.
Am I really saying that our self is dangerous? Yes, quite true. Not just dangerous but deadly and poisonous and can lead to death.
The self which is also called ego is a fictional notion. It does not exist apart from the notion of ego or self. It is neither body nor mind. It comes into its notional existence when others start calling it by its name and start talking about it.
As a child, its parents and relatives start calling it by a name and over a period of time, the child starts believing that he/she is that name. With the name the whole story starts building around it – what I do, what I wear, what I eat, where I go, what happens to me and so on.
With the self comes the other automatically. The self likes or dislikes others, loves or hates others, plays with other people and things and so on. Everything he/she does strengthens the notion of the self. In fact, the world, the society, the culture and the education are all engaged in building up a better, stronger, independent self.
The self then creates, builds, kills and destroys. It continues the sustenance of itself and other selves. The self, with science, makes medicines to prolong itself and also bombs to destroy other selves.
This illusion of self is dangerous. Because of its assumption of separateness, it creates division and conflict between one self and another. It can know no peace of mind and is always acting to sustain itself, always in the race to making itself bigger, better, smarter and wealthier than others. Slowing down creates panic in the self and it starts to engage in more and more activity.
The self feels it is alone and has to stand up against the whole world. So it forms groups of like-minded selves and fights other groups. The groups can be religion, companies, countries and you name it.
The self is the source of all the confusion, conflict and sadness in the world. Ironically, the self does everything in order to attain happiness but ends up doing the exact opposite. Where there is the self, there is danger – grave danger.
That is why I say – beware of your self.