It is imperative that we should be aware that at any specific step of our spiritual Journey we accept the aspect of the Mind or that of the Heart.
Living From the Ego-dominated Mind
The majority of mankind is characterized by this aspect at this moment. The center of their life is the Ego-dominated Mind, which guides and leads them. What is this Ego? When we are born, it is not yet there; it is developed in an interaction with our environment. We survive if we are able to separate ourselves from the surrounding world, and develop an identity of our own. The first sign of separation is experiencing the notion of ”mine.” This elementary sense of possession is the foundation of the Ego. ”Mine” is followed by ”for me” and ”I” and ”you.” The Ego therefore separates: ”you-I,” ”mine-your.”
These features constitute the framework of the Ego. The identity attached to the Ego is shaped by the answers received from the people in our environment to the question “What am I like?” The Ego is therefore a social product, and is only able to provide a false answer to the question: “What am I like?” The answers are false, because they are based upon feedback from other people and not upon our own experience. The Ego is our identification with ideas, emotions, actions and experience.
Another elementary instinct of the Ego is activity, it keeps doing something, even when it is “meditating,” it is still doing something (concentrating, it wants to achieve Unity etc.) That is why the Ego is unable to do anything with the concepts of emptiness, non-activity. In the eyes of the Ego, somebody who is passive, not doing anything is a zombie, and from this aspect it may be right, if we think of the dead emptiness created by the mind.
Living From the Heart
This aspect has become more powerful in the world recently. It means reaching beyond the aspect of the mind. The aspect of the mind is not bad, the Ego-dominated Mind is not an enemy of the spiritual Seeker accepting this aspect, because the spiritual Seeker is aware that the Ego is not the real center of his/her Self. The spiritual Seeker will identify with it to a lesser and lesser extent. The spiritual Seeker will start to seek the real center, the Heart, and rely on it to an increasing extent.
At that stage, both aspects are present in the soul of the spiritual Seeker, who lives in a society, meeting other people at work, and is only able to approach the other people from the aspect of the Ego-dominated Mind. At the same time, however, the spiritual Seeker does not fully identify with the Ego (its thoughts, emotions etc.)
When the spiritual Seeker is alone, he/she will turn towards the Heart, meditates or attempts to bring the Presence into his/her daily life (naturally, after a while, this will permeate the spiritual Seeker’s connections with other people, too). This is a process that unfolds gradually in the spiritual Seeker’s life.
From that aspect quiet, emptiness and non-activity will be filled with an entirely different content, as the richness of Existence, real knowledge will be brought to the spiritual Seeker.
That will be the spiritual Seeker’s identity, where the answer to the question ”Who am I?” will be coming from. ”I am what I am! I am the Existence, the Presence, the Witness, who is not acting, only contemplating the dance of the forms and shapes.”
Lao Tse asserts that the essence of non-action is the following: “Empty your soul and then stay where you are.”