Intentional ego-deaths


“Our commitment to our own spiritual health is so profound that we are willing to endure the many fears we experience on the way to becoming nothing.  And that is what blocks us.  We are afraid of being nothing, of letting go of who we have thought we are.”

-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat

Day 347 – A performer in the moment of creation and expression flows from dharana, dhyana, and samadhi freely; this is why these, according to Rolf, are grouped under the word samyama.   In Daniel Coyle’s book, The Little Book of Talent, he describes how the key to deep practice (for a particular skill) is reach.  Not only does it mean spending time in the “zone of difficulty called the sweet spot,” it also means “embracing the power of repetition…[and] creating a practice space that enables” this.   Practice involves intention, resolution, and letting go.

Today, Rolf describes this state required for samadhi (or not), writing:  “The tenuousness of all of this is in our attachment to the ego…It is only after we have let go of our own self-created identity and become nothing that we can remain in samadhi.”  Furthermore, he demonstrates this is available to us readily, explaining that we “in fact…have all experienced intentional ego deaths” at some point in our lives.  He describes how teachers and parents are “effective only to the extent that they can let go of outworn self-definitions, allowing themselves to be used by life, to be defined by the needs of the moment.”  He highlights the self-sacrifice of our police, fire, and military as another example of “out human ability to subjugate our ego’s survival to the needs of a good cause.”

Good health is a good cause.  Letting go feels like it is difficult.  And, perhaps, that is what I am constantly avoiding in most circumstances:  the mat, the classroom, and in life, afraid to be open to allowing myself to experience intentional ego death and be used by life.  And just as I started with the mantra of “let go,” so do I begin anew with the mantra of “let go.”


One thought on “Intentional ego-deaths

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s