A deeper understanding of Ego is that you’ve got these beliefs – this big network, this big ball of yarn – that is responsible for all your behaviors, beliefs and thoughts. It is the collective mass of experiences you accumulated throughout your life, and now that you’ve reached a certain age, it has ballooned into this big, complex, intricately wound mass that dictates how you go about with your life. And it is a very arbitruary thing. Even though we think that it is so precious, and that we can’t change it – that if we change our most cherished beliefs, something horrible would happen… the world would collapse. And the reality is that the world would not collapse. Only your ego would collapse. It would collapse and evolve into a new state – and if you do this correctly, then that ego would be lessened. It would be less judgemental; it would have less boundaries between itself and the rest of the world; it will be more calm; it will be less neurotic; it will be more comfortable, and it will be in a position to perform better.
Buddhist monks are able to train themselves in such a way that their Ego – that ball of yarn – lessens and practically dissolves. They are one with the world, and that is enlightenment. It is something very hard to achieve, and a state that is rather difficult to describe. It is when you see yourself as part of everything else, connected to everything else. You no longer judge things as good and bad; you no longer cling to your beliefs so much; you no longer resist suffering; you no longer resist pain. You just go with the flow. And when you do that, you get a tremendous sense of personal power and control over yourself. And emotional stability. Because nothing can shake you. You are one with the world – you see everything as part of you, and you being part of everything else.