Meditation is an attempt to find the true self. It is this self which holds the identity of what I am, an identity which, when realized, gives fulfillment and direction to our life. This is what we call the consciousness of * I am, which emerges in meditation when there is concentration on the present and we focus on the now of * I am, rather than the past, or the future (* I was, or * I will be).
To remind us of this state, we use the word Om, which means ‘I am a soul’, the spiritual identity that acts as a key to human consciousness. As we find and realize the true self through meditation, we become aware of the false self and how deeply embedded it is in our lives, both in our way of thinking and being.
When we understand this illusory (false) self then we can begin the process of dissolving its negative effects on the original or true self.
The illusory (false) self is made up of desires that, even when fulfilled, fail to add value, or a sense of worth to the self. In fact, quite the opposite process happens.
Let us examine some of these illusions and how they give us a mistaken sense of value.
Illusion (False emotion): Ego
Thought: I know, I am
Result: Arrogance, inflexibility, controlling others
Illusion (False emotion): Anger
Thought: I expect
Result: Force, aggression
Illusion (False emotion): Attachment
Thought: I own, It’s mine
Result: Insecurity, possessiveness, jealousy
Illusion (False emotion): Greed
Thought: I want, I need
Result: Emptiness, wanting, dissatisfaction
Illusion (False emotion): Lust
Thought: I desire
Result: Exploitation, misuse, emotional dependence
These are the five fires that burn away the quality of human life: uncontrolled emotions that once, in their original pure state, gave happiness and peace to the individual but now create only emptiness and sorrow.