The first question:
I have developed a bad case of seeker’s ego. It constantly tries to congratulate me on the great progress I have made. You hammer me and it falls apart, but it comes back. Nothing to do but watch it – and yet it frightens me. Will you comment?
It’s natural. When you are doing something and you are succeeding in it, a subtle pride arises. It is nothing unnatural, so don’t be too much concerned with it. If you become serious about it, then it can become a permanent guest in the house. If you accept it as a natural thing – you walk, your shadow follows – if you accept the ego just like a shadow, then there is no problem.
The shadow has never created any problem for anybody – but if you start getting frightened about your own shadow then you will be in trouble. If you start fighting with your own shadow, you are doomed to fail. Never fight with the ego.
You can pretend to be humble, you can impose a sort of egolessness on your ego, but it will remain there, and it will go on disrupting and sabotaging your life. Just try to understand it – it is natural! You are succeeding, you feel good. You are progressing, you feel good. You are growing, you feel good.
It is said that when God created the world and he looked around, he said, “Very good! A beautiful thing I have done!”
Nothing wrong with it. You paint a picture, then you look from many angles – you feel good; you have succeeded in materializing something which was immaterial. A vision, a dream, you have been able to bring to the world. When you compose a poem, you feel good. Nothing is wrong with it. Just remember that the shadow is not you.
This is your shadow, certainly – but the shadow is not you. The ego is a shadow. It is not you. This remembrance is enough – there is no need to fight because a shadow does not exist in the first place. It is a simple negativity, it is just absence. It has no positivity in it. So if you fight a negative thing, you will be defeated because there is no way to defeat a negative thing. That which is not cannot be defeated. That’s the problem.
That which is not cannot be defeated. And if you start fighting with it, you will be defeated. It is just like fighting darkness: there is no need. The problem is arising because you have an underlying notion that the ego should not be there. Why? Why not accept it also? Just remember it is not you. The problem arises only when you get identified with your shadow.