Meet my misery machines

Misery is a by-product of our belief in separation, says the author

Illustration of a human head with gears inside

A few days ago, as I was contemplating about why we humans create misery, it occurred to me that the source of all suffering in my life is me. In what might be a divine coincidence, I also discovered that the word ‘me’ is a convenient acronym for My Ego. My Ego is that part of my self that is completely identified with the ideas of separation from others.

I like to think of My Ego as a misery factory—a fairly large one with several misery machines, which run quietly and have great capacity to produce misery and insanity. Its products are the psychological equivalent of intoxicants like alcohol and drugs. Under their influence, I lose all perspective. The products include judgement, righteousness, comparison, entitlement, anxiety, self-pity, envy, fear [psychological, not instinctive], hatred, possessiveness, anger, guilt, resentment, inferiority complex, revenge and many more.

The misery factory works 24/7 and its raw material is the collective unconsciousness of all humanity, which is free and available in ample quantity. Its power supply is imagination. The factory has received funding from a society that promotes the idea of separation, conflict and one-upmanship. No wonder nearly all fellow humans also have their own ego factories.

My Ego is that part of my self that is completely identified with the ideas of separation from others

Annihilation ahead?

The chief consumer of the products of My Ego is the conditioned mind, which has been led to believe that these products are needed for its survival. But I know that this is a lie. Far from being necessary, these products are highly toxic and act like slow poison that will ultimately annihilate its owner and the entire human species.

Sometimes I wonder if complete lockout is the only solution. Perhaps management buyout is a better idea—that way I can take control of the factory and change its core products. What if I found a way to convert the machines into producing bliss instead of misery? What if they start manufacturing life-enhancing substances—tolerance, forgiveness, courage, peace, understanding, respect, freedom, happiness and love?

An important breakthrough

I figure that one way to make the machines stop making misery and start making bliss is to replace the basic raw material—use consciousness in place of unconsciousness. The trouble is that consciousness is in short supply, its only source being a high degree of presence. I have been experimenting with this for a while and though my research is far from over I am happy to report that I have had an important breakthrough. I have found that I can successfully cut off the factory’s power supply using a phenomenon called meditation.

What if I found a way to convert the machines into producing bliss instead of misery?

This is how it works: While meditating, my overactive imagination stops and My Ego comes to a grinding halt. But this phase doesn’t last and as soon as my imagination returns, the factory starts again and the insanity returns. Still, this has been a useful discovery, because it allows me time and space to cultivate the art of presence which, in turn, helps me produce the raw material of consciousness required for bliss in ample quantities.

The more I meditate, the easier it gets to stay present, yielding more and more consciousness, until one day meditation won’t be required—I will be simply present. The misery machines will then finally become transformed into bliss machines and My Ego will be transmuted into My Ecstasy, a factory I wouldn’t mind owning!

This was first published in the April 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri has spent the last two decades learning, teaching and writing about wellbeing and mindful living. He has contributed over 1500 articles for several newspapers and magazines including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Statesman, Mid-Day, Bombay Times, Femina, and more. He is a counseling therapist and the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed best-selling book on self-transformation. An award-winning editor, Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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