‘The sky hides the night behind it and shelters the people beneath from the horror that lies above.” This line from Paul Bowles book ‘The Sheltering Sky’ could be translated as ‘the ego hides reality behind it and shelters us from that which we imagine we cannot bear’. What is it that we imagine we cannot bear? Look into a mirror and who do you see? What is seen is usually a person, with all their memories, their likes and dislikes and their history and all of this and more is seen as the identity of the seer. This is like looking at a pure blue sky and not realising that what is actually seen is an illusion. There is no pure blue sky, like the blue of the ocean which disappears when we dip a glass into it and hold it up and see there is no trace of blue in the water. If we could dip a glass into the ego we would find that there is no trace of any identity or ego to be found. What is taken for the ego is only pure intelligent consciousness but dip a glass into this and it would emerge apparently empty. We are not enamoured of emptiness even though in this case what is seen as empty is in fact full. We prefer the blue of the sky and ocean to something that cannot be named or seen. Given the choice we will always choose the ego over consciousness, the apparent to that which is not apparent. The book ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin opens with a doctor removing a pea from the ear of a patient, the pea had been lodged there since childhood and as a result the old man had been partially deaf as well as in recurring pain for most of his life. Towards the end of the book this man asks the doctor if he could put the pea back in his ear. His reason for this is that he no longer has any excuse for not hearing what is expected from him by his wife. Without the ego there are no more excuses for what we do; we are confronted by the world as it is rather than the world as we wish it could be. In this world we choose nothing yet are responsibly for everything. It is not possible to choose, as it is not possible to be anything but what we are, if you doubt this watch Sam Harris’s ‘free will’ video on You Tube. As to being responsibly for everything this is simply a truthful statement of fact, whatever we do has a consequence whether we know it or see it or not. There is no way to escape this truth, not knowing the consequence of our actions in no way gives us immunity from the consequences of such actions. Like the man with the pea, we can hear better without the pea in our ear but may not like what we hear.