Posts Tagged ‘ego
I have not been in an altruistic space the last few days, although the thought below has been an ever present whisper among my own self absorption.
My body is tired, my lower back has been out for several days, sleep has not been easy for over a year, the workload has been pressure filled and family life has been, well, complicated. I do not want to sit with any of this; I just want some relief. I just want to return to a sense of comfort.
I’m not beating myself up over it, but I’m not pleased either. So for right now I just remind myself through teachings and readings . . . and remembering the universal compassion which is at work even when I do not feel it – even while avoiding my shit.
Eventually I’ll stop avoiding, but for now I just feel like bitching . . .
When we’re afraid, the mind tends to dart away instead of diligently and deeply entering the fear. It gets confused and thinks, “Let me take care of myself first,” as if it weren’t responsible for the whole world.
Part of what zazen—sitting meditation—does is to help us settle down into gentle, unswerving attention and peel away that false sense of separation.–Bonnie Myotai Treace, from “Rising to the Challenge,” in the Spring 2003 issue of Tricycle
Simple and Brilliant – Great post – by Oxherding – thought I’d share
Milarepa: “When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.”
It is humbling and satisfying to realize the thoughts that run through my head – often at speed of light (especially when I turn inward) are not that important.
The only attention they deserve, is to be observed as they pass – not followed. My ego thinks they’re priceless and in need of chasing.
There is something very freeing about not chasing . . .
Here’s to Freedom
Co-dependence – I recognize this quality surprisingly often; it’s one of those qualities that’s easy for me to see. I am thankful that it is less prominent in my own interactions as my personal evolution progresses.
What I tend to come across is a misunderstanding of self love. There is either a selfishness with no humility, no regard for another or a displacement of caring onto another, with little regard for ones own needs. In fact, I come across couples (and have been such a couple) who embody each of these qualities – polarized ends of the spectrum. Void of a middle way and primarily meeting the needs of ego.
When I am practicing mindful awareness there is a self care that addresses more than my egoic needs - It’s a befriending of the “good, the bad and the ugly”. A true self respect
Here is a teaching by Sharon Salzberg with a quote by the Buddha and Walt Whitman.
I hope it continues to foster your own self compassion, as it has mine.
The practice of metta (lovingkindness), uncovering the force of love that can uproot fear, anger, and guilt, begins with befriending ourselves. The foundation of metta practice is to know how to be our own friend. According to the Buddha, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” How few of us embrace ourselves in this way! With metta practice we uncover the possibility of truly respecting ourselves. We discover, as Walt Whitman put it, “I am larger and better than I thought. I did not think I held so much goodness.”
–Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness
Just another reason why I breathe.
It’s an ego check.
AKA – a reality check.
Enlightenment is after all about “Keep’n it Real”.
Enjoy the quotes,
“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen. And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.” ~ Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality
As Rumi reminds us, “There is no worse sickness for the soul, o you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection.”
It’s been awhile since I posted anything about the spiral development in which I transcend and also include the former stages of my development (maybe because it is easier said than done – or maybe cause I think most people don’t really give a shit what I think).
I’ve resisted watching “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, by C.S. Lewis ever since the magic and myth behind the story were made into “literal” ideas years ago. I loved the Narnia Chronicles, however the literal interpretation stole the essence of this beautiful story and made me turn away (the baby and the bath water, yeah?). I have not looked at this story in over 10 years
I watched it this evening.
This is a truly wonderful myth of redemtion. From purple through blue (into green) and up the spiral into yellow (if you’re not sure what I am bloging about – google Spiral Dynamics). While not a literalist, this was for me a wonderful film – About ego, humility, the shadow, the dark night of the soul, the sacrifice of love, misunderstanding, redeeming oneself, redeeming other sentient beings, loss of hope and the inner hope of knowing. Very Joseph Campbell – who I owe much of my development to.
Why did I allow literalism to rob me of this?
Just something I need to sit with and breathe through . . .
I do know that developmentally, children (or humans in general) have to first experience a dichotomous “right and wrong”, “good and evil” before they can move towards Oneness. This film is in-between the dichotomy and the oneness. So mankind is moving forward, even in the West. So I include this in my development.
Going to bed, I have a hike on the side of a volcano scheduled in the morning.
I am thankful for my ego. Having had the circumstances in life that allowed the development of a healthy sense of “self”, is the very reason I can look beyond that self. Developing a healthy ego is a gift, allowing me to function in what often seems to be a crazy world with all its normal stressors and joys. And like all steps in development this evolution serves a purpose and foundation for the next level. I would not be able to see that there is something beyond my ego if it were not developed in the first place – the same way I would not be able to think in abstract terms had I not first learned to think concretely. I would be a mess (ok, more of a mess) if I could only think in concrete terms – I would be so limited in life. I’d also be limited if all I understood about the self was merely egoic in nature. The journey towards “beyond self” begins with first knowing the self. It is why I breathe, it is why I cultivate mindfulness, it is why I understand the profound power of compassion. So today anyway, I give thanks for my ego.
The following are the words of John Snelling, from Elements of Buddhism. May it move you towards your own enlightening. With open hands, John
Okay, if you don’t have the incense to burn away your accumulated Karma, you might be interested in these definitions. They are some of my favorite and each touch on very different aspects of Karma. Sure, I could post hundreds of aspects or viewpoints on the subject by teachers, musicians, poets . . . Today, I just happen to like these three . . .
With open hands,
Karma is created every time you act out of unconsciousness, ignorance, and selfishness in ways that cause suffering to others. For most of us, karma is a powerful force—the accumulated momentum of literally countless actions. The momentum of karma is what makes the personal world of ego and unenlightenment appear so attractive to us.
The authentic self in each of us is compelled to become enlightened and perpetually evolve, but the ego is driven by the need to always be in control and ever remain the same. And it is the choices that we make in every moment that determine which part of our self will be creating our destiny. Each time we act out of ego, karma is instantly created.
Enlightenment means freedom from karma.
It’s the law of interdependence—that every action produces a reaction, and that when you combine billions of actions with billions of reactions, and they begin to react to one another’s reactions…well that’s why it’s not as simple as if you do good, good things come back to you. Or if you do bad, that bad things will happen to you. Why? Because your karma could, boomeranging back toward you, come into contact with other streams of karma, either good or bad.
But if you want to keep things simple, live by these words:
“If you want to be happy, think of others. If you want to be unhappy, think only of oneself.” It’s the Buddhist version of Christianity’s Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as you would have Others Do Unto You.
~ Waylon Lewis
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
The more I take time to sit, the more I make time to do my QiGong, the more I take time to pay attention to the activties in everyday moments – like when I am eating a piece of food and turn my attention to this activity, rather than wander off in my head or in front of the TV as I shovel food in my mouth - the more I relax into who I am beyond my ego.
Slowing down, emptying out and paying attention have some wonderful side effects (lowering blood pressure, destressing, muscles becoming less tense, etc.). An often overlooked benefit however, is a wide-openness in relationship with the self. Sounds great, huh? (ok, now I’m chuckling – or is it snickering?)
You see, I do not subscribe to a romantasized view of enlightment (or love) so at first this openness may not exactly seem like a benefit. Because just as with any relationship we have that grows deeper, the relationship with the self as it opens, brings to the surface all the dark stuff, all the shit, all the obstacles – anxieties, triggers, the raw-ness, the mistrust that comes from being in love and getting closer. It’s honesty – a being honest with who you are in an integrated wholeness. I take me as I am, not just the enlightened stuff, warts and all (or is it “ego” and all?)
Sticking with it – like a committment I’d have with any other love relationship – and being sure to treat myself with kindness, compassion and honesty allows me to be the container that can hold these areas as they arise.
So while we may all believe we need to love ourselves more, I am reminded what real love entails. It means being with the shit. Not ignoring it or reacting to it. This is true with the others I love as well as myself. And lets face it, if that type of development were easy we’d all be in enlightened relationships . . .
So I continue to sit
(and watch the Stuart Davis show on the web – I like how he integrates the shadow and I usually always laugh – especially the show on “The Secret”)
Ego is like a room of your own, a room with a view with the temperature and the smells and the music that you like. You want it your own way. You’d just like to have a little peace, you’d like to have a little happiness, you know, just “gimme a break.”
But the more you think that way, the more you try to get life to come out so that it will always suit you, the more your fear of other people and what’s outside your room grows. Rather than becoming more relaxed, you start pulling down the shades and locking the door. When you do go out, you find the experience more and more unsettling and disagreeable. You become touchier, more fearful, more irritable than ever. The more you try to get it your way, the less you feel at home.
–Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are
To believe ourselves to be custodians of truth is to become its opposite, is a direct path to becoming stale, self-righteous, or rigid. Ideas and memories do not hold liberating or healing power.
Wisdom is alive only as long as it is lived, understanding is liberating only as long as it is applied. A bulging portfolio of spiritual experiences matters little if it does not have the power to sustain us through the inevitable moments of grief, loss, and change. Knowledge and achievements matter little if we do not yet know how to touch the heart of another and be touched.
– Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart
I am often asked by friends and clients what the difference is between the “sacrifice” that comes with loving another and that line you can cross where it becomes codependent - Or when is the act of making a boundary not really self care at all but just plain selfishness.
I have no easy answer. I still struggle with this at times myself. I do know that the more mindful and centered I am, the better I am at self care and care for others. I have been called selfish when I was in fact just making a boundary and I have been called caring when I was in fact feeding my ego’s need for approval by helping someone (not true altruism). Bottom line for me is, if I decide to slow down and “pay attention” I can usually discern the difference, or at the very least be open to hearing feedback from trusted friends/teachers.
Sure there are days where I choose to not learn, stay overwhelmed and generally just not give a fuck. But at least I know that’s what I’m doing now. It’s not as unconscious a behavior as it has been in the past. Awareness has its benefits, even without immediate change in behavior.
Below is another Daily Dharma from Tricycle Magazine that puts caring and co-dependence into a good perspective and explains it way better than I can. See you on the Middle Way:
Supporting Right Livelihood
The most important step in building support for right livelihood is giving back more than you get. It’s not really a matter of keeping track in some kind of ledger book. It’s more a function of the attitude that you adopt in caring for yourself and those around you. People tend to mirror the way they are treated. If you show an interest in helping and sharing, those around you will start helping you and sharing more with you. If you empathize with other people’s situations, they tend to empathize more with yours. . . . The key is to be active about it. Look for opportunities to cooperate. With a proactive attitude of supporting others, you will seldom experience a shortage of support from others.
A simple caution is in order, however, when it comes to giving to others. . . . Give more than you get, but not more than you’ve got.
– Claude Whitmyer, Mindfulness and Meaningful Work
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book