There is a quote I came across from Mark Epstein, while I was scanning over his book “Thoughts Without A Thinker” again (btw – I recommend any of his books).
For me, this thought is not only central to any type of spiritual practice or discipline, it is also central to achieving psychological health. While psychology is a fairy new discipline and Buddhism is over 2,000 years old – isn’t it funny how relevant this idea of over-identification is to the human experience and how certain schools of thought keep bringing it up?
I can’t even begin to blog how often I over-identify with my thoughts or feelings (let alone how easy it is for me to see it in other people before I notice it in myself). Or how I try to find some damn “meaning” in a feeling or thought so I can make sense of it or understand it.
(this is truly the dilemma for anyone suffering from a Bipolar disorder or the general narcissism found in society – it’s what marketing firms and advertisers count on yeah?)
It’s just a feeling.
It’s just a thought.
They arise and they pass . . .
Why do we try to so hard make them permanent and concrete?
Why is it so difficult to just observe them?
(Again, this is why I practice sitting. Or at least one of many reasons I practice)
Enjoy Mark’s perspective on this:
“Because of our craving, the Buddha is saying, we want things to be understandable.
We reduce, concretize, or substantialize experiences or feelings, which are, in their very nature, fleeting or evanescent. In so doing, we define ourselves by our moods and by our thoughts.
We do not just let ourselves be happy or sad, for instance; we must become a happy person or a sad one.
This is the chronic tendency of the ignorant or deluded mind, to make ‘things’ out of that which is no thing.
Seeing craving shatters this predisposition; it becomes preposterous to try to see substance where there is none.”