In case you haven’t heard, I’m planning to attempt to reach a wider audience. Eventually, my blogs will be found on Blogger (here) or WordPress (here). Alternatively, I might revisit starting an interactive website (again) — complete with forums and possibly a chatroom. I’m still undecided. In any case, I will move away from social networking sites, I can’t take the Hordes of Unreason, or, better put, the morons. So, if you like my writing, pay attention! LOL
Speaking of morons, how is it that an event (Tea-baggin’ LOL!), can be considered grassroots, when it is sponsored by corporations? And didn’t the morons get the memo on the meaning of Tea-bagging? FWIW, I would tea bag Michelle Malkin, but I think her mouth could simultaneously accommodate several sets of testicles. SMDH
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-=[ The Monkey Mind ]=-
“We can bear to be deprived of everything but our self-conceit.”
— William Hazlitt (1778-1830)
Recently I was offered a position at a think tank. The offer entails more money, an opportunity to challenge my skills on a higher level as well as the opportunity to influence how the work in my field is done. As I was telling a friend about this good news, I sensed a hesitance — a weird distancing — on the part of my friend. And that was when I saw it! I saw a glimpse of the Green Monster raise its head. My feeling was that my friend wasn’t really “vibing” with me on this good news.
I sensed it because I know the feeling all too well: I sometimes find myself comparing myself with others. At least I can sense the impulse — the tendency — to compare myself. I define conceit as that activity of the mind that compares itself with others because all forms of it — whether it is I’m better than or I’m less than or I’m just the same as — is rooted in a feeling of self, or the “I am.”
This conceit is probably one of the most deep-rooted forms of conditioning we possess. Many people mistake insight for change, but this is a faulty notion. Insight and two dollars will get you on the train in NYC. We may understand that conceit may be rooted in a concept of a self that does not exist, but the habit to compare persists. The one thing that many discover early on their path is that what we normally call reality is actually only one aspect of a bigger reality. There is a deeper experience than what we experience in the ebb and flow of our rushed lives. If you practice Buddhist meditation, for example, you quickly realize that the stream of thoughts we take to be ourselves is momentary — fleeting and constantly changing. If we make the effort to experience this thought stream without identifying with it we realize — very quickly! — that we definitely are not our thoughts. LOL
The best antidote to conceit I have come across is to bring to it a clear awareness and focus on the fact that it’s constantly changing. I’ll give you an example of the comparing mind gone amok. While an undergraduate, I participated in an experiential exercise as part of a course. Part of the instruction was to observe this thought-stream, the internal dialogue — without giving in to the habit of commenting — in complete silence. In effect, this was a form of meditation.
After a while, I noticed some people were jotting down notes in their notebooks. I quickly surmised that these people were doing this wrong — the instructions were clear: no communication, complete silence! After a while, I began to doubt myself and began thinking that maybe it was I who was getting it wrong: perhaps I was missing something essential that the note takers had grasped! Back and forth I went in this way until the exercise was over and I discovered that the note taking was neither right nor wrong. Some people were merely jotting down notes so that they would be able to relate the experience more accurately. Yet, I spent the whole time going ruminating over whether I had gotten it “right” in comparison to the others. LMAO!
I think what’s most useful is to begin to recognize that the comparing mind, the conceit of “I’m better than” or “I’m less than,” can be the source of a lot of insanity. It has the power to make us feel separated and apart from others and we reinforce the myth of a separate self. Remember that love is an opening up, while fear is a contraction. The myth of a separate self is a psychological and physical contraction.
When we bring a clear awareness (not analysis!) to the comparing mindset, we can begin to learn to be with it in a friendly way, without being caught up and identifying with it. When we experience the stream in this way, it simply becomes another empty thought, which we don’t have to condemn nor believe as they pass through the landscape of our mind like so many clouds. The mind stays free. Free your mind, your ass will follow. LOL!