by J. Lee
It is said that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking which created them...
It places value on successes of the past, while never facing the depths of overfilled emptiness this creates.
If I define myself by yesterday’s good or bad, I will always be shaped by yesterday’s standard. I will have an intent to be at a place tomorrow which gives me more of yesterday’s joys and less of yesterday’s hurt. And I will do this by clinging to what has already happened, or running from what might become of me if I don’t.
Both of these look a lot like a present moment with a hole in the place I am supposed to be filling.
Grasping on my past success, I become overfilled with pride which trains my focus back on myself.
‘Look what I did.’
‘Did’ is past tense. The ‘I’ that qualifies it is present ignorance.
Typically, experiences of the past are forgotten about over time. Once their service to the ego has been drained due to complacency or desperation, the energy it draws from repels rather than attracts. This is interesting.
Opposite charges attract, and like charges repel.
So when the positive energy gained by the applause of success is at its strongest, that very applause adds more power to the positive, thereby inflating the ego which suffers from the negative effect attracted to behaviors such as bragging. Or believing that the success IS me.
At the beginning, the applause became a shared positive experience of a group. But the ego keeps me in the center of this group. It keeps me as the ‘I’, and the applause as ‘my’ reward. It has no thought about the happiness of the shared applause, freely given by the group.
If I then choose to define myself by my successes, I am never fully teachable.
If I am not fully teachable, I become closed off to the surrounding beauty of life in all forms except what I’ve trained myself to see. I become filled with answers, with little room to receive. There is no give and take, outside of giving answers and taking away others’ ability to do the same for me.
If I’ve helped a friend through a hard time, strictly out of altruistic love and compassion, I may feel good about this. I draw strength from the connection and feeling of usefulness to my friend. This in turn helps me as usefulness is part of completeness. It also connects me to something greater than just me.
This feeling of usefulness and completeness and unity is not the ego resting on laurels. This is Love in its purest form. It can be expanded with gratitude of the experience, of the relationship, as well as gratitude of the lack of attachment to yesterday or tomorrow. It is felt wholly in the moment, and will not be reproduced in the same way merely by thinking about the experience or replaying it in my memory.
Gratitude is an action of humility which cuts my ties to selfishness. It is a joyous feeling of awe which surrenders the part I played in the situation that I Am grateful for, in acceptance that my role was only one of every necessary element which made the situation whole.
The ego resting on the laurels its attached to could be defined as believing it was me who caused my friend’s journey out of the hard time; believing it was me who created the feeling of usefulness.
This thinking is disrespectful to my friend, to myself, and to the moment we shared. Disrespectful to the atoms and neural networks in the environmental setting which directed the energy of the moment. Disrespectful to those who raised me, taught me, laughed with me, cried with me, motivated me, hurt me, pushed me, held me back, and on and on.
Every single experience and person in my whole life and existence, of my friend’s whole life and existence, and all of those people’s experiences and existences to infinity, were completely necessary to create that moment we shared.
That thought is the essence of Humility, in the way I understand and experience it.
The ego is a powerfully selfish force within. Mysteriously able to mask itself, and hide itself behind the veil of belief of being better than everybody else at what 'I' do…
Rather than just being the best I can to encourage the best in everybody else, including myself, at what We do.
Much Love And Gratitude To Everything and Everyone.