The specific area I’m talking about now concerns things spiritual. First of all, let me state clearly that I am aware that I don’t know what’s best. That’s all ego. But that awareness does not result in my ego not asserting itself.
The other thing I am aware of is that this is not just an expression of ego. That would be simpler to rectify. But it’s also an expression of wanting to offer others joy, or wanting to help others in their journey along the spiritual path. It’s also a function of my craving for people I care for to be happy, both for their own sake, and to be honest, for the impact their happiness or unhappiness has on me … and it is indeed a craving.
This habit can be annoying to those who are at the receiving end of it. This came up again recently with my best friend. He was suffering, I thought as a result of something he had done, and so I mentioned this while we were discussing his suffering. My friend is very spiritual; he knows as much as I do; he is as far and in some ways further along the path than I am. Indeed, he has made comments or shared things he was reading which have advanced me on the path.
That my intent is to help him and for him to be happy is irrelevant. People need to discover things for themselves and make their own decisions. That’s true even of grown children. This type of comment says to him that I don’t think he is capable of sorting things through on his own, which is without question not the case. Yet I make such comments anyway. Or I bring up something he did in the past which “worked,” and so I make it sound like it is his fault he’s suffering because he’s made a bad decision this time.
If I’m asked a question, that’s one thing. But to assert myself into someone else’s thought process is another. Every time I think about this, meditate on it, and commit to not making such comments, I do it again nevertheless. It has seemed that on this one issue, I am out of control.
And so once again, I committed myself to meditating on this. In a different way. I was aware that several things needed to be done. First, I need to humble myself; I do not know more or know best. Second, I need to let go the attachment and craving that he or others be happy.
I decided to meditate on this within the context of my recent meditation on opening my heart to embracing all aspects of me, including my weaknesses, as well as affirming that I have everything I need to be happy and at peace inside myself. Regardless what is going on around me, it I go within myself, I will be at peace and happy.
I realized several things during my meditation. First, lack of humility is an expression of insecurity. The more insecure the less humble. Clearly, including insecurity in my “not me” exercise has not worked; perhaps it too is in my bones like my facial expression. and so now I opened my heart to embrace my insecurity. I felt the inner struggle go, and with it the power of my insecurity. Insecurity may not be a reflection of my true self, and so “not me,” but I know that despite this it will always be part of my ego-mind and thus part of me.
Second, because of my new deep awareness that I have every thing I need to be happy inside myself, I no longer feel dependent on things outside of myself to experience happiness, All attachments, including either to my friend or his happiness, are thus no more. I love him as much as ever, but I am not attached to that love. I wish for him to be happy, but I do not crave it. I know that when I go deep inside myself and return to my unborn Buddha mind, whether he is in my life or not, whether he is happy or not, I will still experience happiness and peace.
Finally, I became aware during my meditation that not only is it not my responsibility to ease his or anyone’s suffering, but that I cannot do that. I misconstrued the Boddhisatva Vows. As he has often told me, I cannot fix things. That is ego. I can offer him or others joy, I can share wisdom, but only he can ease his suffering.