Not so easy! I became aware very quickly that while various feelings, perceptions, and needs might have begun their life as a result of insecurity, they had established a life of their own. They had become independent habit-energies that needed to be faced and dealt with one by one as they arose. So for example:
I had an incident where a craving for attention, for acknowledgment came to the fore. I had thought that I had let go of this quite some time ago. I had long ago accepted the fact that my books weren’t going to sell, that I was getting very little feedback from my blog, and that was ok. It was just the way things were. My purpose was to offer joy to others. If even one person bought one of my books and was helped or read my blog and was helped, then I had met my goal, and indeed I know that that was the case.
But recently someone I know wrote a book which found a publisher and was reviewed. My initial reaction to this news was not worthy of me. I was envious. And when I meditated the next morning it was clear to me that this event had acted as a catalyst to reawaken a craving for acknowledgement and attention. And so I sat with these cravings and said to them, “Not me!”
Then an incident occurred recently that brought out the satisfaction that I still feel at being right. I had been talking with a friend about something and thought I saw what the reality was and said that he and others hadn’t gotten it right. He called me on it, and it was deserved.
And so I sat with the satisfaction I get from being right. What was this all about? At first, I located this habit-energy in the experience during 19 years of schooling of being rewarding by being right, by getting good grades. That’s how you got a gold star. That’s how you were valued.
But as I continued to sit I was aware that that answer did not go deep enough. The reason why I craved to be rewarded and valued is that I craved respect. And I craved respect because as a child I did not feel loved by my father and I thought that I was not lovable or worthy of love. Gaining respect was my substitute for love, both from my father and from my peers.
I know now that these feelings were just a product of my mind. In truth I was always loved by my father and have always been valued by him and others. But even more importantly, I knew that what was important to me was offering joy, not being loved. And so I said to this craving, “Not me!”
Each of these examples … craving for acknowledgment and craving for respect … initially grew out of the deep insecurity I felt as a child. But through the years they had developed a life of their own. And so even though I had faced my insecurity and said “Not me!”, these feelings and perceptions persisted. They had to each be faced individually and declared, “Not me!”
Readers may find it strange and disappointing that after all my years of practice, after all my realizations, I am still dealing with aspects of my ego sneaking in and taking control because I was not aware at the moment.
One needs to remember that walking the path is for most of us a life-long process and that the ego-mind always remains part of us. Even someone like Pima Chodron admits to feelings of, for example, aggression still taking control at times. Only when one is fully enlightened are you fully free, aware 24/7. Then, as the Buddha said, "A Perfect One's feelings, perceptions, and thoughts are known to him as they arise, known to him as they are present, and known to him as they subside." So be gentle with yourself.