Our conditioning – meaning how our ego-mind has reacted to our life experiences – has created within us the belief that we are dependent on many things for our happiness and security: the actions of other people, having a certain amount of money, having things our way, and having "success" however we define it. Plus we feel that we are really not deserving of any of the things we want. And so we are insecure; we have worries and concerns. And this is true even, or especially, of successful people with large egos; such people are even more insecure because they are so driven and have so much to lose.
If we are practicing Buddhists, it is easy to not be aware of this situation because we are so caught up in our practice, in the Buddha dharma, and the belief that we are walking the path which will end our suffering, bringing us peace and happiness. Yet this is an illusion for we have not totally given ourselves over to our practice, we have not emptied ourselves before the Buddha/our divinity/the universe, we have not freed ourselves from the conceit, "I am." Despite all our devotion to our practice, we are thus still a function of our conditioning.
A monk once said to us that we have come far, but we stand at the precipice, afraid to jump, to surrender our egos to our true Buddha nature, because we do not really have faith – we feel the only way to protect ourselves is to be in control – and so are still creatures of our ego, our conditioning. And so we continue to suffer and bring suffering to those around us.
I count myself as one who has been living this illusion. In my practice and prayer I turned my will and my life over to the care of my true Buddha nature, I surrendered my ego, and I invited Buddha mind into my subconscious. And in most respects that was successful.
But when it came to the core elements of my conditioning, it was not true. Evidence was the frequency that I committed acts that were the result of feeling that I was not deserving, that I needed to be useful to others in order to be loved, or that I needed to be in control.
This realization came not from myself, my meditation, or prayers – so blocked from my awareness was this truth – but from the observation of my partner. As a result I have sat with the truths he presented me and know now that the proof of my being deserving is all that god/the universe has provided me throughout my life and at this moment and the guidance that I receive when I ask for it. And I know that I am loved and have always been loved for who I am, not for what I do for people. And I know that I am neither my provider nor anyone else's; Buddha/god/the universe is the only provider. And I know that the desire for control has only brought me suffering, for there is no such thing as control. Things are the way they are because they are meant to be; there is opportunity there even if I don't recognize it.
Can I turn around my actions? I will certainly try. The guidance I have received from god/the universe is that I know what to do or not do, and so "just do it!" I have received this guidance before, have had the intent, yet have repeatedly not succeeded in changing my actions.
The only thing different this time is that I feel humbled and am aware that rather than being the strong person I always thought of myself as being, I am in fact weak. Perhaps this awareness of my weakness will counterintuitively make me strong.
I do sense that one can only be one with Buddha/god/the universe if one is humble, if one goes to them, seek their guidance, in a state of weakness rather than strength. And so with that oneness and faith I would be free of worries and concerns because I would be free of the weakness of my ego-mind. This would indeed be a radical change in how I relate to myself and the world around me.
We shall see.