Recently though, in the context of possibly making a move, I have been asked what my needs are. Suddenly I have been asked to focus on what my needs are. Not surprisingly my ego-mind stepped up and these various things that I would enjoy doing have morphed into needs of mine. And as I identified these as needs of mine, I began to feel trapped by my isolated life; I began to feel resentful of the limitations that have been placed on my life.
These feelings, these emotions, were very disturbing and foreign to me ... at least for the past 5 years since we’ve been living together in the country. And so when I was meditating this morning, present in the moment, being aware of my feelings and sensations, I became aware of what my ego-mind had been up to. It had raised the ugly head of “I.” “What about what I want? Why can’t I do what I want to do?”
This is the same thing that has been happening to the American family over the past 4 decades. How many families and children have been negatively impacted by their mother’s being subjected to the same pull of ego as a result of what she saw around her and all the messages she was receiving about the modern woman. No longer was her focus on bringing joy and well-being to her children and family enough. The ego-mind screamed, “What about me? What about my needs?” And not only were mothers forever thereafter torn and unhappy, but their families suffered as well.
Even acts of helping others, relieving the suffering of others ... such as my tutoring ... were now infused by my ego as being needs of mine. And so these desires turned from being consistent with the Five Precepts to being unskillful desires because their origin was now a lack of equanimity, they were ego driven.
My ego-mind was trying to destroy my affirmation of “not-two” and my sole focus on offering others joy, relieving the suffering of others, and seeing others joy as my own. As I have commented in other recent posts, I did not engage this feeling nor did I try and fight it. Instead, I acknowledged it and viewed it with compassion. I knew well where it was coming from. I said that such feelings were natural but that I was confident that my purpose in life was to offer joy and that if I lived each day well, the future would take care of itself. My true Buddha nature was no self.
When I got up from my meditation, I felt such happiness and joy, such peace and contentment, such lightness of spirit. I went outside and felt at one with everything around me. I was present and at peace. And when I sat down to breakfast and said my Buddhist grace, I reconfirmed my vow to offer joy to others, to help relieve the suffering of others and to see other’s joy as my own. And to transform my unskillful states of mind.