It all starts with “me”, as in “my mind.”
The buck stops here.
In daily life, that means that whatever the mind says in judgment about others can be turned around to expose the nature of the mind. So if my mind judges you and says you are stupid, and that is turned around…it will reveal a “stupid” mind, using judgments to feel better about itself! Or if the mind says that someone is physically ugly, a turnaround shows a very “ugly” mind willing to put down someone for their physical features.
The turnaround produces revelations of the true nature of the mind. And seeing this again and again supports the understanding to NOT TAKE THE MIND TOO SERIOUSLY! This is a major step in breaking down the barriers to the heart.
A Note on Comparison
One of the biggest thieves of joy in my life is when the mind starts comparing “me” and my actions to what would, could or should have been! It doesn’t seem to matter much WHAT is being compared. The very act of comparison has an inherent anxiety in it. Inquiry tells me that comparison is usually based on two things: the ideal and the real. The ideal is always something to attain, something better. And the real – what is actually happening – is relegated to a lesser status. So, in the comparison, “I” always come up short!
Further inquiry reveals the disturbing nature of this comparison: the “ideal” almost never can be attained! No matter how hard I try to achieve it, it eludes me! And those amazingly rare moments when I DO achieve it, the mind won’t let me hold on to that satisfaction. Instead, it insists I do it again, or do something BETTER!
Now, after many of these inquiries, when I step back and recognize that comparison is happening, usually the comparison just drops out of sight! It’s as if the mind – finding that it has been caught in this game – quietly slips away!
“But for the grace of God go I.” I stopped…and took this in.
What does it mean? It means that I should be thankful for where I am, because I could be far worse off. But that kind of comparison breaks down when I understand that I could also be far better off than I am. And besides, what kind of a game is this to find thankfulness in others misfortunes?!
But that’s only part of it!! What I see as a “misfortune,” existence often shows me is really a space of amazing potential, where I could learn far beyond what I am now learning about myself and life.
Take Helen Keller and her plight for example. Blind and deaf…. How much more difficult could existence make it for her? And yet, as a result, she was able to “see” and understand things about life that those with sight and sound hardly ever see.
So, if we are on this planet to learn about ourselves, we don’t need a comparison with those in different circumstances to feel grateful.
And once I understood that, ALL of this life was there for me to learn from, nothing became excludable, and all became teachers. And that is how I continue to find the life I love!
And for THAT, I feel tremendous gratitude!
There is something about “perspective” that can be tremendously valuable!
One perspective is that there is a whole, infinite universe beyond the planet Earth!
We were in awe of that experience as small children. But then, we narrowed our view of life to only the small patch of Earth that we stand on; and everything immediately around us looked and continues to look so significant.
We can reconnect with our childhood awe through meditation, and by just lying on the grass at night and looking up at the stars. And then our “problems” look tiny in comparison…
I am continually learning to surround myself with beauty! In the process, I still find other priorities taking preference to beauty…but, on the whole, it is becoming a more rooted understanding how important beauty is in my life. Here’s why:
I understand that there are two types of beauty: one comes from the ordinary mind that likes to separate the world – in this instance, into beauty and ugliness.
It is a comparative process.
The other type comes from an experience when, on rare occasions, the divine is found in everything…and everything has its own beauty! It’s not something I can DO. It’s just a gift from existence.
But I can prepare the invitation for the second type! In the ordinary state of mind, I can find those things that are experienced as beautiful, and bring them into my life, more and more. They then can become mirrors that help me remember and fall into the second type, and then I find myself once again in existence’s gift of “everything is divine!!”
So, if your want to connect more with this second type, then surround yourself with whatever you find as beauty. And see if you don’t drop into the divine!!
March 17, 2011
A friend wrote: “Sitting here in India in a wheelchair with a fractured leg and being reminded again that it always could be worse. How humbling.”
He was referring to Japan and the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor situation there.
It reminded me that comparison is the territory of the mind. And finding that things could be worse is its compensation for a situation that it doesn’t like.
Of course, under the table, the mind is also saying, “Things could be better! So why me?!!”
If we just stay with what is, then we can drop any notion of comparison and that there is a problem to begin with.
So a fractured leg becomes an opportunity to watch the mind’s comparing nature and how that game is played. And perhaps, after seeing that enough…and penetrating it enough, we will drop the whole game….