In 2013, as a Sangha, we let go feeling bad. We began practicing with the awareness that feeling bad only wastes time, obscures clarity, and feeds ego. Rather than feeling bad, we choose to be here in whatever situation we find ourselves, ready to receive the clarity and insights Intelligence offers. In this way we can learn to free ourselves from the habitual, karmic behaviors that cause us to suffer.
In 2018, let’s make the next move to “Our goodness is established.”
For the sake of this conversation, let’s call All That Is, Life, the Universe, God, Whole Mind, Awareness, Consciousness, the Divine, Presence, Authenticity, etc., GOODNESS.
It’s an all-encompassing GOODNESS so we’ll keep it in caps for now. If we write it as goodness or even Goodness, egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate will close in around it and cause us to forget that this is a synonym for All That Is.
Within GOODNESS is a small “ability to believe oneself to be separate from Life,” which we call egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate (ego or conditioned mind for short).
Ego’s process is to pull attention away from the nonseparate reality of GOODNESS and pull attention into the imaginary “world” of egocentric karmic conditioning/ self-hate.
Imagine looking out onto a vast vista. Attention is on awareness of the scene. Then you focus on a tiny rock at your feet. The tiny rock occupies attention and you may or may not be aware of what surrounds the rock. The vast vista is no longer available to you. Is the vista gone? We “believe” it’s still there, but until we turn attention to it, it’s not there for us. When you’re focused on the vista, does the rock exist? Once again, we believe it does, but that’s not our experience until we turn attention back to the rock. In exactly this way we are pulled, by a shift of attention, out of the vastness of GOODNESS and into the tiny, imaginary world of egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate.
That imaginary world is the world of opposites, of duality (right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t, will/won’t, us/them, beautiful/ugly, like/dislike, happy/unhappy, important/not important, valuable/worthless, light/dark, hot/cold—and at least ten thousand more!). Not only is the “world” of opposites imaginary, duality is imaginary. There is no such thing. A continuum gets us closer, but even that fails us ultimately as we realize everything simply is what it is. Which, interesting as that may be, is beside the point.
The point is that when attention has been pulled into ego’s faux reality, we are moved back and forth from one side to the other of an incalculable number of dualities, depending on what we “do.” If I say the right thing I’m on the “good” side of the duality and I feel “good.” In the next moment I may be jerked to the “bad” side of that duality because thinking I’m so good means I’m arrogant. (I hope you’ll stop as we go along to have your own experience of what you’re reading.)
Believing ego’s imaginary world to be real, we suffer. Believing “I am ego/ego is me” (though never with the conscious awareness that would cause us to question that assumption), we are stuck colluding with and defending ego as it runs roughshod over our lives. I’m told I said something rude. The recipient is offended. I feel awful. I must apologize. I go to the person I offended to express my regret. I make excuses, try to explain what happened, declare I would never intentionally do such a thing. Throughout this extravaganza it never occurs to me to question the veracity of what I’m being told, to question feeling bad, to wonder how all that happened, to realize I didn’t know that happened—to realize I wasn’t there! I was unconscious when it happened.
Believing ego is me, I take credit and blame for everything ego does. I “live” in a constant conversation in conditioned mind about what “I” do and how “I” am. Ego cannot exist in the present so attention is pulled back and forth between pairs of opposites in the past and in the future. (I shouldn’t have done/said/been that, to I should do/say/be that. Put the “shouldn’t” in the future and the “should” in the past and sense the limitless permutations.)
Believing ego’s imaginary world is the real world, we completely lose sight of GOODNESS. GOODNESS becomes goodness, the opposite of badness or wrongness in the illusory, conditioned world of ego.
What else is possible?
--We can realize that every conversation in the head, every duality, all relationships with past and future are taking place in the imaginary world of ego.
--We can realize that our actual experience of ourselves is as the awareness that is observing what ego is saying and doing. You are not the author, the orchestrator, or the speaker—you are listening. You are watching. You’re being told that you’re thinking those thoughts, but a short time of looking
will prove to you that you are not. You’re aware of what’s going on in conditioned mind, but you are not doing it.
--Once we realize we are not ego, not doing what ego is doing, not to blame for what ego is doing, we can begin to experience ourselves as the expression of Life, the GOODNESS, that we are.
The astounding benefit of this clarity is that we can stop colluding with and defending ego. Coming from Authenticity, we can observe what ego is doing and happily report on it! Not that we’re going back to reporting on what’s happening in conditioned mind (“the voices are saying….”), but we can see what egocentricity has caused us to do (because we have a habit of being distracted by its shenanigans and going unconscious). And we can now, having acknowledged what we’ve seen, begin a practice of aligning with GOODNESS/Life in the present and choosing from HERE.
I am addicted to ___________, I have a habit of ______________, I have a tendency to _______________, I act ______________, I don’t ______________, I know I should __________ but instead I _____________. (Hopefully you can find yourself in there somewhere.) And I feel bad. (Yes, even though we let go feeling bad years ago, I still do and I feel bad about that.) I am caught squarely in egocentric karmic conditioning and am suffering with self-hate.
As soon as I recognize where I am (identified with ego) and what’s happening (I’m believing that the stories I’m being told by the voices in conditioned mind have something to do with me), I can remember that what this human being is authentically is GOODNESS. That is what a human incarnation is. A human incarnation is a unique expression of Life, of the GOODNESS That Is.
(Conditioned mind can understand none of this, yet the Heart intuits!)
We don’t need to improve, change, fix, criticize, compare, judge, or in any way be involved in the false world of ego in order to get out of the false world of ego. You won’t one day become a good person who is no longer bad and therefore not subject to self-hate’s beatings. There truly isn’t anything wrong with “you.” All that is happening is that attention has been pulled away from its Home (GOODNESS, Whole Mind, etc.) and is now residing in that infinitesimal, imaginary world of duality called ego. Once attention is there, it seems as if that tiny figment is a whole real world. Move attention back to thisherenow, and ego disappears into the imagination from whence it came.