We had what I thought was a great conversation on the How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything show as we addressed the question, “What do you get out of believing there’s something wrong with you?” Part of the discussion involved this kind of progression by egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate: Voice badgers with, “You’re too sensitive, that’s what’s wrong with you.” Human, having nowhere to go with this information, finds ways to “anesthetize” that sensitivity. Voice berates with, “You’re so weak you’re addicted to substances, that’s what’s wrong with you.” Human, doing the best s/he can to be the person s/he should be, attempts to stop using substances. Pressure from hateful voices’ constant judgments and criticism builds until human gets angry, blows up, or becomes depressed. Hateful voice needles with, “See how you are! You’re out of control, you’re hopeless, you can never do anything right, which is proof that there really is something wrong with you!”
Given this kind of abuse it’s no wonder people attempt to appease the self-hating voices. Not upsetting or setting off that abuse machine becomes a moment-by-moment focus of attention. That’s why attention is so constantly on the conversation in conditioned mind. Trying to avoid “getting in trouble” requires a person to be in continuous relationship with the nasty, threatening, judgmental voices in the head. Conditioned mind is where we’re trained to look for the “guidance” that will keep us safe. Living a small, frightened life attempting to avoid upsetting self-hate does not make us safe; in fact, it is the most dangerous place a human can be.
Learning not to be upset by anything inside or outside is one of the big reasons we practice awareness. Being present, not looking to egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate, resting in inherent goodness while trusting Life provides the only “safety” we will ever have. It’s not the get-really-small-and-be-afraid-and-do-everything-I-say of ego. This is the right-here-right-now-fully-present-alive-and-awake of conscious, compassionate awareness.
Staying home alone with egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate because I’m afraid to be engaged with my fellow humans, afraid I’ll get upset or angry or depressed, is a disastrous choice.
No one and nothing (including hateful voices in my head) can upset me without my permission. If I get upset about what someone else says or does, that’s my choice, but to think I am a different person than I am because I have not confronted how I am is foolish. If I become angry or frightened by my perception of circumstances, I am not less angry or fearful for not facing that anger or fear. Children close their eyes and say, “You can’t see me.” Closing our eyes and pretending we cannot see ourselves is beyond foolish.
In group at Center we had a follow-up discussion to that same earlier conversation from the How workshop. I had speculated once again that a majority of people drawn to this practice were called “too sensitive” as children. Probably most have or have had difficulty with substances—this includes food—that tend to numb that sensitivity. When we considered the notion of assembling an “army of sensitive people” to go out into the world with the express purpose of “bringing Unconditional Love to each interaction,” one of our little group suggested we have shirts that state who we are complete with a heart on our sleeve to show that’s where we happily wear our hearts!
Bodhidharma was called a grandmother because he was so sensitive, so caring. And, just in case any negative voices want to argue for a fear of being sensitive and caring in a dangerous world, Bodhidharma’s grandmotherliness often included smacking someone alongside the head with his staff if they weren’t paying attention. This army of sensitive people will be made up of warriors who are unafraid of negativity, judgment, and criticism—from inside and outside—because we choose connection over separation, inclusion over rejection, support over abandonment, and Unconditional Love over self-hate.
You can “join up” any time.