So, working on my own anger, greed and ignorance. The essence of Buddhism. The path to a life that is free. Well, here we go, for my first time. Here is a list of favourite things I do – favourite habits of the ego. Things I run towards when I want to run away from pain; things that only serve to drive the pain deeper, or add more on top.
We all have things like this, and as Pema Chodron has talked about, the point is to ‘sit with’ these things as they arise; not judging them, and holding ourselves and our issues with compassion. Compassion and trust engendering a wish to surpass (but not transcend), to snuff out, these patterns.
Here’s my first attempt at a list.
Things feel unfair – comfort food: chocolate, pizza, ice cream, chips, burgers
At my wits end with other people or with work – alcohol
I deserve a happier life – alcohol
A sense of inability to control life, or life feels out of control – jerk off
Large negative drama, invites a sense of ‘my life is hard’ – smoke cigarettes
I must have to be perfect to get into Heaven and be liked and accepted – meditation, followed by I don’t have to be perfect.
I don’t have to be perfect – smoke cigarettes, wear bandana, play loud music, heavy drinking…or meditation
I’m not smoking cigarettes – I must have to be perfect
Someone else is ‘not OK’ – fix them through the demonstration of my amazing spiritual insight
Someone else thinks I’m not OK – can go two ways. Sometimes I stand up. Othertimes I believe them.
I’m one of the cool interesting deep people, rooted to the earth and creative and so on – smoke roll ups (specifically roll ups)
I get blanked, or I’m in a social situation where I can’t read the signs easily – plan my own suicide (largely overcome)
Oh heck there’s probably a few more but this is a start. And there’s probably deeper layers too in terms of what triggers what.
What’s interesting is that this list isn’t even very original! So the idea that this is my unique sh*t, supporting my own unique self, is also rubbish. There’s very little unique stuff here. Just repetitive, slightly self-destructive always, patterns persisting through time. Always taking me deeper into the negative emotions and further away from what I really want to achieve!
You mean I gotta be aware of all that and love myself when i see myself doing it and extend out a wish to overcome these habits? Oh boy. You mean other people won’t be able to sort out theirs quite so easily if I don’t sort out mine first? Noooo pressure then. Oh yeah. Without effort. Jesus H Christ.
Well here goes. Wish me luck 🙂
(I’d like to credit Pema Chodron and my buddy CH for inspiring this exercise.)