In Buddhist culture when we hear about egolessness we think it means the self is bad, others are good. That is just not at all the point. Every other is a self, we are also a self. Selves are not the problem. Selves are beautiful. In fact, in many teachings in Buddhism, it is said that each of us are Buddhas, each of us is perfect in our nature.
Each of us is also so unique. That is another thing I find is a cultural problem. In collectivist cultures you want to fit in, you don’t want to stick out, but in individualist cultures we thrive on individuation and innovation and the idea that an individual has unique qualities. There is nothing about that that is problematic in the meditation teachings. Often the translation we’ve gotten though is from a culture that is about not emphasizing uniqueness but emphasizing transpersonal awareness and spaciousness and universal interdependence. In our culture, uniqueness is beautiful!
So how do you mix uniqueness and egolessness? I say they’re the same thing. They were never separate. Here though we have this question of how do we learn to care for ourselves and feel okay about it and realize that it is not being self absorbed or deluded.
We’re afraid to really want what we want because we think we won’t get it. A lot of religions say desire is the problem. Not in this tradition of meditation. In this tradition our desires are fine because they actually have a very pure energy underneath the object or the story.
Sometimes we focus on a person, a relationship, a job, or a situation, and that is fine. But actually what we really want is right there within us the whole time. We can’t repress our desires and not lose a lot of appreciation of life. At the same time, if we’re always reaching outside we never feel satisfied.
The funny thing is if we go to focusing on the other first, there is a part of us that goes “But what about me?” We can quell that because we can listen to ourselves.
What we really want is our nature, what we are. The light shining practice we did is a way for us to plug into that anytime, a way that we can truly nourish ourselves.
This is the final part of an ongoing series.
Maitri For Our Time Part 1
Maitri For Our Time Part 2
Maitri For Our Time Part 3
Maitri For Our Time Part 4
Maitri For Our Time Part 5
Maitri For Our Time Part 6
Maitri For Our Time Part 7
Maitri For Our Time Part 8
Maitri For Our Time Part 9
Maitri For Our Time Part 10
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