Recently, someone very dear to me decided to de-friend approximately 100 of their friends on Facebook. This was all brought about because of a strong disagreement on values and perspective of a certain situation going on in the news right now.
This got me to thinking about how each of us probably has very different thoughts and opinions on thousands of different topics. And if we were to sit with anyone, even our closest loved ones, I’m sure that we could each find powerful disagreements on a multitude of these.
Is there truly a right and wrong, is there one viewpoint or opinion where my opinion is correct and my thought process is correct and yours is just simply wrong?
I see all of this as Ego. We cling so desperately to our own thoughts, opinions and viewpoints, that it becomes so very easy, in each moment, to decide we are the ones in the right while others are in the wrong. And I find myself guilty of this on a daily basis.
This morning I even started thinking about others egos, and how many of them think they don’t have egos, yet I see their ego is very strong. Then it occurred to me, what a tremendous ego I must have to make this judgment of others!
Every single time, without exception, when I find myself being upset over another person’s words or actions it is due to my own ego. And I also find that I’m always able to create a story to support and justify my own perspective and point of view. What a wonderful skill to be able to always support your own limited point of view, isn’t it?
Here’s what I am learning from all of this. The one who suffers the most is always the self. My own happiness suffers by way of lacking skilfulness, and allowing the ego to be in control. All that I accomplish is an increase in my own dissatisfaction. Feeding the ego is like fanning the flames of desire. Thinking, “I want this”, “I think that”, and “I know what is right and proper”. When in fact, if I truly knew anything, I would not have these thoughts of judgement or desire to control at all.
You are simply a human being, the same as me. You are doing your best to be a good and kind person. How dare I think that I am better, wiser, Nobler or more humble. Instead, I have the opportunity to see you as my teacher. By silent observation, with loving-kindness and acceptance, I can listen and learn. Which does not meant that I have to agree with you, but I also do not need to judge or create separation.
The Buddha suggested we associate with Noble friends. Those who are equally or better developed in their practice. But this does not mean that we isolate ourselves from the World either. And we do not need to shun those whom we feel are less than wholesome. There needs to be a mindfulness in our interactions, and an awareness that all beings have good qualities. And being your friend does not mean that we need to talk on the phone, post on each others Facebook wall, or get together for coffee. We can just accept each other as spiritual friends and maintain a loving friendliness and compassion attitude toward one another. At that point, it is not about me or you. We can drop the ego right there and just live simply and kindly.
Today, once again, I will try to live mindfully and without judgement. To let go of my ego, and understand this in not about me. This is not mine.