Coming clean, for me, is exposing my deepest vulnerabilities and struggles. And while Bhante Sujatha has always taught me that there are no struggles in Buddhism, I clearly see that I have not yet arrived at that revelation. Because I do indeed struggle on a daily basis.
A huge vulnerability for me is a desire for acceptance and for people around me to be happy. Bhikkhuni Vimala often called me on this issue, explaining to me that I was a “fixer”. I continue to make so many things mine that are not. And while I understand that this is not mindful or beneficial to me or anyone else, I seem to continue to do this. Often reminding myself – this is not me, this is not mine, and this not the self. Perfect words that I attempt to apply to an imperfect being.
Those words convey a dropping of the ego, which I clearly have not yet accomplished. In fact, as often as I write about humility and ego, mine is as dominant as anyone I know. Being completely transparent, I think that it’s always about me. Selflessness and service to others is wonderful, but I am increasingly aware that it always subconsciously fills my own need to feel good about myself. It supports my “fixer” personality.
I think that all of my weaknesses and frailty stem from a substandard love and acceptance of self. Which leaves a never-ending need to feed my ego and support a sense of self-worth. Not a pretty thing to observe!
All of this may sound like a pity party, but truly is not. It’s merely a public confession, and cleansing of sorts. I do not want to hide behind a veneer of any kind. My personal growth depends on my ability to face this life naked, exposed and vulnerable. And so long as I wear any kind of mask, I will be looking in the mirror at the very same delusion that I show the World around me.
After so many years of practice and study, it’s clear that there is still so much work to be done. And I am so very grateful that I still have today to work on it.
While this is certainly not a complete list of my imperfections, it is certainly a critical foundation to build upon. And it is with this determination that I move forward with perhaps slightly more acceptance of myself and a little less attachment to that very same delusion.