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From the Guide - July 2013

A change in behavior is the best apology.

We decided last week that the era of feeling bad is over. Such a bold statement, yes? We make this decision on good authority. This quote by Francois Fenelon illustrates the point and purpose: “It is mere self-love (ego love) to be inconsolable at seeing one’s own imperfections.” Aldous Huxley further explains, “Self-reproach is painful; but the very pain is a reassuring proof that the self is still intact; so long as attention is fixed on the delinquent ego, it cannot be fixed upon Life, and the ego (which lives upon attention and dies only when that sustenance is withheld) cannot be dissolved in the divine Light.”

Feeling bad is the surest way for egocentricity to maintain itself. For example: I do something “unfortunate.” I realize what I’ve done. I can see it. I get it. But before I can take in the full implications of the event, before it can be seen in conscious awareness with a clarity that would facilitate a change in my behavior, I start to feel bad. All my attention and awareness goes to feeling bad. The story repeats and repeats, subtly altered by conditioning with each telling until, after sufficient feeling-bad time has passed (the narrative often evolving such that it’s clear I was actually the victim in the whole mess), the episode is ready to be stored in the “Proof of How You Are” file egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate maintains, and “I” remains perfectly intact, ready for the next proof-providing incident.

The alternative is quickly revealed when we cease indulging the “wounded self-love” of egocentricity, giving attention and awareness instead to our commitment to “be how I choose to be.” It can be a bit of a rocky transition from the indulgence of a child to the taking responsibility of a grownup, but the rewards are well worth the effort.