In 2013 we let go of feeling bad. The reason was the realization that feeling bad is not only a waste of precious resources—time and energy—it also keeps us from receiving whatever clarity might come to us if we were HERE rather than off noodling with ego about our imaginary “sins and crimes.”
I say or do something unskillful or ill-conceived. Egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate roars in to let me know precisely how regrettable my transgression was. The uproar grabs all of the attention, insight is blocked, and I’m left with more proof that I’m a flawed, even awful human being.
The easiest way for us to see the magnitude of this ego scam is through learning. Example: It occurs to me that if I knew more about my car I would be more confident that when it needs maintenance or repair I would be less vulnerable to people who might not know what they’re talking about, and also I might not be as likely to be taken advantage of. So I start studying up. Now I’m questioning the mechanic about a proposed course of action and I’m met with a furrowed brow, a faint smirk, and a condescending shake of the head. (Picture here speaking with a medical professional, a plumber, an electrician, a car salesperson, a tax preparer, or any other “professional” in an area not of your expertise.)
What happens to my insight about learning? It is crushed under an onslaught of cruel ego messages designed to make me feel bad—and quit.
Awareness practice is a learning process.
We are practicing bringing awareness to areas of life where ego and ignorance have reigned. Ego and ignorance don’t want us to do that. When we attempt to see what is so rather than simply going along with what we’ve been conditioned to believe is so, we run into ego resistance. Push back in the form of attempts to embarrass, humiliate, shame, and intimidate.
How does this show up in awareness practice? I make a commitment. I’m going to sit every day or Record and Listen each evening before bed and in the morning or I’m going to listen to a centering recording every time the voices in my head attempt to frighten or upset me. Any practice commitment will position me to have the same experience because any commitment in life will position a person to have the same experience. I don’t do it. I don’t keep the commitment.
What happens? I feel bad. There’s the proof that everything the ego voices say about me is true. I’m a weak, hopeless, useless human being. I need to just give up. We have now reached the true point of awareness practice!
What I’ve just laid out is a formula. It’s a recipe. It’s what egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate does to people. It’s not unique or personal. It’s just how it is. And, that keeps being how it is because people believe they’re unique and the process is personal. “I can’t keep a commitment because there’s something wrong with me.”
What to do? In 2020, rather than focusing on not, rather than telling, one more time, the story of not keeping the commitment, we are going to focus on what we’re learning, on what we’re seeing.