Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Leggo my Ego

Today, I was at the gym with my boss and we got to talking about quantum physics. Eventually, the talk turned into an argument that my brain decided to get entirely too emotionally involved in. Occasionally this happens when I am overly passionate about the subject matter. It's horrible really. I can act arrogant, condescending, controlling, and strangely obsessed with being right. I get so identified with my thoughts on the matter and so emotionally charged that I actually (in that moment at least) think I am smarter and better than the person I'm arguing with. 

I told you it was horrible. In the throws of it all, I am a real wench to be around and I'll truly fight til death. Most of the time, I'll take it too far and get to a point where I say something out of the ballpark rude. And after my emotional brain has chilled the hell out, I end up feeling like a total ass on the brink of tears, wanting nothing but to apologize to the poor victim of my spiciness who as you can imagine at that point wants nothing to do with me. 

But something was special about this time. I caught it. Right in the middle of my emotionally arrogant muddle, I caught it, before it got too big. I took a second. I stopped talking. I breathed. I apologized & teared a little. My emotional brain surrendered. Fen came back. 

As I'm sure you all know,  the emotional brain is very strong. It fuels up on the basic ideas of separation, survival, individuality, and fear. When we feel attacked, it always wins. When we feel afraid, it always wins. There's no way for the neo-cortex to even have a shot, unless you train it. That's why many Buddhist monks are able to stay so emotionally neutral. They have tamed the emotional mind and allowed room for their hearts to run the show instead.

When I was in India this past year, I met with a Guru and the Guru told me that I needed to cut my ego with a knife & cultivate my heart. He made it clear that my mind was too smart for its own good and wanted to teach me about love because if I didn't understand love, my mind would go on dominating others thinking that it was intellectually superior. The only reason he allowed me into his ashram was because he knew I needed to know this & because he believed I had a big heart that needed to be opened wider. The obstacle: my smartsOr really, the false idea that we are separate from one another, which leads to the idea that we may or may not be better than one another, which leads to our obsession with being right about something instead of being kind to each other. Phew.

Only the egoic emotional mind that we are so often identified with wants to be right. Only that mind wants to attack other people. Only that mind wants to judge others for their differences. Only that mind inflicts violence and hate onto other beings. It's a volatile mind, always trying to protect itself and ward off anything remotely threatening to it's sense of perceived individualistic identity. 

You ever hear somebody say something and think you got it but then weeks, months, or years later a little lightbulb goes on and you realize you just really, finally, got it? Like you intellectually understood it before, but then something happens and it's as if you then experientially understand it. That's what happened to me today. 

Who cares if my mind is smart. Who cares how much knowledge it has supposedly attained. True knowledge, true wisdom, is kindness to the self & to others above ALL else because of a deep seated awareness of the fact that we are all connected.

The wisest person doesn't need to be right, doesn't need judge, doesnt need to control or manipulate others to do what they want, or to believe what they believe in. The wisest person has a consistent awareness of impermanence, equanimity, and without skipping a beat when faced with sharp ignorance, she or he moves into a baseline state of graceful compassion.
Im not saying that after my experience today I'm the wisest. Obviously far from it. But I was humbled today. And I am asking the universe to humble me again. 
And again. 
And again.
Until I really get this.

Its just so clear to me in this moment: my intelligent and emotional mind will not really make any great changes in this world. 

But my heart will.
If I let it.
Somehow I need to remind myself of this daily.


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