Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Basic Tendency

Everyone has a basic tendency, a state they tend to slip into in their weakest or most unguarded moments. My basic tendency is of self loathing and self doubt.

I "remember" this tendency starting from my earliest memories. It is a like a deep pit, this tendency. Before you get anywhere, you have to first pull yourself out of the pit. To live a life of confidence and dignity, I have had to work that much harder than most other people. And when I fall, it hurts so much more because its a long way down.

Situations that push me back into the pit are my definition of hell. My divorce was so hard on me for this reason. I was deep down in the pit. I could not transfer my anger over to my ex-husband because there was no anger, only self doubt and self loathing. It took me 3 years to pull myself out. Then came the anger, but by then, anger was not important.

In my professional life too, I have to watch out for this tendency. There is a fine line between humility and diffidence, between being open to feedback and being too self effacing, between being contemplative and self berating. I have to watch out for these fine lines and others all the time.

An understanding of this tendency has come to me only recently. It is so much easier to analyze others- pop psychology is easy and fun when applied on others. It takes a lot more to understand one's own self. With this understanding has come a protection. When a situation pushes me to the brink, I am aware of what's happening. It's as if I stop myself before I fall all the way inside. Knowledge is the cushion.

Buddhism talks about 10 states of life. Hell, hunger, animality, anger, humanity, heaven, learning, realization, Boddhisatva and Buddhahood. Everyone possesses each of these states, and each state is mutually inclusive. That means I am as capable of being a Buddha as I am of being trapped in my personal hell. It also means that I can constantly elevate myself to a higher state. Every time I chant, I wipe out a part of the basic tendency and elevate myself just a bit.

I came to this life with this basic tendency. It started way back and who knows how much way back. When I go into my next life, I want to start at a higher place. That's my goal.

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