Today I became the little me and it wasn’t pretty. Just yesterday I had posted on Instagram the message, Compassion for Self. Cherishing Self. One brings happiness. The other brings suffering. Walk the fine line.
Today, I fell off the tightrope with a crunch. As I started to berate myself for being the little me, my thoughts turned to the advice on my meditation app, Calm – try not to give yourself a hard time. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Ok. Breathe. Shut up voice in the head!
So what happened? Well, this afternoon I caught a live post on Facebook by someone who I look up to and admire. This person has just come back from a trip overseas where they were trying to drum up more opportunities for the people who they represent. As I said, it was a live post and while he was speaking to the camera, a number of people started sending in messages. He’s so good at what he does! He was able to continue delivering the message but at the same time acknowledge and sometimes quickly reply to the viewers’ comments. Did he do that to mine? No. I think I posted about six or seven comments and not one of them was acknowledged. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was sulking, feeling neglected and that I had become, as Eckhart Tolle calls is, the little me.
There are other names for it. Eckhart sometimes calls it the ego, the physic parasite (yuk! My favourite) and the Buddhists call it the self-cherishing mind. Basically, they all mean the same thing – it’s the I’m the centre of the universe, stuff everyone else and what about me? mentality that I, for one, am very familiar with dear readers.
So, getting back to the live post. The news on the post was good, especially for a selected few. As he read out the names of the chosen ones, my ears (that is, my mind) longed to hear my name but alas the words, Jen Compton, did not pass his lips and once again, all the self-cherishing mind could think was, Hey! How come I haven’t been chosen? I was awoken from my selfish thoughts by kinder others who were messaging congratulations and words of well done to some of the chosen ones. My Buddhist studies kicked in then and I thought, OMG, I wish I was just naturally rejoicing at their good merits and good fortune instead of thinking about myself! I wish that had naturally just come up in my mind instead of being full of self-pity, you know, having my own private pity party.
I’m told that our human mind has a natural default that is slightly negative which is why, dear reader, we need to practice meditation, mindfulness and gratitude on a daily basis to keep ourselves vibrating at a higher level of consciousness. These practices keep us kinder. Obviously, I haven’t been doing it enough, have I?
So, after listening to the Facebook post, feeling a bit down, dejected and sorry for myself, I drove to the local pool and did some laps. When I finally got out of the water about 40 minutes later, I guess the endorphins had kicked in and I was in a better frame of mind. The first thing I thought was, “Gee, I was really lucky to see that live post! Tuesday is my only day off from work and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see that post on Facebook. That was very fortunate.
Driving home, I was also aware of happy feelings when I thought about those beautiful, talented writers who had been in the group of the chosen ones. I know some of them personally and not only are they creative souls, they are also humble, self-less people.
The little me is the real enemy. The disturbing emotions we have is the true enemy and when we can see them for what they are and tell them we refuse to be controlled by them, wrack off hairy legs! our mind becomes more the observer and less entangled and attached to the negative, destructive thoughts themselves.
So, now that I’ve given myself (and you) a good pep talk and made the choice to have compassion for this self and not cherish it too dearly, my mind is calmer and more peaceful. I hope this is where you are at too and that you can triumph over the little me when it takes a hold of your mind and carries you off to a place of ugly, selfish, suffering. See it for what it is, a passing grey cloud, and wait for that clear, blue sky to emerge; infinite and triumphant. It certainly will.