Me, Myself, and Ignorant Ego.

There’s much said about ego, but I really like this Buddhist take on it.

“The ego needs activity in order to exist. Like and dislike, attachment, aversion, greed and hatred are the main overt activities of the ego. The more desire and aversion we have the more alive we feel, the more real and concrete the ego seems. In reality, the ego depends on desire, its life-blood is desire. The ego and desire are like the two sides of a coin — one cannot exist without the other. The ego is projected desire, and desire is projected ego.”

I supposed, with the above, I can’t really delve into ego until I jump into desire.  Desire has many levels of intensity but it’s always about the abandonment issues of ego-identified self.  A grasping for something that will always, more than likely, be just outside attaining.  If it is attained, well, there will be other desires to drive us to the facade of purpose.  Who am I if I am not my desires?  After all, it is desire that pierces through the chatter of the crowded mind and once its gone can you live with the echo?

I’ve been told, on several occasions, that I write a lot about the past and the future.  Certainly, I’ve been known to hide away in those places observing their contrast.  Something as fleeting as a smell can project the liveliest of person from my past onto the white-wall of my mind leaving me to rewrite a riding-into-the-sunset moment where the future is more aligned to the happy ending of today.  The problem becomes that no matter how I approach time with the knowledge that it is not, in fact, linear, my ego constructs linearly against me.   For an intelligent person, I’ve got an ignorant ego. The strength of that ignorance is quite astounding at times, but luckily for me I’m not really the clingy type, which allows me to break free – even for a short while – from the stronghold of “I”.  But, the realization of this division leaves me weak and wanting to prevent ego-death.  Who am “I” without the illusion of “me”?

Even in scanning this post the paragraphs – separation of thoughts and ideas – begin with “I” and ends with “me”.  The muck I must go through on my journey won’t be easy to clean off my boots, but there is a soul at the door of delight that begs to be touched standing on a humorous welcome mat.

“It follows that in this surface or desire-soul there is no true soul-life, but a psychic deformation and wrong reception of the touch of things. The malady of the world is that the individual cannot find his real soul….” -Sri Aurobindo “The Life Divine

Law of Attraction in a shoe size that fits

“I am that which I am, and I am pleased with it, joyful in it. And you are that which you are, and while it is different perhaps from that which I am, it is also good. …Because I am able to focus upon that which I want, even if there are those differences between us that are dramatic, I do not suffer negative emotion because I am wise enough to focus upon that which brings me discomfort. I have come to understand, as I am one who is applying the Art of Allowing, that I have not come forth into this physical world to get everyone to follow the “truth” that I think is the truth. I have not come forth to encourage conformity or sameness–for I am wise enough to understand that in sameness, in conformity, there is not diversity that stimulates creativity. In focusing upon bringing about conformity, I am pointed toward an ending rather than a continuing of creation.” —The Law of Attraction

This passage is a powerful one, and for several days I couldn’t get it out of my head so I thought it deserved a posting. I’ve been able to touch upon the first part of this passage but learning how to do it wasn’t easy.

The first time, I hurt an innocent person, it had nothing to do with him and said nothing about who he was because he was a decent man. Some people assume that hurting someone else is the easier part of hurt, but it’s not always. Sometimes hurting someone is necessary to become who we are. We make choices, this much is true but when life is fresh and self, unformed, can you be held accountable for immature choices of gratification? Probably not until you’re the one that gets hurt. It’s easy to see the goodness in someone and be comforted by that in the unsettled self, but selfishness exists in the truth that you’re living in motions that belong to someone else. It’s not easy to let go of goodness for the spiritually corrupt and when you do there exists an extraordinary demoralization, so it’s no wonder you jump into the shoes of the one you hurt in your next lesson. After all, life is both the yin and the yang.

When I was in the military, the main tactic was to break you down emotionally so that you could be rebuilt a solider. Life, in general, is about the same. It is in the rebuild that you regain a courage that you remember from your innocence. A child, taking strides to walk, toward independence. A soldier, marching into the world, armed to take it over. The child falls, cries, gets back up determined to walk. The solider falls, locked and loaded, armed to assess the surroundings with emotions in check and gets up again. It is the rising that we determine our worth.

It’s not easy, either, to be hurt by someone else. You meet someone, throw caution to the wind, give more than you have to give. There is a subtle danger and a strong beauty in loving because you’ve never been hurt. Musicals make sense when you’re on the love drug. You associate elation with childhood happiness. The world opens up and surprise there’s only two of you out of the bazillions of people in the world, and you met in this lifetime. The new car smell, I love that smell. The only problem is that after a while you get comfortable enough to start eating McDonald’s in it. Instead of a monthly tune-up, you opt instead to overlook it altogether because the oil light hasn’t lit up. You ignore the signs of maintenance. You even ignore the signs that maybe the car you bought isn’t safe, at all. The used car dealer, which in this case would be the heart, fooled that gut feeling that something just wasn’t right. The price was too high all along, but you got lured in by the speed in which the car could achieve. Not to mention, it looked sharp and the leather seats heated your ass. Have you ever left those seat heaters on, dangerously, longer than you should? It burns like a good seat heater should.

I guess what I’m alluding to is life is an easier path when you realize that there are people who just don’t walk the same as you. Some walk slower, some take the shortcut, some push others out-of-the-way, and some never begin. It doesn’t matter, at the finish line, who walked, ran, or stumbled, quicker or better. In the end, we all cross it one way or another–together or separate. We may as well cross it understanding that it’s okay to walk in your own shoes. I don’t know about you but I wear a size 8 and while on certain occasions I can get away with a 7 1/2, I have never been able to wear a 9 and if I tried I felt like a clown and forget about a size 7…all that does is hurt.

Days go by…

We compartmentalize time into past, present, and future, where the events of our life (even the uneventful) flow into one of these three buckets; the conventional view of time.  Perhaps this is why we spend so much time mourning the past and awaiting the future, while life happens (present).  I like my symmetry, and with every moment having a turn at the present there was a shot that the past might not be so bad and if it was, then the future gave another chance for a present moment.  This gave me hope, which became freewill’s scapegoat.

We move on, don’t we.  Hands you used to see daily, interlock with someone else.  Moments shared become benchmarks of time remembered solo.  Images in photos are mannequins in disguise. Memories of childhood are more vivid than they were in real time.  Technicolor versus black and white, images are recalled best in both for very different reasons.

I got confused for so long because of death.  There was a past, present, but no future for the deceased.  It wasn’t until I realized that after someone dies, the deceased, they remain only for the loved ones left behind.  Their future is merely in us.  We carry it on with us until our death, then someone else carries us along.  Past and present…what if we’re not afforded a future? Two’s.  Symmetry.

 

Dear Jeffrey, 3 days until you’re 28…

I’ve learned that choices define you and (in more ways than even I can understand) others are contingent upon who I am to define parts of them.  Like you, Jeffrey, the choices you made while you were walking this earth presented choices that may not have been presented to me otherwise.  Some choices are poor and you can never take back, but at least they’re yours.  Though, a choice that takes away the choice of another is – in a lot of ways – a mortal sin that destroys the grace of not just the one left without choice but all those contingent upon. This becomes a domino effect of freewill genocide.

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, and sometimes I knew good-and-well I was making them (I file these under the ‘mistakes I knew I was making’). However, today my soul rings of the voices and experiences in my life that moved me…changed me in one way or another…leading me closer to my truth.  I’m no longer in a goose hunt for truth searching frantically for instant gratification at the expense of others.  Truth journeyed into my heart.  It’s within me already and so many others contribute to it.  In so long as I am honest with myself, I’m honest with the world and putting forth energy that builds meaning.  I admire you, Jeffrey.  The energy you put forth into the world had such unequivocal grace, and that choice defines me and has become my only weapon.

Eternally grateful,

Sissy

Be here now.

I promised my mother that I would write this post.  We had a lengthy phone conversation the other night that veered into somewhat of a spiritual commentary on growing up.  I had mentioned how, at thirty-two, I finally felt free of my past and how I had changed to living in the present.  Whether I had sought out those from my past that I had somehow hurt along the way or been hurt by and had dissolved the lingering karma of the relationships, or if I couldn’t – they weren’t to be found or whatever the reason – then I had come to terms with it and found closure.  There wasn’t a single person that had passed through that I hadn’t fully experienced – for better or worse – and grown from and released whatever existed from that.   Resolved to the now, and here I stood on equal footing ground to my karma.

I trust that life will take care of me even in the downward cycles in so long as I am evolving into the person I can become.  If you’re doing that you’ll be able to roll with the punches.  There was a specific period in my life – circa 2006 – when nothing seemed to be in my favor.  I was reaping some hardcore karma that year with the discovery of my brother’s remains, the end of a three-year relationship, and living in NYC without a single relative or close friend.  That year was tough, and to top it off I was wildly spending in the nightlife to overcompensate for my loneliness.  I had a few holes in my pocket so-to-speak and all my money had fallen out of it.  There were lots to worry about, certainly, but even at my lowest the universe would show me small signs of hope like the ten-dollar bill I would find amidst the overpopulated streets of NYC.

Signs, they are everywhere if you pay attention and let them guide you. I have a playing card thing…I find them, randomly, but yet nearly perfectly orchestrated to find them when I need to.  My mom says God has a weird sense of humor, and this is evident when I find a playing card in the middle of the train tracks.  Sure, it’s pull is strong and it means something to me.  I consider jumping down into the track and swiping it up just to see what it needs to tell me but then I would probably get hit by a train.  Instead, I trust that the world is sending me a sign…I don’t need to know what it is but I just need to have faith that everything will be okay.  No longer am I foolish enough to jump into a train track for tangible proof – I’ve been ran over like that one too many times.  Here and now, I just laugh inside and realize how far I’ve come and I trust that life is good even when it’s bad.

We are the architects of happiness…

It’s true, karma.  I go round ‘n round with it (no pun intended) because I’m impatient with a short fuse (and very human), but part of my core beliefs are rooted in this basic law of moral causation.  Without getting all metaphysically Kant and breaking down the foundational principle of morals, I’ll be the first to tell you that ‘What I ought to do’ isn’t always what I do and I certainly have reaped what I have sown.  I’ve also, in life, felt a great moral ‘duty’ and made choices that countered my desires or interest for the sake of Karma caching.  Karma can be defined by the cause and effects of any thought, word, or deed of moral and immoral volition.

“If we are to assume that anybody has designedly set this wonderful universe going, it is perfectly clear to me that he is no more entirely benevolent and just in any intelligible sense of the words, than that he is malevolent and unjust.” – Aldous Huxley

Alas, The Law of Karma is merely one of the many conditions of my own personal philosophies and one of the twenty-four in Buddhist philosophy.  Applying this to religion: Being created by an Almighty God who controls our destinies and predetermines our future, or being produced by an irresistible Karma that completely determines our fate and controls our life’s course, independent of any free action on our part, is essentially the same. The only difference lies in the two words God and Karma. One could easily be substituted for the other, because the ultimate operation of both forces would be identical.” (‘The Theory of Karma’ by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw).

I’m not writing this post as a teaching of any particular spirituality no matter how Buddhist-slanting it may come off. I’m merely writing this because this morning I woke up and made a dreadful call to the customer service department of my bank.  When the customer satisfaction representative (as they are now called, but as we all know they should – typically – be called customer dissatisfaction representatives) got on the phone I was fully prepared to launch into my unsatisfied customer diatribe, take down a badge number, and ask to speak to a supervisor, but today didn’t require packing the heat.  In a rare and tingly-happy-believe-in-the-world-again turn of events, he (why is it that we only remember the identifying details of those that wrong us and not those that generate goodwill?) not only satisfied the customer but he went above-and-beyond to set in motion the events of a brilliant day.  He not only took away a nuisance, he took away the entire burden and then wished me a blessed day. This first interaction in my day created a chain reaction of good and the well-wish to be contented and happy truly did generate not only that but also hope and a moral courage to validate these feelings for someone else.

The kind customer VERY-satisfactory representative inspired not only this posting – my writing – but shaped my circuitous thinking about something I read a couple of weeks ago that prompted an immediate reaction from me and in turn proved to be the gospel – Justine Musk’s ‘who is influencing you, and how? – three degrees of influence, your writing, and you.’

Even if you’re not a writer, you can certainly be inspired and THAT is categorically imperative for me to pass around.  (To get all Kant about it).

“All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states.” – Buddha


The Bullshit of Growth, grab your boots.

Part of me thought the term ‘growing pains’ was bullshit – good TV show though.  Part of being an adult is being able to suspend your thinking and change your mind, and I have changed mine.

It all started around the age of eight or nine when my calf muscles ached something fierce at nighttime, and my Granny Ben would rub Absorbine Jr. on it.  I was in the 40% of children that physically felt their growing pains.  In my bodily defense, I took full advantage of my physical superiority probably more so than most little girls that played with Barbies all day.  Not me, I climbed trees with my boy cousins, ran faster than them, and rode my bike faster than the wind.  Too bad my parents bought me a girlie bike with a banana seat because what I really wanted was a rugged BMX with pegs.

Circa 1988ish – the pinnacle of divorce –  I was struck with the emotional growing pains of…you guessed it…divorce.  I sure wish they made an Absorbine Jr. for that!  Those growing pains were brutal.

When the nineties hit it yet another type of growing pain – physiological ones.  It was an awkward time that I prefer not to delve into again because it fits in like a pair of MC Hammer pants.

College was a time for experimenting of all genres and with this expanded my pant size.  The ego expanded and deflated as appropriate.  Often times reckless abandon for organized anything was merely a gateway to debauchery, and throwing caution to the wind defied everything we learned from our parents.  Didn’t you want them to be so dead wrong (your parents)?  I know I did and this rebellion was a growing pain that was the hardest to realize, but thankfully I eventually did, fixed my credit, and had enough failures to write a book.

Career growth, what can I say about that?  Sometimes you work for ten years to get what the intern that ‘knows’ the president of the company gets in less than a year going from intern to Director, but she hasn’t yet learned what you did in college (not to fall victim to compromising positions).  I’m just saying…she didn’t get there from paying her dues… like you, but then again maybe you’ll wise up and realize you’re now in debt with your soul.  Sometimes you soar, but most of the times what you dream of doing isn’t what pays the bills and growing to be okay with that is a big miserable lesson to learn.  This usually makes you fall victim to lottery tickets and a reintroduction to your college friend, alcohol. I’d take the muscle aches of growing pains any day over this because at least you’re inflicted and unaffected.  If you’re not a pessimist by this point of growth in life you will be, and if you aren’t we’ll who the hell do you think you are (steer clear of the rest of us)?!

I struggled greatly to break away from what was hammered into my head called religion in spirituality’s clothing, and I formed my own private spirituality to which contributes to my happiness.  I’ve learned not to talk about it with my mother, and since she’s my superfan on this  I will skip this too (along with the political section).  Love you mom.

Learning to not argue at impasses was a hard growing pain to get through, but it sure does make life less acrimonious.

Growing pains happen at every beat until your very last one, so you might as well grab the boots and wade through the bullshit.

The World Around Us Disappeared.

 

Those words you wrote,

The words I read,

You bled between the lines,

I’m a slow learner, stubborn you know,

Of course you knew,

Wordsmiths, we were,

You knew I’d catch bloodletting,

In the inflections once I reflect,

Notes we wrote when the world disappeared,

They didn’t outlast life,

But I held on to the one I recently read,

You were a great writer,

Much better than I,

You’ll deny, I know this about you,

Behind the text,

Behind the disguise,

The research,

The creativity,

When the vice downgraded to habit,

And habit to memory,

You kept your promise for no contact,

Your will I never doubt,

My will, wishy-washy,

I would have damaged us more,

The earth cracked,

I fell in,

Never to hear from you again,

You kept your word,

Now I keep mine,

We were never separate entities,

It just took me time,

I’m sorry I took a sledgehammer to your heart,

Pulled out your guts,

Vindictive as I was,

I meant more than I had done,

Wherever you are,

Whoever you are,

You’ve inspired me.

Mutual closure.  Full stop.

 

**This is the prologue to my Women’s Fiction, Romance, book.**

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