When I move from elementary to high school on the awareness path is when I’m prepared to call myself on my own self-serving agendas, anomalies, failings, losses, defeats, etc.
That’s information that the other party may need in interacting with me, that I usually keep close to my chest as a deep dark secret.
The matter came up for me when I was talking to a female colleague the other day and a cute but randy joke came to mind. I heard myself remark to myself that I’d say that joke to a man but not to a woman.
It may sound too obvious to say that I have a double standard but it certainly isn’t something people might point out about themselves: “Hey, I have a double standard. Whaddya think?” (1) Yah, no, most people might say.
But it got me thinking. How many other double standards, agendas, strategies, ploys, etc., do I have and what’s gained by having them? And I began to look.
In the course of looking, I saw that we end up at this same place if we look at the issue of causality. For instance, the statement of false cause, “You made me mad” is almost universally said – and said as if it were true. (2)
When I was into blaming and shaming others … uhhh, last week … I usually spoke and acted as if what the other person did triggered me and was blameworthy.
As I watched myself, I found that I almost never looked at what I did to the other person that triggered their actions; in other words, what their actions were a response to. I was the victim. I deserved the apology.
I’m pointing to a routine, everyday attitude that is nowhere near up to awareness, existing in what Werner Erhard called “the background of obviousness.” Our awareness usually doesn’t extend near this level of thought and action.
Acting from it, I grew up self-serving. No matter what, I was always hero in my own story.
Part of the vasana that was awakened recently was over a clash of beliefs. I’m hero in my own story and “heroes do not beg.” Holding these two beliefs simultaneously in my mind led to dissonance and instability. I recognize that feeling as common during my years of dissociation.
Some, who have a good talk, are rewarded with fame and fortune. What value or gain is there in calling oneself on one’s own self-serving attitude when society seems more often to reward a good front and a good bluff?
For me, the reward is to be found in consciousness.
I now see consciousness as a field. There are several doors or portals into deeper levels of it.
One of the doors in is exactly this: The willingness to call oneself on one’s own agendas, without molesting the other in the process.
So it boils down to what I want. Do I want the rewards that come from looking good, having a cool rap, and never making a slip? Or do I want the love and bliss that come from the truth, which sets us free?
There’s no contest.
(1) We would and did in growth workshops of the 1970s. It was incredibly freeing.
(2) “You made me mad” is not true.
The willingness to take responsibility for ourselves and our input is fundamental to human growth work.