With ourselves as the enemy, we will find no peace, whether this is a small internal war of expectations on ourselves or the bigger fight with the outer world or people in it, and as someone who has fought both, I can promise you there is no winning.
Anger creates anger, just as my now 7-year-old keeps finding out. No one responds well to being hit or shouted at. Least of all me. I may be a yogi on the mat, but off the mat I am quick tempered verbal ninja and a human, and I will snap too. Which makes for a long and pointless sense of regret as we all turn on ourselves for our unchecked responses.
“In our charade with ourselves we pretend that our war is not really war. We have changed the name of the War Department to the Défense Department and call a whole class of nuclear missiles Peace Keepers!”
― Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
It takes time to learn the tricks of the trade to calm the mind before it implodes or explodes, and as someone who was brought up Buddhist and who has studied the mind and yoga for the last 20 something years, it is never a completed task. As a part of an ever-Increasing sense of entitlement creeps in our every interaction, it is imperative that we learn this skill for the sake of everyone.
“We are drawn to the fleeting over the foundational, to instant gratification over long-term obligations, to self-satisfaction ahead of meeting the needs of others. We want, expect, and desire our wants and needs to be met (often instantly) while often feeling no obligation to respond in kind.”
— David John Robson (Postmodern Spirituality in the Age of Entitlement)
Sidebar story of me bring a dick at a restaurant, and expectations.
I was out with a friend last week for brunch, where I was hungry due to rushing around for whole morning and forgetting to eat as usual. I found myself ordering “Veggie breakfast, no eggs, and replace them with Halloumi” to which the waiter said “no we don’t do Halloumi” then I say ” I know you don’t have it on the menu, but you can replace the eggs with halloumi” she said “no we don’t do halloumi, it’s not on the menu” “Ok” I said “I just wanted cheese with my breakfast, and I know you must have Halloumi in the kitchen, as it is on every menu, so please can you just get it for me”.
“What we feel, and think will determine what we experience, which will in turn influence what we feel and what we think, in a never-ending cycle.”
GET ME CHEESE! GET ME THE F&*KING CHEESE! (luckily this bit was only in my very crazy head)
I am ashamed of this interaction because I cannot remember when I became this rude and thought it was okay to be this crazy. I was inches away from going into the kitchen and showing her the halloumi in the fridge and cutting a piece off, when she said “we don’t actually have any in the kitchen” as if reading my mind. I didn’t believe her for minute. But even I sensed this was getting a little mad. And so shut up.
“Intelligent and educated people are less likely to learn from their mistakes, for instance, or take advice from others. And when they do err, they are better able to build elaborate arguments to justify their reasoning, meaning that they become more and more dogmatic in their views. Worst still, they appear to have a bigger “bias blind spot,” meaning they are less able to recognize the holes in their logic.”
— David Robson (The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes)
Now I have reasoned that I am menopausal, premenstrual, nerodiverse, and Hungary. But even with all of that, I am still being a dick. And I have to live with me every day as does the world.
“The unweakened mind tends to make war against the way things are. To follow a path with heart, we must understand the whole process of making war within ourselves and without, how it begins and how it ends. War’s roots are in ignorance. Without understanding we can easily become frightened by life’s fleeting changes, the inevitable losses, disappointments, the insecurity of our aging and death. Misunderstanding leads us to fight against life, running from pain or grasping at security and pleasures that by their nature can never be satisfying.”
― Jack Kornfield,
As an unweakened mind I can confirm that I did get a piece of lesser cheese, for those of you looking an end to that story and it made me sad to eat it. I was reminded of a quote one of my lovely student/teachers posted which made me stop and catch myself.
“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
~ Arundhati Roy
There is so much happening internally and externally on a both big and small scale, it is important for us all to really engage our own humanity, and compassion. For it is only when we can see our bias, our crazy, our anger that we will have any chance to change it.