Beat Yourself Up Much? How to Work With Perfectionism & Tongue Lashings.



Spiritual practice is not about being a goody-to-shoes. 

Too many people tongue lash themselves for not being able to induce a complete state of cognitive arrest. To sit on the meditation cushion and try to achieve a state of perfect thoughtlessness is to try to become unnaturally good. Meditation practice is about recognizing the vastness of who you actually are. In practice, we see just how spacious our true Life really is.

We do not have to react to everything that pops up. It is the ego that reacts to every little thing. It is the ego that is uncomfortable in its own skin. It is the ego that gets pissy about the fact that we have an ego. It is the ego that sits around bitching about how we are not perfect, and when we realize that we have been sitting there beating ourselves up, it is the ego that beats us up for wasting our time. We have all been broken into many pieces and divided against ourselves. This internal dialog feels more like a never-ending war, and our minds feel like a battlefield.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Meditation is really a practical and loving approach to this state of division and unrest, the egoic mind. In practice, we see first hand that we do not have to react to the fact that we react to everything that pops up. We can be comfortable with the ego sort of flopping around in space. We can see it pitching a fit and just let it do that without reacting, responding, or suppressing. In fact, it is our reaction that intensifies the situation. It is like spanking a small child and telling them to stop crying. When we respond, we just fill the gap with noise. Eventually, our heads feel like they are going to explode. The fit is a thought or series of thoughts. But so is our irritation with it. So is any attempt to react, respond, or suppress. You cannot think your way out of an addiction to thinking. It is a vicious cycle. Where can you go for Refuge?

Turn your attention towards the body, towards your heart. This is your refuge. There you will find the stillness you crave. The body is perfectly silent and always available. Learn to look past thought, not silence it. The heart is always meditating. It never stops and you can sit with it whenever you like. If we see this, then we will notice that there is always enough room. That is the basic message.

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