Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Brief Discussion on Presence and Happiness

Yesterday I got out of work early—

Now wait a minute. That's a rather sad statement, isn't it?

Really? Don't most people "work for the weekend"? Plus, it was the first day of Spring and the sun was radiant and warm...what a bonus!

Indeed, most people do work for the weekend. In fact, living in the future seems to be a common activity. Consider this sage insight from writer David Cane:
As we grow up we seem to pick up the troublesome habit of ignoring the present moment in favor of more important ones that may happen later. We think about what we have to do in the office while we are still showering. We think about being off work while we are at work. We think about 4:30 when it’s 2:30. We think about Friday when it’s Thursday. (
And while the context is a bit more broad, my good friend (in the sense that I quote him incessantly) Eckhart Tolle also writes, "The ego says: Maybe at some point in the future, I can be at peace—if this, that, or the other happens, or I obtain this or become that" (115). So your statement, "I got out of work early," implies unhappiness with what was your present state of being at work, with the present moment; it implies something akin to to getting out of unfortunate perspective when you consider work typically occupies at minimum roughly 25% of our week. And that's sad.


I'm a reader of Tolle, too. And I'm reminded of his statement that, "Unhappiness is an ego-created mental-emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions" (110). Disease, indeed.

Yes. Tolle might also counsel (and in fact does):
You might say, "What a dreadful day," without realizing that the cold, the wind, and the rain or whatever condition you react to are not dreadful. They are as they are. What is dreadful is your reaction, your inner resistance to it, and the emotion that is created by that resistance. In Shakespeare's words, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (110-111)
Okay. So let me try this again.

Now where was I?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ex Resentment

I must be careful to not beat my "enemies" over the head with Tolle, because I believe doing so is succumbing to the very dysfunctional behavior he describes. At the same time, I seem unable to escape its application to the the life that plays out before my eyes. I try to temper it with the conscious realization that I myself am just beginning this deliberate journey of awakening and am more often than not rather dysfunctionally unconscious myself, or put another way, a dysfunctionally conscious victim of my own unconscious ego.

At any rate, tonight I sat down to read A New Earth and opened to a page where I had randomly placed a piece of mail—not where my bookmark is—and caught him speaking directly to the latest episode I wrote of yesterday.
Complaining is one of the ego's favorite strategies for strengthening itself.... Applying negative mental labels to people, either to their face or more commonly when you speak about them to others or even just think about them, is often part of this pattern. Name-calling is the crudest form of such labeling and of the ego's need to be right and triumph over others: "jerk, bastard, bitch"—all definitive pronouncements that you can't argue with....

Resentment is the emotion that goes with complaining and the mental labeling of people and adds even more energy to the ego.... The ego loves it. Instead of overlooking unconsciousness in others, you make it into their identity ['You are A BIG ASS!!!'].... Sometimes the "fault" that you perceive in another isn't even there. It is a total misinterpretation, a projection by a mind conditioned to see enemies and to make itself right or superior (61-62).
While in this instance, this description perfectly characterizes the behavior of my ex, I not much more than a week ago was engaging in the same. So again, I judge not, but rather work to not react:
Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego.... When you realize it's not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were. By not reacting to the ego, you will often be able to bring out the sanity in others.... At times you may have to take practical steps to protect yourself from deeply unconscious people. Your greatest protection, however, is being conscious. Somebody becomes an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego. Nonreaction is not weakness but strength (62-63).
In truth, this latest explosive outburst from the ex didn't offend me. It surprised me, though. After all, she's the one who introduced me to Tolle, so I expected her to be conscious enough to receive my email without lasting offense. But I'm really not even sure she read it; I had her reply in just six minutes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009



We've both exhibited our fair share of unconsciousness since we first met. Neither of us is more or less guilty. Neither of us is more or less of an asshole. I don't deny that I have been an asshole; in fact, I readily admit that I have been. But that's not who I am. Like you, at my core I am a good person. I wish no evil on you, from myself or anyone else. Yet like you, I do have a habit of behaving badly. Unfortunately for us humans, the recipients of our badly-behaved egos are often the people we're closest to. What's more, we're unconscious of the fact that we're even unconscious! So we often don't even know we're hurting them.

I believe relationships require two things the ego hates: compromise and acceptance, both children of humility. While a "couple," each person is still completely and utterly unique. Harmony—without balanced compromise—is impossible. Unbalanced compromise leads to one of two things: death to self (which births misery), or death to the relationship (which births renewal). Because we will so often fall victim to our own tyrannical egos, we will often err; however, the ego will do everything in its power to deny such. It will also unconsciously hold another's unconscious failures over their head in an effort to puff itself up. And it will refuse to hear: to hear of the other's perspective...for fear of exposure. Yet humility brings acceptance of all these things.

As for me, I'm still dealing with the legal end to what was a 12-year relationship wherein unbalanced compromise and unbalanced acceptance ultimately led to its death and, fortunately, to my renewal. And as I reflected on our drive home, wherein I made myself completely and genuinely vulnerable with you, having to that point in our relationship repeatedly compromised my own needs and at that point accepted my own failures, I found myself in the same position. Your own explicitly stated and clearly demonstrated disinterest in our relationship, coupled with my own reflection, led me to agree it best we move on.

Thankfully, no experience, no relationship—however brief—is for naught. Unquestionably, my life has been enriched by your presence in it...thank you. Know that I do care about you, Jane. And I encourage you in and wish you the best on your journey of awakening.

With love,

Jane's reply...

Its all your fault. You are A BIG ASS!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Out of control

I had another test today, and again I failed. This time I was not as unconscious as normal insofar as I was conscious of the fact that I was failing miserably. Yet my pride (ego) would not yield, not even to an apology after it was done spouting off. It'd rather believe that perhaps the episode will be forgotten by my son (today, twenty years), and if not, well, it wasn't that bad; he'll get over it.

In analyzing Mr. Ego's behavior, I find the trigger of interest. And the shortness of the fuse. As long as my boy's behaving well toward his younger sister, all's well (and this is the case probably 95% of the time). But if she ends up in tears and he's the selfish conniving little culprit behind them, the fuse is lit. I have and show little tolerance for such bad behavior. He is seven, after all; he should have better control of his own ego than I in my forties do.

So a second opportunity for teaching was lost. In stead of helping him to relate better with his sister, I engaged in my own childish tirade. I say "second" because he was witness to my first tantrum yesterday. And that even involved the other party speaking of calling the police.

Wow, what an impression I've made on him in just 24 hours time. His father is out of control.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Soy un perdador

I don't understand it. Or I do. Intellectually, anyway. In any time but the present moment at which I'm suffering under the affliction, it's perfectly clear.
Once you see what you are doing or have been doing, you also see its futility, and that unconscious pattern then comes to an end by itself. Awareness is the greatest agent for change. (Tolle 99)
But in that moment, I'm completely lost, seemingly unable to wrest control from my ego that for some reason—and this is the part I guess I don't understand—is hell bent on self destruction with a complete disregard for my surroundings or the consequences of traveling down whatever road it's taking me. Then after it's had its way—and made a complete fool of me in the process—it relinquishes control and I find myself wondering what the hell happened.

This has happened twice within the past week. In fact, a week ago today, and then again today. I fully acknowledge I have a problem, and I so want to be free of this maniacal ego within me. But at every reflection, I again shake my head in utter unknowingness when considering just how I'm supposed to make that happen. How, when you are in those moments completely unconscious, are you supposed to become conscious?
Only through awareness are you able to see: There is the situation and here is the anger I feel about it, and then realize there are other ways of approaching the situation, other ways of seeing it and dealing with it. (Tolle 69)