Mirror, mirror, I miscall;
Who’s the asshole, after all?
Here’s another post that combines a [heavily edited, damn-near-new] passage from Cupside Down with some more recent, related thoughts I’ve had. The CD passage is from a chapter titled, “Take Control.” It is a statement about our need to take responsibility for and reconcile our reactive, self-righteous thoughts and behaviors. Taking a different tack, then, the second segment of this post regards my thoughts on how that which we perceive to be distorted in others is, first and foremost, a distortion within our own minds.
When I look for new books to buy, I commonly explore e-stores. Even if I end up at a brick-and-mortar bookstore, one reason I enjoy the online process is that I am able to see customer ratings and reviews.
Consider Amazon.com which allows customers to view product ratings for any given star number from one through five and the quantity of each.
When a book of interest has many five- and four-star ratings, fewer three- and two-star ratings, and a sudden spike in one-star ratings, it’s not uncommon for me to briefly scan through a few of the one-star reviews.
Why? The humor.
Of course, some reviews are legit. “This book didn’t resonate with me,” or, “I don’t feel this book lived up to all the hype for reasons A, B, and C.” Fine.
Yet, for me, some of them lead to fits of laughter. Granted, these reviewers believe they are being quite serious. But it’s through their seriousness, and zealous ignorance, that they unwittingly create for others a comical diatribe that is not truly in regard to what is defective about a product or the product's creator but defective about their own thought processes.
These people take oh so seriously stuff that they don’t understand and haven't whole-heartedly tried to. So zealous are they in their ways that they completely miss the error in their thinking. Even worse (at least for them), they fail to realize that their intent focus on the stuff they detest is actually encouraging its being. [Energy equals existence.]
Instead of dropping/avoiding/ignoring what hurts and enjoying what doesn’t, they “deliberately” (unconsciously) review despised products with the belief that I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT AND THERE IS NO OTHER WAY; spouting off the most arrogant, despicable, and closed-minded things about them.
Yes, I have control. It’s the others who’re so screwed up. It’s the others who need to be put in their place. It’s the others who don’t understand. That’s why I’m here. Somebody’s gotta tell ‘em. Somebody’s gotta show ‘em the right path.
That ain’t control—it’s reactivity to unchecked mind programming. Free will is nowhere in sight. It’s a form of self-absorption: a mental disorder that drives the mind to identify with the same thoughts over and over and continually re-act them out in the physical world as a means of reaffirming its purported “truth.”
The example I’ve used above may appear to lean toward an extreme. In a way it does. People really do have to be quite egocentric to discredit others in such an unhealthy manner.
Contrarily, these same people are no more than funhouse-mirror reflections of the majority of people on this planet. We all do our own things to excess or deny/avoid them in a suppressive, harmful way. [Think of the chakras; what they represent and the way most people’s are out of balance. See also: Chakras – Theoretically.]
Consequently, as a whole, we have very little (if any) control over our lives.
And on some level, we all know this. Yet for fear of acknowledging it (and then, one would hope, taking steps toward a resolution), we create for ourselves the perception that we do have control. This is done through a shallow and ill-conceived, although amazingly believable, rationalization that what we think, say, and do is justified, conscious, and sane, and thus under our control.
Does this sound out-of-hand? Judgmental?
Because it is? Or because it's a truth we would prefer not to face?
Did you ever notice that we believe ourselves to be right and everyone else to be wrong (at least those who disagree with our preconceived notions about "how life is"), which, strikingly enough, is exactly the way everyone else feels, respectively?
Folks… I was fully there once, too. Then something snapped; my suffering broke me and my ego-mind partially surrendered to Spirit. Thus began my process of self-cultivation and my awakening into the deeper truths, reality, and experiences of life.
One of the sadly comical conclusions of this is: I was dead wrong. I was dead #$@%-ing wrong about nearly everything. Yet, before I snapped, I “couldn’t” see this. I willed myself not to. I did my personal "extremist" things every day of the year like I was getting paid for it. My mental defense mechanism (ego) made certain that fault would always lay on the other guy.
And, guess what? I’m no different than anyone else. Our rationalizations, the flaws in our thinking—they’re as bountiful as the sands on the shore, as common as the grass on a prairie, as frequent as the waves of an ocean, as uncountable as the stars in the sky. We’ve all got ‘em. Lots of 'em. And until we own up to our attachment to them and make a solid detachment therefrom, not a single one of us is making it out alive.
If we examine our lives very closely—yes, so very closely that it hurts (hurts what isn't truly "who I am," mind you)—we will find that most of our behavior (if not all of it) is not truly of free will but the result of fear, conditioning, false belief, and whatever other things which, although they may appear very real (or very nonexistent), have substance only in our limiting mind patterns.
There are myriad possibilities by which these patterns play out in each of our daily lives; by which our conscious free will choice is subjugated by forces we are most likely unaware of yet reside within our very selves.
Like an umbrella, these faulty patterns cover all aspects of life to a greater or lesser degree. We certainly don’t have to be “that guy” on Amazon in order for this to apply. And barring those who have self-cultivated to the highest degree, no man is an exception.
Remember: “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:2)
In other words, the man who thinks he already knows, the man who thinks he has little if anything left to learn—about science, religion, history; life, others, his own self; or whatever—because he's on the "One-True-Way Train" is more ignorant than anyone. He criticizes harshly because he thinks he knows. If he knew truly, he would realize that his self-righteous ways (which will likely seem quite acceptable to him) are simply a mirror of his own inner-discord and his lack of control over his own thoughts, words, and actions.
To think that one "knows" anything, to believe that one "knows" anything, it to trap one's self in a place of deepest ignorance.
Speaking of Mirrors…
I would highly recommend buying Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is. After you buy it, even greater is my recommendation that you read it.
In the book, or more specifically, in her process called “The Work,” on which the book is based, there is an interesting thing at the end of the process which she calls the “Turnaround.” The basic idea is to take what had been noted in prior steps of “The Work” and mirror what you’d discovered from several different angles.
For example, if I’d written down that: Jane is annoying because she’s always complaining, I would now write down and consider that: I am annoying because my mind is always complaining. (True.)
If the parallel isn’t obvious here, it will be should you choose to take my recommendations above and do “The Work” for yourself. For when this parallel and all its value is realized in a completely personal, intimate manner, the effects can be most profound.
Ever since I’ve done “The Work” myself, the idea that external judgment is simply a mirror of internal judgment has become increasingly obvious.
Often enough, this slips right by me as I attach to any given thought about an unfolding situation or another person’s behavior, and I place blame where no blame should ever be placed. But I must say that it can be funny to catch myself and others in the act (not that I tell those other).
Like the other day I caught myself absorbed in thinking about how much someone else I know over-thinks things…
In another instance, I listened as someone complained heavily about a group of acquaintances who complain heavily about their group of acquaintances. Out of the blue, the thought arose, And what are you doing?
It’s amazing, really, the way we judge, reject, condemn, and complain about others for their apparently distorted ways, but as soon as the environment changes to more personally “hospitable” conditions, we end up doing the very same things.
To leave you with a smile (or, dare I say it, perhaps a frightening reflection of your own life situation)…
When I was in college, there was a particular couple who had a rather rocky relationship. One day they were shouting at each other in the hallway. The guy had said something the girl didn’t agree with. The girl barked back at her boyfriend with: “Don’t you ever call me a bitch, you fucking asshole!”