-- Albert Einstein
"Compassion and resilience are not, as we might imagine, rarefied human qualities available only to the saintly... In fact, these essential and universally prized human qualities can be solidly cultivated
Moments before, I had proclaimed with utter certainty that my take on the facts at hand was absolutely the truth of the matter. Then, quite quickly, Reality asserted itself. My certitude that my friend was "wrong," and that I was "right," disintegrated in the clear light of a sunny day.
Thankfully, she was gracious and didn't skewer me for, once again, not immediately noticing the tightness in my chest -- and shutting up to pay better attention to the emergence of ego's hard headed clinging to its limited point of view.
The tightness in my voice was the first clue. My eyes soon verified that I had to give it up. My take was clearly mistaken.
Whew. Once again, the Universe had pointed out that who I am at any one moment, how I'm seeing things and being, is likely to be just a bad habit. Thankfully, these days I can bow to that reality with a grin.
I blame the Practice for that.
The Real Deal
Over the years, it has become more and more obvious to me how much of our lives are dictated by habit. Although it may not feel like it, who we are is not a fixed, free standing, independently existing, reality. Our current "point of view" emerges from a cauldron of causes and conditions, many of them beyond our ken -- or our control. Encountering our lives through what Albert Einstein called an "optical illusion" of consciousness, we learn to experience ourselves as fundamentally separate from everything -- and everybody -- else.
Lost in our thoughts and conditioned feelings, driven by a set of deeply ingrained, often subconscious, beliefs about ourselves and the world, we rarely are Present to the deeper dimension of life that exists in each and every moment. The noise in our heads resonates with the noise in the world. It dominates our attention. Oblivious to the subtle energies dancing within the infinite space and silence of each and every moment, we suffer.
All this is nothing more --and nothing less than -- a bad habit.