Thursday, February 4, 2016

self and other

photos taken during a walk before sunrise
Yesterday Lohbado woke up to a layer of wet snow and sleet, which turned to rain. Soon the streets were sloshing wet, with pools of water at intersections. Lohbado wore rubber boots and waded through puddles. It brought back memories of when he was a boy and back lanes were in use. He remembered making boats out of paper and sticks and floating them down streams of water in the back lane. Dramatic weather changes from one week to the next reminded Lohbado of life changes and the nature of self.  

Sense of self is a mental process which occurs in relation to other. Nothing can be defined without referring to something else. A person might feel tall next to a shorter person, until an even taller person comes along, then one might feel short. To define anything requires words and concepts referring to objects and situations. A definition involves description of this in relation to that. 

How to define self... start with the body. The body is a space filler. Self also involves mental events. Self could be a focal point of sensations. One has a sense of being somebody experiencing thoughts and sensations. Each thought has an object referring back to a sense of self. Self imposes personal filters, such as like, dislike or indifference.

In relation to the seven billion on planet earth, the individual is like a grain of sand. Suffering could be reduced and smoother interaction occur from understanding the dynamic of self and other, of oneself in the world. Suffering increases as one believes one is somehow superior, the illusion of ego. Reality won’t support such an illusion. If one insists on being superior, it usually results in conflict and frustration. 

Exaggerated ego occurs when one feels privileged by virtue of being oneself. A confused self might say “I am me,” and feel special by virtue of being me, as if being me is something only I can experience, as if nobody else has a similar sense of feeling “I am me,” as if I am in a superior position to others because only I know what it’s like to be me. The person might adopt an attitude: “I think, therefore it’s true. I know what is best. Those who disagree are foolish or bad. I know I’m right because I thought about it. My thoughts don’t lie.”

To understand the nature of ego could dispel the illusion or break the spell which keeps one trapped in a limited world of hope and fear, conflict, desire, frustration and stupor. As one’s understanding matures one could feel more connected to people and things. One’s mind and heart could open. If one's ego is not such a big deal, if one realizes there's nothing to prove and nobody to impress, one could become more patient, cheerful, understanding, intelligent and compassionate. To learn about oneself and the world requires effort and discipline. It’s good to relax a little each day and to reflect or contemplate existence. What exactly is going on?

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