Who am I talking to?

eknutson's picture

Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

With the election season in the US ramping up into full gear it’s easy to get caught up in the indignation and self-righteousness of the accusations being hurled left and right. And yes, the pun was intended.

Lately I’ve found myself getting lost in the moments alone, arguing one point or another against some fictitious adversary. This imaginary discussion increases the more the TV is left on at home - pumping my ego full of fuel, spinning around itself trying to best some non-existent debater on an irrelevant and unimportant point. In the car, in the shower, working at my desk… just about anywhere my mind can sit and start spewing out junk.

This all came to a head last week my wife turned to me while I was saying something nasty to the talking head on the TV and said “you’re no fun to be around when you get like this.”

Ouch. Worse than the sting of someone telling me I’m not likable during a time when my ego was out looking for a fight was the realization of the overwhelming urge to turn my aggression towards my spouse. I wanted to scream, cry, and run away all because of who I saw when I looked at myself.

I took a deep breath and stopped. I realized that I was losing a battle with my ego in that moment, and in other moments like it, and something needed to be done.

Who am I?

And therein lies the secret to everything, going beyond and also to the core of the election season: Letting go of my conversations with ‘myself’ (which is really my ego chatting with and to my own ego) allows my true self to shine. For me it’s not that the true self isn’t there, but rather that the true self is covered up by my ego as it tries to be heard and therefore will itself into existence.

It is in this realization - that nothing that I am fixated on truly matters - that gives me the ‘grace of God.’ That calmness of being that comes from the realization that each and every one of us is of the Divine, and that no one is my enemy. The knowing that only love and caring for others matters. That my goal should be to ease the suffering of all people, not just those that make my ego feel superior.

This lesson for me is greater than the issues of today, it is the issue of all time. It is times like this that I am humbly grateful for Ramana Maharshi, the Dhali Llama, Christ, and all of the teachings I have been presented in my life.

shira's picture

Thnaks eknutson! Remarkable

Thanks eknutson! Remarkable is your ability to share your stories of how you derive your personal development from simple daily events(like also in the case of the BK woman). It is a wonderful gift.

shira | Fri, 09/12/2008 - 15:52
Omkaradatta's picture

Begs the question...

I'm just curious, why you're watching so much election coverage if you know what effect it has on you? ;-). Maybe that's the primary culprit, rather than something you can't control directly like your thoughts. You say 'something needs to be done', how 'bout turn off the TV set?

From my guru: "Detach yourself from all that makes your mind restless. Renounce all that disturbs its peace. If you want peace, deserve it." - Nisargadatta, I Am That

P.S. I don't mean to be too hardcore on this forum, but lately reading comments such as "life is a great laboratory to perform experiments"... 'you' at least realize "this is it", right, not a lab experiment but the only life there is?

Eight or nine months ago, I was sitting around locked in my bedroom, more or less dying. Maybe that's what it takes to propel us into the Now, something like that.


Omkaradatta | Fri, 09/12/2008 - 17:29
eknutson's picture

So true =)

Many thanks, I am thankful to be able to share what I have, and add it to the pot that is our shared experiences. I too am a great fan of your posts =)

Yes, turning off the TV is part of it (and I did just that, in fact). Certainly abstinence from that which distracts us, feeding our egos and removing us from the Now is important. I completely agree.

I believe it is only part of it for me. The heart of the issue is not what is outside of us coming in (and thus we simply turn it off), but rather how we respond to these stimuli as well. By letting things pass through me, instead of fighting them or resisting them, I can more alertly experience each 'now' (arguably, there is only ever one now, of course).

I used the election because it was eye opening for me and the actual event that 'snapped' me awake about where I was and what I was doing. But my conclusion applies in many more parts of my life as well: At work putting together a collaborative work effort where I may or may not agree with others on the team or their motivations. At home raising our child when he is being difficult and it is easier to blame than to accept. Away for the weekend with my family of origin working out issues with my brothers and parents. The list goes on and on, and is by no means limited to this particular event.

By the way (and with a genuine nod of understanding and respect), I too was once near-death. I truly believe that such a sharp juxtaposition of real and unreal, life and death, pain and bliss, is responsible for my state of mind today. So perhaps yes, that is what it takes. A bottom of sorts, where we look at our egos and come to the conclusion 'something needs to change.'

Thank you for your insights and sharing =)


eknutson | Fri, 09/12/2008 - 19:12
joy's picture

Life is the main laboratory to perform experiments

And then one day you turn on the TV and all past conditionings related to this TV will return at once. Not coping with the distractions and triggered conditionings, just trying to avoid the distractions does not yield anything - The mind remembers, the conditionings are still here, the reactions are still set to go.

The way is not to run away from the source of distraction, not to be terrified from the conflict with the distractions but to process the distractions, observe and not react to them by being detached while they are. Otherwise you just fool yourself.

This indeed by all means does not mean sitting in front of the TV for hours like the typical American does. Indeed we need to detach mentally from this mean and manipulative pictures box but not to run away, there is a big difference.

Maharaj himself went as some point to the Himalayas, wishing to be a wandering ascetic abandoning his bhidi shops and family. He then realized that this is not the right approach (with the help of someone he met on the way) and returned to Mumbai.

And, life is indeed a great laboratory to perform experiments. I like this phrase. Actually, it is the main laboratory to perform experiments. Trying to avoid this laboratory is usually a phase rooted in some tacit fear (from people, from conflicts, from self responsibility, from coping, from facing criticism etc.) but at some point, if you are fortunate, you realize that you are just escaping. Escaping always prove as a bad policy as, by definition, your escaping itself keeps you under the control of the something you are escaping from, in this context, life.

joy | Fri, 09/12/2008 - 23:17
Omkaradatta's picture


"And then one day you turn on the TV and all past conditionings related to this TV will return at once."

Only if you're interested. People here seem very focused on getting rid of conditionings, but lose interest in them and they go away... it's really quite simple. Nisargadatta said something to the effect of "it doesn't matter what is the mind you leave behind, as long as you leave it behind for good".

"Not coping with the distractions and triggered conditionings, just trying to avoid the distractions does not yield anything..."

Are you aware that "coping" is an ego strategy, and desiring a yield of some sort is as well? This is about giving up, surrendering, letting go, not coping with something and getting something out of that.

"And, life is indeed a great laboratory to perform experiments. I like this phrase."

Perhaps one will like that kind of concept, until they're in the Now and realize they themselves are life, not separate from it. Until then, there will appear to be a separation -- you are 'in' life, apart from it somehow, using it or something. This is not different from the 'business as usual' view, however. Everybody seems to view life this way, at least until a 'wake up call' of some sort arrives.


Omkaradatta | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 02:29
joy's picture


You are right my friend but I'm not that advanced :-) I'm a simple person. Merely hearing the ideas does not provoke any realization in me. I need the mental tips and tricks such as self enquiry, meditations, observation, etc. (Ramana and others formed the techniques and the tricks precisely for this purpose and for people like me who account I believe 95% of the people).

These tools I use to experiment in real time in the big laboratory of life in which I'm the laboratory monkey. These advanced me magnificently. This was the way I realized that I'm not the body, this was the way i stopped identifying with my thoughts, this was the way I let go past emotions and addictions, this was the way I started loving people rather than being afraid of them, this was the way relationships started to form.

My purpose is not to get enlightened, nor any other conceptual state that I cannot speak about. I have no aim other maybe to get more and more happy, or even not that, to get more and more quiet and this I constantly have achieved thanks to these wonderful and simple tricks from the east. They have improved my quality of life dramatically and systematically.

joy | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 02:54
Omkaradatta's picture


"I'm not that advanced :-) I'm a simple person."

You're very complicated, if you're an 'ordinary' person. The more 'advanced', the simpler you are ;-). I feel as though I'm nothing but Being, here and now. Even that's too complicated a description :-p.


Omkaradatta | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 03:15