With this inquiry, I noticed I had an agenda beyond finding what is really true for me in the present, and this created a discomfort. Which, when brought into awareness, helps me stay more sincere. It is feedback, and my job is just to bring it into awareness.
I am better or worse than others.
- Yes (Certainly feels that way sometimes.)
- No (Cannot know for sure.)
- What happens when I believe that thought?
I feel separated from others. I look for evidence for being better or worse than others. At the same time, I know it is not true – the idea of better and worse is just an idea, an overlay of what is.
How do I treat myself?
I am better: Congratulate myself. But also see that everything that I can possibly congratulate myself about is given – there are infinite causes to each one, reaching back to the beginning of time and the extent of the universe. Nothing really has to do with me.
I am worse: Beat myself up. Feel depressed. Think it will never change. Is hopeless.
How do I treat others?
I am better: Arrogance. Superiority. Don’t listen to what the other person is saying. Don’t expect to learn anything from the other person. Ignore whatever wisdom may be there.
I am worse: Apologetic. Try to avoid talking about the areas where I see myself as worse. Try to hide the areas where I see myself as worse, or try to avoid contact in the first place. Try to avoid standing out.
What is the payoff?
Get to feel separate. Get to feel right, whether I see myself as better or worse. Get to be confused as I believe in the idea of better or worse, and yet know it is not true.
Confusion. Sense of separation. Sense of stuckness.
How have I lived my life, believing in that thought?
Better: In arrogance, lack of receptivity to others as they are and what I can learn from them. Try to get attention. Also shame, since I know it is based on nothing.
Worse: In shame, in trying to hide, trying to avoid being seen and exposed.
- Who would I be without that belief?
I would be clear. Who I am. Free from stories of how I am better or worse than others (or myself in the past, or a potential future). Free to join humanity more fully, to see myself in everyone. See that we are all in the same boat. Sense of connection and intimacy with others, myself and life. Receptive to others and what I can learn from them.
- (a) I am not better or worse than others.
Yes, that is as or more true. We all share the same qualities (as far as I can tell). Anything expressed in/through any human being has infinite causes, reaching back to beginning of time and the furthest reaches of space. It is not personal. Also, it is all expressions and manifestations of life (or the universe, reality, existence, God, Spirit, the Ground).
(b) My thinking make me look better or worse than others.
Yes, that is more true. It is my thinking that creates stories of better or worse. And this is also what creates the confusion, since different thoughts and stories say different things, and none of them correspond with what appears more true for me in my immediate experience.
(c) My thinking does not make me look better or worse than others.
Also true. It is only the attachment to – the belief in – the thoughts that creates the experience of better or worse. The thoughts themselves are innocent.