Recently my Primary Care ordered a GI imaging test for me. I knew I’d have some time in the waiting room while drinking my barium cocktail so I decided to spend the time catching up on some reading. I grabbed a 2008 edition of Tricycle, the Buddhist magazine. I had bookmarked an article entitled “The Long Journey to the Bow. Overcoming the last great obstacle to awakening: the conceit of self” by Christina Feldman. (http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/long-journey-bow) that I thought was about the loss of the sense of self, which is a subject I study. To my surprise the article was more about the conceit of self, which is a subject I live. It turned out that short piece changed the focus of my spiritual practice. For that reason I share it with as many beings as I can.
The conceit of self, the author (says), is a multi-leveled trap to our ability to practice love and compassion. Within that trap are the dimensions of the Superiority conceit, the Inferiority conceit and the Equality conceit. “…within those 3 dimensions are the worlds of comparing, evaluating and judging.” The most important point is that “the cessation of conceit allows the fruition of empathy, kindness, compassion and awakening.” The point hit me like a ton of bricks. That was what I was missing in my practice, the ability to bow. I can pray and meditate on losing myself to God all the daylong. But until I am willing and able to cease my conceit of self, I can’t continue to another level of my practice. I have to be willing to bow to my fellow beings without the intellectual exercise of judging one way or the other. My new Mantra is now “greater than, less than, equal to, it’s all an illusion.”
I had asked God for mercy but also to allow me to accept. So it felt as if the article was there for me with the right message about what my perspective needs to be. What a gift I was given in that article. Please read the article. I hope you’re able to get just as much from it. Let me know what you think.
I now read the article every day but maybe I should put a copy over my desk at work.
One thought on “The Bow”
One of my daughters found this quote from Jean Paul Sartre and gave it to me on a beautifully designed piece of paper: We Do Not Judge Those We Love.
So simple, so true, yet certainly difficult in a society that is really all about comparing, evaluating, and judging 24-7. It is an act of resistance, I feel, to choose the path of non-comparing, non-evaluating, and non-judgment.