Monthly Archives: February 2013

Subtleties of the ‘ego’ 自我意識的微妙之處

Part 1 – This article
Part 2

Yesterday Wolfgang gave me an advice that impacted me deeply. He told me that he saw that I am more and more enjoying being asked for advice by people and that that is indeed a beautiful thing, but that I should be careful not to get caught up in teacher-student relationships or to (subtly) create them. What I understood from what he was telling me was that I should not walk the path of the ‘ego’, because on that path I will not create beautiful situations for myself.

This advice came as a shock to me at first because I did not see what caused him to to say this to me. Over the day that shock slowly made way for the fear that I am doing or going to do things that will unnecessarily hurt me. This topic remained on my mind for the rest of the day but I was not able to pinpoint why I still felt startled and fearful.

About three hours ago I woke up and sat down for my meditation practice. I immediately started crying, because I was overwhelmed by sadness and fear. I was observing these emotions and suddenly saw the unmet need from which they were coming. That seeing came in the form of the following thought:

I only want to serve others and not myself. It is true that I have started to serve myself.

It became clear to me that I had started to entertain the idea that I am a teacher. What is really, really interesting is that you can find evidence of that thinking on this blog.

  • At first I was a little bit shy in this thinking, and I wrote “I have been working with one of my ‘students’ on his lack of confidence” in the article No man ever steps in the same river twice.
  • Then a few weeks later I had come to full acceptance of this idea and wrote “Just yesterday one of my students asked me (…)” in the article Traffic light reasoning.

I am truly amazed to see how this thought slowly entered my thinking and speech. It is so subtle that I did not notice it myself! Two things I have learned through this are how subtle the operation of the mind is and how fruitful it is to have friends around you who can help you to see what you have not yet seen.

After my meditation practice I went through a short moment of subtle self-condemnation. I told myself that I had become vain. When I noticed that I was passing judgement on myself, I asked myself a simple question: “What need was being fulfilled by thinking in this way?” That question freed me from judging myself because I discovered that I have a need for self-esteem and respect, and I saw that I was trying to find that in the one place where I will never find it: in others.

This learning experience has given me a deeper understanding into the nature of the ‘ego’ and I will write about that in a follow-up article. To be continued!

Part 1 – 本文
Part 2

昨天沃夫岡(Wolfgang)給了一個對我影響深遠的忠告。他說他看得出來,我越來越享受人們尋求我的建議,而這也的確是一件美妙的事。但是 我應當小心,不要陷入師生關係的圈套,或者不自覺地建立這樣的關係。我從他的話中理解到,我不應該走上「自我意識」或「小我」(Ego)的道路,因為在小我的路上,我無法為自己創迼美好的情境。

一開始聽到這個忠告時,我感到相當震驚,因為我不明白究竟是什麼原因,使得沃夫岡這麼說。漸漸地,我的震驚轉為害怕,我害怕我所做的或將要做的事情,會對我產生不必要的傷害。這個念頭佔據我心裡一整天,但我卻一直無法明確指出為何如此驚嚇害怕。

大約三個小時前,我起床然後開始靜坐。我一坐下來就開始哭泣,內心的悲傷和害怕完全籠罩著我。我觀察內心這些情緒,突然間意識到,這些情緒之所以產生,是有一些未被滿足的需求。這個觀察是這樣的:

我只是想為他人服務,而不是為了自己。但我的確開始為自我服務。

我漸漸清楚理解,我開始有著「我是老師」的想法。有趣的是,你可以在我的網誌上找到這樣想法的證據。

  • 一開始,我對這個想法還有持保留態度,所以我在沒有人重複踏入同樣的河流這篇文章寫著:「我和一位『學生』討論缺乏自信的問題。
  • 又過了幾個星期,我開始完全接受這個想法,所以我在紅綠燈思考法這篇文章裡寫著:「昨天我的一位學生問我…

我驚訝地發現,這個想法漸漸地出現我的思考和言談中。這個轉變如此的細微,甚至我自己都沒有察覺!從這裡,我學習到心智的運行是如此的細微,而擁有能夠幫助你認清盲點的朋友,是多麼值得的一件事!

在靜坐練習之後,我短暫地責備自己。我對自己說,我變得虛榮了。但當我察覺這樣的自我批評時,我向自己提出一個簡單的問題:「當我這麼想時,我的哪些需求獲得了滿足?」這個問題使得我從自責中解脫,因為我發現,我有擁有自尊心和尊重的需求,而我也發現,我卻從那些永遠無法滿足這些需求的地方去尋找:他人身上。

這個學習經驗,使我對於「小我」的本質有更深刻體會,在接下來的文章裡,我會再談談和這有關的觀察。未完待續!

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A beggar in disguise 國王還是乞丐?

Here’s a wonderful story that illustrates the point I made in my previous post about inner strength.

A certain king heard news of a master who was dwelling near the woods not far from his palace. When the king heard about the simple lifestyle of the master, who lived as a beggar underneath a tree, he decided that he should pay the master a visit.

When the king arrived, he was pained by the fact that the master was not at all concerned about him. Turning to anger, the king said: “Don’t you know who I am, you foolish man? I am the king of these lands and you are a mere beggar! Show me the proper respects!”

The master smiled, looked up and said: ”Is it not you who is begging for my respects?”

這是一個很棒的故事,它能夠說明我在之前文章 提到的內在力量。

某個國王聽聞有個大師住在離王宮不遠處的森林裡。當國王得知這位大師在一棵樹下過著如乞丐般的簡單生活時,他決定應該去拜訪這位大師。

當國王抵達時,他對於大師一點也不在乎他的到來,感到十分難受。惱羞成怒的國王說道:「你這個愚夫,你不知道我是誰嗎?我是這片土地的國王,而你只是一名乞丐,給我拿出一點尊重來!」

大師聽了微微一笑,抬頭說道:「這豈不是你在乞求我的尊敬嗎?」

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Leaving the fields of gold

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
~ Rumi

Part 1
Part 2 – This article
Part 3
Part 4

Love is the only reason that I have been writing about the attitude of non-judgement recently. Whenever I have left my judgemental thinking behind, I have only found love. And whenever I have interacted with people who left their judgemental thinking behind in that moment, I have only received love. Love makes what Wolfgang calls a meeting from soul to soul possible.

In the quote that starts this article, Rumi mentions a field that can be experienced when we go beyond thinking in terms of right and wrong. According to me, that field our home and the space inside of us where love dwells. Judging, thinking in terms of right and wrong, is the type of thinking that leads us out of that field.

You can verify this for yourself by observing how much love you find inside yourself for that something (or someone) you think to be wrong. You can intellectually understand why we do not find much love for ‘the wrong’, because there is an automatic rejection of that which we think to be wrong. With rejection comes division, whereas love is in unity.

There is very little we need to do to fall in love (again), but there is something we should not-do and that is judging. One important insight that I have had is that we need our inner strength to be free from judgements. To remain aware of our inner strength is therefore the key practice. We forget, and therefore do not use, our inner strength when we search outside ourselves that which is inside ourselves.

Here is one example of that. I once went out shopping with a married couple. Both partners are very sincere students of life and spirituality. It just so happened that the husband wanted to buy a lottery ticket on this day, and it was met with immediate disapproval of his wife. I asked her what was the matter and she replied:
“He’s been on the spiritual path for a long time and he’s still buying lottery tickets!”
She could see that I was very amused by her answer and she asked me why. I told her that I suddenly had this absurd image in my mind of an absent-minded God saying to her husband:
“You are not my son anymore because you have bought a lottery ticket! I will not enlighten you now!”
Luckily she also found this image quite amusing and I believe she has since then accepted her husband’s innocent distraction.

The point of the above story is that walking the spiritual path does not mean seeking anyone’s approval, not even (or especially not) God’s approval. Approval implies judgement.

Another way in which we forget our inner strength is when we do not accept our feelings. For example, I sometimes feel hurt when somebody says something to me in an angry tone. If I believe in such a moment that my pain is bad, then I will not listen to it and I will not understand that the pain is coming from within. That is the moment that I begin to resent, blame and/or judge the other; and I might get angry as well. If instead I see the pain as a signal that I was probably in need for some love or understanding, I can also see that in my moment of pain I was seeking that love and understanding in the other. That seeking in the other gives him power over my feelings. If he decides to act in a way that I like, I become happy because I am getting what I need. If he acts in a way that I do not like, I become sad or angry because I’m not getting what I need. The opportunity for me to become judgemental has arisen because I forgot my own strength.

In future articles I will share more of my personal philosophy of love. For now I want to end this article with one my favourite songs, Fields of Gold by Sting. Enjoy.

在壞事和好事的觀念之外,還有一個地方。
我在那裡等待你。
~ 魯米

Part 1
Part 2 – 本文
Part 3
Part 4

最近之所以持續討論非論斷的態度,其原因不外乎於愛。每當我放下批評式的思考,我總會找到愛。而當我和那些放下批評式思考的人們互動時,我總會接收愛。愛正是沃夫岡所說的靈魂與靈魂的相會 之所以可能的原因。

在這篇文章一開始引用的文句中,魯米提到一個在對與錯思考模式外的地方。對我而言,那個地方正是我們內心的愛所在的居所。評斷以及對與錯的思考,則是使我們遠離這個居所的思考方式。

若要驗證這一點,你可以觀察自己內心對於那些你視為錯的人或事,懷抱多少的愛。理智而言,你可以理解為何我們對於錯的事情不抱持愛,因為當我們認為某件事情是錯的時候,我們自動地對它產生抗拒。然而,愛卻是合一。

我們所需做的不多,就能夠(再次地)落入愛裡,但有一件事情我們不應當做,那正是評斷。我有一個很重要的發現,我們需要內在力量,以免於評斷。保持對內在力量的覺知,正是最關鍵的練習。一旦我們忘記,就不去運用我們的內在力量,反而向外尋找原來己經在我們內心的力量。.

以下有一個例子。有一次我和一對夫妻一起外出購物。這對夫妻都是靈性修行者。剛好那天,丈夫想要買一張樂透彩票,但他的妻子很快地提出反對。當我問這位妻子為何反對時,她說: 他都已經修行那麼長的時間了,竟然還要買樂透!

這位妻子看得出我對她的回答感到很有趣,因而問我為什麼。我對她說,我腦海裡突然浮現一幅荒謬的畫面,一個漫不經心的上帝對她的夫妻說:因為你買了樂透彩,你不再是我的子民了。我將不會使你開悟!

幸運地,這位妻子對這樣的畫面也感到好笑,我想她也自此接受丈夫一時無害的分心了。

這個故事的重點在於,走在靈修路上,並不意味著尋求任何人的認可,甚至是(尤其不是)上帝的認可。認可意謂著評斷。

另外一個我們忘記內在力量的方式是當我們不接受自己的感覺時。例如,當有人對我以生氣的口吻說話時,我有時候感到受傷。如果這個時候我認為自己的感覺是不好的,那麼我將不會傾聽這份感受,將不會理解從內心而來的痛苦。就在這個時候我開始感到不平、責怪或評斷他人,甚至也開始生起氣來。與其如此,若我能夠視這痛苦為一種訊號,代表著我們需要某種愛或理解,我也可以了解,在痛苦的時刻,我試圖由他人身上尋求愛和理解。這樣的尋求使得他人擁有支配我的感受的權力。如果他決定以我喜歡的方式行動,我就感到開心,因為我得到我需要的。如果對方表現不如我意,我就感到傷心,因為我沒有得到我的。使我變得更容易論斷他人的機會提高了,因為我忘記自己的內在力量。

在接下來的文章裡,我將會分享更多有我個人對愛的觀點。現在,在文章結尾,我和大家分享一首我最喜愛的歌曲之一:史汀的【黃金之地】(Fields of Gold)

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Traffic light reasoning 紅綠燈思考法

Part 1 – This article
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Dear friends,

Just yesterday one of my students rectification asked me one of the classical questions of spirituality. In this article I would like to share our dialogue about that question with you. The question usually goes something like this:

If we do not judge or condemn and instead accept life as it is, how then do we progress?


Me: You just used the word progress. Could you tell me what progress means to you?
Her: Progress to me means feeling happier.

Me: What I understand from what you say is that it is your opinion that it is good to feel happy and that it is bad to feel unhappy. That is not my opinion.
Her: Because life is a process and not a finished product?

Me: That is indeed a statement I have made, but I would like to make the meaning of this statement more clear to you.
You: OK.

Me: When we believe that feeling negative feelings is bad, we do not understand that life is actually communicating with us through our feelings.

If I would compare feelings to a traffic light, your statement would be equal to saying that it is good when the traffic light is green and bad when it is red. If it would really be the case that a green traffic light is good, it would be best if all traffic lights are green at all times. But I think it is easy to imagine that that situation would lead to chaos.

The truth is that neither the green nor the red light are good or bad. They are just signals used to communicate with us. When the traffic light is green it indicates to us that it is safe for us to continue our journey. When it is red it indicates to us that it is unsafe for us to continue. On the other hand, if we ignore the signals we are likely to create unpleasant situations for ourselves. Neither braking at a green light nor passing through a red light is safe.

It is much like this with our feelings. Positive feelings are an indication that we are ‘on the right path’, negative feelings indicate that we are not. Therefore negative feelings are not bad, they are our guides that help us to become aware of a situation, both within and without, that requires change.

The point is to accept everything, but that does not mean you should not change anything.


One thing that I would like to clarify further is the difference between pain and suffering. According to me pain is pain, while suffering is pain upon pain. If you ask me, pain is unavoidable but suffering is only due to our misunderstanding of a situation.

Pain upon pain means experiencing more negative feelings because we are experiencing negative feelings. If you would like a concrete example of this, I have talked about how I created pain upon pain for myself in one of my previous articles: Two wings to fly.

Part 1 – 本文
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

親愛的朋友:

昨天我的一位學生修正提出一個修行上很經典的問題。我希望透過這篇文章和大家分享這段對話。這個問題通常是這樣的:

如果我們不去加以論斷或譴責,只是接受人生的樣貌,我們要如何進步呢?


:你提到「進步」這個詞,可不可以告訴我,對你而言,進步的意義為何?
:對我而言,進步指的是感到更加快樂。
:從你的話中,我所理解的是,你認為感到快樂是好的,而感到不快樂是對的。但我並不這麼認為。
:因為人生是段過程而不是一件成品?
:我的意思的確是如此,但我想再把我的說法解釋得更清楚些。
:好

: 當我們相信負面情緒是不好的,我們並未理解,人生更透過我們的情緒,與我們溝通。

如果把情緒和紅綠燈做比較,你的說法可以等同於綠燈時是好的,紅燈是不好的。如果綠燈真的是好的,那麼最好隨時都是綠燈,但我們很容易想見,這樣一來會導致混亂。

事實上,不管紅燈或綠燈,都沒有好壞。它們只是被用來和我們溝通的訊號。當綠燈亮起時,那表示我們可以安全地繼續旅程,當紅燈亮起時,那表示繼續行走是不安全的。另一方面,如果我們忽略這些訊息,我們可能給自己造成不愉快的情況,就像在綠燈時煞車或者在闖紅燈都是不安全的。

我們的情緒和紅綠燈很相似。正面情緒表示我們「走在正確的路上」,而負面情緒則非如此。因此,負面情緒並非不好,它們指引我們,幫助我們意識到那些需要改變的內在或外在狀況。

重點在於接受一切,但那並不表示你不應該做任何改變。


我還想再進一步解釋一點,那就是疼痛和苦痛的區別。就我而言,疼痛僅是疼痛,而苦痛則是痛上加痛。我認為,疼痛是無可避免的,但苦痛卻是因為我們誤解自身所處狀況而引起。

痛上加痛的意思是,因為體驗負面感受,而經歷更多的負面情緒。如果你想知道更具體的例子,我在之前的一篇文章〈雙翅飛翔〉中,提到我如何給自己帶來痛上加痛的故事。

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