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3 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Bader
    January 18, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

    Hi Jeanne (and anyone reading!),

    I was stimulated by your drawing the comparison between using the ego to mediate and “being there” … I think the best I ever did with this topic is in the post about wu-wei and mediation.

    But trying to think about it a new way, I see there is always a tension between the goal and our will and what is happening in the present moment.

    Ego focuses only on our (what we imagine is our) will and the “goal,” and loses sight of the actual present moment. Often the result is the “goal” is reached but the overall situation is a disaster because interpersonal conflict, like everything else actually, exists in relationship to more than itself, and the cues we need are ignored because we are ignoring the moment. Then we have the to deal with the collateral consequences.

    Think of President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech. Yes, a mission was accomplished but the result was disaster.

    When we are able to hold our goal but also be in the moment of the process as it unfolds, we are more likely to succeed in a real way because we are there for what is happening, and flexible. But to do this we have to let go our willful ideas of what “should” happen (the superego) and be present to what is happening.

    If we can hold the tension between the goal and the actuality just right, that, I think is mastery. It is a doing which is in tune with the actual situation and the actual moment. It feels like not doing — just being there — but it is real doing.

    Here is a truncated version of an ancient story on this from Zhuangzi:

    Butcher Ding was cutting up an ox for Lord Wen-Hui. . . . He guided his blade along … and was in perfect tune. . . .

    Lord Wen Hui exclaimed: “Ah, How wonderful. Can technique really reach such heights?”

    Butcher Ding put down his cleaver and replied: “What I care about is the Way, which goes beyond technique. When I first began cutting oxen, all I could see was the ox itself. . . .

    And now — now I meet it with my spirit . . . My sensory knowledge is restrained and my spiritual desires are allowed to move/act. I follow the Heavenly pattern, thrusting into the big openings, . . . and adapting my movements to the fixed nature of the ox…

    Lord Wen Hui exclaimed: “Wonderful! I have heard the words of Butcher Ding and from them learned to cultivate life.”

    Reply

  2. Elizabeth Bader
    January 17, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

    Thank you Jeanne… I really appreciate the feedback…E

    Reply

  3. Jeanne Fahey
    January 17, 2015 @ 1:31 pm

    Another really illuminating article. I am looking forward to further exploration about the difference between using the ego to mediate and the magic of “being there.”

    Reply

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