"Learning not to get entrapped in our negative image of ourselves"
"Well, the wisdom side is recognizing that this whole awful image we
have of ourselves is a hallucination; and that we have, through the
process of all of our conceptualization, put ourselves in this tiny
little room, and feel entrapped by the world. But it's actually our
image of ourselves that has entrapped us, so we should say, 'This is
just an image. I don't need to hang on to that. Ok, I did bungle
something as a kid, and I did get scolded. But I'm forty years old
now and I don't need to act like a three-year-old. I'm not a three-
year-old. I don't need to hold on to whatever it was that happened.'
Whether it happened when you were three, or twenty-three, or forty-
three or eighty-three, you don't need to hold on to that, because
that was one event in your whole life, and it's not the defining
character of who you are. But we just kind of highlight certain
things and then cast them in mental concrete, and then fight against
the walls that we've put around ourselves. Recognize that we don't
need to do that. When you start to see this judgmental mind
coming, 'Why can't you do this right? Why can't you do that right?
Why don't you do this? You should do this. You ought to do this.
Somebody else is doing this. Why can't you be like them?' Like when
you're doing the breathing meditation, the mind goes, 'Why can't you
concentrate better? Why can't you
' Just look at it and say, 'Be
quiet.' Or just look at it and say, 'It's chattering away but I don't
need to believe it. I don't need to think like this. This thought is
not me. This is just a thought going through my mind. It's not me.
It's not even realistic.' Learn to identify which of our thoughts and
feelings are based on reality, and which are based on hallucination."
Disadvantages of Not Thinking about Death (including explanation of
the Eight Worldly Concerns) (lightly edited transcript)
by Ven. Thubten Chodron ©, at Dharma Friendship Foundation,
May this be of benefit.