Thursday, January 7, 2010

"I'd Rather Be Right Than Happy"

One way that clinging brings about suffering is in relationship to ideas of being right or wrong. Usually, the mind creates a thought about some situation, sometimes based on few (if any) real facts, and then we cling to this scenario as though our life depended upon it. Even after these ideas have been shown to be incorrect, we might continue to hold tightly to them as a way of proving ourselves right in support of a sense of I, me, or mine. My wife, Kathy, calls this syndrome, "I'd rather be right than happy." 

Even when it is obvious that letting go of our now outmoded way of thinking about the situation would be better for us, we continue to cling. Once again, we are reminded of the Sri Lankan monkey traps (see 11/16/09 and 11/17/09 blogs). It's easy to get our hand into the hole of the trap to get hold of the desired object (ego satisfaction/sense of self), but once the fist is closed around the object, our hand is too big to remove. Then we stay stuck until, hopefully, we can come to our senses and let go.

Giving up on being right all the time is a classic example of releasing the clinging that gives rise to suffering. Right away we can feel our tension decrease. New ideas begin to arise, whereas before there was only a tunnel vision mentality that excluded all but our dearly held beliefs about the situation (based on incorrect thoughts). We can feel the body actually relax and soften, and we might even be able to feel some compassion and loving kindness toward ourselves or others who are involved.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other"
doesn't make any sense. -- Rumi

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