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Showing posts from February, 2012
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Knowledge of yourself will preserve you from vanity
~ Miguel de Cervantes



Recently, a friend of mine laughed about the piety he observed at his local dharma center. “True self is no self,” he mused, “yet here we are trying to sit the right way, bow the right way, give the right answers and get enlightened. Before meditation we were just full of ourselves. But now the mask of righteousness hides us from ourselves.”

His observations on the quest for no-self reminded me of Rousseau's comment about freedom born free but found everywhere in chains.

Spiritual practice can definitely serve as a mask that hides us from ourselves. This is particularly true when the self is weak. The weaker we are, the more prone we are to narcissistic defenses that compensate for our feeling naked and exposed. They are inversely proportional to ego strength.

In our “culture of narcissism” (as Christopher Lasch once called it), hiding from ourselves has become the rule rather than the exception. And so, im…