Our ego or self has 2 faces. The constructive/positive and the destructive/negative one.
The good self is critical to grow, to survive, to have pleasure, and to function and interact properly.
No brainer here.
The bad self: Ego is our main source of “pain”, affliction we all have in common. Because of our restlessness quest to get this and that, to be better, smarter, stronger, richer, we are stuck by nagging feeling of frustration, weariness and self-doubt.
Too many desires, hatred, irrational expectations and illusions are all coming from our ego-driven mind. (more…)
Most of us start to practice Zen mindfulness-based meditation because of problems such as dissatisfaction, unhappiness, physical/emotional pain and disillusion or for any other specific reasons happening in life. These reasons are called “suffering”.
“Maybe Zen meditation is going to fix my problems and make me happy”.
Internet and books are full of this statement and I am hearing these words very often.
Unfortunately, it never works because we are mistaken about the true cause of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction. External causes inducing “suffering” do occur but they are minority and are transient.
Everything we do in life is driven by only one thing and that is to seek happiness and avoid suffering. But what is happiness? Happiness is not one thing but a continuum and evolves as the person evolves. For simplicity, we can consider this evolution to be made up of four stages of the emotional mind state and it moves from the gross to the more subtle. These four stages can be classified as Pleasure, Happiness Joy and Bliss or Serenity.
At the Pleasure level, the mind operates at the lowest level of the five senses of the human body. Even animals operate at this level of the five senses. However, pleasure is transient and needs constant inputs from external sources. For example, if one likes alcohol then regular inputs of alcohol are required. This is how our reward brain circuits work. (more…)