Memorable Quote: We need to recognize our inner goodness, not for prideful purposes, but in order to generate the respect, confidence, and sense of well-being that’s essential and natural to the awakening mind.
Synopsis: In this talk, Marcia discussed the “conceit” of self. One of the most pervasive ways this conceit is perpetuated is through the comparing mind. It is a great gift to wake up to the fact that the process of comparing oneself to others, over and over again, perpetuates feelings of being deficient and inadequate. As we look deeper into this process, we can get closer to simply being present with what is. If we seek to set ourselves apart, we isolate ourselves in an endlessly unsatisfying, painful process that usurps the power and vitality of presence.
The Buddha instructs us to recognize, acknowledge and rejoice in ourselves. In particular, he suggests that we reflect on the ways that we’ve been of service to others, the ways in which we have been particularly wise, when our heart and mind were truly present and connected, and when we have emanated lovingkindness, compassion and appreciative joy. Most of all, we can rejoice that we have had the opportunity to find Buddhist practice. All too often, when we think of being “really honest” with ourselves, we take that to mean identifying and dwelling in a negative image of who we are. This is the opposite conceit of self. Instead, we can simply be present with the virtues of our selves and our lives, and connect with the excitement of promoting universal well-being.
I like: I deeply connected with Marcia’s analysis of the downsides of the “comparing self.”
I wish: I wish she would say more about how she feels that well-being is “natural” to the mind; I never fully understand what’s meant by “natural” in this context.
More about the Speaker: Marcia Rose finds teaching to be a very deep and powerful “no self” practice. When she connects with others during Dharma talks–in the intimacy of small groups, and while holding meditation practice interviews– she is continually reminded to know, and be, in a place of clarity, spaciousness and immediate presence. Being able to offer students such a place of connection is her greatest pleasure and inspiration, as well as the most appreciated challenge in my teaching practice. Hear more of her talks at mountainhermitage.org/guiding-teacher/