It’s easy for me to get righteous about so many things. I react from conclusions without ever noticing it because of years of conditioning.
I started to attend to this after some sittings last year with a sangha I regularly sit with on Sunday mornings. There is the encouragement that people can come early and start meditating before the “official” time. When in the sitting room the room is kept in silence. One morning there were a few people in the sitting room and a friend and I, in our excitement of seeing each other, were comparing notes on life. A woman who was sitting came up to the door and announced that “we are trying to meditate and could you please keep it down!” My friend and I understood and moved from the door.
There very next week I had arrived early and was sitting in the meditation room. And wouldn’t you know it, the same woman who had taken us to task for making noise was busy loudly talking about her weekend with three other people standing in the same place my friend and I had occupied the week before. Sigh. Such is human nature, all human nature.
I know we all do that as far as I’ve noticed. I know I do. We are righteous situationally and contingent on circumstances. I have started watching more closely for that righteous mind when it rises. It’s invariably attached to two things, judgements and my conclusions about how things should be. Which was a little intimidating because I have judgements and conclusions about everything! Another sigh. Maybe two.
So, the practice is to ask myself, when I notice the soapbox under my feet, how am I in any position to judge someone or how do I conclude that I am in a position to judge someone? Are they really that unlike me as far as actions? I may not exhibit the same behaviors but do I act in parallel in a lesser degree? It’s like calling someone a liar. They may be, but I am too! They may lie continuously and I may not but that doesn’t change the fact we are both liars. That’s different than the righteous position that they lie and somehow I manage to avoid lying entirely!
Staying with the above is challenging when emotionally involved, but attending to this has changed and modified much of how I respond to the world in general. It has illuminated my judgements and conclusions and at least sometimes I see them in action. I can then back off them in engagements with others. The righteous view comes with conditioning and I have no fear of ever losing it. I am happy with at least seeing it clearly for what it is and how it effects both me and others. I notice a softening of my heart, emotional content, and attitude when I practice noticing my own righteous presentations.
Do you have that righteous view? Are there ways you use to notice and diminish it’s impact?
Take care of you and all you love,