Recently I’ve begun to notice that that people can be so determined and ego driven that they feel it is perfectly justifiable to go to any length to get what they think they want…even if the outcome isn’t what they had anticipated.

A friend of mine is being pestered by someone who cannot understand why they shouldn’t have a relationship. My friend admits, “He’s a perfectly nice person but I’m just not interested. Something’s not clicking for me and because he can’t figure out how that could be, he’s driving me crazy. Now he’s accusing me of being a snob. Don’t people get to decide for themselves?”

I’ve often wondered why some people felt such righteousness to control other beings. It dawned on me that it’s one of the deepest forms of suffering because the ego has completely taken over any form of logic; it’s working double time to fill a massive hole in the soul and heart of these beings, and the reality is that it’s one of the lowest forms of life.

With so much suffering in this world it just astonishes me that people can’t see beyond their own greed and selfishness, and look to the bigger picture of gratitude. I see so many people struggle to simply be grateful for what they have…the friendships, family, possessions, work, health, food, that are so often taken for granted. Why are we always looking for more?

When a person loses sight of who he or she truly is, and suffers so deeply that the inkling of openness and vulnerability is unbearable, the ego takes over and controls all things in life. The suffering is incomprehensible and the hope of even entering the “stream” of consciousness toward the Middle Way, toward liberation seems impossible. Of course, I stand firm in my thought that all beings hold the Buddha in their hearts, but it’s the opening to that knowledge that allows for growth. It’s that simple.

I think there is a serious disconnect in how people balance their thoughts, and feelings. They either give everything away or they are entirely self-absorbed. It’s an enigma. As I see it, cultivating self-love that parallels a love for all beings is the real goal.

It’s much easier to want to “acquire” things or even other beings because you aren’t able to focus on yourself. And the closer you look at this the more you realize that it goes against everything the Buddha, Allah, El, Krishna, and Jesus taught. Don’t you think?

It’s funny because one of the most often quoted of Jesus commandments is: “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

In other words: Balance!

Usually we equate this advice with taking good care of our neighbors, but we often overlook the “as thyself” portion. If you love your neighbor more than yourself, or at the expense of yourself, you have not fulfilled the commandment. Jesus was suggesting that we love all equally, including ourselves. If your vision of service does not include your own happiness, you’ve left out a very important person, and acquiring houses, cars, money, people, fame will never tie you into that vision. The universe works on a win-win basis. There is always a way for everyone to be taken care of. But, maybe I am just a dreamer…

My heart took vows before I was even born into this life. My work is to not stop until I’ve blessed everyone I come in contact with, including myself. My work is to find the compassion to honor my own heart, along with others. It is only through Loving-Kindness and Compassion that the elephant finds it’s own heart.

Deep Bows

Ajahn