November 21, 2003

November 21, 2003 01:33 AM

“What we’re always doing when we’re upset is blaming and dodging responsibility.

It’s the other person’s fault that I feel terrible. She hurt my feelings.

Totally impossible. Totally impossible.

I hurt my own feelings by exaggerating the importance of my desires. And when I stop exaggerating, I’m not in pain anymore.

It makes me think of Marcus Arelius, Roman emperor, a typical parent. He wanted to give the best he could to his grown son, so over and over again, he’s writing letters to his grown son and he says this idea over and over again.

He says, “It’s not the events in the world that disturb men’s minds, but their opinions about these events. Son, if you find something grievous to be born, change your opinion.” I have never seen a person upset who was not thinking, “I wouldn’t do this to you” or “I don’t deserve this!” That’s the ego pat. So when a person is upset, they are always feeling self-righteous.

In fact, it’s the self-righteousness that’s experiencing most of the pain!

If I think I’m a lowly peon like everybody else, if I’m not invited to the party that they’re having over there, it’s a little disappointing but it’s no big deal.

It’s no ego shock.

But if I think that I’m the king and they didn’t invite me to the party, then I am shocked and I can’t understand this.

When a person is in pain, they are always feeling neurotic conceit.

Rejection doesn’t hurt a healthy ego, it hurts the conceit.

I know that these lesser mortals down here are being rejected right and left, being divorced right and left, but me?

So it’s the neurotic conceit that’s shocked by rejection.

I’m a human being same as anybody else. Why shouldn’t I be rejected?

So I’m rejected, I turn to somebody else who’s not going to reject me. No big deal. If I’m in pain, it’s the neurotic conceit that experiences the pain.

Another metaphor. We hate the pain, but we love something that causes the pain.

I’m hugging a porcupine. And the porcupine quills go in, I’m bleeding and I’m crying. People think I’m talking about their mate.

No, I’m not talking about their mate.

If I put the porcupine down, I don’t have the pain.

But I love the porcupine.

The porcupine stands for the ideas, the irrational ideas that cause my pain. I love the idea that I need to be loved.

And if you get rid of those ideas that cause the pain, you get rid of the pain. People hate the pain, but they love the ideas.

They really expect that in some kind of magical way, that they can keep their ideas and lose their pain. There is no way.”

– H. McDonald