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The Accusing Self

lobsterlobster Veteran
edited January 2018 in Buddhism Basics

I am wrong.

Who says that? How often internally? ... but externally?
In the Sufi tradition (an Isis sponsored form of theistic dharma o:) ) it is a stage of unfolding to be critical of our opinions, naf, ego, lesser self.

Personally it is something I recognise as both a personal lower and higher possibility. It is also often a Buddhist tendency where male/monk dominated. Wrong accusation? However is being wrong a training? A form of discouragement of unskilful thinking? A ... [insert encouraging thoughts] ...

We can’t heal what we
don’t acknowledge,
but acknowledgment can be
painful and takes work,
so we need effective tools
and safe spaces where
all feel welcome.

— Lama Rod



  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Well if we have too high an opinion of ourselves then we are not really seeing ourselves clearly. Being wrong and ones reaction to be wrong can show up all sorts of habits that we use to disguise ourselves internally, to hide and justify who we are from ourselves. Being displeased at being wrong is often a first sign of a conceited mind with a too high opinion of itself. Being unable to accept and trying to continually disguise being wrong is another clear area where perhaps intellectual pride has conquered a natural humility.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 2018

    It is certainly good to know that being wrong is a possibility. Once we think we have it all wrapped up and others are dead wrong, we are no longer seeing correctly in my opinion.

    And of course claiming to be 100% wrong is just another form of self congratulations.

    But I could be wrong.

  • Great comments guys.

    When we are objective about ourselves, we quite naturally become aware of the impediments mentioned: conceit, pride, self obsession and other unwolesome attributes.

    ... as @Dhammika mentions we can bring compassion and metta to our exploration. We are not attempting to be critical or 'ashamed of our sins' but to perhaps find their cause, exposure and dissipation ...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited January 2018

    That's so true @Snakeskin :)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited January 2018

    It’s interesting, for me this was a turning point, recognising that I could be wrong and that insisting on always being right was a form of refusing to see inner truths, about oneself and others.

    I think for the first time in many years it led to a spate of being completely honest with myself about the negative sides of my character. I’d been working up to it for over a week, tackling one or two of the more obvious topics.

    I think @lobster is right to say that you can only work on your imperfections when you are aware of them. It’s an important step to be totally objective and honest about yourself.

    Although I wouldn’t call it an “accusing self”, really.

    It’s like wabi-sabi, the perfect imperfect represented in the character of every human being.

  • I've been working with a technique called radical accountability (which I got from a book by Rodney Smith, Stepping Out of Self Deception) in which you're encouraged to take responsibility for yourself in whatever situation you encounter (to a radical extent such that even when you think you're right to look for some pain or unease which may have caused an unwise reaction without even realizing it.)

    It really helps to uncover patterns of reactivity which may have otherwise gone unnoticed. It also really aligns you with Right View. For example my wife asked me a question the other night, I was sure I'd heard a tinge of accusation in it. I reacted by getting defensive and starting an argument, however I realized that I was reacting to the feeling of being accused and the nature of the question was in fact empty, I had to open to the possibility that I had heard the tinge of accusation on it because of many years of being at fault and lying to others in order to not have to own up. I can tell you my wife sure loves the radical accountability! 😃 plus it has stopped many arguments dead in their tracks whereas before they could've gone for days, so I guess I love it too.

    I hope all that makes sense, it went way longer than planned and now I think it maybe muddled... Argh 😔

    As an aside my new years resolution was to laugh more at mistakes, which has been just as helpful!

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    echoing the sentiment to not take ourselves too seriously.laughing at self ,through reflection,is good.im learning less self lable-ing helps.

  • The way we storytell about our pasts, especially the less than wholesome behaviors, is revealing. When I get caught up in the 'you messed up bad, you're no good' 'accusing self' narrative it crowds out any awareness of what WAS and is good. And makes things seem hopeless. GIGO (Garbage in-garbage out), I suppose. A more compassionate holistic way of looking at our lives, without so much self-labeling, might change the GIGO formula into a more useful and instructive one (Good In, Good Out).

  • Thanks everyone <3

    Here is some small insight into impediments (naf) that the dervish use ...
    The accusing self is a revealing not a maudlin revelling/reviling.

    I would suggest most of us are kinder to/about others than ourselves.

    Being aware/attentive to our self is not about judging. Does practice change us? In my experience yes. For the betterment? You bet ... not that you should ... =)

  • I'm going to write a book someday and the title will be I'm an Ass, You're an Ass. That's the most liberating, wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you're an ass. It's wonderful. When people tell me, "You're wrong" I say, "What can you expect of an ass?"

    Anthony de Mello

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Why hold something to be true that could be wrong anyways?

    I don't have beliefs. I have that which makes the most sense and that has the highest probability for being true according to the information I have at the time. Then I have a bunch of competing theories. Being wrong isn't bad. Not being able to admit when we're wrong is another story and that's probably why we aren't supposed to cling to views.

    Some things we just will never know and if we are not ok with that we could see ignorance as some kind of obstacle instead of a good starting point.

    But then maybe all that beginners mind stuff is nonsense.

  • <3

    Chastisement and humbling the self has many forms. Most of us, advanced, awakened or ignorant monkey minded possessives, have a persona or being of some recognisable sort.

    How to dissolve the excesses and rough edges of this ignorance?

    Exposure and recognition is a good start and basis for practice ...

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