Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Minding the Blind Spots

A meditator friend of mine tells me of her divorce from her then husband years ago. "He was part of my sangha. He was such a narcissist. One day I realized I was angry all the time. That's when I decided to split. I have never regretted it."

A well-known dharma teacher displays  surprising unskillfulness during a critical life event.

A man who speaks at length about mindfulness throughout many communities, is everything but mindful and kind in his dealings with his co-workers. 

Two men and a woman, each wrongfully convinced of their own wisdom. Each one with a shadow looming large behind their back, and clearly visible by everyone but them. Each using mindfulness as a shiny front for a not so pretty truth. Sitting on the cushion every day, even for long periods of time, is no guarantee of evolved consciousness. That much, I know.

Last night's dreams shed light on my own shadow. Parts of myself that I too easily project on to those who are closest to me, and now thrown back at me. I am not as loving as I would like to think. I've got work to do . . . 

How big is your shadow? What parts of your personality are not obvious to you? Would you like to ask your honest friends? Your mate? Your children? 

'The experience of the self* is alway a defeat for the ego.' ~ C.G. Jung

* Jung's notion of the self is very different from one referred to in Buddhist view of not-self. Rather it refers to the experience of a higher state of consciousness not bound by limitations of the small 'I', the ego.


  1. great post! ah the blind spots! so easy to see in others, so difficult to find in ourselves. a phone call from a difficult person the other day showed me how quick I can become impatient and unloving because of my preconceived ideas about this person. I live in a cocoon of blind spots, I think, which pop from the shadows in different circumstances. "ah, said the wolf, all the better to see you with."

  2. Very much needed wisdom in your post. Sad are the days when Dhamma is overshadowed by the teacher.

  3. Here is a little blind spot all of my own!


  4. Dear Carole, yes, this reminds me about the Buddha's 'saw' simile. Give us the right situation, and our true colors will show . . . Relationships are amazing that way. Others as mirrors, revealing to us what we cannot see on our own, including the good, the bad and the ugly. :)

  5. Caine, yes, and very common. And a reminder that the robe does not make the monk. The heart and how one leads their life do.

  6. James, thank you for your lovely post! We all do this don't we?

    It takes time to learn the habit of non-reactivity . . .

  7. Yes indeed Marguerite it does take time, a lifetime of practice no less.

    We teach from our wobbles do we not?


    Thank you for your posts too, they are something of an inspiration

  8. yes, lucky those of us who don't mind looking inside, and outside also . . .