The Wonder of Presence and the Way of Meditative Inquiry – By Toni Packer
Toni Packer on the shadow part of us that misses the magic of the present moment by judging.
“We are habitually absorbed in our ideas and judgments about each other and are little aware of the actual moment-to-moment happenings between us. It feels so true that your are what I know you to be, and that I am what I know about myself. We don’t realize easily that what I think I am is to a large extent the picture-story about myself. I can think endlessly about the characteristics of my body, its looks and its needs, my name, my age, my inherited qualities, my parents, my history, my experiences, my artistic, mathematical, or athletic talents and potential I think I have. And there is a reaction to everything I think about myself — I like it or I don’t, I want to get rid of it or keep it forever.
“So we become identified with our characteristics and abilities and identify others by theirs. There is a feeling of ownership here: We think we are the owners of our traits, our personalities, our bodies, our knowledge, and our opinions. And we feel that we deserve to be what we are as though we ourselves had brought it about. ‘I have worked hard on myself,’ we like to say. The working hard on oneself is also part of our personality. When we feel that we haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile in our life, we feel responsible for the failure — it’s our own fault that we don’t amount to anything. Can we look at all this and question it thoroughly?
“In my delusion I feel that somehow I have brought myself about the way I am, that I own what I have become, and that I can get better if I put my mind to it and work on myself with determination and willpower. I also believe that other people should do the same thing. We somehow feel it’s their fault that they are the way they are. Finding fault is part of our relationship with each other — blaming each other openly or tacitly for what we are, what we have done or what we don’t do.”
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