The surface

January 4, 2013

I’ve witnessed many people’s discovery for the first time that it is actually a known phenomenon that living in a situation in which appearances don’t match reality is stressful.  Many react with a kind of, “I thought it was just me who had trouble dealing with it.”

There’s an aspect that is related, I think, to a disjunction between appearances and reality that concerns me a lot — the development, and then maintenance, of a false self.  The false self is not connected to the soul, God, the universe, forces greater than ourselves, etc., in the way the true self is.  So, if we get too caught up in a false self, we diminish, and as a practical matter, lose, our spiritual support.

I spend too much of my time and energy supporting people with my own spiritual energy who don’t learn how to access their own.  It’s a form of enabling, not something admirable.  I find myself doing it especially when societal norms deem me responsible in some way for the other person’s behavior or well-being — it’s a way for me to mitigate the problem somewhat, a way to take some of the edge off the behavior of the other person.

It’s exhausting.  (As I said, I’m not endorsing the practice.)

That dynamic gives me an incentive to try to get people and our culture to value the true self, and not reward the development of the false self, so that they’ll access their own spiritual support.  A challenge for me in working on this is that I need to, I think, be encouraging and nurturing to the people who prefer to develop a false self — if I get impatient and show my frustration, I think I make the problem worse.  But I also need to be firm and to redirect them in their attitudes, behavior, even patterns of thinking.

I am aware that I need to work on patience kind of generally — on being more patient and also on not feeling discouraged or angry with how effective I think my work is — to develop an attitude that helps me just keep on plugging along.  I’m pretty good at reading the writing on the wall that others who have gone before me have left behind.  So I catch myself when I want to throw up my hands in despair or in disdain or in denigration of my efforts.  I would much rather do a small piece of this work well than expect too much from my own efforts.  Just as I am aware of the people who have come before me and of the people alongside of me, I am also aware that there are people who will come after me.  Sometimes trying to push something too far undermines the entire effort — like the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  I’d rather a second camel be hired.

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2 Responses to “The surface”

  1. Richard Says:

    Perhaps that is just you gift, that others do not possess.I was, and still am plagued my people who are befuddled by my lack of money skills. Despite the fact, I’m good at math, understand economic theory better than most and make a dollar go further than anyone, they get very frustrated that I’m more concerned with spiritual and social justice issues than making more money.
    The irony is that a many times I have been paid to manage others money. Perhaps they trusted that I had no interest in stealing it.
    Happy New Year. This past has been a difficult one, by choice and the last few months have been the epoch, but the connection w/ your blog and the morning NYT reminds me that there really is some intelligent life out there
    Plug away it’s appreciated

    • Diana Moses Says:

      Thanks (again) for the encouragement. Hope this year is a good one for you, difficult or not. I like your combination of money management skill and disinterest — the inverse of many we read about in the news.


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