Monday, September 17, 2012

How do You Shut-up the Inner Critic?

Kuan Yin, bodhisattva of
You don't.  Like my mom and dad used to say, "we don't say shut-up, it's not nice."  I'm not good enough and you're not good enough.  Lately, this has been the cycle.  The annoying part is that the criticism of other people is much more conscious than the self-criticism.  So I'm trying to explore this road to its source but I can only see like a foot in front of me at a time.  In other words, I see the thoughts start (it's making my zazen miserable), I think a few not nice things, like "he's so full of himself" or "she's so fake" and then I feel bad for thinking that but don't know what to do with it and can't see the next step or even the road behind me.

Later I start asking myself, why am I so critical of others?  People often say that you see flaws in others that you don't want to see in yourself but are probably in there somewhere.  People also say that you are critical of yourself but would rather redirect it towards others because it doesn't hurt as much.  Finally, people say this pattern of thinking is Ancient. Twisted. Karma. ie. it started a hella long time ago.  One of my teachers recently cautioned me against asking the question "why" too much.  She said it won't get you very far or it gets you too far but with no end.  So I am not sure if or when it is helpful in this case to ask why I am this way.  I supposed it is more helpful to address what's going on right now, considering I cannot change the past.  My husband, the sweet wise man he is suggests rather than telling the inner voice to shut up, what that voice really needs is some mothering, some gentleness, and some patience.  He says that you really can't love everyone (hey, it doesn't mean you like everyone either) unless you can love yourself.  It sounds so cheesy and obvious but we all know it's true.  The question is how.  How do you accept your flaws, the stupid things that come out of your mouth, the fear of failure, the people pleasing, the eye rolls, the hurt you cause others, etc.  If you don't learn to accept these you will spend your life trying to only do things you know you're good at and you'll have to avoid every single person who is not perfect.  Hmmm...

I can barely wrap my head around this stuff.  Dealing with the subconscious feels like something I am unequipped for but I think maybe I signed up for it when I decided to study the self.  It's just so confusing trying to see the relationship between what happens in my life, what happens in my head during my life and what happens in zazen.  The connections are just not so clear!  In the meantime I just want to hideout in my room so I don't have to see anyone.  Then you can't think mean things about them.  And you can escape into some book or some other comforting thing.

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