#25: The power of imagination (Part 2)

21 July 2010 - 3:37pm 1 Comment

Meditating on competitiveness towards an equal

First, we imagine exchanging places with someone who is of similar ability, intellect or status as ourselves. Next, we relate to this person as much as possible until we take on this persona. Then, we reflect back on our previous self with intense competitiveness.

We think as follows:

This person is as good as me, but I will eclipse him by declaring my own abilities and qualities while playing down and suppressing his. I shall do my best to slander him, to expose whatever faults or mistakes he has made and to exaggerate his bad qualities. Whatever good he has done, I will create doubts and suspicion in people’s minds to neutralise any praise that may be going his way. I will use every opportunity to shame him and cause him to fall into disrepute, while I increase others’ respect and praise for me by amassing wealth and titles.

When meditating in this way in relation to our rivals, we are increasing familiarity with the exchange of self and others. This meditation also helps to intensify one’s effort to overcome one’s mistakes and faults pointed out by others.

Meditating on haughtiness towards our inferiors

In this part, for our object of imagination, we should choose a person who is clearly superior to us and, identifying with this new persona, we should look down upon our former self and contemplate as follows:

How can he ever match my abilities and resources? I will not do anything to enhance his position, and I will make sure that no one helps him to improve further. I will sabotage whatever plans he has so that he will only see failures, and have to endure ridicule and criticism. He will stagnate and stay where he is, never able to rise to compete with me.

This way of thinking counters our laziness or discouragement to improve ourselves.

Buddha said everyone, even a worm, can become enlightened. We should realise this potential in all of us, instead of feeling inadequate or looking down on others. There is no valid basis for such attitudes.

Training our mind in the above three manners (including last week’s meditation!) is a very powerful and experiential way to open our hearts to love and compassion for all.

Being on the receiving end, we transform the otherwise negative attitudes of jealousy, competitiveness and haughtiness into the bodhisattva path. How so? The top example is that such meditations help us develop humility and respect for those with abilities and virtuous qualities, and open us up to supporting them.

The second example is that such meditations cut our self-cherishing minds, and help us to avoid developing envy and pride. When we meet those who are better than us, we are able to learn from them and to serve them without attitudes of rivalry and jealousy.

The world created by our self-cherishing mind is a self-centred one. In this model, ‘I’, ‘me’  and ‘mine’ are the superstars. We are only familiar with looking at others and things from our side, from our priorities. In this model, others may have more need and help…but if the situation does not agree with our views, our way, it does not always get our attention or a positive response.

With training through these meditations, we gain a more balanced view of our relationship with others. Eventually, we can even take on the suffering of others and to give joy and happiness to everyone.

One Response to #25: The power of imagination (Part 2)

  1. One Dharma brother shared this with me over cups of “teh tarik”…

    “Everyone thinks that he or she is unique. In actual fact, we only become unique when we loose our self-cherishing mind.”

    Yes, how true, we always put ourselves on the centre stage, we are the prima donnas, and the world revolves around us cos we are unique!

    That line set off something and became more of a pull factor than the teh tarik … and started a chain of sharing on Dharma and on the art of giving and taking…

    Oh and by the way, our friends do refer to this blog regularly as a point of reference and sharing. So thank you for posting and sharing these interesting topics and teachings!

    We are surely learning and growing as we read…