Chapter 19 Self Realization and Ego Being Your Hell

The really happy person is not ambitious and cunning and is not involved in places like politics.  The really happy person is not comparing, envious, competitive or ambitious.  Society wants you to be ambitious.  But, society is miserable.  Don’t be a part of our miserable society.  Only if you are not ambitious can you really stay happy and free.  Always looking at your neighbor’s house and seeing what new things they have purchased (which they will later regret and give away) is a sure fire recipe for depression. 


Try to avoid developing a specific social conscience that mirrors those around you.  A conscience is not bad in itself.  It gives you that subtle voice, that angel on your shoulder, who whispers what is good and what is bad.  It is important to have an intuitive sense of justice and the like.  But once again, Society that is around you is what makes you completely a slave to its current stage of morality.  I am not sure if there is much that is a priori “morality” if at all.  Possibly lying, stealing, cheating, murdering, is obviously empirically a priori bad, but the other stuff that models ourselves a new conscience… well I think that is given by society.


There was a time when women was looked at as second class citizens.  Remember our history classes and Susan B. Anthony?  There was a time not long ago that women could not vote.  Remember the Jim Crow laws and how in America African Americans were considered less than human and enslaved?  You have to be able to think for yourself at times, and not just obey and listen to Society and adhere to their morality.  And this is because things are always changing.  Technology is always changing.  And people are always changing.  And therefore morality is always changing.  If you were the son of a high ranking officer in the Nazi Party, would you be strong enough not to accept their society’s morality? 


Society, for lack of a better expression, seeks to enslave you, it is the most selfish thing which Society engages you in.  Society will use, abuse you, and then when it is through with you, it will toss you aside with all the subtleness of a garbage run.  Society trains the young mind via schoolteachers, politicians, corrupt religious leaders, employers, to follow, follow, and then follow some more.  They start all this when the naïve and innocent children.   Back in the South in the 1800s for example, no white baby was born to hate a black person.  And in 1940s Germany, no German baby was born to hate the Jews.  That specific society’s morality taught them to do that.  That is why you have to be on guard against society.


So many ideas jumble together inside the innocent  child and become his and her social conscience.  This false sense of “obedience” will stop the growth of the child, much like laying down asphalt over green grass prevents its growth, and thus lays the foundation for supreme suffering in later days.  How do you think an elderly white gentleman in Southern America may feel today about how he felt back when he was a teenager about African American people.  Very likely, he feels shame and anxiety and depression now because he likely looked down on them.  And of course, he feels guilty.  The Society of the South at the time taught and trained him to hate the African Americans.


We give this conscience as a society blindly to individuals and thus you think you will be rewarded if you simply employ a good conscience that society gave you.  But suppose the social conscience is wrong and you embraced it?  You will feel guilty, you will feel pain, fear, trembling, anxiety, depression.  Suddenly you are afraid that you will possibly go to hell, and receive bad karma.  This is not a question of thinking over the problem more.  Rather, you are thinking too much!  Stop your incessant thinking.  If you have grown in “heart” conscienceness enough, you will simply drop any guilty thoughts that arise, and simply improve, and thereby be able to see directly into any situation you are encountering.  Often, your thoughts are often like sand in your eyes, they are painful, and with the sand in your eyes, you cannot see what is in front of you!


Just stop the clutter and the traffic jam of your ceaseless thinking, and the cleanliness of pure joy and calmness will enter your soul.  If you only are living from the mind and its incessant thoughts, you cannot see well.  There are tens of thousands of thoughts that rush through your mind in all hours of the day.  It is like an out of control blaze burning down an entire forest, a rush hour in a busy American city on a typicalo Monday morning.  And 90% of those thoughts just repeat themselves from the previous day.  It is such a waste of time and it will give you a headache.


Even for me, writing this book was so hard in the beginning because I had not had the ability to even begin to train my brain to stop the incessant thinking.  What if this? what if that?, my brain was always spinning out of control… just like yours and most other people.  My fourth grade teacher, Mr. Jim gave me a nickname, “Yeah but, what if?” because even as a child I would worry and over think everything needlessly.  It interfered with my peace of mind and made me very insecure all the time. 


It was only after I started learning to quiet my mind that the creative juices started flowing and I could sit down to write.  And slowing down my mind allowed me to treat the people around me so much better.  I stopped pestering them with my thoughts all day long.  I remember going out on a few dates with girls where I did all the talking and thus turned the girl off.  The act of talking started with thinking.  If you are filled with endless thinking, you are going to be endlessly talking.  Do you like to be around people who just chatter away in your ear?  No, it affords you no peace. 


About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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