Laundry Lists and The Dharma II
Shadows and Light
”We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.”
”We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.”
Four Noble Truths - The Second Noble Truth
Suffering is caused by craving and ignorance.
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OK. I have been away from home for a few days, and feel a bit overwhelmed with all that is going on right now. Part of me has a need to go all out to make this blog post THE BEST. There is not time. It’s OK. I will hammer out the basics, because they do apply to me and my life right now.
Being an approval seeker (people pleaser) has defined so much of my inner world personally, professionally and relationally—all of my life. My identity in each of these has been shaped by my tireless quest for approval. This is tied up with wanting to please my parents, of course, as well as wanting to establish myself in the world as SOMEBODY. Thus, Laundry List Trait Two.
Not surprisingly my quest to gain approval has led to a passivity vis à vis self-assertion. I find it very hard to stand up for myself, and do, in fact, get guilt feelings when I do. My SOMEBODY has been chronically uncertain and has chosen to stay quiet and unassertive. (NB, there are some who go the other way, and become extremely and offensively assertive as a means of gaining approval. Does it work?)
If the First Noble Truth pinpoints a central human theme (There is suffering!), the Second Noble Truth succinctly sources the suffering. When I first studied Buddhism and read about craving and ignorance it did not seem to make more than superficial sense. Of course those WEAKNESSES cause suffering. Duh! In the teachings I have been listening to for the past five years I see a clearer reality. When Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) was asked to distill his teaching he said, “Nothing is to be clung to as I, me, or mine”.
There is problematic craving and delusional ignorance illustrated. When I hold onto something, a storyline, a possession, a relationship, an idea, a plan, or whatever, I make it personal, identified with me, AND, a source of persistent suffering. What or Who is Me? is another question altogether. Not for right here or right now.
There you have it, shadows that show up so clearly in the light of simple truth. Namaste.