Q: I had a glimpse of the truth, but the bliss and general happiness isn’t here now. I had a very painful past and am still running that story, even though I understand that beneath psychological pain is a story created by my thoughts, and I’m not my thoughts. The story is made of some strong social “shoulds,” and I have a strong inferiority complex. I hope you can show me some direction as to what to do about it.
A: I invite you to become very curious about your experience when these thoughts are arising. How do you know what you are thinking? Do they appear as pictures, voices, feelings, or sensations? If you take each of these one at a time, are they bad experiences? Is a picture in your mind a bad experience? Is a voice a bad experience? Or are they just particular experiences?
Especially, explore your feelings and sensations. How do you know you are feeling inferior? What are the sensations in your body? Are they bad sensations or just particular sensations? You may discover that the images, thoughts, feelings, and sensations are not a problem, but just particular experiences with no real meaning or significance. Allowing the images, thoughts, feelings, and sensations and becoming curious about them can be a very rich exploration. After all, they aren’t really yours; they are just side effects of reactions and beliefs you inherited from your family and society.
It’s not up to you how often these reactions and responses show up or for how long. But you can choose to give the images, thoughts, feelings, and sensations a lot of love when they do show up. I’m not suggesting that you will enjoy them or like them, but you can give them the essence of love, which is acceptance and attention. By letting your thoughts and reactions be here and by being very curious about them, you are giving them what they always wanted, which is love.
There is one exception that might seem contradictory to what I just said. When you’re experiencing an internal voice, image, or felt sense of someone criticizing or attacking you, then defend yourself from the attack. Tell the voice, which is the voice of the superego, to shut up or leave you alone, and mean it! Keep defending yourself until the voice or attack stops. Paradoxically, defending yourself against the superego like this is actually a way of embracing the energy of it. Please note that I’m not suggesting telling other people to shut up or go away, only the internal voices and images that criticize and undermine you.
When you’re experiencing an internal image of someone criticizing you, you have projected your own strength and power onto that idea of an authority. By defending yourself and turning the tables on the inner image, you reclaim the energy of the strength and power. Then from a place that is full of energy and essence, you can explore and allow your own experience, as I suggested earlier, and decide what is true and what needs to be done or not done.