I have a constitutional need to rebel and resist and be different and stand out and express my authentic self in every situation.
It’s who I am, it’s who I’ve always been.
But the irony is, no matter what I’m rebelling against, that thing is still controlling me. I’m still in relationship with an entity that has power over my behavior. No matter how bold and independent and oppositional I feel.
And so, the joke is on me. Because I still indulge in petty identity battles, no matter the cost.
Buddhists have a beautiful word for this state. It’s called upadana, which means clinging, attachment and grasping. It’s said to be one of the primary causes of suffering in the world.
The opposite of nirvana, essentially, which is the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.
That’s what we give up when we’re consumed with the pathological need to be different from everybody else. Not that expressing the authentic self isn’t important, because it is. But we must strike a balance between maintaining our individuality and minding the consequences of being true to ourselves.
We must notice our attachment to the need to stand in stark opposition to the prevailing winds of doctrine. That’s how we expand our awareness of upadana.
Graves wrote about this very idea in his historic manifesto about human nature preparing for a momentous leap. His research found that the struggle for man’s emergent individuality imperiled the very survival of that life. And that if people wanted to move up to a higher level of existence, they first had to restore the balance of life that had been torn asunder by his individualistically oriented behavior.
A fancy way of saying, we must cease indulging in identity battles. We must conquer the need to conquer the world.
Even if that means the whole world doesn’t know just how special and different we really are.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you rebelling against that’s actually controlling you?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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