fact, opinion and poetry (not airy-fairy)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Losing a Sense of Entitlement

Eastern gurus teach us that to be free and happy, we need to emancipate ourselves from desire through many years of meditation and spiritual practice. This is true, but....
     Quite a bit of mental pain may be escaped from rather more quickly by losing our sense of entitlement. I expect you think: 'Ive not got one of those, that's for snobs.' It's certainly true that snobs and those born with a silver spoon have an enhanced sense of entitlement, which may even help them to gain high positions.
      The rest of us have a more limited sense of entitlement, which is very double-edged. We may feel entitled to fair treatment, to justice. Sometimes this may help us to have the confidence to stand up for ourselves. On the other hand, if others are determined to inflict what we perceive as injustice on us, our sense of entitlement backfires badly, reducing us to helpless rage and humiliation. This may waste large amounts of energy which we need to actually fight the battle.
      If we were attacked by wild animals, we wouldn't be troubled by a sense of injustice, but would simply fight for our lives, with absolute concentration and careful calculation of our chances. Wouldn't it be best to be able to deal with attack by other humans in the same way?
      To do this, we need to lose our sense of entitlement. This doesn't require the depth of retuning of our minds required to become enlightened in the Eastern sense, just a change of attitude. After all, our knowledge of history and world events shows us that people have always ill-treated each other. Why should we expect to be immune?
      This requires that we find other means of motivating ourselves to stand up for ourselves. A sense of self-esteem might be serviceable.
      I am not trying to suggest that this idea justifies joining the ranks of the oppressors ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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