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Getting Free of Self-Importance is The Key to Happiness: Polly Young-Eisendrath (Transcript)

Now I’m going to say a few things about responsibility in a moment. But let me just touch on envy and jealousy. Envy is the motivation to destroy your attack what someone else has, because you don’t feel you can get it for yourself. And jealousy is the desire to compete with someone else who has what you want, because you do feel you could get it. So envy and jealousy in the self-conscious emotions motivate very different things but in both cases they make us restless. Envy makes us restless in terms of attacking what someone else has, like putting it down, belittling it, minimizing it or even sometimes attacking the other person outright. And jealousy to compete with others and to see ourselves really always as not having enough for some how to succeed.

So these self-conscious emotions motivate us in a way that makes us feel like we control our lives and our decision making and that we should manage everything. Now, of course, we are responsible for our actions and we’re responsible for our speech. But we are not responsible for all the contingencies in our lives and that sort of mysterious universe that actually is always a point of fascination.

So what to do in order to arrive at a point where you can feel genuine happiness on a moment to moment basis? Without years of sitting meditation, without having a direct experience of the no-self, how can you shift your view a little bit and come back to a point of view that I think people have had traditionally? So first, I would recommend that you experiment. And so experiment with these three things that I’ve put up on the board.

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The first one is to go back to that Chinese painting. And imagine that you are tiny and the world is large and at any moment that you feel bored that you feel bored with yourself, stop and be in contact with the world in a simple way, feel the air on your face; look at the light in the room; see the colors, they’re not personal. But you can be in contact with the world in a very simple and fascinating way quickly and it will change, it will shift your point of view.

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Second, spend a day or two or three without looking in the mirror. We are obsessed with the way we look in this period of time. People did not live with mirrors or photographs or anything like this, certainly not Facebook for eons of time. And so they were removed from their experience by looking at themselves.

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Thirdly become engaged in your immediate world. People often talk about and many wonderful things have been said here today about how to help in the world out there. But also look at the immediate environment in which you are rising moment to moment. That is the room that you’re in when you walk through a door when you look up from what you’re focusing on within yourself. Look up and see if someone needs help, if someone needs a smile, if a door needs to be opened, I guarantee if you do that you will find that the world is reaching out to you all of the time.

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And so if you put these three things together, and you recognize how fascinating this world is, always and you stop looking at yourself in the mirror and you open yourself to the way that the world is reaching out to you, happiness is guaranteed almost 27/7.

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Thank you very much. I hope that you’ll find it and I wish you blessings.

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By Pangambam S

I have been a Transcriber and Editor in the transcription industry for the past 15 years. Now I transcribe and edit at SingjuPost.com. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do let me know. And please do share this post if you liked it and help you in any way.