Mindful .ME

I Me "Mines"

In an earlier post, we explored our use of "I" and "Me" in daily discourse and how things might be different were they not a part of our vocabulary.

While the two words can be helpful to communicate, they can prove counterproductive to intimacy and collaboration---daresay destructive--as we call upon them to assert and maintain our sense of control, our individuality, and an endless collection of needs.

In this regard, they are like little "mines" that we drop here and there to protect us from egoic tangles with others.

Whether we know it or not, each time we use them--not to provide helpful pointers in communication--but to delineate the boundaries of who we are, and who we are not--we lose a little bit of our "non-selves," the aspect of our presence that is loving, compassionate, and open to the mystery of the unknown.

The great Zen teacher, Dogen said: "To know the self is to forget the self" and a great many spiritual and contemplative traditions explore the value of coming to understand our true nature.

Pema Chödrön writes of Dogen's observation:

"We might think that knowing ourselves is a very ego-centered thing, but by beginning to look so clearly and so honestly at ourselves—at our emotions, at our thoughts, at who we really are—we begin to dissolve the walls that separate us from others."

Today, notice how "I" and "Me" serve as little land mines--seemingly innocuous--but that nonetheless, in subtle and not so subtle ways, separate you from those in your midst at home, work, and, ultimately yourself.

Every now and again, take an "I", "Me" holiday and notice what changes. Don't worry, it might just kill "you."

Copyright 2012. Institute for Mindfulness Studies. All Rights Reserved.