Being Cynical

Cynical: believing that people are motivated purely by self-interest;
distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.

We aren’t cynical, are we?!

How do we counter being cynical? We only have to hear the words ‘religion’ and ‘politicians’ or a particular name, and we switch off. We simply distrust. We may feel ashamed to be cynical but, of course, it’s normal, because we have been conditioned. We are all conditioned beings, programmed by earlier trauma. Those who assume that they are not cynical are just play acting.

If I look at my teacher sitting on a throne in brocades and robes, holding varjas and bells and maybe wearing a head dress, I can either wonder what the point is, or accept that is the way Tibetans act. And then there is all the bowing and prostrating by the students to both the teacher and the shrine: it is supposed to be an antidote to pride, but these actions may be an act of pride in themselves.

We are either cynical or we just accept things.
The point is, both attitudes are doing ‘my’ head in 😀
Is there anything wrong with either blindly accepting, or being cynical?

It all depends on whether we are fixated with our view. Either way, we have a conditioned mind, and that is normal for unenlightened, sentient beings – so don’t feel wrong about this.

There are two ways to address this issue. One is complex, and the other, simple.

From a spiritual point of view, we can use antidotes – such as chanting, mindfulness, introspection – to counter a distrustful mind. We realise that we are cynical because of previous experiences; we have been conditioned – but couldn’t the chanting, mindfulness and introspection also simply be conditioning us?

The simple way to end cynicism is to be aware that our mind hasbeen conditioned, and that the cynicism is not usbut rather, a result of past experiences held in mind. We are merely conscious awareness noting these fixations. Weare not cynical: the conditioned mind is. In that we can trust. Of course, religion, politicians and people are tainted, but so are we, and there’s no need to throw ‘the baby out with the bath water’. At a deeper level, we all want the same thing – to be open, honest and enlightened.

It’s a big ask, but we start with our closed-minded self.

A practice: bring up a memory of someone you distrust or who seems naïve. Savour those mistrusting qualities. Are they real? No, they’re just ideas. That person is only projecting their inadequatenesses … so what? Aren’t we all?

We are free in the moment of seeing. Enjoy it! What a relief when we can leave people alone.

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