It’s easy to say, “Self-control” and “Self-mastery” but, with so much distraction, this topic may be difficult to comprehend. We usually take self-control and self-mastery to denote holding back our reactions, but here, it doesn’t mean that.
‘Holding back’ is an antidote, and antidotes do not solve the problem; they cover it up. It’s like saying, “Be nice”, when we feel angry. We can be nice, but the feeling of anger will return because the cause has not been addressed. Reactions will always come back, so we need to find where those reactions came from.
When we identify with thoughts in the mind, we become more involved and captured by the idea of ‘me’ and ‘my thoughts’. This identification with thoughts creates our I, our self. Notice we say ‘our’; this is actually consciousness – that which sees. The more we realise that it is consciousness that sees this self-identity in action, the more control and mastery we have over our display of expression. This isn’t an antidote; it is an understanding.
The self is a collection of ideas with which consciousness identifies, and we keep making the same mistake.
The Dharma is a series of teachings that helps us to undo our uptightness. The Dharma isn’t about learning a script to repeat; it is about personally investigating what is happening in our mind, which affects our behaviour. This is more than psychology, which is based around the contents of the mind; this is spiritual psychology based around consciousness – that which is aware of the mind’s contents.
There aren’t many who are interested in discovering their reality or how a self is created. They just accept their thoughts as their reality, and bulldoze their way through life. If we only believe and obey our thoughts, we are no different from a robot. If, on the other hand, we ask questions about our self, we awaken to a new light of being.
When we react out of habit, we have no self-control or self-mastery. We only believe that we have.
The test is to think about someone whom we dislike, and see if we can remain neutral from the reaction. Let’s say we have an aversion to someone because they dislike others: without noticing, we have fallen into the ‘dislike camp’. Dislike is aversion, which is a fear that leads to hatred.
Our mind reacts to names and symbols.
It’s called ‘brand awareness’.
We mentally salivate, just like Pavlov’s dogs.
If we do not have self-control
others will control it for us.