I was listening to an Ekhart Tolle lecture the other day. He was making fun of the human tendency to assume that we know how things should be, and to be very upset when they are not the way they should be. He used a traffic jam as an example, describing how sometimes when we’re in traffic and it’s not moving, we throw quite a fit, certain that traffic should be moving. The stopped traffic is wrong, and we are right, and in our righteousness we are free to complain and be upset.
Tolle went on to point out the (rather obvious) problem with this tendency. The traffic is not moving, and that is the reality of it. Labeling the traffic jam “wrong” also labels reality as wrong. He called this tendency to make reality wrong being “morally superior to reality”. What conceit we exhibit, assuming that we know how things should be. Such grandiosity, to walk through life assuming that the rain is wrong because we wanted sun!
What a pointless little ride to go on – experience reality, label reality as wrong, be upset about reality, seek a better reality, and repeat as necessary.
And yet, we all do it. Often. Judging self and others seems to be built right in to the human condition. Clients tell me all the time that they believe that their critical-inner-voice helps them get things done, do things right, avoid failure and stay on track. (I actually used to believe this myself, and had a wicked self-flagellation arsenal). We beat ourselves up, and beat reality up, and believe we are getting somewhere as a result. Actually, we are getting somewhere in SPITE of this, not BECAUSE of it.
The next time I am tempted to believe that I am ‘morally superior’ to reality as it is occurring, I’m going to try an experiment. I’m going to pretend that reality is correct – as is – and I am correct – as I am – and we are equals.
I’ll keep you posted.