Tuesday, January 10, 2012

what it looks like after Garuda eats your ego

I met the person who would be my husband and I knew there was something different about him.   I’d met a few people like him before, but very few.  And I think no women like him.  I still don’t think I’ve met any women like him.  Although I think there are a few of us moving in that direction, maybe even almost there for all I know.

Not to say he’s perfect; far FAR from it.  Nope, just this one aspect is pretty unique.

I remember my brother just thought he (the hubby to be) was an asshole and thinking back on that day at Piccadilly makes me smile.  The only reason brother thought that was that hubby to be wouldn’t defer to him.  Brother was used to being deferred to.  I think he and I both grew up with a little bit of wunderkind in us.  Which is certainly not a bad thing – it helps later to remember that at one time you did fly so that perhaps you can fly still, or again, or whatever.  And yet they weren’t “glory days” for either of us, not the pinnacle.

Hubby, you see, experiences no self-doubt.  That’s how I’d describe it.  It can be totally infuriating but at the same time, it’s kinda cool.  He does what he does and he can look at it and while he might obfuscate as to why he sucks at refrigerator organization, well, it isn’t personal.  He doesn’t believe he is a bad person because he can lose food better than anyone else in the fridge, nor does he really imply that you are a bad person for excelling at it.  He’s perfectly willing to let you excel at fridge organization and totally unwilling to give you any credit for doing it.

Because the man does not live on credit.  The fridge is organized or the fridge is not organized and that’s it: no credit, no debit, no strokes, just is, state of being.

He builds things, he grows things, he makes things, and there is only looking at what is, this worked, that didn’t, this is good enough (which, learning about good enough instead of some nefarious perfection is a whole ‘nother but important topic).  He might fix supper, and it might be good, and you might say so and thank you and all that but it never defines him.

The closest I came to this on my own was horses, which by the time he even met me were only a memory.  I knew I was good, I knew I could read them, I knew I could outride anyone without it ever being a competition, just a what is.  But when he met me I hadn’t seriously ridden in about six years, and it would still be another 19 before I would again.  He said that horses were the only thing in my whole life I wasn’t apologetic about.  But that was just in the talking.

It is possible that I had that about more things when I was the wunderkind.  I could dance, I could make straight A’s, I could discuss current events and business decisions, I could ride horses, I could tell a joke, and I didn’t give a sh*t about all the people who hated me for it.

Because there isn’t a person anywhere that someone doesn’t hate.  Because people are small, petty, self-absorbed and only able to see a small percentage of the picture.  So you can get somebody like Hitler and some people love him, and you can get somebody like Jesus and some people hate him.  So it doesn’t matter (in the context of what someone else thinks of you I’m talking about – whether you tend toward the Jesus or Hitler parts of the spectrum does indeed matter).  The only thing that really matters is what you think of yourself and whether or not you can live with yourself.

Which is oddly the opposite of self-absorption.

You see, I finally met someone else who helped me see this, my own miniature Marlboro man.  He’s quite the horseman, frankly better than any.other.person.I.know.period.  He was also quite the successful businessman (in a corporation and outside of it).  He’s lived in the same place and been married to the same woman for a long long time.  And it didn’t take me long being around him to see that he has no self-doubt.  Although when I ran this whole idea by him he said it was less that he had no self-doubt than that he accepted even before he made any decision, before he did anything, that on some level or another it was going to be wrong.  Anyway.

Suddenly having both him and my husband as examples I saw that rather than being self-assured because they were egotistical (which is what most outside observers would say from inside their own bitter self-doubt), they rather have no ego at all.  They are ego-less.  People who need assurance, who are always in need of support, their egos are out of control and controlling them.  But people who can stand whether it be in the calm or in the storm, well, the only way it is possible to do that is to be ego-less.

When I stood up to a couple stupid cowboys the other week, it felt awful.  But it worked.  Because my ego was not involved, only something much simpler, what was right and just and compassionate.  Can you believe that?  Me?  The Contrary Goddess doing compassionate?  To quote my midwife, it hasn’t exactly been my life’s path.  But compassion isn’t thoughtlessly stroking someone’s ego with “you are so right” but involves finding how to say difficult things in ways that can be heard.  Compassion involves not allowing someone else’s misery to infect you.  It may well be that compassion mostly involves leaving other people be to harvest their own sowing and quit trying to save them from it.  But compassion has no ego involved.  It has no need to be “right” because it already knows it is.

What do you know to be right that doesn’t require anyone’s approval?   Non-attachment is ego-less-ness; it is the hand opening and not grasping, not controlling, not blaming.  There is nothing that makes you happy or unhappy outside of you.

By the way, Garuda eating your ego is what happens when you live with nature, with animals, with your family, without domination or subservience, or exploitation.


TheLFamily said...

this reminds me of my own husband and truly helped me to see his "assholeness" in a new light...because it is really more like this.
Thanks for sucha great perspective.

Wendy said...

My husband is like this, too. People often consider him arrogant, and I say, he's not "arrogant", but self-assured. He feels "no need to be right", because he already is. It's very frustrating :).