Is it really your responsibility to be No. 1?

Being Ordinary


Autolytic writing

Besides the Bhagavad Gita, my all-time favorite spiritual writings are a series of books by a mysteriously reclusive author who calls himself or herself Jed McKenna. The first volume is titled Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing. The books aren't for the faint of heart; they trash just about every prescription for bliss and ego removal known to man. 

McKenna suggests that all it takes to remove the mind's distortions from life is a year or two of self-exploration in the form of daily writing. The idea is to notice something from the day -it can be anything, not just things of emotional strength - and trace back what you actually know about it. Click here for an excerpt of McKenna's work that describes the process. I'll describe it succinctly below.

By the way, the rock-star mystic Adyashanti describes his own inquiry work in much the same way. He sat at a cafe every day for months working through the beliefs he had, and tracing all of them to what he really knew. And after a while the illusions parted ways from the reality.

So get a pad and pen, or a keyboard, and just ask yourself what you know about something. Notice what you actually know, what you believe you know, and what you don't know in fact. 

"I'm special because I am a senior executive in a big public corporation. How is that special? How many senior executives in big public corporations are there? Oh, a lot. What are they like? Like anyone else, I guess. Some of them are jerks. More jerks than ... oh wait, I'm one of them, aren't I? So am I a jerk like that when I'm at work? How many are like me? Lots. What's so special about this? I make a lot of money. That makes me special, right? I don't know what making money has to do with being special. It's just making money. Actually, I'm at the top of a pecking order. That's what is special about being a senior executive. Wait. What is special about being at the top of a pecking order? Alpha dog ... What's an alpha dog? What makes an alpha special other than being at the top? That sounds like circular reasoning. What is different about being at the top from being at the bottom? Is one more dog than the other? ..." and on and on ... 

And what's the point? Eventually, you start to see that all the stories you tell yourself are based on faulty assumptions. When you start to disbelieve your stories, you start to see reality as it is. That can be quite liberating.