I notice that, when my personality, my constructed self is in the driver’s seat, any action that goes wrong stands as an indictment of my whole personality – so conditioned have I become to criticism.
Let me exaggerate a bit to make my point. This is the emotional truth for me, not the actual truth – how it seems or feels.
Any credible allegation that something has been screwed up, a ball has been dropped, etc., causes me to go into a tailspin, internally.
We say that a person in my position has been “triggered.”
And I react by going into attack mode. I’m fully mobilized without knowing what hit me.
It’s both the vasana and the conditioned pattern of behavior that go off.
The vasana is like a crew member ringing the alarm bell on a ship. All hands on deck! But it’s internal to the person.
The behavior pattern is external. The crew is now projecting the vasana externally, firing on other people, causing harm.
I know of no other valid approach to patterns than experiencing the vasana through to completion while not acting on the pattern born of the vasana.
Experiencing the vasana through to completion is a wholesome action; refraining from acting on it is also a wholesome action so we’ve satisfied the Buddha’s precept. (1)
Meanwhile I have my susceptibility to criticism to deal with. I know its origins. I don’t have to trace it back.
Here’s the thing. Someone being critical of another breaks the bond of connection, even if slightly. When my Dad criticized me, he took his love from me. For whatever reason. It really doesn’t matter.
He had an uncivil tongue. He’d dig the knife in so deeply (although Michael says I was a sensitive child) that I still cringe when criticized by another.
This family was mired in intergenerational transfer. That’s the process of passing a vasana along from parent to child, repeatedly. The elder males seem to revel in lording it over their wives and children.
I cited the Divine Mother recently on dictators. Forgive me if I cite it again here because it describes some of my relatives (not all by any means).
“It is painful for a being that seeks power for themselves or power over another, whether it is a parent over a child, a husband over a wife, a man over an army. It matters not.
“The yearning [for], the exercise of control never gives joy. The pain simply grows. And so the actions become more grotesque, larger, until the breakdown is and has [been] and will be occurring.” (2)
A long and slippery slope.
Meanwhile, there’s no one else who can heal my wounds than I. And it’s no one else’s responsibility to do it either.
I’ve forgiven my Dad for passing this way of being along from his father. I probably need to forgive the family line as well, going back to the origin of the pattern.
Seeing these things does help me let go of them. I invoke Sanat Kumara and the Law of Elimination to take away whatever residue of resentment is left.
I feel a sense of peace. I have no idea how lasting it’ll be. But it feels better than the recoil from perceived criticism.
(1) Do only wholesome actions; refrain from unwholesome actions; and purify the mind. (Dhammapada.)
“To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to purify one’s mind—this is the teaching of the Buddhas” (Dhammapada, 183) at http://www.vipassanadhura.com/buddhism.htm
“Refrain from unwholesome actions, do good, purify the mind. This is the teaching of all the Buddhas” (Siddhartha Buddha, Dhammapada, at https://beherenownetwork.com/joseph-goldstein-insight-hour-ep-28-ten-unwholesome-actions/.
(2) “Transcript ~ The Divine Mother: Take Up Your Divine Authority, AHWAA, February 23, 2017,” February 28, 2017, at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2017/02/28/transcript-divine-mother-take-divine-authority-ahwaa-february-23-2017/.