The self is programmed not to be forgotten. You sit there trying to forget the self – and just the trying recreates, from moment to moment, the self. All kinds of barriers come up. Every time you get to that edge of “falling away of body and mind,” something pulls you back. That is the program. “I’m here, I’m here, I’m here – you’re there.”
Teachings of the Insentient by John Daido Loori
This is a tough balance. Intimacy means letting go of “I’m here” and falling into the completeness. Yet, as any narcissist will tell you, it’s just too frightening to let go of the “I’m” and to trust that dissolving the separateness will not be as deeply wounding as what caused the narcissism in the first place. Daido Loori points out that the self-centeredness is a product of our evolution as creatures without the powers that kept other animals safe. In the face of predators, we are not fast, agile, or with special skills like the ability to fly away from danger. All we possess is our brain power and ability to reflect on ourselves. And that very intellectual prowess has resulted in both beneficial and disastrous decisions in our history. In creating the “I’m here – you’re there,” we place a barrier to being intimate with all that has, in fact, created us.
I don’t know that there is a cure for my narcissism. There will always be sticky points in the negotiation between saving the world and saving myself through a momentary comfort. This is a selfishness that is neither useful nor beneficial. But here’s a start. I can arrange my selfishness so that it takes a subservient position to compassion and wisdom.
But not everybody is going to realize (that intimacy with the earth will not permit us to live our lives in the old way), at least not for many lifetimes. And those of us who are lucky enough to find our way into this incredible Dharma have a responsibility to use its wisdom and sense of intimacy in a way that nourishes the earth itself and all its inhabitants.
Thank you for practicing,