Do we need to compete to be, have and do more?
We are conditioned to compete. We want to be superior because we have not learned a better way of handling our insecurities.
We want to be intellectually, physically, morally, socially, financially superior. We even want to be spiritually superior.
Our insecurities make us feel that we’re not good enough, clever enough, strong enough, attractive enough, wealthy enough, cool enough…Nor are we appreciated enough, approved enough, trusted enough, loved enough, liked enough, desired enough, needed enough, admired enough, accepted enough, respected enough…
So we keep striving to do more, have more and be more.
The natural impulse of Life is that of growing and expanding creatively. It is natural to reach into the unbounded you, the You beyond your limited Ego.
That is our natural impulse and it is why babies grow and start to walk and talk and play. They do all this without feeling insecure and without competing.
The next time you find yourself striving to be, do or have more, pause and examine what is driving this.
Does it feel like the natural, joyous, creative impulse of Life? Or does it feel like you’re not enough as you are?
Does it feel like you need to push yourself to look better, to stand out from the crowd, to be better than someone else in particular or others, more generally?
Your inner voice is the voice of divinity. To hear it, we need to be in solitude, even in crowded places. A A Rahman
You have to be completely and lovingly honest with yourself when you do this because the Ego or Conditioned mind will jump up quickly and shout loudly as it seeks to justify your intention and action, your motivation, to compete.
You must be willing to listen for that other voice, the one which speaks through our feelings and often through our body, what we call our ‘intuition’ or ‘gut’ feeling.
Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.Gandhi
When Gandhi called for the Salt March in March 1930, it was in response to that other voice. 78 people joined him as he walked to the coastal town of Dandi in the state of Gujarat. Indians, Gandhi declared, would not pay an unfair tax to the British for salt they were reclaiming from their own shores. This act of civil disobedience inspired millions to themselves reject this and other oppressive laws of a foreign state leading ultimately to India’s independence.
In their own unique and inspiring way, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Mandela and many other great luminaries listened to that other voice and honoured it with their words and actions.
As did Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Leonardo da Vinci, Buckminster Fuller and Anne Frank, each being their own unique presence in the world, each expressing their greater self. Each cared less about what others thought or felt about them and more about being true to that other voice.
When we listen to that other voice, we feel liberated and empowered because it releases us from the prison of conditioned, fearful, self-doubting, self-judging, Ego-thinking. The kind of thinking that tells us that we’re not enough.
Your mind knows only some things. Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything. If you listen to what you know instinctively, it will always lead you down the right path. Harry Winkler
This is the ongoing assault of the Ego on our natural ability to be happy, peaceful, powerful, limitless and free.
Remember, it is possible to grow and expand limitlessly without believing that you are not enough and that you need to get ahead of, or apart from, the rest.
It is possible to grow and expand by realizing that growth and expansion is the natural impulse of Life, powered by it and not by the Ego’s desperation to be, do and have more.
It is possible to grow and expand by realizing that growth and expansion is the natural impulse of Life, powered by it and not by the Ego’s desperation to be more.
In this realizing, the need for competition is seen for what it is — a fear-driven and unloving response to ourselves and to others, pushing us aggressively to do, have and be more rather than inviting and allowing us to experience and express more.
Now, some will argue that competition has resulted in many great things including our ability to survive and innovate.
I would argue that Life is naturally creative and naturally whole with a natural inclination to grow and create/expand/innovate. If this weren’t true, we and the world as we know it would not exist.
The need for competition is a fear-driven and unloving response to ourselves and to others, pushing us aggressively to be, do and have more rather than inviting and allowing us to loving and peacefully experience and express more
The question is: Can we allow Life to work through us in peaceful and loving ways or do we believe that we must force it aggressively because we believe in an incomplete or not-enough self which can only be improved by being better than others?
Ultimately, it comes down to what we believe about ourselves.
Are we already whole and complete, great and good, joyous, peaceful and free? And is our purpose here on earth to endlessly experience and express more and more of that?
Or are we incomplete, inadequate, less than good and great, not naturally joyous, peaceful and free? And is our purpose here on earth to correct and improve such a defective and incomplete self?
Sit comfortably and take a few slow, deep and gentle breaths.
Become aware of your body by focusing on the rising and falling of your chest or the weight of your body on your chair or the feel of your hands wherever you have them. This will help to stabilize your mind. Take your time.
Now consider these questions:
What do I believe about myself? Do I believe that
I am already whole and complete, great and good, joyous and free and my purpose here on earth is to endlessly experience and express more and more of that?
I am incomplete, inadequate, less than good and great, joyous and free and that my purpose here on earth is to correct and improve a defective self?
Which makes you feel more constricted in your body? In your thinking? In your feeling? Less constricted?
Which brings a smile to your face? Which feels lighter? Effortless? More natural?
About Me: I believe in effortless living which I have learned happens when you stop quarreling with life, with yourself and with others, and start Allowing Life. That doesn’t mean that you agree with everything, that you object to nothing, that you don’t try to make things better.
On the contrary, when you stop quarreling, when you stop insisting that the world is the way you want it be, when you drop all that warring with life, that’s when you release yourself from the prison of limited thinking and allow the amazing possibilities of Life to come flooding in. That’s when you’re truly Free to be who and what and how you choose to be.
How do I free myself from the prison of limited thinking? It’s a moment to moment, life-long thing which I do by being mindful, practicing daily meditation and mentoring and teaching others these skills :)
Come talk to me about Effortless Living. It’s possible. Really :)