Why Monks Are Boring or The Affect of the Ego
It recently occurred to me that many personality traits stem straight from ego wounds. Someone calls you “stupid” so you develop “the intellectual” aspect, reading everything you can get your hands on. Someone calls you “weak” and suddenly the “workout” guy appears desperate to tone his muscles and build his strength.
When I was little and my mom constantly talked about wanting to die, I developed “manic, sarcastic” girl, who took nothing seriously, in order to defend myself. The downside of “manic, sarcastic” girl was that she pissed a lot of people off with her unedited sharp tongue and outspokenness. Also, she tended to get a lot of driving tickets.
As children, we need these defenses. As adults, they limit our freedom of expression. They pen us in by giving us rote responses to the stimulus around us. And that’s why monks are boring. Monks have spent so much time meditating that they have melted the personality defenses and come into oneness with their true loving nature. (Of course they’re not really boring, it’s just my personality affect drawing them that way to intrigue you.)
Monks have no need to flirt or win an Oscar or have a big bank account or raise their status through marrying well or having a great job: they know their value as divine, they don’t have to prove themselves through witty quips or sexy dance moves. (But that does give me a great idea for a TV show.) They don’t need to make jokes at other people’s expense or judge others as bad to make themselves good.
And as I mentioned, monks aren’t really boring. Inside they are ecstatically blissful beaming with radiant energy. Outside, they are peaceful and delight all with their gentle smiles and colorful robes.
It’s been interesting for me as I’ve reintegrated those ego personality traits that I used to get attention. The enthusiastic cheerleader – wow, she took a lot of energy. The manic, sarcastic girl – she had a “comeback” for everything. The over achiever – so happy to let that one go and be in the flow and receive from the universe. Even the “laid back flower child” was a bit of an affect.
By loving and accepting each aspect of myself (the victim, the bully, the desperate, needy self, the demanding self, the jealous self) I have slowly traced the creation of each trait back to their original trauma, felt and released the pain and misunderstanding that created it and transmuted the energy I used to maintain that trait into loving energy.
So, maybe you don’t want to be a monk, but maybe being Woody Allen is wearing a little thin. What can you do?
You can spend time with the trait you are ready to integrate: the overeater, the drinker, the liar, the procrastinator – you can sit down and talk to that part of yourself. Don’t scold it or mock it or put it down – that’s how it was created in the first place.
Endeavor to understand it. Ask it questions. Listen to its answers. Maybe the drinker needs to feel loved to let go of “needing to relax.” Maybe the procrastinator needs some assurance that you believe in him. Maybe the liar needs to know it is safe (now) to tell the truth. Maybe the overeater needs to tell you about not getting her needs met in the past. Maybe she needs you to speak up to get her needs met now.
Listen, learn, understand and love that aspect. And you might find that aspect can release its tight grip on you. It can release protecting you in its rigid way. Maybe that aspect can become freed up energy that you can use to enjoy life, create goodness and radiant love. Afterall, it worked for the monks…