The focus of my practice right now is being honest with myself (and therefore with others). I never understood how difficult this is to do, or that I wasn't doing it, until I tried it. Much of the time I have hidden motives behind what I do and say, often motives that are hidden even to me. Mindfulness is about teasing these out, discovering WHY I do and say what I do, and stopping myself from just acting habitually.

Really looking at myself in the mirror has been a painful and eye-opening experience. There are a lot of aspects of myself that I don't like. Anatta is a matter of not grasping these aspects and calling them my "self." For example, many times I act in a selfish or impatient way - but to say "I am a selfish (or impatient) person" really doesn't do me any good, because then I feel I have to overcome WHO I AM, not just the negative behaviors I'm doing. There is no "self" that is selfish or impatient. There is only this aggregate of conditions that is acting in a selfish way.

What selfishness boils down to is fear. I am afraid I am going to lose something, some possibility, so I feel I must grasp at it, claim it as mine, before it slips away. It's a problem of narrowness of vision, because if I saw that I am part of everything and everyone, there would be no fear of "losing" anything. Where would it go? I can't gain anything either, at least nothing that I can keep. All my possessions, all my qualities, all my relationships, will someday fade into nothingness, and there is nothing I can do about it. Grasping at them only creates suffering.

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