Have we not all - individually, or as part of a group - said or done things that just boggles our minds? As we privately reflect on our misbehavior, we may be shocked & disturbed, vowing to do better from now on.
Amazingly, if the very same misbehavior is criticized by another, or from outside our group, we - individually or collectively - tend to quickly 'circle the wagons' in defense mode, & even mount a 'no holds barred' counterattack! We rationalize, loudly justifying our (inappropriate) behavior, and express outrage towards the stupid, evil 'enemies' who dared criticize us. Examples of this happen daily on the news and in our private lives.
Maybe there's more to this bizarre dichotomy than hypocrisy & lax morality. Maybe our neurobiology has evolved this way.
In the first instance, we have the luxury of being able to self-reflect - to examine our past behavior in private, without fear of judgement & punishment. We can remember or imagine how our misbehavior negatively impacted ourself & others involved. Our felt safety of unconditional self-acceptance (vs harsh self-judgement) frees our essential spaciousness & wisdom, allowing us to see, connect with & inhabit a far larger context (than the 'normal' immediate egocentric fears & desires). Self-reflection also provides more subtle, more evolved, longer-term positive evolutionary payoffs: more acceptable behavior = better approval by one's group = greater probability of survival, mating & passing on of DNA.
Self-reflection is temporarily suppressed on rare occasions when we legitimately fear for our life - we may automatically lock into fight-flight-freeze. For many, self-reflection is chronically suppressed when many times each day, relatively-meaningless threats to our ego (personal or group) are misinterpreted as life-threatening. We confuse slights to the ego with threats to our life; personal ego with our group ego; hoarding & overeating with nurturing love. Stress seems to be the new norm. Anxious, fearful 'noisy egos' continue to fuel endless, childish but often lethal conflicts - 'my/our noisy ego is bigger & better than your/your group's noisy ego!' Our materialistic society only offers shopping & antidepressants for our profound dys-ease. But egocentricity & associated fervent accumulation of things & experiences in a meaningless universe is not the cure but the cause of our unhappiness. Remaining at this low level of consciousness, means doing more of the same, with the same results.
Real life far, far exceeds materialism's dogma of a 'random, meaningless, dead-matter' universe: http://www.johnlovas.com/2021/05/trajectory-of-consciousness.html
Investigate, see for yourself, how letting go of compulsively chasing shiny objects effects your life! Experience what many have - that only fearful egocentricity keeps us from our natural state of peace, silence, stillness, spaciousness, contentedness, equanimity & intimacy with 'the big picture' - everyone, nature, life as a whole.
Steve Taylor. “The Leap. The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening.” New World Library, 2017.
after something larger than ourselves…”
Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer PhD