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  1. 1. Copyright 2001 by Cheri Huber and June ShiverAll rights reservedISBN 0-9710309-0-1Original edition copyright 1993Published by Keep It Simple BooksPrinted in the United States of AmericaCover design by Mary Denkingersunwheelart@earthlink.netCover art by Alex MillFirst printing 1993Second printing 1994Third printing 1997Fourth printing 2000Fifth printing 2001, Revised EditionSixth printing 2002Seventh printing 2003Eighth printing 2005Ninth printing 2006Tenth printing 2007Eleventh printing 2009Twelfth printing 2010
  2. 2. Also by Cheri HuberFrom Keep It Simple BooksWhat You Practice Is What You Have: A Guide to Having the Life You WantTransform Your Life: A Year of Awareness PracticeThere Is Nothing Wrong With You: Going Beyond Self-Hate, Rev. Ed.The Key and the Name of the Key Is WillingnessThat Which You Are Seeking Is Causing You to SeekHow You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything: A WorkbookThere Is Nothing Wrong With You for TeensThe Depression Book: Depression/Opportunity for Spiritual GrowthThe Fear Book: Facing Fear Once and for AllNothing Happens Next: Responses to Questions about MeditationBe the Person You Want to Find: Relationship and Self-DiscoverySuffering Is Optional: Three Keys to Freedom and JoyWhen You’re Falling, Dive: Acceptance, Possibility and FreedomTime-Out for Parents: A Guide to Compassionate Parenting, Rev. Ed.Trying to Be Human: Zen Talks (Sara Jenkins, editor)Good Life: Zen Precepts Retreat with Cheri Huber (Sara Jenkins, editor)The Zen Monastery Cookbook: Stories and Recipes from a Zen KitchenThere Are No Secrets: Zen Meditation with Cheri Huber (DVD)From Shambhala PublicationsMaking a Change for Good: A Guide to Compassionate Self-DisciplineFrom Hay HouseHow to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to BeFrom Sounds TrueUnconditional Self-Acceptance: A Do-It-Yourself Course (6 CD set)DVDs from Openings (www.yogaopenings.com)Yoga for Meditators - Christa RypinsYoga for a Better Back - Christa Rypins and Dr. John SousaYummy Yoga: Stress Relief for Hips, Back, and Neck - Christa Rypins
  3. 3. For Walter and for Ramada,in gratitude
  4. 4. Acknowledgments My deepest appreciation to Christa,Michael, Jen, Chris, Dave, Melinda, Faith,Ann, Mickey, Tricia, Phil, Cameron, Jan,Margaret, Nancy S., Mark, Nancy D.,Jennifer, Erin, the monks, and all who havefacilitated our “There Is Nothing Wrong WithYou” retreats. Special acknowledgment to all who haveparticipated in our retreats.
  5. 5. Introduction When I began guiding people along apath of spiritual growth, I realized thatmuch of my role was to be an externalrepresentative of the unconditional love andacceptance they were seeking to find inthemselves. I also realized early on thatthey didn’t know what they were seeking orthat I was playing that role. So weproceeded with the teacher representing theloving, structure-providing, safe,mother/father, as well as the wise,compassionate savior who would give thempeace, clarity and freedom. Some quickly concluded that I could notgive them what they were looking for andmoved on to find someone who could.Others stuck it out, and slowly, step bycourageous step, grew to see that no one
  6. 6. could give them what they were seekingbecause it was already theirs, already withinthem. They found that the work was torealize it for themselves. A teacher couldonly point the way. Over the years I’ve come to see thatwhat I’m doing as guide is trying to get folksto turn loose the conditioning that says theyare bad, wrong and inadequate long enoughfor them to catch a glimpse of who theyreally are. It is only after years of learningto trust my perceptions that they begin toaccept that their beliefs about themselvesand their world might be less thancompletely accurate. Every spiritual path tells us that whatwe are seeking is inside us. When we arechildren, we learn to stop looking toourselves to know what is so for us. Werely on others to tell us. We look to
  7. 7. parents, teachers, friends, lovers, husband,wife, children, Jesus, the Buddha, God--all“out there.” Love, acceptance and approvalare out there and must be earnedsomehow. Once we complete the turn away fromourselves, away from our heart, weexperience ourselves as separate and findourselves in a fight for survival. “I am nowa small self adrift in a threatening world.My focus must be on surviving.” Society offers help in the form ofvarious techniques and processes designed toenable us to cope better. But some of us,I would say the lucky ones, can’t learn tocope. We keep having a nagging sense thatthere is something fundamentally wrong withthe whole structure. “It’s not just that Iam wrong. It feels bigger than that.” Thisdeep down dissatisfaction will sometimes lead
  8. 8. a person to consider the realm of the spirit.“Maybe it’s even bigger than I thought.” The reason spiritual practice isessential to the work of going beyond self-hate is that in order to be free of self-hate we must find the unconditional. Wemay not have the words and concepts, butwhat we are longing for is somethinggreater than this world, something lastingand secure. Of course, egocentricity (theillusion that you are separate fromeverything else) begins by thinking it can findthis for itself, but initially that doesn’tmatter. It’s the looking that matters, notwho is looking or what is being looked for. Egocentricity is conditional. It isdualistic. It is the process of believingoneself to be separate. An illusion ofseparateness is not capable of experiencingwholeness. A spiritual practice, if we are
  9. 9. willing, patient and sincere, will lead us tothat which can embrace the “I” thatbelieves itself to be separate. As you learn to sit still and payattention, you begin to see through theillusion, beyond the voices of society’sconditioning, and back to the original being,and slowly that perceiving becomes morereal than all you have been taught tobelieve. You begin to cease identifying withthe small, frightened, conditioned person youbelieve to be the real you, and you gain amuch broader view. With practice you willmove from being one who is hoping to besaved to that which can save. You will beginto be the love, acceptance and compassionyou have always sought.In loving kindness,Cheri
  10. 10. Table of ContentsSurviving Childhood 2My Survival System Is Killing Me! 10Suffering provides our identity. 11Self-Hate Is a Process 12A Scam Self-Hate Loves to Run 17Some of the Forms Self-Hate Takes 20Some Voi c es and Gestures and Actions of Self-Hate 24The Voices 26Self-Hate Has Many Voices. 28“Where did all this self-hate come from?” 32Socialization and Subpersonalities 33Why Am I So Needy? 40Self-Hate Accounting: The "Insufficient Funds" Rule 43Constructive Criticism: Not Required 53Common Wisdom that Supports Self-Hate 56Conflicting Beliefs that Maintain Self-Hate 57Self-Evaluation: Another Unhelpful Idea 58Investing in Misery 59Self-Hate Accounting System 61Self-Hate and The Battering Cycle 63Spiritual Practice Doesn’t Begin Until the Beatings Stop. 70Meditation: Feel the Burn 76Unconditional Love 80Not wanting to be how you are... 82
  11. 11. When you don’t hate yourself... 85Nothing to Do 89Gratitude 93Self-Hate’s Greatest Talent 95Self-Hate and Addiction 101Compassion, No Matter What 109Willingness Is the Key 112The Voices: Listen, but Don’t Believe 116Learn to be present. 118The Most Frightening Thing in the World 122Self-Hate: Everyones Doing It! 123What Is the Path? 126Horrible Things (and I do mean horrible) 132The Gift 134Its No Wonder We Feel Inadequate 140The Worst Thing That Could Happen 141It’s Really Quite Miraculous 143Fake It ’Til You Make It 147Stay with the Breath 149Its Okay to Feel Afraid? 151It May Be True... 157But I Could Make a Mistake! 160A Definition of Suffering 168Self-Hate and the Illusion of Control 171Meditation Will Take Care of It 178Going Out, Getting Miserable, Coming Back 182
  12. 12. Whos Afraid of Me? Im Afraid of Me! 185The Path of Patient Effort 192Almost Nobody Wants to Grow Up. 196Two Old Zen Stories 200“There’s Something Wrong with This Universe” 211Self-Hate Doesn’t Work (or does it?) 212Nothing To Do, No One To Do It 216Sitting Still, Sitting With 219What’s Really Going On 220We Have a Choice. 222A Useful Pursuit 223The Movement of the Mind 228Miracles 229Jesus Said 230On the Path 235The Doorway of Compassion 239
  13. 13. You have been taughtthat there is something wrong with you and that you are imperfect, but there isn’t and you’re not. 1
  14. 14. Surviving Childhood: Establishing A Strong, EarlyFoundation for Self-HateUnless you were raised by wolves, the chancesare extremely good that as you were growing up,you heard at least a few of the following:Don’t do that...Stop that...Put that down...I toldyou not to do that...Why don’t you everlisten...Wipe that look off your face...I’ll give yousomething to cry about...Don’t touch that...Youshouldn’t feel that way...You should have knownbetter...Will you ever learn...You should beashamed of yourself...Shame on you...I can’tbelieve you did that...Don’t ever let me see youdo that again...See, that serves you right...I toldyou so...Are you ever going to get it...What werethe last words out of my mouth...What were youthinking of...You ruin everything...You have nosense...You’re nuts. The nurses must havedropped you on your head...Just once, dosomething right...I’ve sacrificed everything for 2
  15. 15. you and what thanks do I get...I had great hopesfor you...If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you athousand times...Give you an inch, you take amile...Anybody would know that...Don’t talk backto me...You’ll do as you are told...You’re notfunny...Who do you think you are...Why did you doit that way...You were born bad...You drive mecrazy...You do that just to hurt me...I could skinyou alive...What will the neighbors say...You dothat to torture me...You’re so mean...I couldbeat the daylights out of you...It’s all yourfault...You make me sick...You’re trying to killme...Now what’s the matter with you, crybaby...Go to your room...You deserve it...Eat itbecause children are starving...Don’t stick yourlip out...If you cry, I’ll slap you...Don’t you everthink about anyone else...Get out of mysight...and on and on and on and on and on... 3
  16. 16. Somewhere along the line, you concluded thatthere was something wrong with you. OF COURSE YOU DID! WHAT ELSE COULD YOU CONCLUDE!? If there were nothing wrong with you, PEOPLE WOULDN’T TREAT YOU THAT WAY!THEY WOULDN’T SAY THOSE THINGS TO YOU! 4
  17. 17. 5
  18. 18. “Then why did they do that to me?” Because it was done to them. Because we do what we’ve been taught. Society calls this “child rearing” or “socialization.” We call it “sad.” 6
  19. 19. The process of socialization teaches us: - to assume there is something wrong with us - to look for the flaws in ourselves - to judge the "flaws" when we find them - to hate ourselves for being the way we are - to punish ourselves until we changeWeve been taught that this is what good people do.Socialization does not teach us: - to love ourselves for our goodness - to appreciate ourselves for who we are - to trust ourselves - to have confidence in our abilities - to look to our heart for guidance.Weve been taught that this is “self-centered.” 7
  20. 20. By the time “socialization” is complete, most of us hold anthat our only hope of being good is to punish ourselves when we are bad.We believe beyond doubt that without bad would win out over good. This entire book is based on the premise that that is not true ! 8
  21. 21. Here is what’s possible: 9
  22. 22. My Survival System Is Killing Me!What happened to you, not who you are, makesyou angry, fearful, greedy, mean, anxious, etc.We learned behaviors when we were very youngin order to survive. We were taught to hatethose behaviors and to see them as signs of ourbadness. Yet we must keep doing them becausethey still mean survival to us.And we hate ourselves for doing them.THE TRAP: I believe I must be this way to survive. I hate myself for being this way.RESULT: self-hate = survival survival = self-hate 10
  23. 23. Suffering provides our identity.Identity is maintained instruggle and dissatisfaction,in trying to fix what’s wrong.sufferingego-selfegocentricityfearillusion of separationSo we are constantly looking for what is wrong,constantly creating new crises so we can rise tothe occasion. To ego, that’s survival. It is very important that something be wrong so we can continue to survive it. 11
  24. 24. Self-Hate Is a ProcessSelf-hate is a “how” not a “what.”Examples:If I’m a worrier, worrying is the “how,” theprocess. The things I worry about are the“whats,” the content.If I am judgmental, judging is the “how,” theprocess. The things I judge are the “whats,” thecontent.If I am caught in self-hate, self-hating is the“how,” the process. The aspects of “me” thatare being hated--body, personality, looks (the listis endless)--are the “whats,” the content.In other words, I am not hating myself; self-hateis hating me. Self-hate is an autonomousprocess with a life of it’s own, an endless tapeloop of conditioning, creating and shaping theworld in which we live. 12
  25. 25. The simplest example is that if self-hate ishating my body,it doesn’t matter what I do or what I look like,I will never meet self-hate’s standard, which is the point. 13
  26. 26. Self-hate is not hating me in order to help me.No. It is a process of hating and hating is just what it does. As long as it exists, it will find something to hate. That’s how it maintains itself. 14
  27. 27. The process of self-hate is so much a part ofthe average person that we don’t evenrecognize it.We think we’re just doing the things that willensure we’ll be good.It’s normal, we say.Everybody does it.Or should. 15
  28. 28. If you want to know what you were conditionedto believe as a child, look at how you treatyourself now...Does that mean someone consciously, deliberatelytreated you that way? Perhaps not.But you got the message anyway, didn’t you? 16
  29. 29. A Scam Self-Hate Loves to RunIt is confusing for someone to conclude thatthey aren’t loved because there is somethingwrong with them.“I want to be loved, but there’s somethingwrong with me. I need to fix that even thoughI’m not really sure I know what it is or how tofix it. But I must keep trying anyway because Ireally want to be loved.”This person who is trying to become lovablespends much time, attention and energy trying tobe good, earn approval, please others, BE PERFECT.And then, when they find that all that trying tobe good doesn’t work, and doesn’t in fact getthe love and approval they want, the only thingthey know how to do is TRY HARDER. 17
  30. 30. It’s like being on a journeyand being completely lost, going in the wrong direction but making really good time. 18
  31. 31. And what we are left with is confusion. “I’mtrapped and confused. What I’m doing isn’tworking, but I don’t know what to do instead.”Confusion is the result of attempting to cling toa conditioned belief (if I try harder I can makeit work) in the face of what you are seeing tobe true for you (This isn’t working. I feelpowerless. There must be another way.).*If you will continue to pay attention, theconfusion will give way to clarity. If you can findthe willingness to LOOK, AND TAKE A STANDAGAINST THE SCAM SELF-HATE HAS YOUCAUGHT IN, the confusion will give way toclarity. And the clarity is compassion.*It’s always a good idea to go back and check out theoriginal premise. The faulty premise in this case is thatif you meet the endless, changing, nebulous list ofconditioning’s standards, you will be who you should be,you will be lovable, and you will be loved. 19
  32. 32. Some of the Forms Self-Hate TakesSABOTAGE You try to do something good for yourselfor for someone else and somehow manage toturn the whole thing against yourself. You keepdoing the very things you didn’t want to do ordon’t approve of, and you can’t seem to figureout how you do that. It’s a perfect system forself-hate because:1) You’re operating out of an ideal.2) You don’t live up to your ideal.3) You can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong.TAKING BLAME BUT NOT CREDIT If something goes well, it’s a gift fromGod. If it goes badly, it’s all your fault. Andeven if you do take a little credit for something,you can always avoid feeling good about it byfinding what could have been done better.BLAMING OTHERSSelf-hating and “other” hating are the same 20
  33. 33. thing. Whether you are hateful toward othersor hating yourself directly, it’s self-hate. Youare always the recipient.BEING SECRETIVE You don’t let other people know what’sgoing on inside you so that you can be in therebeating yourself with it.HOLDING GRUDGES You review old hurts and injustices ratherthan being present to yourself now.NOT BEING ABLE TO RECEIVE Gifts, compliments, help, favors, praise,etc. are things you have difficulty allowingyourself to have.SEEING WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYTHING Your habit is to find fault, criticize, judgeand compare. Remember, what is is all that is.The alternate reality in which everything isexactly as you think it should be exists only in 21
  34. 34. your mind, and it exists primarily to torture you.TRYING TO BE DIFFERENT Just being who you are, your “plain oldself,” isn’t enough. You feel you have tomaintain an image.ATTEMPTING TO BE PERFECT This one speaks for itself.BEING ACCIDENT PRONE Your attention is so often focused on someother time, person or thing that you injureyourself in the present. You don’t feel youdeserve your attention. Others are moreimportant.CONTINUING TO PUT YOURSELF IN ABUSIVESITUATIONS Even if you realize that you have thispattern, your fear and self-hate are too strongto let you break out of it. 22
  35. 35. MAINTAINING AN UNCOMFORTABLE PHYSICALPOSITION You hold your shoulders in a way thatcreates pain. You clench your teeth. You “sitsmall” on the bus so as not to intrude intoanyone else’s space. You continue to sit in anuncomfortable chair at work because you don’twant to make waves.MAINTAINING AN UNCOMFORTABLE MENTALPOSITION Clinging to “shoulds”: “It’s not right to behappy when there is so much suffering in theworld.” “People should say please and thankyou.” “Children deserve to have two parents.” 23
  36. 36. Some Voices and Gestures and Actions of Self-HateA word or gesture can conjure up a wholelifetime of negativity or defeat or unworthiness.When the memories and emotions tied to thatword or gesturearise, it’s like havinga truckload of self-hate dumped on you.“I can’t believe you did that! What’s thematter with you?”“God, Cheryl!” (tone of disgust)A shrug of the shoulders and the words “Itdoesn’t matter.” (signals total defeat)A sinking feeling of “I’ve done something wrong,”and a feeling of panic, “What’s the right thing todo now to fix it?” 24
  37. 37. Buying anything for anyone else but neveranything for myself.Wanting to eat something and a voice saying,“Can’t you ever say no to yourself?” andrealizing that I say no to myself all the timeabout everything except food. 25
  38. 38. The VoicesBy way of explanation...In this book we refer often to “the voices insideyour head” or similar phrases.We aren’t talking about a psychological disorder.“Voices inside your head” refers to the nearlyendless stream of thoughts we all experience,the constant flow of judgments, ideas, criticism,and opinions that we tell ourselves day in and dayout. And we want to emphasize that it is important not to believe that these “voices” have helpful information for you about yourself. 26
  39. 39. We use the terms “self-hate” and “egocentricity” to mean the same thing.So far in this book we have been definingself-hate for you. So, what is egocentricity?Egocentricity is the illusion of being a separateself, separate from everything--ourselves, eachother, life, the universe--that results from theprocess of social conditioning. Egocentricity isinterested in one thing and one thing only:SURVIVAL AT ANY COST.It will SAY AND DO ANYTHING to remain incontrol of your life.It will come through any door. It will stop at nothing. 27
  40. 40. Self-Hate has many voices. Here are a few.VOICE : Nothing subtle about it.“You’re disgusting. You make me sick.”VOICE: Sounds like normal, helpful, constructivecriticism.“It was stupid of me to have said that. I mustwatch what I say.” (Children learn early to callthemselves and others “stupid.”)VOICE: Sounds like self-discipline; helpful inkeeping us on the right track.“I must finish this now even though I’mexhausted. I must not give in to little self-indulgences. Who knows where it would stop?”VOICE: Sounds really, really true and helpful; thevoice of clarity and wisdom.You read a book that is meaningful for you, butevery sentence is translated into “I should belike that.” This voice might start out sounding 28
  41. 41. sincere but soon slides into accusation. “I’vebeen doing it wrong all this time. What’s wrongwith me?” Another example: Sitting inmeditation you might be quiet and comfortable,just breathing. Then this voice says, “I don’tthink I’m doing this right. If I were, myattention wouldn’t wander.” 29
  42. 42. You can listen to the voices that say there issomething wrong with you.It’s actually very helpful to be aware of them. Just don’t believe them! 30
  43. 43. Most of what we have beenThis is why children have to be conditioned soheavily! WE WOULD NEVER HAVE REACHEDTHESE CONCLUSIONS ON OUR OWN! If we could for a momentlook at what we’ve been taught to believe withan unconditioned mind, we would see that notonly is it not true, it’s absurd. 31
  44. 44. “Where did allthis self-hatecome from?” 32
  45. 45. Socialization and SubpersonalitiesWe learn self-hate as children, and we learn itwhether we grow up in a loving family or not.The steps go pretty much like this.1.The child has a need.EXAMPLE:The child is afraid. 33
  46. 46. 2.The need is rejected.The need does not get met by the person who islooked to to meet it. The child is traumatizedwhen this happens. The trauma/rejectionbecomes a subpersonality, a permanent aspect ofthis child’s personality; a defense mechanism; apart of the child’s survival system. 34
  47. 47. 3.The child comes up with a behavior as a meansof survival in order to get the need met.EXAMPLE:If the child is afraid of the dark, she/he will getup and sneak a flashlight into the bed. Thisability to devise a surreptitious plan to protectoneself becomes a subpersonality. 35
  48. 48. 4.The child simultaneously identifies with theauthority figure who didn’t meet the need(“They’re right, I’m bad for being this way.”),and identifies with the part who was rejected(“I’m afraid, and they don’t love me becauseI’m afraid.”)The child, completely incapable of grasping any ofthis consciously, nevertheless learns to believe:“There must be something wrong with me.That’s why they are treating me this way. It’smy fault. It’s not their fault.” In the child’smind there can’t be anything wrong with theparents because survival depends on them.THIS IS THE BIRTH OF SELF-HATE 36
  49. 49. 5.The child decides to be “perfect,” to doeverything right, to be really good in order to beloved. There is no choice about this; the child’ssurvival depends on it.“They don’t love me because there is somethingwrong with me. I have to think of everything.If I just do it right and never let that happenagain, then they’ll love me.”THIS SELF-TALK MAINTAINS SELF HATE. 37
  50. 50. 6.In order to ensure survival, “The Judge” as asubpersonality is born to make sure that thechild is perfect and right and good.The birth of The Judge guarantees the continuedexistence of self-hate. 38
  51. 51. This process repeats constantly up through aboutage 7 when, it is said, we are completelysocialized. After that, The Judge is tenured andguaranteed a full-time job.During this process we have concluded that needsare bad, and that we are bad for having them.And, of course, we have them anyway. 39
  52. 52. Why Am I So Needy?STUDENT: Recently you used the term“horrible, needy thing,” and I realized that’sexactly how I think of it: needy is horrible. No wonder I can’t let neediness come up in myself. And when I see it in others, I slam them down with the same judgment that it’s horrible and unacceptable.GUIDE: That’s an example of the conclusion wedrew when we first began learning to abandonourselves. We concluded that the reason wewere being rejected was that we had a need,and having a need means you’re bad. If you’rebad, you’re unlovable, and if you’re unlovable,you won’t be able to survive. So from thatperspective, the bottom line is Don’t Have Needs. 40
  53. 53. Once we turn our attention outward, most of usnever address the original unmet need we weretraumatized into abandoning.Most of us don’t know it is that original unmetneed that has been controlling our lives.The need? To be loved and accepted exactly as we are. 41
  54. 54. Eventually it dawns on us that we can’t stay in the “I’m wrong” mode forever or we really won’t survive.There has to be a duality formed in which “I’mnot wrong; they are wrong” operates.The sadness is that you can live your whole lifetrying to prove your parents wrong, but nothingwill really have changed. All those ideas aboutbeing perfect and right and good will just be inreaction to the conditioning you received fromyour parents. Not only will you pursue thoseideas of perfection, but eventually you will haveto reject them, and you will have to reject themperfectly, and pretty soon you will have tiedyourself up in such a knot that you won’t beable to move in any direction, and you will justsit there in self-hate because the bottom line is “you lose.” 42
  55. 55. Self-Hate Accounting: The "Insufficient Funds" Rule STUDENT: Why do I never feel that I have been good enough, generous enough? I try and try but this little nagging guilty feeling is always here.GUIDE: Good question. I look at this a lot. It’sjust so pervasive in human experience. I wastalking about it earlier and gave this example:You go along in life and you do what you’resupposed to do. And every time you dosomething you’re supposed to do, you put adollar in the bank. Okay. Every time you’rekind, patient, or you do the thing you’resupposed to do--whatever it is (you know whatthose things are for you)--every time, you put adollar in the bank, a dollar in the bank, a dollarin the bank... 43
  56. 56. And you’re working at this! You’re up early inthe morning doing these things until late at night.Every day. Finally, you feel likeyou’re just kind of worn out.You feel like you need alittle pleasure in your life, alittle time on the beach orsomething. And so you think, I’m going to go tothe bank, and I’m going to take out somemoney, and I’m going to do something nice formyself. So you go to the bank and you say, “HereI am. I want to take out some of the moneyI’ve saved so that I can do something nice formyself.” And the responseis, “Oh no. You haven’tearned nearly enough toget anything for yourself.Oh, you have to work much harder. You have toput much, much more money in before you canget anything for yourself.” 44
  57. 57. Of course, if this were First National youwere dealing with, you would say, “No, this is notthe way this is going to work. This is my money.You can’t tell me when and where and how I canspend it.” And yet, at the Bank of Self-Hate,that’s exactly what you are told! With self-hate you get to earn and earnand earn endlessly, and there is never a payback.You think that you’re saving up all these points,and that some day you’ll receive some benefitfrom them, but you never do.STUDENT: Yes... I do that to myself a lot.GUIDE: Let me give youanother example. You decidethat you’re going to take uprunning...And so this person isgoing to help you become a runner. You puton your little outfit and the person says, “Why’d you put that on? Boy, do you look stupid in that! You’re going to wear that?” 45
  58. 58. Well, you go put on another outfit--you put onseveral outfits and finally justgive up on that discussion.You’re never going to lookgood enough to run so youjust decide you’re going to do it anyway. You go out there and start running, andthe person says, “You call that running? What made you think you could be a runner?” Now, I just want to give you anotherpossibility, okay? How about if the person who iswith you says, “Run in anything, it doesn’tmatter. You look fine. Just get out there andrun. That’s great! You’re doing good. How longdid you run? Ten minutes? That’s wonderful!” Think about it! Which person wants you to run, and which person wants you not to run? 46
  59. 59. THERE’S NO MYSTERY IN THIS, FOLKS!It’s not hard to pick out which characters are inwhich camp. Internally or externally! In thefirst example, the person at the Bank of Self-Hate DOES NOT LIKE YOU! It’s important to get that! It’s not like this person is really pulling foryou to get enough money in the bank to dosomething special for yourself. NO!This person will never give you a dime!You will work yourself to death, and you’ll neverget a thing for it. It is really important to understand that! 47
  60. 60. If you had a personin your lifetreating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago... 48
  61. 61. STUDENT: You’d think so, wouldn’t you?GUIDE: It seems so clear, but because thatvoice speaks from inside our own heads, we areactually willing to perpetuate the illusion that thisperson: - is on our side - likes us - has something valuable to say - has some sort of merit in life.But it doesn’t!It is to be pitied.It is a pathetic thing.It is very sad.It needs rest and care and nurturing. It does not need to be in charge of anybody’s life. And so you can address it with calm and 49
  62. 62. soothing words, as you would any sufferingperson. You don’t let it run your life. You don’t let it sign on your bank account. You don’t let it arrange your calendar. You don’t even let it cook for you. Are you with me?STUDENT: I am with you. Sometimes I don’tsee that separation. Right now, right here inthis room, it seems very clear to me.GUIDE: I can give you the simplest of allpossible rules of thumb: Any time a voice istalking to you that is not talking with love andcompassion, don’t believe it! Even if it is talking about someone else,don’t believe it. Even if it is directed atsomeone else, it is the voice of your self-hate.It is simply hating you through an externalobject. It can hate you directly by telling youwhat a lousy, rotten person you are, and it can 50
  63. 63. hate you indirectly by pointing out what’s wrong“out there.”If the voice is not loving,don’t listen to it,don’t follow it,don’t believe it. No exceptions! Even if it says it’s “for your own good,” itis not. It’s for its good, not yours. This is thesame as when parents talk to you in a hatefultone of voice “for your own good.” It’s fortheir good. It makes them feel better. It doesnot make you better. (And it does not makeyou behave “better.”)Here are some outrageous things I suggestabout this. Any time you hear the voice ofself-hate, do something for yourself that willmake it crazy. 51
  64. 64. Buy yourself a present.Sit down and read for pleasure.Take a long, hot bath.STUDENT: Whatever it is that you can’t letyourself do.GUIDE: Yes. Whatever would be lazy andindulgent...STUDENT: ...thoughtless, selfish...GUIDE: YES! The more, the better. It can beas simple as going for a walk on a nice day. Youjust keep walking until the voice is still, until it isclear that it’s not in control anymore. Then,when you’re ready, when you’re present, go backto your regular life. 52
  65. 65. Constructive Criticism: Not RequiredLet’s say that you sense you have been lessthan kind toward someone.The voice of constructive criticism says quietly,“That was pretty harsh. You’re too sarcastic.You always have been. You better clean upyour act before you alienate everyone.”This voice justifies itself by saying things like,“I’m just trying to point these things out to youso that you’ll be a better, kinder, happierperson.” 53
  66. 66. “Constructive criticism” is a scam run by people who want to beat you up. And they want you to believe that they’re doing it for your own good! 54
  67. 67. BE SUSPICIOUS of any voice, inside or outside,that says, “There is something wrong with you.”This voice does not like you and is not helpful. Itis possible that with the awareness that you havebeen unkind toward someone, you might realize,in a gentle sort of way, “I don’t want to dothat. It doesn’t feel very good.” And it’s notthat you’re a bad person, or even that youshouldn’t be that way; it’s just that you don’twant to be unkind because it hurts your heart.When you are open to that awareness, you won’t need to try to be different, for in that gentle approach, you will already have changed. 55
  68. 68. COMMON WISDOM that supports self-hateIt is more blessed to give than to receive.You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.The lyrics to “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”You get what you deserve.The harder you try, the better you’ll do.Two heads are better than one.Some things are just meant to be.If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.Children should be seen and not heard.Do as I say, not as I do.ADD YOUR OWN: 56
  69. 69. CONFLICTING BELIEFS that maintain self-hatePatience is a virtue.Strike while the iron is hot.I am my brother’s keeper.Look out for Number One.Neither a borrower nor a lender be.Generosity is a virtue.Carpe diem. (Seize the day.)Save for a rainy day.Be realistic.Be imaginative.Express yourself.Control yourself.ADD YOUR OWN: 57
  70. 70. Self-Evaluation: Another Unhelpful Idea Self-hate is putting incredible pressure on myself to be perfect, which causes me to make mistakes* because I’m so stressed and overwhelmed and miserable.*It isn’t actually possible to make mistakes. 58
  71. 71. Investing in Misery STUDENT: I’m aware that I tend to focus on punishment and not noticereward. I seem to believe that punishmentworks and reward doesn’t. I wonder what I getfrom having this belief.GUIDE: If you believe that punishment worksthen it makes sense to do a bunch of stuff youconsider wrong so you can be punished a lot andlife will “work” according to your beliefs.STUDENT: It seems I have an investment inmisery.GUIDE: Keep in mind that egocentricity, self-hate, and misery are synonymous. To bemiserable is to be the center of the universe.Now let’s add the ingredient of feeling oneselfto be innocent and yet punished. “I may havedone something wrong, but it wasn’t THAT bad.Surely I don’t deserve THIS!” 59
  72. 72. Isn’t that perfect? We even use our misdeedsto our own advantage. I’ve done somethingwrong, but I’ve turned it around so that I amthe victim and should be compensated. Andegocentricity is usually right there withsuggestions that could make up for this injustice.Things like: ice cream not returning a wallet you find driving discourteously gossiping having an affair with someone else’s partner“After all, life owes me something for thisinjustice.” 60
  73. 73. Self-Hate Accounting SystemIn the self-hate accounting system: - I add up everything I do. I subtracteverything everyone else doesn’t do. - I add up everything everyone else gets.I subtract everything that I don’t get. - I add up all the luck everybody else has.I subtract all the luck I don’t have. - I add up all the advantages everybodyelse had. I subtract all the advantages I didn’thave. You get the picture.I am so far in the hole because all I do is goodthings and all I get is bad things.So... how can I not feel myself to be a victim?And why should I not try to even the score?And, of course, what we fail to see is thatalmost everyone sees themselves as victims and 61
  74. 74. others as victimizers so people continue tovictimize one another. Who of us will stop? 62
  75. 75. Self-Hate and The Battering CycleIn adult relationships, the stresses of life canlead one partner to become physically or verballyabusive toward the other. This can result in acyclical pattern of behavior that includes thefollowing elements: increasing stress, abuse,contrition, and a decision to "be perfect."We often think of the battering cycle happeningbetween a man and a woman, but it can happenwith any two or more people. In the form ofself-hate, it requires only oneself.In the classic situation, a man and a woman gettogether because they want to make their livesbetter. He will take care of her, and she willbe supportive to enable him to take care ofher.After a while, it stops working. The stresses oflife push him to a crisis point, and he relieves hisfrustration by beating her. Then he feels good 63
  76. 76. because his stress is relieved, but he feels badbecause he beat his wife.She feels good because she has been punishedfor letting him down, but she feels bad becauseher husband just beat her.Then they get together and decide that thisawful thing must never happen again, and theyboth feel better.They have a plan. It’s under control. “Wewon’t make that mistake again. We’ll do better.We’ll be perfect.”And the stress begins to build again... 64
  77. 77. Addictive behaviors--whether it’s food, alcohol,drugs, sex, smoking, work, relationships--followthe same cycle.FOR EXAMPLE:The stresses of life begin to build, and I reachfor my addiction of choice. It it’s food, I headfor the kitchen and eatmy way from one end tothe other.I feel good because thestress is relieved. I havekind of anesthetized myself, and the craving iscalmed. But I feel AWFUL because I have justeaten a ton! 65
  78. 78. So I beat myselfuntil I’m convincedthat I’ve got a grip on it.I see what happened.It will never happen again.I have a program.I’ve got it right this time.I’m going to do better.In fact, I’ll be perfect. And the stress begins to build... 66
  79. 79. 67
  80. 80. Adopting the belief that you must be perfect isthe perfect set up for self-hate. You believethat your choices are to be perfect or to be afailure. BUT SELF-HATE SETS THE STANDARD OF PERFECTION and you can bet you are never going to meet that standard.If you did, if you met that standard, what wouldself-hate beat you with? What would it frightenyou with? And if you weren’t frightened, howwould you be controlled?Self-hate would have you believe that either itis in control, making you be who and how youshould be, or not only will you be imperfect, youwill be garbage.It has convinced you that ifyou were to be just how youare, you would be awful. 68
  81. 81. So, the BIG, UGLY LIE becomes a BIG, UGLY BELIEF:Self-hate, judgment, blame, punishment, and rejectionare all for your benefit because they’re theonly things keeping you from being A TERRIBLE PERSON. (Have we made our point?)Would you please risk it and find out once andfor all how you are WITHOUT the beatings andabuse? 69
  82. 82. Spiritual Practice Doesn’t Begin Until the Beatings Stop. I’m suggesting that you stop beatingyourself. Many spiritual teachers suggest thathatred is not the answer. They say things aboutlove, forgiveness, generosity and gratitude. Theyhardly talk about beating people and hatingpeople and this sort of thing. They say, “Now,folks, this is the direction. This is the way to go.If you really want to wake up and end yoursuffering and find joy and peace and bliss, this isthe way to do it.” And the response is, “Nah, Idon’t think so. I’m not going to do that.” So, here’s the deal. If you were to, sayfor instance, find the willingness to stop beatingyourself for just one day, and if you turned intoa more hideous person than you are now, thenext day you could beat yourself twice as hardand catch up. I’m just suggesting that you mightconsider taking the risk. 70
  83. 83. GUIDE: It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stop beating ourselves. I suspect it’s not because we reallythink we’ll be bad if we stop beating ourselves.I suspect it’s because we don’t want to come upagainst what egocentricity is going to do to us ifwe start taking control of our own lives. If you decide that you are no longer goingto be intimidated by the beatings ofegocentricity, you will be immediately engaged ina life and death struggle because the momentthat “stick” is taken away . . . think about it! Ifyou aren’t threatened with punishment what willdrive you to succeed? To make those phonecalls? To make that list? To get through thatlist? And what will happen if you don’t do thethings you’re supposed to do?VARIOUS STUDENTS: “My life will go down thetubes.” “I’ll be accused of being irresponsible.”“I’ll lose that image I have of myself.” “Peoplewill see through me.” “I’ll feel guilty.” 71
  84. 84. GUIDE: It’ll get so bad that you’ll just die.STUDENT: I think that’s what it would eventuallycome to. If I don’t do my work, and don’t makemoney, then I won’t be able to pay for myhouse, and I won’t have any food. And if Ifollow that along far enough, I realize that Ibelieve that all those things on the list aredesigned to keep me alive. And, if I don’t dothem the ultimate consequence is death.GUIDE: And that’s what happens, isn’t it? Dothis task or die. (laughter) Even if it’s get ahaircut today. What if you found out that voicehad no power over you at all? What if youdidn’t believe that you were going to die if youdidn’t do what it told you to do?STUDENT: Well, I think I would just do the nextthing on the list. The belief is that I need thebeatings. I need the fear of death to do all ofthese things. I believe it’s that drive that keepsme going and keeps me working and doing things. 72
  85. 85. GUIDE: So, what would happen if you stoppedbelieving the voices of self-hate? What wouldhappen to you if you stopped the beatings?ANOTHER STUDENT: I find that my worstbeatings don’t come about my list of things todo. They’re about behavior, psychological kinds ofthings and emotional ways that I have learnedI’m supposed to be, as if they are the laws ofthe universe. I must be polite in thesecircumstances. I must be nice or clever orwhatever it is.GUIDE: So, you come home after an evening outduring which you’ve said something unfortunate.What would happen if you didn’t respond to thatwith self-hate?STUDENT: Well, I have tried it. I’ve had somesuccess, and it does seem to require terrificenergetic awareness, every second. It takes ahuge amount of being present. And it takescourage because it feels so much like it is the 73
  86. 86. good person thing to do to scold myself for whatI’ve done.GUIDE: Yet, what you’re describing is notscolding.STUDENT: It’s worse than that.GUIDE: It’s abuse. That’s what you’re reallydescribing. And so, the “good person” thing todo is to be abusive. Pretty weird, huh?STUDENT: There seems to be an element ofnot having control and/or giving up control. If Idon’t beat myself up, there’s a feeling ofspaciousness, and at the same time a terror ofthat spaciousness. Part of me wants more thananything not to be in control, to just go with themoment, to flow with the process. Anotherpart clings desperately to control, wants to knowwhat’s going to happen, wants to like whathappens, to influence what happens. But whatcomes out most for me is this one that’s justterrified. 74
  87. 87. GUIDE: But not terrified of abuse, is fine withabuse, but is terrified of the lack of it, of thespaciousness.STUDENT: Yeah. Not beating myself creates anoddly uncomfortable sense of freedom, totalfreedom.GUIDE: Freedom and spaciousness, that’s what’sthere. It’s also a loss of identity becauseidentity is maintained through this insanity we’redescribing. That’s what keeps me at the centerof the universe. That’s what keeps the wholething going. If I learn to pay attention, to bepresent in the moment, I can see all of thishappening. 75
  88. 88. Meditation: Feel the Burn If I am practicing meditation, I am growingdaily, one hopes, accustomed to spaciousness, toa feeling of freedom. I’m practicing coming backto the present, to center. I wander off; I dropit; I come back. Wander off... drop it... comeback. Over and over I realize that nothing goeswrong; nothing happens to me. I’m perfectlyfine. If you’re ever going to be free, you mustbe willing to prove to yourself that yourinherent nature is goodness, that when you stopdoing everything else, goodness is what’s there.You’ll never prove that to yourself as long asyou’re beating yourself, as long as you think theonly thing making you a good person is beatingyourself. At some point, if you’re sincerely going topursue spiritual practice, you must find thecourage to stop beating yourself long enough tofind out that who you are is goodness. 76
  89. 89. This is why we have a meditation practice:to learn to sit still with whatever is happening.There isn’t anything in any of it. It’s just stuff.It’s just what we’re hooked into, what we’reidentified with, what we’re clinging to in order totry to maintain the illusion of ourselves asseparate beings; it’s all that scrambling thatwe’re conditioned to do. Something goes wrong,someone disapproves of us, or we disapprove ofourselves, and we go into high gear to try tomake it right so that we can get everything putback together. When we sit still in meditation, we don’tscratch if we have an itch. Now, this drivespeople crazy. I’ve had people say, “This isdemented. How could not scratching when youitch have something to do with spiritualpractice?” It has everything to do with spiritualpractice because it’s that, “It itches, I mustscratch” reaction that is at the root of most ofour suffering. But you can just notice that it itches (ah,itching) and not have to do anything about it. 77
  90. 90. You can realize that you are having a conditionedreaction to a sensation. You don’t have to takeit personally. You don’t have to react to it. If you learn once that you don’t have toreact that way, you’re free of it. You prove toyourself that you won’t die and you won’t gocrazy and parts of your body won’t fall off. Youcan just be there and be perfectly fine. Thensomething hurts and you can sit through that. Itjust becomes interesting. You’re not resisting itany more. It’s just kind of fascinating how ithurts there and pretty soon it hurts here andthen it doesn’t hurt at all. And then you think, “You know, my leg washurting.” You’re sitting there quietly, breathingin, breathing out, and this helpful little voicesays, “Wasn’t your leg hurting a little while ago?”Suddenly, you’re in pain again. So we learn tosit still with that. Maybe you’re obsessing about something.The voice says, “You know, I can’t sit here. Ican’t stand this. I’ve got to get up and...” Andyou just sit there. You don’t react to it. Or 78
  91. 91. maybe you become interested in obsession itself.(What is obsession? How do I do that? What isthe payoff for obsessing?) Pretty soon you loseinterest in that. You become bored with itbecause it’s not making you do anything. Then,maybe you turn your attention to boredom(What is boredom? How do I do that? What isthe payoff for being bored?) ...and you just sitthere. Eventually, it all begins to quiet down. In the same way, when something happensin life, you no longer believe that you have toreact to it. You’ve sat still through so many“I can’t stand thises,” “emergencies,” and “lifeand death issues,” you no longer believe them.In not reacting, the very energy, the force, thekarmic conditioned force that is behind them,begins to have to feed on itself. It’s no longerfeeding on you because you’re no longerparticipating in it. It has no fuel. And,eventually, it simply burns itself up. It simplyburns itself away. 79
  92. 92. Unconditional Love STUDENT: Yesterday I was thinking that if I’m going to learn to love myself, I need to learn to love myself just the way I am. Itoccurred to me that even being overweight, Ineed to be thankful for this opportunity to lovemyself. It comforts me to think I might be thisway for a reason and that reason might be tolearn to love myself.GUIDE: Yes. Even if you lost weight and had a“perfect body,” but had not learned to loveyourself, where would you be?STUDENT: I would still be trying to improvemyself, to fix the things that I think are wrong.GUIDE: And all you would have done is tobecome acceptable enough that you can loveyourself conditionally, which is where we all are.As long as you do it right, look a certain way, act 80
  93. 93. the way you should, accomplish certain things,you’ll be lovable. But can you be lovable not meeting the standards?Can you love this person who does not meet thestandards that you were taught must be metbefore you can be lovable?Can you stop trying to change into who you wishyou were long enough to find out who you reallyare?You will never improve yourself enough to meetyour standards. Egocentricity will see to that.But the moment you love yourself, you arecompletely changed. 81
  94. 94. Not wanting to be how you areis one of the most significant aspects of self-hate.We have been taught to believe that it’s notokay to feel what we feel or think what we thinkor have the experiences we have. As children,people didn’t like us when we did that so theytried to change us. We’ve internalized that, andwe’ve taken on that system ourselves. So nowwe’re trying to change everything we don’tapprove of.In acceptance, we don’t want to change thosethings about ourselves. It’s only in non-acceptance that we hope acceptance will meanthat they change. 82
  95. 95. We can have the full range of experiencethat is our potential,and we can enjoy it all.If we move through and beyond that conditioningto change, then everything is available to us.For example, if you’re miserable, there’snothing really wrong with that, but if you’rehating being miserable, then it’s hell. If you’remiserable and not hating it, you’ll probably movethrough it pretty quickly.Experiences do move along quickly when we’represent and not resisting. It’s when we stopbeing present and get stuck in something thatwe can drag it out forever.We are never going to “get” something--a philosophy,a formula,a fixed point of view--that will make us forever different. There is no secret that will fix you. 83
  96. 96. (Remember, there is nothing wrong with you.)This is a lifelong process. If you decide to learnto care for yourself, to live your life incompassion, you will be required to practice thatuntil you die.An internal relationship must be worked on andmaintained just like an external relationship.And that’s good news! When you fall in love withsomeone, you don’t say, “Oh, no, how long am Igoing to have to love this person?” When we’rein love, we love to love that person, and wehope it will last forever. 84
  97. 97. When you don’t hate yourself, you won’tbe chronically late,be chronically early,procrastinate,work compulsively,abuse substances,deprive yourself,depress your feelings,try to be perfect,worry too much,worry about worrying too much,depend on other’s approval,believe The Judge,reject The Judge,punish yourself,overindulge yourself,pass up opportunities,be afraid of yourself,try to improve,try to improve others,Add your own: 85
  98. 98. We are responsible for being the person we’ve always wanted to find. We must become our own best friend. We must learn to give to ourselves and to receive from ourselves unconditional love and acceptance.It is not selfish.It is the firstGIANT STEPtowardselfLESSness. 86
  99. 99. We call people selfish when they WILL NOT give. But they CANNOT give what they DO NOT have.It’s like asking a starving child to share her food,and then making her feel guilty for not wanting to.When we have enoughwe are eager to share.**What we have and what we are able to receive are twovery different things. 87
  101. 101. Nothing to DoWhat we’re seeing here is how the layers ofself-hate keep us from experiencing our intrinsic,inherent enlightenment. It’s simply a matter ofrealizing what already is. It’s not necessary forus to DO anything. What we’re seeking isavailable to us when we stop DOING everythingelse. We don’t have to change. We don’t have to fix ourselves. We don’t have to improve. We don’t have to do it right.It doesn’t have anything to do with that.That’s what we focus on instead of simply beinghere. That’s why the self-beatings are soimportant to us. They are probably the singlemost effective method of avoiding awakening.That’s why we have so much resistance toacceptance, because in acceptance there isnothing to do. 89
  102. 102. We don’t need to DO anything. To sit still in compassionate acceptance is all that is required.There is a small child inside each of us who wastaught to believe that bad things happen, or willhappen, because s/he is bad. As adults, whenwe become aware of this child, we are saddenedand we feel the child’s sadness. We areconditioned to try to STOP the sadness, to moveaway from the experience. The child doesn’tneed for us to do that. S/He needs to know,deep down inside, that it is absolutely all right tobe having that experience. The child needscomplete acceptance for however s/he is in eachmoment. And we, as adults, do too. That’swhat we didn’t get when we were little--acceptance for however we are in whatevermoment. 90
  103. 103. The only response is compassion. Trying toSTOP, FIX or CHANGE is part of the self-hatingprocess. Just stay with the experience and REALLY GET IT that this is sad, it’s not wrong, it’s just hard, it’s hard to be a being. How can we not feel compassion?Of course, ego will jump right in there and say,“Enough of this sadness. Let’s DO somethingabout it.”That DO-ality will flip us right back into thebottom of the pot. I imagine a big stew pot ofself-hate, and you just about crawl up to thetop of the pot when you run into something thatflips you right back in. 91
  104. 104. Usually this “something” is: trying to change whatyou are experiencing. Criticizing yourself, judgingsomebody else, thinking youneed to change something,fix something, DOsomething-- and you areright back in the bottomof the pot of self-hate--again. 92
  105. 105. GratitudeIf you find it difficult to catch the subtler self-hating processes at work, it can be helpful to sitin meditation. One of the ways we can see self-hate in a meditation practice goes something likethis:You’re sitting there, just breathing, paying attention, quiet, still.You begin to notice that even though all you aredoing is sitting silently and breathing, a part ofyou is constantly scanning, trying to find just thething that will pull you away from the stillness. 93
  106. 106. It says things like:This continues until something hooks you and yourattention wanders. Soon you realize that youhave been daydreaming/fantasizing/worrying/problem solving, and you bring your attentionback to the breath.Again your attention wanders. You realize it andcome back to the breath.Don’t waste your time and energy beatingyourself up for having wandered.Just sit quietly in gratitude for having returned. 94
  107. 107. Self-Hate’s Greatest TalentSelf-hate’s greatest talent is self-maintenance.It carries on a thorough, aggressive, sometimesloud, sometimes quiet, often subtle campaign tokeep us in its grip.It would justify itself by claiming that it enablesus to survive. That is a delusion.We do not need to beat, punish, discipline,chastise, berate, and belittle ourselves and wenever did. THE IRONIC TWIST IS THAT PUNISHING OURSELVES IS WHAT KEEPS US FROM SEEING THAT WE DON’T NEED TO PUNISH OURSELVES.If we can ever become aware and willing enoughto break the internal battering cycle and NOTINDULGE IN THE BEATING, we can begin to see 95
  108. 108. how this is so. It takes courage and patienceand faith in our inherent goodness.PAINFUL THINGS COME UPNOT TO RUIN OUR LIVES,NOT TO MAKE US MISERABLE,NOT TO SPOIL OUR GOOD TIME,THEY COME UPTO BE HEALED,TO BE EMBRACED IN COMPASSION.We often wish our childhood survival systemwould just go away, but once we have embracedit, once weve realized how much it has done forus and how much weve learned because of it,we are grateful it kept up the clamor. 96
  109. 109. Self-hate is getting a new car and not taking care of it.**”Not taking care of” is not taking care of yourself. 97
  110. 110. 98
  111. 111. STUDENT: Coming here today a voice was saying, “Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.” Of course no one,including me, knew what I was going to say, but that doesn’t stop that voice. Nowthat I’m here and I haven’t said anything, the voice is saying, “You’re not participating. You should be talking.”GUIDE: So, whatever you’re doing iswrong; whatever you did was wrong; andwhatever you’re going to do will be wrong. Using a system like that to stay safeis like the cure being worse than thedisease. 99
  112. 112. Self-hate istorturing myself with “It’s not fair.”I look at the amount of work I docompared to my colleagues and say, “Ishould be making more money. It’s notfair.” But I’m being paid for the job I’mdoing, and if I weren’t torturing myselfwith fairness, I would not be suffering.Instead, I stay stuck in this feeling that Ideserve more money, more from life thanI’m getting.To compound this self-hating mess, I’mparalyzed because I’m afraid to ask formore money, afraid to make waves, and Ihate myself for being afraid. 100
  113. 113. Self-hate and Addiction Self-hate coping behaviorsmake you feel better andmake you feel worse at the same time. All major addictions are like this. Self-hate is the ultimate addiction. 101
  114. 114. GUIDE: Self-hate is an addiction and a lot ofself-hate is accomplished through other addictions. I was talking to someone last night who hadbeen sober for four and a half years and hadgone out and had a drink. I told her that whenshe no longer hates herself, she won’t need todo that. When you don’t hate yourself, youdon’t want to mistreat yourself. It’s as simpleas that. With an addiction like alcohol, there has tocome a time when you sit at the kitchen tablewith a bottle in front of you, andyou sit there until you know you’renot going to drink. Like the movieHigh Noon, you’ve got to go outand face the Bad Guy. You mayget lucky, or you may not, but you have to goout there for the showdown or pretty soon thebad guys are going to run the town. You can’thope that self-hate is going to get tired ofbeating you up and go away. Like blackmail, oncethe extortion starts, it’s going to bleed you foreverything you’ve got and then it’s going to 102
  115. 115. leave you for dead. It’s not going to take yourlast dime and then leave; this isn’t just turningoff the faucet, it’s ripping the plumbing out. So do you want to take a chance with aconfrontation, or do you want to just die a slow,lingering death? With the first choice you have a50/50 chance; with the second, you have none.To stay with this analogy/parable/eulogy...youactually have a much better than 50/50 chance,because as soon as you strap on your six-shooter and start walking down Main Street athigh noon, the Bad Guy isn’t going to show up.STUDENT: Right. Nothing bears up underscrutiny. In fact, nothing shows up underscrutiny.GUIDE: But if you’re quaking in hiding, you’llnever make it to Main Street. As FDR said,“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Weare so afraid of being afraid, we are so afraidthat we will be inadequate, that we won’t proveto ourselves that we’re not. The one who is 103
  116. 116. projecting the inadequacy--in one of our previousscenes--says things like, “You think you’re goingto be a runner?” It’s a different situation soit’s sometimes hard to see that it’s comingfrom the same source. But who is invested in your being afraid?In maintaining an illusion of inadequacy? Dopeople who love you want you to be afraid?Want you to experience yourself as inadequate,unworthy, and undeserving? No, not at all. Once we realize that fear is a process, wecan get a handle on it. And there’s nothingthat’s going to push you into this any faster thanconfronting the self-hate in the way that I’vedescribed, because terror will arise. Every timea hateful voice comes up and starts telling yousomething, you just sit on the couch and read abook, or go out and look at flowers, or takeyourself out to lunch, or go to a movie.STUDENT: Then terror arises?GUIDE: Yes. Self-hate is terrified that you will 104
  117. 117. make being kind to yourself a habit. It comes down to this for me: None of myheroes (and all my heroes are religious types)ever says, “The important thing in the universeis to be at one with fear and inadequacy.” Okay?Nobody has ever defined God as “fear andinadequacy,” and then said that is what you shouldstrive for. And so, if I’m going to hold TrueNature, Buddha Nature, God as the greatestvalue in life and then on a moment-by-momentbasis choose the opposite of that, then what amI doing? This is the fundamental spiritual issue.How can I go beyond this fear in order to choosewisdom, love and compassion?STUDENT: Yes, how does one get beyond that?GUIDE: For me, I go back to “putting the bottleon the table.” I have times in my life of sittingon my cushion and holding on to it because that’sthe only way I can avoid screaming or suicide ormadness as every bit of my conditioning comesup inside of me and says what it says. 105
  118. 118. St. John of the Cross talked about thedark night of the soul, and to me this is exactlywhat he was talking about. His image of it wasGod and the devil wrestling for your immortalsoul. And isn’t that what it feels like? Anddoesn’t it seem, most of the time, like the devilis winning?STUDENT: Yeah. It could even look like I’m onthe devil’s side!GUIDE: Yes, and so for me--and this is where Idepart from a lot of the rest of the world--Ireally don’t believe for a minute that there issomething more important than that which I amseeking. I don’t think there is anything moreimportant! I don’t think money is moreimportant; I don’t think security is moreimportant; or a good reputation; or beingpopular; or having people like me; or anythingelse. I don’t think that there is anything moreimportant than my True Nature. So ifsomething is coming between me and that, I am 106
  119. 119. going to sit still until it is no longer there. I amsimply going to sit down and sit still and keepcoming back to what I know is true, until thereis nothing between me and that truth. I knowwhen that is. We all know when that is. We allknow that moment of oneness with our TrueNature, the peace, the joy, the comfort. Weknow when that’s there, and we know when it’s not. It’s like discord in a relationship withsomeone I love. I am going to turn myattention to that until that lack of harmony isgone and peace, joy and comfort are back. Idon’t say, “I’ll look at that later.” I want tolook at it NOW! I don’t want to look at anythingelse until that’s resolved, and I know theresolution of it is in here (points to heart). SoI’m required to sit still with it. 107
  120. 120. Self-hate is like quicksand. Everything you do to try to get out causes you to sink deeper. Every place you step to try to avoid the place you’re in, also pulls you down.In quicksand, if you stop struggling, you willsink more slowly. In self-hate,when you stop struggling (when you accept),you are free. 108
  121. 121. Compassion, No Matter WhatSTUDENT: This is a pattern of self-hate I’venoticed. Lately, I’ve been trying to say, “Okay, Ihave this need and I’m going to stand up formyself this time. I’m going to ask for what Iwant.” So I do it, and my worst fears cometrue. People don’t like what I said or did. Myneed is rejected. Then self-hate comes in andsays, “I warned you!” But then another voicethat it hasn’t been possible for me to hearbefore says, “But you did it. That’s theimportant thing this time. It doesn’t matterwhat happened afterwards, you did it.”GUIDE: Yes, we see the self-hate patterns andwe learn not to believe those voices. Theyaren’t going to stop, they’re going to continue.And they’re going to hit a level heretoforeunimagined, because when you start trying tobreak this stuff up, it will escalate. When youstart picking away at the foundation ofegocentricity, it’s going to bring out everything in 109
  122. 122. the world to defend itself. We can count onthat. It’s when things are hardest for us andcompassion is most needed that self-hate isstrongest. Because if you could have compassion foryourself in a time when you really need it, canyou imagine how the self-hate system wouldbegin to shake and crumble? You can’t have toomany of those experiences without beginning toquestion whether all of this self-hate is actuallyaccomplishing what it’s saying it’s intended toaccomplish. That’s why the answer is compassion,no matter what. Now, what we say is that we can havecompassion as long as it’s not a Really TerribleThing we’ve done. But that’s when we need thecompassion most!STUDENT: So if you’ve really blown it, done yourworst, and all the self-hate voices come up, thenthe compassion needs to accept even thosevoices . . . 110
  123. 123. GUIDE: When we stop seeing them as powerful,when we see them instead as pathetic, as lostand hurting and misguided, how could we not havecompassion? 111
  124. 124. Willingness Is the KeySTUDENT: Something that has made a differencefor me in understanding acceptance is realizingthat things don’t have to change for me toaccept them. If something is happening, all Ihave to do is be willing to acknowledge that, andthat is accepting it. It’s not as if my acceptanceor non-acceptance can change whether it happensor not. It’s already happening, and all I can dois acknowledge it.GUIDE: I can’t make any of this happen but Ican show up and be available. To me that’s whatsitting practice is--constantly being willing to showup and be available. It’s like having your handsopen to receive. There’s no guarantee thatyou’re going to get anything, but if anybodywants to give you something, you’re ready.STUDENT: I wouldn’t say I’m consistent ordisciplined about sitting. But being consistentlywilling to look at things and to use the world as a 112
  125. 125. mirror in which I can see my own projections, Ican acknowledge that there are parts of myselfthat I don’t like and I’m afraid of.GUIDE: That’s the crux of the whole thingbecause the basis of our practice is endingsuffering, and at every moment we have theopportunity to see what in us is suffering. Wecan ask, “What is outside the realm ofcompassion? What is not healed?” And we canbring that into the healing light of compassion bysimply acknowledging it, accepting it, allowing it.This is the kind of person I am. This exists inme. I feel this, I do this. I have thesethoughts. I have these tendencies. The conditioned patterns of suffering would have us hide those so that they continue to exist outside of compassion.And only to the degree that we can find thewillingness to bring them into that light can theybe healed. In that way, you can have all of you, 113
  126. 126. instead of trying to put out only those thingsthat egocentricity feels are acceptable. You canbe, you can experience, you can have everything,just being who you are in the moment.STUDENT: In spite of knowing how joyful it is tohave that happen, it’s still terrifying to findanother aspect of myself that I hadn’t seenbefore.GUIDE: Yes, because egocentricity sees that asdeath. As long as there are those awful hiddenthings in you, self-hate can control yourbehavior. When you’re willing to let everythingcome into the light of day, self-hate no longerhas any power over you. 114
  127. 127. If I could have compassion (love myself) for hating myself (!),I would no longer be hating myself, I’d be loving myself and nothing about me would need to change. 115
  128. 128. The Voices: Listen, but Dont BelieveIf the voices in your head are saying, forexample, that you’re a bad spiritual student,you’re a bad meditator, you fidget, your mindwanders, at some point you could identify that asself-hate and let go of it. But, if you startthinking what a good meditator you are, what agood spiritual person you are, how well you’redoing, how much better your practice is thanother’s, that’s self-hate, too, and very difficultto let go once you are hooked.It’s helpful to develop a habit of not believingany of the voices--listen, but not believe. It’sas if you are sitting around a dinner table with agroup of people and they’re all talking. You canlisten, but you don’t have to decide who is rightand who is wrong, who is good and who is bad,etc. You can just have the attitude of mind ofbeing present but not involved.When you can have that attitude of mind with 116
  129. 129. other people, it’s a big step. When you canhave it within yourself, you’re moving towardfreedom. Because the part of you who’s tryingto figure out which is right and which is wrong,who is good and who is bad, etc., is the problem.That’s the person who is confused and suffering.When you can just step back, there isn’tanything to figure out, and there’s nothing tobelieve. There’s just being fully present in themoment.The voices take us out of the moment and makeus believe there is a world other than thepresent. The more they can get us involved inthat belief, the more we’re going to believe inthe illusion of ourselves as separate, and themore we’re going to suffer. The less webelieve, the less we are seduced, the morewe’re able to be in the present, and the lessthere is someone to suffer. 117
  130. 130. Learn to be present.Practice hearing the voices in your headwithout becoming involved and withoutjudgment. And take it on faith that anyvoice, internal or external, that is tellingyou that SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOU is not the voice of your Heart, God, True Nature. 118
  131. 131. The reason acceptance isn’t more popular is that in acceptance there is nothing to do.In acceptance, there is nothing “wrong” thatneeds to be changed, fixed, worked on orotherwise improved. And the simple, astounding, mind-bogglingly amazing FACT is that as soon as you accept yourself EXACTLY AS YOU ARE, 119
  132. 132. all those “character flaws”begin to fall away because those “flaws” existonly in non-acceptance, in self-hate. 120
  133. 133. GUIDE: Nothing about how you are is a problem until you resist it. The problem comes into existence with resistance.STUDENT: But what if I want to do somethingthat’s harmful?GUIDE: Wanting to do something and doingsomething are two entirely different things.There’s no need to act just because you have afeeling.STUDENT: But what if I want to act?GUIDE: Your questions come from a belief thatyou are inherently bad, and that if you don’tcontrol yourself, you’ll be bad. When yourealize that you are goodness and letyourself live from that, beingharmful--intentionally harmful--wouldnever occur to you. 121
  134. 134. 122
  135. 135. Self-Hate: Everyones Doing It!Once I catch on to how this self-hate processworks, I see that it goes on all the time,everywhere. Everyone does it. This is just how we operate.When I see this to be true, self-hate ceases tobe a private, secret thing I do that proves I’ma bad person. I can begin to take it lesspersonally. 123
  136. 136. At some point, now or later, you’re going to have to risk BEING YOU in order to find out who that really is.Not the conditioned you, not the “you”you’ve been taught to believe you are,who you really are.And this perhaps will be the scariest, the most loving, the most rewarding thing you have ever done. 124
  137. 137. If you are not becomingkinder,gentler,more generous,and loving,you are not doing this work. If you are feeling more burdened, judgmental, and rejected, you are doing self-hate. 125
  138. 138. What Is the Path?We find the model on the followingpages to be a pretty accuraterepresentation of how our conditioningtoward fear and self-hate tries tokeep us from knowing our truenature. 126
  139. 139. At the personality level (4), we have our copingmechanisms, our defenses, and our ways ofgetting by in the world. From this level, I mightdecide that there must be something more tolife than I am getting, and that I want somethingmore than life is offering. 127
  140. 140. So I start working with the personality, trying to improve it, fix it, figure it out. I decide to get a different this or that, a new mate, a new job, house, car. I pursuepersonal growth, get into therapy. I do all thethings I think are going to turn me into theperson I should be. There’s nothing wrong withany of this, it just doesn’t work.Finally, all these efforts fail and I decide to takethe Big Plunge and begin some kind of spiritualpractice, maybe a meditation practice, somethingthat is designed to take me beyond thepersonality.I begin the long, arduous journey to the centerof my being. The first thing I run into is self-hate (3). Now this is the layer that, thankfully,has been keeping the personality level fromworking! (Ours is a spiritual practice and does 128
  141. 141. not have as its goal living a successfully egocentric life.) So here I am at level 4 and I’m trying to become the perfect person, andlevel 3 is pointing out to me that it’s notworking. I’m going to improve myself and self-hate doesn’t let me. Whenever I try to make areal beginning on this spiritual journey, self-hatewill do anything it can to stop me and then beatme for stopping.I’m going to start meditating and self-hate stopsme and beats me for stopping. I’m going tostart exercising and self-hate stops me and thenbeats me for stopping.If I find the willingness to pay attention anyway,to struggle through the self-hating voices, and Ilearn to sit still with all of it and not be thrownoff, the next level I encounter is fear (2). 129
  142. 142. I’ve made it past the distractions, I’m being compassionate with myself, and then there’s this little moment of silence... What do I get? Fear. Big fear.It says, “You’re going to die!” And I think, “Howcan that be the answer? I’ve gone through allthis and THAT’S THE ANSWER?”So I come back to level 3, self-hate,and I see that self-hate is pretty handy becauseit works in both directions: I can go from fearto self-hate, and I can go from personality toself-hate. It’s flexible.I can hate myself for being afraid, and I can tryto fix myself so that I’m not afraid, and I canbe afraid of the fear, and I can hate myself forbeing afraid not to hate myself... 130
  143. 143. all designed to stop me from getting to the center (1). Perhaps, with patience and willingness and experience, or just plainold having suffered enough, I eventually realizethat this whole process of going from personalityto self-hate to fear to self-hate to personalityand back again, has been exactly what I neededto be doing to learn what I needed to learn. Irealize that every step I have taken has beenon the Path.Perhaps I realize that it has all been happeningperfectly, and that True Nature was neverinaccessible, never out of reach, always present,always guiding me. There never was anything wrong.I just didn’t know it. 131
  144. 144. Horrible Things (and I do mean horrible)Self-hate is invested in convincing you that youare an awful person, that deep down inside youthere is some Horrible Thing. Why? Because itstays in charge that way. It can just say BOO!and you’ll jump back and do whatever it says. But you can call its bluff simply by saying, “BRING OUT THE HORRIBLE THING. SHOW IT TO ME.” 132
  145. 145. But self-hate can’t do that.And the more it cannot show you the HorribleThing, the more it will dawn on you thatMAYBE IT DOESN’T EXIST. MAYBE THEREISN’T A “HORRIBLE THING” INSIDE OF YOU. Self-hate begins to scramble at this pointbecause power is shifting away from it--and shifting to that part of you who is able tostep back from self-hate and carry on this kindof dialogue with it, that can begin to stopbelieving that there is something wrong with you,the part of you that is beginning to be free. 133
  146. 146. The GiftI maintain my identityby not looking at myself.This system, this identity, cannot hold upunder scrutiny. Nothing can.So...right before I begin to see myself (myconditioned identity), ego goes on thedefensive and the voices start: I’m bored. This is stupid. I don’t need this. I can’t do this. This doesn’t work for me. I’ve got too much to do. 134
  147. 147. It can sound as if we see self-hate as anenemy, but we don’t. Gandhi talked abouthis political opponents as teachers, for tohave worthy opponents is a blessing. Theywill force you to be the best that you are. That’s the spiritual gift that self-hate is for us. 135
  148. 148. 136
  149. 149. GUIDE: Okay, let’s hear some self-hate. Answer this: What is wrong with you? GROUP: Everything . . .I can’t figure out what is wrong . . . I can’t getit right . . . I’m never serious . . . I’mungrateful . . . I’m critical and judgmental . . .I’m hell-bound . . . I’m angry . . I’m never goingto get what I deserve . . . I’m not a teamplayer . . . I’m a wimp . . . I’m closed . . . Ican’t be trusted . . . I’m a phony . . . I’m lazyand self-indulgent . . . I’m careless . . . I’m tooserious . . . I’m a coward . . . I can’t get withthe program . . . I’m never satisfied . . . I don’tpay attention . . . I talk too much . . . I’m tooslow . . . I’m a quitter . . . I don’t think enough. . . I can’t keep up . . . I’m not good enough . .. I’m selfish . . . I’m mean . . . I’m unfriendly .. . I’m unworthy . . . I’m unlovable . . . I’mdishonest . . . I’m proud. . . I always have to bein control . . . I can’t talk right . . . 137
  150. 150. I’m stupid . . . I’m out of control . . . I’m tooemotional . . . I’m too sensitive . .GUIDE: As you were answering, I watched peopleget littler and littler. You were taking a quicktrip back to childhood. The voices changed, thebody language changed, the energy changed.Suddenly, I was sitting in the room with a bunchof small children. They are very dear. 138
  151. 151. Self-hate uses SELF-IMPROVEMENT as SELF-MAINTENANCE.As long asyou are concerned aboutimproving yourself, you’ll always have a self to improve. And you will always suffer. 139
  152. 152. Its No Wonder We Feel InadequateSelf-hate encourages you to judge, then it beatsyou for judging.You judge someone else and it’s simply self-hateprojected outward, then you get to use it backon yourself when you beat yourself for judging! We call this, “Heads you lose, tails you lose.” 140
  153. 153. The Worst Thing That Could HappenSTUDENT: Belief in fairness is such a setup forself-hate. “If life were fair, if things werebalanced the way they should be, this wouldn’t behappening to me.” It’s easy to go from thereto, “I must have done something wrong.” It’sthat old “why do bad things happen to goodpeople?” I guess there aren’t bad things andgood people, just things and people.GUIDE: And that’s frightening, isn’t it? Becauseit means that we have no control. If anythingcan happen to us in spite of all our best effortsto make things go the way we want, where doesthat leave egocentricity? One of ego’s threatsis, “If you don’t do exactly as I say, somethingawful is going to happen to you.” If you believe this threat, the worst thingthat can happen to you... HAS ALREADY HAPPENED! 141
  154. 154. STUDENT: What is this “worst thing”?GUIDE: Belief in inadequacy. Believing that youare not equal to your life. Turning away fromyour True Nature, your Heart, God. 142
  155. 155. IT’S REALLY QUITE MIRACULOUS, in the faceof all our conditioned fear, to be willing even toconsider sitting still with ourselves. We work andwork to uncover the layers of our conditioning,and when we see what we’ve uncovered, ourreaction is, “Oh, no, not that! I don’t want to see that.”What did we think we were going to see? Wemust remember that this is the layer of “stuff”between the one who is seeking and that which issought. It’s what keeps me from ME. We havebeen taught to hate it and fear it so that we’llbe too frightened and disgusted to look at it. Itknows that if we ever do--if we ever get backto our unconditioned selves-- the j i g is up!Getting back to who we really are means nomore self-hate, no more illusion of separateness,no more egocentricity. That’s why it’s so hardand why almost no one ever does it. 143
  156. 156. Egocentricity is very powerful and very cleverand very determined, because it thinks it isfighting for its life.So it looks worse and worse the deeper we go.That is why it’s critical to learn to sit still andbelieve nothing that the voices say to you. That’swhy it’s so crucial to find compassion. 144
  157. 157. If the voice is not speaking compassionately to you, it has nothing worthwhile to tell you.**Everything you need to know will come to you incompassion. 145