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Inside Out

In Buddhism there's this great concept of near-enemies and far-enemies. Two things are far-enemies if they are polar opposites: the far enemy of compassion is cruelty. But near-enemies are more subtle: they seem very similar at first, but when you look deeper, they're still opposites. The near-enemy of compassion, for example, is pity. They kind of seem like the same thing, because both mean you "feel bad" for someone else, but compassion is dignified and brings you closer together. Pity is condescending. It distances you from the other person.

Far-enemies aren't that interesting to me because they're pretty obvious. Polar opposites. Ho-hum. But I love near-enemies, because there's a lot to talk about in the subtlety.

So let's talk about two of the biggest near-enemies of all: self-consciousness and self-awareness.

Superficially, they seem very similar. Both of them are about paying attention to yourself, your thoughts, words, and actions in the present moment.

Your Fear Slips Away

On The Awesomest

The single best thing I did before I left for the Peace Corps was attend a meditation retreat. I was silent for 10 days straight and did over 120 hours of meditation.

Before that retreat the most meditation I'd done at once was 15 minutes. Part of me thought I was crazy.

The other part of me was on-fire excited. I knew this was good for me.

10 days and several songs suck in my head later (who knows where they were coming from, I still don't know) I was done. It was incredible, terrible, wonderful and horrible. I recommend it to everyone. Why? Fear.

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