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Inside Out

On Made of Metaphors

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.

Spun-Up Chains of Thoughts


(Please pardon me if this one isn't entirely clear, for reasons that will be evident in a moment.)

I've been diligently practicing meditation recently. Where I would have missed days previously, lately I've meditated without fail before sleeping if I hadn't done it earlier. I do my end-of-day cooldown every day, even if I feel rather exhausted.

This end-of-day meditating is interesting, because it has me meditating in modes I previously wouldn't. I would've said, before, "I'm too tired right now..." -- maybe not consciously, but that would have been the subtext.

So tonight I'm having a very-tired-meditation.

And I noticed, sometimes thoughts spin up in entire chains linked together.

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