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who is this “me”?

I don’t know who Jersey Shore‘s “Snooki” is, but apparently she told Barbara Walters, “I think I’m fascinating.” A sentiment shared by Paris (“Life is too short to blend in”) Hilton and Sarah (“I’m just your average hockey mom”) Palin.

Like ’em or not, all are household names, easily mistaken as role models. Take young master Justin (“I like girls, girls, girls”) Bieber, teen throb and nail polish designer with 6.8 million followers on Twitter, who, at the ripe age of 16, has “authored” a 240-page “100% official” autobiography now on amazon’s Top 100 list.

What am I ranting about? The emphasis on looks and sound bites at the cost of substance and careful thought! And its impact in terms of self-doubt and unhappiness. “If you’re a narcissist,” explains psychologist Keith Campbell, “you can’t help yourself but try to get attention or seek admiration. It interferes with your life. … [I]t distorts your decision-making. It destroys your relationships.” 

The American Psychiatric Association is considering lifting “narcissistic personality disorder” from the 2013 edition of the DSM, a classification of mental disorders used by clinicians, health insurers, and policy makers. The reason, essentially, because it’s become “a manifestation of normal personality.”

A Zen monk asked the teacher about the truth of an enlightened mind. The master replied, ”Do you hear the sound of that running brook?”
“Yes, I hear it,” answered the monk.
“That is the entrance to the truth.”

After a decade of practice, the one obstacles I’m unable to comprehend — never mind get past — is the idea of my self. A product of Western sensibilites, my perception of reality is based on a distinct self. Buddhist teachings claim that the self is an illusion created by society and an expression the desires and needs of the ego.


4 responses »

  1. hello Peter
    I actually watched that Barbara Walters Special and was schocked to see who the 10—————-People of the year were that this is the selection…is this what we as humans have come to….I was also very saddened. Jersey Shores …are they for real?????? very very sad is all I can say…I am off to bed had a brutual night shift delirium was at its max last night and I am exhausted….have a great day

  2. You may be interested in recent findings in neurophysiology which seem, at least to my humble understanding, to explain to the Western mind, the mystery of non existence. See Rick Hanson’s book “Buddha’s Brain” and his and Richard Mendius’ meditations on how to change the brain. Rick Hanson is a Buddhist and I suspect so is Richard Mendius. To me they offer the language and concepts which I can comprehend on this fundamental and difficult to grasp paradox.

    • Josette, thank you for directing me to to “Buddha’s Brain.” Very helpful. Please see my post of Dec 19. Wishing you warm days and nights amid the snow.


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