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A Study Of Contrasts November 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness.
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In my last post, Paint Your World As YOU Want It,  Allen uses his Ego as the sole measuring stick for life. As a result, he boasts and brags to draw attention to himself and away from others.  Anything he does, he does for external recognition and approval, as he shouts out, LOOK AT ME!

He compares his efforts with the results others attain in order to further inflate his sense of self-importance ~ bolstering his fragile Ego with the thought that HE would have achieved a BETTER result.

The ultimate destination of applause, approval, and accolades from others is ALL that matters to Allen.  As a result, the journey of painting holds no inherent joy for him.

In the words of Desiderata:  Do not compare yourself with others.  You will become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Bernie, too, is primarily guided by Ego. Because he focuses on how his efforts will be received by others, he lacks confidence and is fearful.

Like Allen, he compares his efforts with the results others achieve, while telling himself he does NOT measure up.  His inhibitions hold him back, and prevent him from fully embracing the joys of life, for fear that others will ridicule him and laugh at his efforts.

As a result of his Ego-oriented mindset, Bernie has crippled himself by giving away his inner power and freedom.  He is a prisoner of life, paralyzed by undue concern about his reputation with others.

We have as many reputations as acquaintances.  None is accurate.  Be who you want to be.

When Calvin shifts Bernie’s perspective from how Bernie views the painting to how the PIGS must feel living there, Bernie enters the NOW and smiles for the first time all morning.

Be Here Now.

Calvin, in contrast to Allen and Bernie, is unconcerned with the Fear, Guilt, and Pride of Ego.

He doesn’t care whether he paints BETTER than others. He enjoys the process.

He doesn’t worry about whether he paints WORSE than others. He loves playing with color.

He enters the NOW, paints one stroke at a time, and enjoys the journey.  He is unconcerned with the destination. Only THIS MOMENT matters.

The world falls away.

When he resurfaces, he sees the reflection of the Present Moment in what he painted. He captured how he FELT on paper. Looking at the painting fills him with JOY and HAPPINESS.

He is oblivious to what others think of his work ~ their opinion of him and his abilities as a painter is unimportant.  He didn’t paint the picture for them. He painted it to capture his own spiritual essence.  It’s HIS world.

Calvin uses an internal reference point to govern his actions and emotions.  He loves the painting no matter what others think of it ~ not because it is a “great painting,” but because it captures how he FELT while painting it.

In words, his mantra has become, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

Calvin travels through life using an internal compass, freed of the shifting impact of applause, scorn, accolades, derision, approval, and disapproval from others.  He embraces life right HERE, right NOW,  without concern for the ultimate destination.   He is confident of his abilities to navigate without looking to others to decide what to be, say, think, or do.

He is comfortable in his own skin.  In words, his mantra has become, “Who I am is who I want to be.”

Calvin is the HERO of his own life.

We each have an Inner Calvin.  To access his wisdom, we need only look within.

Related posts:  Embrace Your Inner Calvin *  Paint Your World As YOU Want It

Comments»

1. Loreen Lee - November 21, 2010

This is a much better interpretation. I am sure that Calvin, because he has the inner confidence of spirit, will learn to view his classmates in a better light and have compassion for them. After all he does not know their histories, and cannot have a comprehensive understanding of them.

nrhatch - November 21, 2010

Calvin is filled with compassion for his fellow travelers. He is always willing to share what he’s learned with others . . . but they are not always OPEN to his message.

In Paint Your World As YOU Want It, Calvin immediately sensed Bernie’s unhappiness with the painting. Due to his compassion, he offered Bernie a change in perspective which Bernie reached out and grabbed ~ feeling happiness in the moment for the first time all morning.

2. Loreen Lee - November 21, 2010

That is true. How then was he not able to reach out to the ‘arrogant’ one?

nrhatch - November 21, 2010

Calvin could not reach out to Allen due to Allen’s arrogance:

An arrogant man, who felt that no one could teach him anything, visited a Zen master for tea. The Zen master poured the tea until it overflowed the cup, and still he continued to pour.

The arrogant man cried, “Master, stop! Why do you keep pouring? The cup is full.”

The master replied, “You too are full of your opinions and judgments about the world. You must empty yourself of the past, in order to receive the present.”

https://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/zen-parable/

“When we hang on to our opinions and judgments, there is no room for anything else.” ~ Lama Surya Das

3. Loreen Lee - November 21, 2010

Well the arrogant young boy, may be able to be changed. Redemption may be possible even for an eight year old.

nrhatch - November 21, 2010

The boy cannot BE changed by others, but he can CHOOSE to change by opening his eyes to the moment at hand.

He can CHOOSE to look at life more spiritually, while quelling the Ego concerns previously used as his yardstick.

4. Loreen Lee - November 21, 2010

Perhaps I am not a Zen Master. In this story above, the Zen Master does not call the man arrogant. Rather he gives him a parable, as did Jesus Christ, in this case, the example of the cup being filled up. He did not USE the person in question as a ‘bad example’ at all, and did not call him arrogant.

nrhatch - November 21, 2010

In the above parable, readers are told that an “arrogant man” went to tea.

In my painting parable, readers are told that Allen “arrogantly replied.”

I did not use Allen as a “bad example.” Allen is who he is. I shared his traits and his characteristics to contrast with traits in Calvin which I view as more inherently valuable to those who seek to enjoy the journey through life.

Observing the yellow characteristics of a daffodil is not a judgment on the morality of the flower. It is merely a useful label to apply when conversing with others.

The same, of course, is true for arrogance.

5. Loreen Lee - November 21, 2010

I did not view the actions of Allen as arrogant. In the Zen story, the teacher is instructing the person and the story is about that instruction. Never is the person assaulted directly. He is never called ‘arrogant’, only the example is given OF ARROGANCE and what it entails.

nrhatch - November 21, 2010

Like the Zen Master, Calvin never calls Allen “arrogant.” Instead, readers are informed that Allen replies in an arrogant manner.

In like fashion, readers of the Zen Parable are told that the man is arrogant:

An arrogant man, who felt that no one could teach him anything, visited a Zen master for tea. The Zen master poured the tea until it overflowed the cup, and still he continued to pour.

The arrogant man cried, “Master, stop! Why do you keep pouring? The cup is full.”

The master replied, “You too are full of your opinions and judgments about the world. You must empty yourself of the past, in order to receive the present.”

I see parallels between the painting parable and the parable of the Zen Master pouring tea for the arrogant man. If you do not, you do not.

6. Patricia - November 21, 2010

Interesting how different folks looked at this story. When I reflected on it I had little to offer Allen–he is already full–of himself; Bernie, I wanted to encourage him to go ahead and add the cow and if he wanted his cow could have wings or antlers–whatever–after all it is his world; Calvin I wanted to hug and have a chat–I would like to know him!

Then I thought about what I would paint…

nrhatch - November 21, 2010

I love your suggestion for Bernie! How often we cripple our creativity by remaining “realists” instead of becoming “impressionists.”

Calvin is a giant among toddlers! 🙂

This series makes me want to get out my own paintbox and set up a play date with paints.

7. Cindy - November 22, 2010

Calvin rocks!

nrhatch - November 22, 2010

Calvin has the energy he needs to create because he “travels through life using an internal compass, freed of the shifting impact of applause, scorn, accolades, derision, approval, and disapproval from others.”

Instead of expending energy to gain approval or avoid disapproval, he channels ALL his creative energy at his work, allowing him to be the BEST Calvin he can be.


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