The Seeker of Peace


Making Myself Sick
December 3, 2008, 9:35 am
Filed under: Non-duality, Suffering | Tags: , ,

Every year, we spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws. It’s always a difficult time for me because of my Crohn’s disease. Most holiday foods are just not good for me, and holiday activities are more physically demanding. The result is usually that I wind up quite ill.

I realized this year that much of this is simply a defense mechanism devised by my ego. Being ill provides a modicum of control, something in short supply when in a large group. It’s ultimately destructive and counterproductive, but then so are all of the ego’s efforts.

There’s no reason I have to eat the foods that make me sick. Yet I do it year after year. Why? My ego wants me to be sick. Beyond the control, it gets me sympathy, and makes me feel special.

I wish I had thought this through better before Thanksgiving. At least, I can now see another strong attachment I have towards my illness. Deliberately making it worse can further my ego’s goals.

There’s a lot of talk in the self-help literature about self-defeating behaviors. I think that should really be Self-defeating behaviors. These behaviors actually help the ego, while hurting the non-dualistic Self.

I would like to think I’d moved past this kind of destructive behavior. However, I guess the unusual stresses and situations of the holidays provide new opportunities for the ego to reassert itself. It’s an important reminder to me to keep paying attention to my motivations.

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