Noticing conceit

Robert McLune, modified 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 12:30 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 12:30 AM

Noticing conceit

Posts: 255 Join Date: 9/8/12 Recent Posts
You can take this as a simple observation, but I'd appreciate any thoughts too.

As I persist in meditation, I've become aware of how conceited I am. Not just occasional or even frequent actions, but a complete saturation with the stuff. I mentioned this to my wife and she smiled and nodded -- i.e. to say "Finally, you've noticed". And in a sense it's not a surprise. I can be an arrogant, opinionated, self-obsessed, ego-driven ass. I already knew that (and I do try to not be.) But what I'm seeing goes deeper. Conceit seems to run right through me.

My response has various components. I'm a bit embarrassed; and I'm keen to change/fix it. I'm also challenged, because I don't think it's going to be easy. It wouldn't surprise me if almost every non-automatic action I do has some kind of selfish ego-centredness behind it. Let's face it, even this post contains it. So does that previous sentence! I'm actually wondering what a genuinely sincere, pure, clean, selfless unconceited act would even look like. (BTW: just to balance this -- I'm conceited, but I'm not an evil murderer. Most people would probably consider me a nice guy. I don't kick puppies, and generally keep out of trouble!)

But I'm also not that worried by it. It's certainly something to be fixed, or at least contained in the short term. But I'm not beating myself up. It's just there.

So, what should I do with any of this? Is this kind of observation to be expected as a side effect of meditation? Are there more where this came from? And how *does* one deal with conceit specifically?

There, wasn't that a genuine and humble post? Aren't you all impressed at how open and candid I am about my moral shortcomings. I imagine you all wish you could hear more from me and my insightful observations... :-)
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(D Z) Dhru Val, modified 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 12:51 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 12:46 AM

RE: Noticing conceit

Posts: 346 Join Date: 9/18/11 Recent Posts
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.ca/2012/10/appreciation-khemaka-sutta.html emoticon

Noticing how conceit comes about with regards to the 5 aggregates is enough. Anything more than that to get rid of it etc. is just further conceit.
M N, modified 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 5:58 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 2:22 AM

RE: Noticing conceit

Posts: 210 Join Date: 3/3/12 Recent Posts
Hi!

So... first of all, I'm pretty sure it's totally normal. I can totally relate to your mixed reactions. Also, I've found at one point that acting "bad" became physically painful.

Also, I've found that there are faults in my beahviour that I just can't correct with an act of will, 'cause they are not related with a particoular thing that I can or cannot do, but are rooted in the way I think and express myself, and preventing them would probably require me being silent most of the times I would usually talk, wich I'm not doing because I'm not sure that it would end up being particoularly skillful.

I think about theese issues as practice-regolated, in the sense that, the happier I become, the more theese things lessen. This, by the way, doesn't necessarily means "the more I get insight into the true nature of reality the more my happiness improves".
Wich leads to an interesting question, wich is, what is the relationship between insight and wellbeing/conventional happiness? I haven't seen much material in the pragmatic community on this topic.

Just some thoughts... bye!
Russell , modified 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 8:16 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 8:16 AM

RE: Noticing conceit

Posts: 92 Join Date: 10/19/11 Recent Posts
This is the benefit of this practice showing itself. Good stuff! My advice is to just keep observing it arise. Watch it play itself out. In my experience, sometimes 'trying to fix it' breaks things even more. The more you observe, the more you can then let it go.

'Ohh, hello conceit, there you are.' Over time you notice it, drop it, move on...
Robert McLune, modified 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 8:53 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 7/11/13 8:53 PM

RE: Noticing conceit

Posts: 255 Join Date: 9/8/12 Recent Posts
Mario Nistri:
... preventing them would probably require me being silent most of the times I would usually talk, wich I'm not doing because I'm not sure that it would end up being particoularly skillful.


That's exactly how I've reacted too -- including the uncertainty about skillfulness. On the one hand I often just think I should shut up completely and then I'll avoid harming people, or pissing them off (although I suspect I don't do that as often as I sometimes think). But on the other hand, many people have commented over time that they find what I say useful, and so I'm concerned I'd just be shutting up to make myself feel better. This isn't any kind of serious problem. Guinea worm, now that's a serious problem! But I find it encouraging that perhaps the meditation is giving me an opportunity over time to mean I'm less harmful and more helpful to people.

That said, there's a further complication whereby this whole line of thought is a bit self-centered! I mean, it takes a degree of self-centredness to worry about how self-centered one is being. If only one could get rid of the whole pesky "self" shebang. Hmm, that would be useful. Now, I wonder if there's a way to do that ...

Still, isn't it nice of me, to be so considerate of others, and to be concerned when I'm not? Gosh but I'm a decent fellow. You're all lucky to have me here. Watch and learn people, watch and learn.