Being Right & Getting Even

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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 8:27 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 8:27 AM

Being Right & Getting Even

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
I've brought a considerable amount of suffering on myself through two basic, but rarely questioned beliefs:

Being Right: I can't count the number of times in the past that I've sent myself spiraling into cycles of depression through feeling as though I need to be right about something. I don't know how much time I've wasted arguing, bickering or fighting with people over this, not just online but in daily life too and I now see clearly just how damaging this can potentially be if we continue to believe that we need to be proven right about something, or proving someone else wrong.

If we look at what's involved in "being right" we can see, if we honestly and thoroughly examine the beliefs and opinions we hold, that what we think is "right" is nothing more than a reflection of our own reality tunnel, the social conditioning and instinctual programmes which have been passed down to us through our environment, upbringing and numerous other factors which are rarely, if ever, questioned by the majority of the world.

I'm not saying that it's not possible to be "right" about something, but there is no benefit to be had in causing yourself more suffering by trying to fight to prove it. State your case, by all means, but when the need to be right begins to cause you to suffer then it's time to question what it is that you're fighting for, or why you have a stake it in.

Getting Even: The same goes for "getting even", that niggling need to get back at someone for some perceived wrongdoing against you. I've went to extraordinary lengths in the past to get back at people, and I mean crazy, dangerous stuff which could have gotten me killed or jailed, and all because I believed that I had some reason to get even with that person!

A few years ago, I was going to crucify someone with a nail gun because they tried to stab my brother, but fortunately I had the sense to sit down and examine the possible consequences of my actions, look at what could potentially happen were I to pursue this course of action and realize that no benefit would be had by me or anyone else. This is the ridiculous lengths that we go to so that we can get back at someone!

I'm a pretty reasonable, laid-back guy but I know that as long as the human condition exists then shifts to this level of violence are entirely possible with the right set of circumstances. We're seeing it right now in the UK with all the rioting and looting, crowds of youths claiming that they're smashing the place up to get their own back on the police and the perceived injustice of society.

The reason for this post is to point out these two beliefs and their potential for suffering as long as we invest them with emotion. I've been guilty of both too and even recently, on the RT site, I made an arse of myself by trying to prove I was right and caused myself, and no doubt some people on that site and here, a load of unnecessary suffering. What did it achieve? Anger. Frustration. Unhappiness.

Why?!
What am I trying to defend?
Why do I need to be right?
Why would I need to get even?

I renounce the need to be right. I renounce the need to get even.
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Nikolai , modified 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 9:10 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 9:10 AM

RE: Being Right & Getting Even

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:


I renounce the need to be right. I renounce the need to get even.


Right on!
Felipe C, modified 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 10:33 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 9:17 AM

RE: Being Right & Getting Even

Posts: 221 Join Date: 5/29/11 Recent Posts
Just days ago I wrote this in my blog (excuse my own translation from the Spanish):

Every time I do something exhausting, I expect a reward
Every time I do something considered morally wrong, I think to counter it with positive action
This theory of retribution where something "bad" is countered by something "good" is like a roller coaster powered by the idea of justice, that everything must be balanced but from the extremes. A kind of justice by average, instead of simply living in the very middle in the first place, being equanimous and seeing things more objectively.
So I can infer that discharging our actions of these good and bad attributes implies a lesser desire for retribution, and therefore a life less needy of the emotional extremes to justify itself.


That occurred to me after a hard day at work, while I was walking to my car, and feel a huge urge to have something pleasurable or entertaining. I became aware of that feeling, almost like a demand from me to myself: it was not just the feeling of being tired, product of the work, but the very accumulation of these actions in the recent past that 'me' was demanding to counter, and get even (I guess seeing work as an obligation and not just part of life).

I guess this kind of needs or desires lessen as we become more sensuous and in the present moment.
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 11:10 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 11:10 AM

RE: Being Right & Getting Even

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
Tommy, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this post. It takes an enormous amount of personal growth to come to that realization, and even after arriving there, a person can slip back into the old pattern again and again. Thomas Merton refers to "the desire to judge and punish other men" as an effect of pride, that deadliest of Christian sins. While my fights have been with words, I can well understand the experience of rage just rising in the throat from the gut. Right now I'm angry over American politics, wanting to slap a few people upside the head, convinced I'm right (for the record, I think I am emoticon). But really, it's the insisting on one's being right, and thinking others will simply give up their beliefs when confronted with an argument, that gets me into trouble.
, modified 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 11:24 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 11:24 AM

RE: Being Right & Getting Even

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
Tommy's candor is, figuratively [to me], a fabric softener to otherwise impenetrable fear and its consequent self-guarding and attachment. His posts like these are most useful to my own path.
, modified 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 11:33 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/10/11 11:30 AM

RE: Being Right & Getting Even

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
I wonder why more teachers do not keep their own experience - that which they actually know - at the fore, versus quickly assuming a guide's role for another.

Without teaching, posts like these are excellent teachers.

one communication i appreciated much in contacting the founder of this site about joining DhO is that the founder immediately gave higher value to the many teachers/[teachings]...the open-source of DhO, versus himself (despite his achievements in career, path, authorship [and] what-have-you).

[edit: brackets]
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Tommy M, modified 11 Years ago at 8/13/11 7:52 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/13/11 7:52 AM

RE: Being Right & Getting Even

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Thanks Laurel and Katy, I'm really happy that these posts are useful to you. I wrote a blog entry on "Belief & Suffering" which might be of interest if you're looking at this side of your practice:

http://downtoearthdharmablog.blogspot.com/2011/08/beliefs-suffering.html

Thanks again, that really makes me smile and, as usual, Katy cracks me up with another well chosen phrase. I've never been called a "fabric softener" before.....Ha!