You know what's an amazing thing? Arrogance.
You know what else is an amazing thing? When arrogance gets shut down. Blammo-ed. Crushed. Shifted, shaken, shorted, and shafted. This is an amazing thing.
This--this shifting and shafting of my own spiritual and emotional arrogance-- is something I am experiencing lately, and I am quite happy for it, as you can probably imagine.
No, I am not a masochist, but I certainly do love to see and feel where I am stuck in my experience; where I might not be living in fill trust and fluidity with my spirit, and instead am clinging to some outdated and ill-fitting egoic structure in an attempt to find some safety in my experience. I love it (even though I whine about it, surely, from time to time) when I encounter the places in my mind where arrogance has set up camp like some kind of unwelcome mold, and although it hurts like a hot damn to have to scrape it out and even after that the soul underneath is tender and unprotected and scared shitless of its vulnerability, I loves it. I want this process, and no doubt seek situations that create the possibility of it.
It is a lovely (yes, lovely) thing, I feel, when what we think is solid and defined and controlled in our lives--a perspective that will, always, manifest itself in some kind of arrogance--gets totally blown apart by reality. When everything that we had been placing our confidence in and our expectations on turns out to be less than what we expected, or we ourselves turn out to have far less understanding of it than we originally assumed. Our arrogance falls short, and we are left with one of two options: to break it apart and remove it, revealing said aforementioned tender soul underneath and coming to live more openly and honestly with life, or to build up more arrogance and emotional discord so that we don't have to deal with what is happening with any honesty at all. We either become more open, or we become less. There is no middle ground or response here.
Arrogance comes from a misuse of our minds and a misunderstanding of our experience. We have both (and paradoxically) more control and less control in our lives than we think we do, and yet we tend to not recognize nor work with these opposing experiences very well. We seek to control the things we cannot really control: death, loss, 'bad' things, the inevitable decay of absolutely everything, whilst simultaneously avoiding or being overwhelmed by the things that are actually within our scope to change: our minds, our emotions, our take on the whole experience of living. This is what causes our arrogance: an attempt to proclaim that this is how things are, and that this is how things are going to stay. We claim this for our relationships and jobs and bodies and life experiences, attempting, as best as we can, to find some semblance of security in a world that refuses to bow to our need for permanence. And yet: the more we cling, the less happy we are. The more we aim for control and solidity in the outside world without recognizing the futility of such practice and the need for internal self-regulation and power, the more dissatisfied we become.
And so what is the alternative? Well, honest self reflection for starters. To be able to sit with our arrogance when situations so clearly point out how desperately we are clinging to old models of being is essential, and the hardest step, perhaps, for it is all we want to do to run away or fight or blame or victimize ourselves when our soft spots are triggered. We seek justification for our arrogance instead, becoming more hardened to life and to the possibility of living in trust, and, rather unwittingly, increasing the discomfort we are to feel in our life experience.
The thing that I am learning right now is that even after what feels like an eternity of searching for these spots of arrogance and stuckness, that they--and the learning associated with them--never end. That no matter what we do in this human life we will always be learning and breaking open and understanding ourselves better, should we choose that path.