We are not born with courage, but neither are we born with
fear. Maybe some of our fears are brought on by your own
experiences, by what someone has told you, by what you've
read in the papers. Some fears are valid, like walking alone
in a bad part of town at two o'clock in the morning. But
once you learn to avoid that situation, you won't need to
live in fear of it.

Fears, even the most basic ones, can totally destroy our
ambitions. Fear can destroy fortunes. Fear can destroy
relationships. Fear, if left unchecked, can destroy our
lives. Fear is one of the many enemies lurking inside us.

Let me tell you about five of the other enemies we face from
within. The first enemy that you've got to destroy before it
destroys you is indifference. What a tragic disease this is.
"Ho-hum, let it slide. I'll just drift along." Here's one
problem with drifting: you can't drift your way to the top
of the mountain.

The second enemy we face is indecision. Indecision is the
thief of opportunity and enterprise. It will steal your
chances for a better future. Take a sword to this enemy.

The third enemy inside is doubt. Sure, there's room for
healthy skepticism. You can't believe everything. But you
also can't let doubt take over. Many people doubt the past,
doubt the future, doubt each other, doubt the government,
doubt the possibilities and doubt the opportunities. Worse
of all, they doubt themselves. I'm telling you, doubt will
destroy your life and your chances of success. It will empty
both your bank account and your heart. Doubt is an enemy. Go
after it. Get rid of it.

The fourth enemy within is worry. We've all got to worry
some. Just don't let it conquer you. Instead, let it alarm
you. Worry can be useful. If you step off the curb in New
York City and a taxi is coming, you've got to worry. But you
can't let worry loose like a mad dog that drives you into a
small corner. Here's what you've got to do with your
worries: drive them into a small corner. Whatever is out to
get you, you've got to get it. Whatever is pushing on you,
you've got to push back.

The fifth interior enemy is over-caution. It is the timid
approach to life. Timidity is not a virtue (unlike
humility - they are different); in fact, it can be an
illness. If you let it go, it'll conquer you. Timid people
don't get promoted. They don't advance and grow and become
powerful in the marketplace. You've got to avoid

Do battle with the enemy. Do battle with your fears. Build
your courage to fight what's holding you back, what's
keeping you from your goals and dreams. Be courageous in
your life and in your pursuit of the things you want and the
person you want to become.

To Your Success,
Jim Rohn

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Rohn Weekly E-zine Archives, or to get a complete listing of
Jim Rohn's books, audios, videos and seminar schedule, or to
place an order; please go to: or call
800-929-0434 M-F 8:30-5:30 CST.


The Root delusions

From Vasubhandu's Treasury of Metaphysics

The six subtle and extensive delusions
Of [samsaric] existence are:
Attachment, anger, pride
ignorance, wrong views, and doubt

That is there are six root delusions

Anger - highly disturbed aspect of mind that arises when we see something unpleasant - enemies, and so forth

Attachment - attachment to ego / self / others / things causes suffering (see attachment page)

Pride - is your inflated opinion of yourslef and can manifest in relation to some good or bad object: your power, wealth, good qualities, family, wisdom, pure ethics - even your pleasant voice or physical prowess

Ignorance - not knowing, not seeing, not understanding, being unclear, and so forth. Ignorance is like blindness - not seeing the nature or mode of existence of something. Ignorance is the root of all delusions.

Doubt - directed towards the four truths, the Three Jewels, cause and effect

Deluded Views - there are 5

The Causes of Delusion

Their Foundation
Their Object
Unrealistic Thinking

The Drawbacks of the Delusions

From An Ornament to the Sutras

Delusions destroy you,
Destroy sentient beings,
And destroy your ethics.
You hold your equals as inferiors.
Guardians and teachers criticize you,
And you don't heed opponents.
You will be born in conducive states.
Your acquisitions and non-acquisitions
Will decline, and you will have great suffering

Above extract from 'Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand ' by Kyabje Pabonka Rinpoche

"Lust at the sight of a young woman springs from ignorance and delusion. Reason points out inwardly time and again, that bodies are only the combination of flesh, blood and fat." Sri Sankara

How Delusions Arise
by Lama Thubten Yeshe

From Wisdom Energy by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Edited by Jonathan Landaw with Alexander Berzin
Wisdom Publications, Boston, MA, USA.

The purpose of meditation is to gain realizations leading to the cessation of delusion and superstition. This cessation depends, first of all, on recognizing the character or function of the deluded mind. In addition, it is necessary to understand the various factors causing such a deluded mind to arise. Regarding this, Je Tsongkhapa has explained six factors leading to the growth of delusion:

(1) karmic imprints,
(2) the object,
(3) the influence of misleading companions,
(4) following false teachings,
(5) habit and
(6) mistaken conceptualizations.

The fundamental cause of the deluded mind is the karmic imprint left on your consciousness by previous non-virtuous actions. Because of past actions done in ignorance and motivated by desire, hatred or any of the other delusions, various imprints—or seeds of karmic instinct—have been planted on your mind. When the conditions are right, these seeds ripen and the deluded mind rises again.
The object itself is the second factor encouraging this ripening. Most of the time when the object is there near you and the karmic imprint is there in your mind, bang!—delusion arises. A good example is when you go shopping. The object is there on the shelf. Through the sense perception of your eye you come into contact with it and before you are aware of what is happening, your mind sinks with attachment into the object. It can happen in a very sneaky way and be extremely difficult to separate your mind from this desired object. Your hand automatically moves to your pocket, finds some money and you buy even before you know what you are doing. It is so simple, isn't it! Thus when the deluded subject (mind) comes into relationship with the appropriate object, superstition explodes like an atomic bomb.
In the West it is incredible how everything is exaggerated so that the deluded mind is certain to pay attention to it. "Look at this; how fantastic it is!" This technique is used so extensively that even when we give a meditation course we have to advertise, "Come to our fantastic meditation course and learn all about your amazing mind!" Western culture seems a little too much for me.
Buddha gave a very simple name to all of this. He called the realm that we are living in the desire world. It is now easy to see clearly why he gave it this name. The desire world. Desire is here! The deluded mind coming into contact with desirable objects leads to superstition producing more and more delusion. It is for this reason that Milarepa stayed in a cave. He knew that once the deluded mind comes into contact with the object of desire, delusions arise uncontrollably. That is why he thought it better to avoid such contact until his mind was tamed.
The object causing the deluded mind to arise must have some relationship to the karmic imprint. That is why technically it is called a "related object." For example, you may have a particular imprint of attachment on your mind. This will be activated by an object having desirable qualities, but not by one having repulsive, hateful qualities. Thus there has to be the proper combination of both the imprint on the mind of the subject and the object's characteristic qualities. If there is no contact with an appropriate object, it is impossible for the subjective delusion to function.
The third factor mentioned by Lama Tsongkhapa is influences from the outside. Negative, misleading friends giving you deluded information are included here. These are the people you know who make you confused. Therefore whom you have for friends, whom you stay in close contact with, is very important. All around you people are drinking, for instance. If you have some kind of control, you may be able to remain uninfluenced by them for a week or so. But after a while you can no longer control yourself because the situation is too overpowering.
It is very difficult to maintain control in opposition to such influence. If you check up in your own life, I am sure that you will find many examples of this. Such influence is not limited to bad friends or good friends. In your life you have so many "teachers," people who feed you information that only adds to your delusions. Therefore it is very important to stay around those people who give you the right vibration, the wisdom vibration. This is much better than exposing yourself all the time to polluted, confused vibrations. But this does not mean that you give up completely on all misleading friends, hating them and having bad thoughts about them. No, this should not be your reaction. It is essential always to remain compassionate. Also remember that we are polluted already; our friends are not to blame for our delusions. Their influence just makes this pollution thicker and thicker.

The Western mind is very interesting. In some respects it is very skeptical, doubting everything. This can be a very good attitude, especially when surrounded by untruth. Yet in some respects the Western mind is totally the opposite of skeptical. If it sees something that has one good aspect, that has one interesting side to it, without hesitation it accepts the whole thing as good. This overly emotional attitude is very dangerous. Every philosophy, doctrine, and religion has at least one point which is good. Even the most evil person in the world—whoever that may be according to your interpretation—has something good about him or her. Therefore, the mind that runs uncontrollably to things that it finds interesting can easily grasp onto what is really not very good at all.
I do not know why, but it seems that the Western mind likes mixtures. Something that has many different flavors mixed together in it is seen as very interesting. Please check up and see if this observation is correct. In any event, such an attitude can cause problems in certain situations. For instance, you might be listening to someone expressing an idea which, in fact, is a total misconception. You think, "It does not matter if what he says is true or not, it is interesting. Let him tell me more." I think the Western mind is like that, having incredible curiosity and ready to listen to anything. But actually, each misconception, each piece of wrong information that you grasp at in this way thickens your deluded mind. That is why I said that this uncritical attitude can be dangerous.
All this relates to the fourth factor causing delusions to arise: following false teachings. This factor differs from the previous one, which concerns going together with those who are bad influences. The third factor relates in general to your life style, to your surroundings. This fourth factor, however, means believing that someone is a special teacher and therefore listening to and following all the wrong conceptions he or she teaches.
For example, at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha there lived a man who wanted liberation very badly, and so he went to see a certain guru. The guru told him to kill a thousand people and make a rosary out of their thumbs. "When you are finished, and have gained realizations, come back to me for more teachings." This man, known as Angulimala, actually believed this so-called guru, and collected 999 thumbs before he finally met Buddha and was persuaded to practice real Dharma. His devotion had been blind, and led to nothing but suffering.
Teachings, of whatever quality, can be very interesting. But when people find things interesting it often just means that they crave information. The same thing can be seen in children. Before Western children go to sleep they like their mother or father to read them a story. That's true, isn't it? The stories are very interesting, but most of them are garbage. Children are very sensitive and have fantastic imaginations. They also believe in things very strongly, so that what they hear makes a deep imprint on their minds. Most parents are not fully aware of this and think, "It doesn't matter. As long as the kid likes this story and falls asleep, that's okay." There is no idea of what kind of effect it is having on the child's mind, what result it is producing. The important thing is that he falls asleep quickly so that you can be free, free to go to sleep yourself or whatever. Just as long he doesn't make any noise. But this is not right. It is not being kind to your children to give them such garbage information. It only makes their delusions and superstitions thicker and thicker.
Of course, if you have wisdom you can read any type of garbage information at all without being affected by it. You can be checking up on it without taking it all in greedily. That's okay. But when you are too interested, too attracted—"Yes, yes, tell me more!"—it leaves a very strong impression on your mind. There is a total lack of discriminating wisdom-knowledge, no clear idea of what is right and wrong. You take everything in with no judgment whatsoever.
The same is true about all types of information. So much comes in but generally there is no integration and no differentiation between what is useful and what is harmful. In fact, nearly every aspect of popular Western culture—books, magazines, movies, television and the like—is totally dedicated to producing more and more desire and superstition. There are exceptions to this, of course. Some movies, for instance, are different. But most of them show you what you like, what the superstitious mind wants to see.
Anything to arouse your interest. The people who create these films, books and so forth have a practical understanding of psychology. They know exactly what arouses people's desires and superstitions and what will make them more confused than they already are.
In short, misconceptions and misinformation cause more delusion if the mind lacks discriminating wisdom-knowledge. You receive so much information from the television, for example, that you actually become excited. Sometimes you cannot take it any longer and have to leave the room! So whatever information there is that makes you become more confused should be avoided as much as possible.
The fifth factor increasing the strength of the delusions is habit. It can work this way: at one time you had a certain experience with an object. When you meet a similar object you remember the first experience, and each time you repeat the action the strength of that memory increases, becoming more powerful and distorted in your imagination. Habit builds up certain associations so strongly that whenever a similar situation arises, your mind automatically runs towards delusion. Some people become so obsessed in this way with a deluded object that they cannot forget it. Why does this happen! Because the experience has been repeated over and over and over again, making the imprint of it thicker and thicker. The mind dwells in the recollection of this experience, adding to the delusion. A person cannot even sleep without a vision of that object appearing in his or her dreams. I am sure that everyone has had experience with this phenomenon. If a habit is repeated often enough and its imprint becomes strong enough, you can actually go mad.
Sometimes the object of delusion forcefully impresses itself on your imagination. For example, in the West when you are about to part from a girlfriend or boyfriend, you both plead, "Please don't forget me! Keep me in your memory. If you forget me, it means you don't love me anymore." That's why you are not free. You can see that you are not free because you have become obsessed in this way with one object.
The sixth factor also concerns things that appear interesting. When the memory of something comes, you make a certain type of judgment about it: "This thing is so good. It is fantastic. It has this quality, and that quality, and this and that..." You exaggerate tremendously the worth of something until it does not resemble the original at all. It has become merely the product of your mistaken conceptualizations.
You have a boyfriend, for example, with whom you are obsessed. You find his every movement and gesture interesting. The way he walks, what he says, what he does—it all seems good to you. Even when he does something incredibly bad, for you it becomes a source of pleasure. You are concentrating so much on his attractive qualities that his negative aspects are totally obscured.
The mind works in such a way, however, that if one day he says something particularly unpleasant to you, your attitude begins to change. You think, "He's not nice at all." Your mind concentrates on this thought. "Not nice, not nice, not nice..." Soon everything about him appears repulsive; there is nothing about him anymore that is pleasing to you. You can see this happen, can't you! It is incredible how the deluded mind works. First something appears completely positive and then it changes to its opposite. But I say that it is totally impossible for any object, any sentient being to be completely positive or completely negative. Everything has both positive and negative energy. It is only the obsessed mind that sees things in terms of black and white. There is a certain saying I heard in the West: "You hear what you want to hear." This is a very accurate psychological statement, a very good Dharma point. It emphasizes the truth of what we have been discussing.
Seeing some kind of desirable object, then, always involves an overestimation. Its good aspects are emphasized so much that you lose all judgment about it. Simultaneously, you view that object as if it were somehow self-existent. You conceive of it as something permanent, existing self-sufficiently the way it appears to you. You fail to see that the way it appears is actually a function of your own projections. Instead, you think that these exaggerated qualities come from the object itself rather than being what you have put onto the object from your own side. You do not see what has happened. This deluded projection covering the object is much thicker than make-up. Impermanent things are viewed as permanent. Objects being in the nature of suffering are thought of as the causes of happiness. And although all things lack true, independent self-existence, they are conceived of as having such self-existence.
Je Tsongkhapa defined this process as holding onto something that has nothing to do with reality. It is completely unrelated to the way things actually exist. You grasp onto something, perceiving and believing it to exist in a certain way, and as a result your delusions grow. The deluded mind becomes more powerful. This brings us back to an earlier point: whatever exists—good news, bad news, heaven and hell, samsara or nirvana—is a manifestation of the mind. When the mind is covered with superstitions it creates suffering. Therefore, in order to gain release from this suffering it is important to understand both the characteristic nature of the deluded mind and the factors causing these superstitions to arise and increase. So check up and meditate on these six factors. It is so worthwhile. Your understanding can become so powerful that it makes your mind really straight. Otherwise there is no way to begin to rid yourself of delusions.


The word 'Glamour' was used by Djwhal Khul is describing the phenomenon of delusion that occurs on the astral plane.

The delusion that occurs ib the mental plane he called illusion; the delusion on the etheric plane is maya

The following chart depicts the glamours or astral delusions assosiated with each of the seven major rays@

The following is an adaptation from Alice Bailey's 'Esoteric Psychology'

Ray I Glamours: Love of power and authority, pride, selfish ambition, impatience and irritation, self centerdness, separateness, aloofness

Ray II Glamours: Fear, negaticity, a sense of inferiority and inadequacy, depression, constant anxiety, self pity, excessive self effacement, inertiam ineffectiveness

The second is the ray of world teachers. The student on this ray is never satisfied with his high attainments. His mind is always fixed on the unknown, on the heights to be scaled.

Normally he has tact and foresight and makes an excellent ambassador, teacher and head of college.

Ray III Glamours: Always being busy, materialism, preoccupation with detail, efficiency and self-importance through being the one who knows, scheming and manipulating others, deviousnessm self interest

Ray IV Glamours: Diffusion of interest and energy, impracticality and glamour of imagination, changeability, vagueness and lack of objectivity, constant inner and outer conflict. Causes arguments and acrimony, dissatisfaction and envy in response to beauty and that which is higher and better. The ray of struggle, Rajas (Activity) and Tamas (Inertia) are balanced so man is torn in combat which leads to 'Birth of Horus' or the Christ born from the throes of constant suffering and pain

Ray V Glamours: Constant analysis and splitting of hairsm criticism, over emphasis of form, cold mental assessment of feeling, intellectual pride, reason, proof and intellectuality are sancrosanct

Ray VI Glamours: Fanaticism, possessiveness and overdevotion, bigoted narrow mindedness, love of the past and existing forms, reluctance to change, rigidity, too much intensity of feeling.

Man on this ray is full of religious instincts and impulses and intense personal feeling. Everything is either perfect or intolerable. He must always have a personal God. The best tyoe is a saint. The worst type is a bigot, fanatic or martyr. Religious wars and crusades all originated on the sixth ray energy.

Ray VII Glamours:

Rigid adherence to law and order, overemphasis of organiazation and love of the secert and the mysterious, psychism, the glamour of ceremony and ritual, superstitions, deep interest in omens.

This is the ray of the Court CHamberlain and High Priest, the born organizer, the perfect nurse for the sick, the perfect sculptor. Loves processions, ceremonials, military and navel reviews, genealogical trees.


Ray Key Qualities

First Ray:

clear vision, dynamic power, sense of time, solitariness, detachment, and singleness of purpose.

Second Ray:

Divine Love, radiance, attraction, the power to save, wisdom, and expansion or inclusiveness

The Third Ray:

Power to manifest, power to evolve, mental illumination, the power to produce, synthesis on the physical plane, scientific investigation and balance

The Fourth Ray

Dual apsects of desire, the power to reveal the path, the power to express Divinity and growth, the harmony of the spheres, and the synthesis of true beauty

The Fifth Ray:

Emergence into form and out of form, the power to make the voice of silence heard, the power of initate activity, revelation of the way, purification with fire, and the manifestation of the Great White Light.

The Sixth Ray:

Power to kill desire, the spurning of that which is not desired, endurance and fearlessness, the power to detach oneself, and the overcoming of the waters of the emotional nature

The Seventh Ray:

Power to create, the power to cooperate, the power to think, the revelation of the beauty of God, mental power, and the power to vivify

Chapter 5: Human Hiding Places: Methods of Ego -defense.

In brief, these ego-defenses are compensations cultivated to counterbalance and camouflauge something else in us we consider a defect or a handicap.
The great Alfred Adler first became interested in compensation as a psychological phenomenon when he noticed how humnan nature tends to make up for bodily deficiencies. One kidney takes over the function of two if one fails to function. The same thing is true of lungs. A bone fracture that heals properly makes the place of the fracture become stronger than normal.

It is also true that many famous people have developed some skill to an extraordinary degree precisely because they were trying to overcome some handicap. Glen Cunningham, the first of the famous American mile runners, probably became such a great runner trying to strengthen his legs which were seriously crippled at age seven in a fire that almost took his life. ....There is also what is known as "vicarious compensation," by which a person handicapped in one way learns to excel in another. Whistler, the famous paineter, flunked out of West Point and forfeited his desires for a career in the military, but learned to excel as an artist by developing his talents in that field.

Reaction Formation:

The "reaction formation," which we are considering here, is an overcompensation by exaggerating or overdeveloping certain conscious trends. It is developed as a defense against unconscious tendencies of an opposite nature and unapprovable character, which threaten to break into conscious recognition.

Extremely dogmatic people, who are absolutely sure of everything, consciously cultivate the posture of certainty because of demoralizing doubts in their subconscious mind. Their self-image isn't strong enough to live with these doubts.

People who are overly tender, to the point of exaggerated sentimentality, are usually suspected of assuming this attitude in compensation for harsh and cruel tendencies that have been repressed in the subconscious mind.

Prudishness, in an exaggerated form, is usually an overcompensation for repressed normal sexual desires with which the prude cannot live in comfort.

The person who seems to exert an exaggerated concern for health of an aged parent probably does so to compensate for the subconscious desire to be freed of responsibility for that parent by the death of the same.

....compensatory attitudes are a leaning over backwards to avoid tipping over.

"The dogmatist is never wrong. The prude is hyperchaste. The reformer type, preachy and self-righteous, viciously hates sin and sinner alike without any recognition of normal human weakness. "

The conclusion is this: Exaggerated behaviour in a person usually means just the opposite of what it implies. Very often we accuse dogmatists of pride we feel "called" to help them learn sweet humility. In fact, they are not at all sure of themselves, and the more we try to defeat them, to cultivate doubts in them and expose their errors, the more they have to compesate. Their dogmatism will probably become even more extreme and obnoxious.


A second ego-defense mechanism is called "displacement." It usually refers to the indirect expression of an impulse that the censoring conscience (Freud's superego) prohibits us from expressing directly. For example a child may develop seething hostility towrd his or her parents. Our social programming usually will not allow direct expression of this hostility. I mean, you can't hate your own parents. So, not in touch wiht the hostility that the child felt forced to repress, he or she smashes public property, bullies younger children, or does something equally irrational. The apparent homicidal-minded boxing fan, who stands up at ringside and vociferously yells "Murder the bum!" as a helpless, senseless boxer is sinking to his knees obviously harbors some subconscious hostility. The anger had to be repressed because the person just couldn't live with it or express it.

"Scapegoating" is a common form of displacement. We react with uncalled-for violence when someone looks at us the wrong way, because there is a hostility in us that we cannot express directly. For some reason the person to whom we would like to express hostility seems too formidable to us. A man with a violent temper in the office may well be expressing the hostiluity he feels for his wife or for himself but cannot bring himself to express it at home. Or the woman who has been unjustly upbraided by her empleyer (of whom she is afraid because her job is at stake) may come home and take out her hostility on her husband and children. Prudes, who cannot admit their sexual drives directly, will take great interest in "scandals" of a sexual nature. lonely, isolated individuals, who cannot admit directly to their need for love and affection, will profess to be "madly in love" wirh someone else (whom they do not really love at all).

A second meaning of "displacement" is the device of disguising unpleasant realities to which we cannot admit (and therefore repress) by consciously stressing something else which is not so embarrassing to the ego. We profess to worry about some triviality to conceal some greater fear ro which we cannot honestly admit. Or let us say that I am jealous of you, but cannot really admit it, not even, not even to myself. So I "zero in" on some trivial annoyance, like the quality of your voice. I find it very grating. The husband and wife who have come to despise each other, but cannot openly admit to the real sources of their mutual agony, usually bicker about trivialities with great vehemence.

The man whose mother dominated his father is usually programmed to treat his own wife as an inferior to treat his own wife as an inferior. However, he cannot admit to his resentment for his mother and her treatment of his father, or that he definitely wants his wife "under" him. So he will usually complain about small and inconsequential habits of hers. He will deny the value of her opinions and the wisdom of her actions. He will bitterly criticize her for her "stupid way" she plays cards.


Another ego-defensen mechanism is called "projection." All of us tend to disonw things in ourselves and to "project" them into others. We try to rid ourselves of our own limitations by attributing them to someone else. Adam explained his sin to God by saying "The woman tempted me." Eve ascribed the whole calamity to the serpent. It is also projection when we blame other things for our own failures, like the circumstances, the tools we had to work with, the position if the stars. We are tempted to ask, "Why don't you look where you're going?" when we bump into people.

It is a very common human inclination (projection) to dislike in others what we cannot accept in ourselves. The real mystery of this projection is that we don't recognize these things in ourselves. They have been repressed. We can therefore stronlgy condemn in others what we cannot admit in ourselves. The stronger and the more exaggerated the dislike of anything or any quality is manifested, the more it might be suspected as projection.

When we get a bug on "hypocrisy," and often condemn it, and proclaim that it is widespread among the human race, it is most probable that we must repress all conscious recognition that we ourselves are hypocritical. Vain people, who can't admit to their own inclinations, suspect everybody of wanting attention and publicity. Ambitious men and women, who cannot honestly admit (and therefore repress) their own driving ambitions, usually feel that "everybody is out for No.1; all that most people want is fame and money."

Then there are the paranoids (persecution complex victims) who project their own self-hatred into other people and feel that others don't like them. Prudes think that every attractive person of the opposite sex is making improper advances; they project their own concealed (repressed) longings into others. People with an uneasy conscience feel that others are suspicious of them, watching the,. Very often, too, when someone puts a finger on a weakness in us, for example, being too temperamental, we counter by chargin, "You're the one who is temperamental."


"Introjection" is the ego defense by which we attribute to ourselves the good qualities of others. Introjection is prominent in what we call "hero worship." We identify with our heroes. Also, we identify our possessions with ourselves. We take great pride when someone praises our home, or we thing that we are "big time" because we come from a famous city, belong to a well known fraternity, or have traveled to many places. Many women identify with the tragic heroines of soap-opera programs on television. A Manhattan psychiatrist noticed that very many of his women patients had relapses after becoming addicted to these shows. They identified with all the unhappiness of the suffering characters in these melodramas. This kind of identification provides an easy access into a world of fantasy and provide romance in our lives. However, often the result of this ego-defense is neither very profitable nor very consoling.


The most common form of ego-defense is "rationalization." As a technique for self-justification, it is hard to beat. We find some reason for our action that justifies it. We "think" (rationalize) our way to a preordained conclusion. Very often there are two reasons for everything we do: the alleged good reason and the real reason. Rationalization not only results in self-deceit but eventually corrupts all sense of integrity (wholeness). We rationalize our failures; we find justification for our actions; we reconciler our ideals and deeds; we make our emotional preferences our rational conclusions. I say that I drink beer because it has malt in it. The real reason is that I like it; it helps me feel uninhibited and secure with others.

As with all ego-defense mechanisms, there is always something that I cannot admit in myself, something that would make me feel better if only I could just believe it. Rationalization is the bridge that makes my wishes the facts. It is the use of intelligence to deny the truth; it makes us dishonest with ourselves. And if we cannot be honest with ourselves, we certainly cannot be honest with anyone else. Rationalization consequently sabotages all humnan authenticity. It disintegrates and fragments the personality.

Insincerity, as an interior state of mind, is a psychological impossibility. I can't tell myself that I do and don't believe something at the same time. Choosing evil as evil is also a psychological impossibilty, because the will can only choose the (apparent) good. Consequently, to deny the truth I cannot admit, and to do the deed I cannot approve, I must necessarily rationalize until the truth is no longer true and the evil becomes good.

Did you ever ask yourself the suprisingly difficult question: How does one choose evil? How do we commit sin? The will can choose, by its very nature, only that which is somehow good. I am personally convinced that the exercise or use of free will in a given situation of guilt is this: The will, desirous of some evil that has good aspects (if I steal your money, I will be rich), forces the intellect to concentrate on the good to be acquired in the evil act. The will impels the mind to turn away from the recognition of evil. And so the intellect must rationalize that which was originally recognized as evil. While I am doing something wrong (in the act of doing it), I cannot be squarely facing its evil aspect; I must somehow be thinking of it as good and right. Consequently, free will seems to be exercised in the act of coercing the intellect to rationalize rather than in the execution of the act itself.

Caution: Human Beings

In all these ego-defense mechanisms, please notice that there is something that people who operate the mechanism have felt the necessity of repressing. They cannot live with some realization. In one way or another, they keep their psychological pieces in tact by some form of self-deception. They just couldn't live comfortably with the truth, so they repressed it.

Therefore, and this is extremely important, the vocation of putting people straight, of tearing off ther masks, of forcing them to face the repressed truth, is a highly dangerous and destructive calling. Eric Berne warns against disillusioning people about their "games." It may be that they just can't take it. They sought out some role, began playing some game, took to wearing some mask, precisely because this would make life livable and tolerable.

So we must be very careful, extremely careful in fact, that we do not assume the vocation of acquaintin others with their delusions. We are all tempted to unmask others, to smash their defenses, to leave them naked and blinking in the light of the illumination provided by our expose. It could be tragic in its results. If the psycho-logical pieces come unglued, who will pick them up and put poor Humpty Dumpty Human Being together again? Will you? Can you?

The Greatest Kindness: The Truth

All that has been said in these pages would urge us to be open and truthful baout ourselves, our thoughts and emotions. It has urged us to be honest with ourselves and with others. Nothing is taken back here. But it is absolutely necessary to realize that nothing in these pages asks me or justifies me in becoming a judge of others. I can tell you who I am, report my emotions to you with candor and honesty, and this is the greatest kindness I can extend to myself and to you. Even if my thoughts and emotions are not pleasing to you, it remains the greatest kindness to reveal myself openly and honestly. Insofar as I am able, I will try to be honest with myself and communicate myself honestly to you.

It is another thing to set myself up as judge of your delusions. This is playing God. I must not try to be guarantor of your integrity and honesty: that is your work. I can only hope that my honesty with and about myself will empower you to be honest with and about myself. If I can face and tell you my faults and vanities, my hostilities and fears, my secrets and my shames, hostilities and fears, my secret and my shames, perhaps you will be able to admit to your own and confide them to me, if and when you wish.

It is a two way street. If you will be honest with me, report your triumphs and tragedies, agonies and ecstasies to me, it will help me to face my own. You will help me to become a real person. I need your openess and honesty; you need mine. Will you help me? I promise that I will try to help you. I will try to tell you who I really am.


Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? John Powell, S.J., Tabor Publishing




related books:

Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand by Kyabje Pabonka Rinpoche

Soul Psychology : How to Clear Negative Emotions and Spiritualize Your Life Joshua David Stone (UK / US)

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