Author Topic: Confidence  (Read 1565 times)

mcgee55

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Confidence
« on: November 15, 2009, 12:27:09 AM »
Ok, here's a basic question on the meditator's philosophy.   If part of our path is the deconstruction of the ego and of the identification process, where does confidence fit into this?  I've read (on this board or in a book somewhere) that confidence helps one towards a calm mind as doubt does hinder it, or something of the like.  It seems to me, however, that confidence is simply a manifestation of the ego.  Confidence being one's faith or belief that a certain thing will or will not happen. For instance, if I meditate with confidence, I believe that I will eventually sustain a calm mind.  Does this not sound like the ego?  Part of the ego mind wants (while the other part, interestingly, is actively working against it at all costs!) meditation to go smoothly, to concentrate on the breath in order to prove to itself that it can be a meditator and not a failure.  This reeks of self identification, that I am a success if I can follow the breath and a failure if I cannot.  I believe for many, much of their life revolves around the roller coaster of confidence and "self esteem."  Why not just meditate with no confidence.  Maybe you will concentrate, maybe you wont.  Who cares.  Next breath.  Something like that?  Your thoughts please  ;D

pamojjam

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Re: Confidence
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2009, 02:00:58 PM »
... For instance, if I meditate with confidence, I believe that I will eventually sustain a calm mind.  Does this not sound like the ego? ..

You have to ask yourself: What is the Ego?
Is it something really substantial - or is it something wrongly inferred and therefore merely to be seen through?
The sound of it doesn't imply if the individual actually associates an 'I' with it's self-perpetuating strategies ultimately causing disappointment - or a 'non-self', codependently arising and passing ceaselessly with no stinging-nettles along with it.

.. Part of the ego mind wants (while the other part, interestingly, is actively working against it at all costs!) meditation to go smoothly, to concentrate on the breath in order to prove to itself that it can be a meditator and not a failure.  This reeks of self identification, that I am a success if I can follow the breath and a failure if I cannot.  I believe for many, much of their life revolves around the roller coaster of confidence and "self esteem."

If one sits down with the 'expectation': 'Now I will calm my mind', most of the time one will be disappointed. This is different to which lets you follow an integrated eightfolded path - including meditation - in the confidence that this path as a whole will ease suffering.

Why not just meditate with no confidence.  Maybe you will concentrate, maybe you wont.  Who cares.  Next breath.  Something like that?

Exactly, if you follow the instructions remaining aware: 'this is a concentrated mind', or: 'this is a distracted mind', with equanimity - and continue with efforts towards stillness. One confidently follows this path. One didn't reinforce a non-existent ego, and accomplishments/failures associated with such.

And if you don't - if you wrongly associate expectations in regard to boosting 'self esteem' with meditation - you might start to suffer from exactly that, and, considering all the factors of the noble eightfold path, adjust accordingly.

kind regards..

Matthew

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Re: Confidence
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2009, 10:44:57 AM »
Confidence is used in translations of Buddhist texts as a word synonymous with faith in a Buddhist context. We talk about having faith or confidence in the teachings - at least until you have tried them for yourself and found out if they work.

The first Gordian knot you are referring to here is that we have made an ego decision to de construct the ego. This comes back again and again and challenges us on the path as one part of our psychology may draw us towards the Dhamma - whilst the other tries to stick in it's comfort zone. We experience this as various forms of confusion or distraction on the path and the answer as usual is to meditate on it. Become aware of the what and why of your comfort zone. De construct that through pure awareness and the edifice of ego will fall.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
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