Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ego's Relationship to Privilege

I was reading a bit of Cheri Huber last night (Zen buddhist teacher in the Bay Area) and in coming across the following mention of "privilege", I thought instantly of white privilege which in turn brought an interesting dimension to her wisdom:

It is difficult to own our freedom.

We are so privileged that we have to ignore vast areas of our lives in order to pick out just those that aren't the way we want them to be. This process of ignoring and selective perception lets us continue to see ourselves as victims of life circumstances.

We are addicted to being victims.

It is only by remaining victims ourselves that we can continue to justify victimizing others.

She then goes on to say that "in order to remain a victim, you can't know how to be a master" and discusses how ego systematically thwarts mastery in order to keep itself in tact. Much of her book (That Which You Are Seeking is Causing You to Seek) discusses how much we want to have problems (even though we say we don't) so that the world remains a dualistic place of good and bad and we can remain small.

The implication here is that ego has a vested interest in denying privilege. If I admit privilege, I can't play my victim role, which means I have to acknowledge enormous injustice (racial and otherwise) and my role in the systemic perpetuation of injustice. It also means mastery is available. Suddenly excuses drop away, there's a lot more freedom and responsibility and being a grown-up person (which who wants that?). I hadn't thought about how my ego might have an existential fear of seeing privilege.

In a certain way, it seems obvious but nonetheless, I was so struck (stopped dead in my tracks, actually), that I felt compelled to share. Does this grab anyone else?



At 11:27 AM, Blogger Spiritual gifts said...

Ego for me should be taken into consideration since privilege is not always an opportunity.-spiritual gifts