Excerpt About Good / Bad

The Foundation of Your Assumptions About Who You Are

These elements of the mind—memory, conceptualization, thinking processes, creation of images, projections into the future, and so forth—become the basic ingredients of our suffering. Ideas and experiences from the past, from early childhood as well as later on, good and bad, form the foundation of your assumptions about who you are. For example, if as a youngster your mother always thinks you’re cute, you’ll build up an idea that you’re a cute person. If she thinks you’re dumb, you’ll build up an idea that you’re dumb. If, for whatever reason, you always feel weak with your father, you’ll build up an idea that you’re a weak person. Not only that, both your mother and father think you’re a person, so you build up an idea that you’re a person. Right? It is very basic. Your mother talks to you as a child in a body; who’s she talking to? You look at your body and decide that it’s you. Your mind holds on to these childhood happenings and stores them in its memory. They become the building blocks of what you think you are, and then you’re stuck with them. If you’re a weak person, you’re always going to be a weak person. If you believe that you must be tough, you will always get stuck being tough, even when you don’t have to be, even when something nice is happening. You can’t stop it. Your mind is stuck on thinking you’re tough, and it can’t change. What understanding gives us is the possibility of actually seeing through this process. Without understanding, you’ll just identify with these old self-images and go on believing that you’re a person who has such and such a quality, who is weak or dumb, who eats too much or gets taken advantage of, or feels nervous at parties, and so forth. Self-image upon self-image. And you’ll go on like that for the rest of your life, which is what most people do.

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