March 19, 2013

Be Cool & Don’t Be An Assh*le.

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”~ C.G. Jung

Be Cool and Don’t Be an Asshole may be the greatest spiritual teaching I’ve ever heard.

We’re all assholes sometimes—myself very much included. I’m not proud of it, but if I’m truly dedicated to becoming a better person and cultivating greater compassion for myself and others, I need to be honest about this.

The thing is, though, is that I—along with many others I know—we’re typically the biggest assholes towards ourselves.

For example, I’ve been a particularly big asshole to myself over the past few months as I’ve been finishing up the rough draft of a manuscript for my editor. Thoughts like, “You’re a terrible writer” “You don’t have anything of worth to say” and “You’re setting yourself up for embarrassment and failure” have made temporary residence in my mind, and for one reason or another, I’ve allowed them to stay… but why?

I mean, if I overheard someone saying any of that stuff  to someone else, whether it was a friend, family member, or even a complete stranger, I know I would have stepped in on their behalf, and I’m guessing that most likely you would have too. Yet, when it comes to the self-inflicted asshole syndrome, we usually just let it ride.

So why is it that so many of us feel unworthy of the very same love we so freely share with other people? And why is it easier to show compassion to a complete stranger, than it is to the person looking back at us in the mirror?

My honest and simple answer is, I don’t know. I mean sure, I could offer you a handful of spiritual and psychological theories, things I’ve personally learned and implemented throughout my life, many of which have helped, but the fact remains, the self-negating thoughts still arise.

I used to try to play spiritual superhero by suppressing these thoughts, or, when it was too difficult to suppress them, I’d lie to myself and pretend like they didn’t bother me (which was obviously a complete crock of shit.) But it’s through facing these thoughts and acknowledging the mental and emotional impact they have on us however, rather than pretending like they don’t exist and that everything is love and light, that they begin to happen less frequently and with less force behind them.

So I guess the one completely cliché spiritual thing I’ll leave you with, which I find works significantly well in guiding the mind away from asshole territory is to remind ourselves that underneath our material forms, we really are all One.

And remember, when Ram Dass said, “Treat everyone you meet like God in drag,” he didn’t mean everyone except yourself, because you, you’re just God in drag too silly. So stop being an asshole towards God, okay.

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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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Nick Apr 9, 2014 12:50pm

Thanks Chris, I think we're on to something here. More real!!!

danielschar Jul 18, 2013 2:57pm

great article. so much of Buddhist practice can be summed up with the simple line "Don't be an asshole."

katybrandes Jun 18, 2013 11:13am

Huh … "self-inflicted asshole syndrome" … if only there was a non-addictive pill for that.

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Chris Grosso

Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict and spiritual director. He has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, and more. Chris created the popular hub for all things alternative, independent, and spiritual with TheIndieSpiritualist.com and continues the exploration with his books Everything Mind (Sounds True Publishing) and Indie Spiritualist (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster). Follow Chris on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.