We hope that with this article we would be able to start a conversation with everyone of you about a modern goal that everyone is or needs to be special.
Do you really need it? Is it OK to be special at all? Is it healthy to strive to be special?
What is it ‘to feel special’?
It seems that this ‘specialness’ comes from our own natural selection. Our feelings of uniqueness and superiority lie in the heart of that value system of survival. Some animals do that too. Unfortunately for other species, killing is the way how the strong ones assert their ‘specialness’. This behaviour is what we can call a very pedestrian one, arrogant and mindless.
We have been talking about evolution and human progress also to showcase that we have all the means to move past this behaviour and live a life of moral meaning. We have learned how to grow enough food on the planet and cure many diseases. Our progress should ensure we live better. That also means we all live better, no matter of a social status and background. This is how we can inject moral meaning into all aspects of our life.
Violence to justify that we can feel special?
Killing others for food is simply not an option. We do not need to do that. It is unethical. We are not special compared to a goat or a pig, we do not have any right to kill them. Nowadays our survival does not depend on them.
Deeply embedded in Buddhist thought is the intrinsic moral value of sentient life. Not just the value of human beings but the value of all organisms that have subjective experience and so are capable of pain and pleasure, of suffering and not suffering. This value in turn imparts value to other things such as helping people, being kind to dogs etc.
How can we deal with this social notion of ‘specialness’?
Mindful mediation can help us to examine our stories carefully. We can listen to our inner voices from the ground up. This allows us, if we choose of course, to separate truth from fabrication. We can ditch the need to feeling special and instead live by your own intrinsic values, in synergy with others.
One of the suggestion from us at Ahimsa Meditation is to look at the concept of non-self, or letting go of your ego. It will help to get rid of the ‘specialness’ feeling.
Meditation offers us to see clearly that there is a way to live that is not going with the natural selection flow or completely against it. Robert Wright, in his book “Why Buddhism is True” said that there is a concept of Middle Way where you are attuned to the impermanence, non-self and unsatisfactoriness of living and it brings liberation and happiness”.
Clearly, we are so easily inclined to accept the aim of feeling special because we think our life would be better off like that. Yet what it does, is something very opposite – it enslaves us in this rat race of ‘more, more and yet some more’ (it could be money, fame, you name it). You have a moment of feeling ‘special;’ and then it vanes, you need to become even more special. This may never end. It means you are not living your own life, it’s almost like someone programmed it for you.
Letting go of your ’specialness’ and ego will mean you can listen to what you really need and want. You can start living your life by your own rules.
How is it to live with an aim of ‘specialness’ for you?
We’ve all been (or still are) there. Let’s help each other and share our stories of how the aim of being special is actually not helpful at all.
What are your thoughts, contemplation and advice for others? Please leave your comments below or send us a message through Contact form – let’t share. Thank you.