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Do You Think You are Better Than or Worse Than Someone Else?

Equanimity, is the Antidote to Jealousy, Envy and Thinking You Are Better or Worse Than Someone Else

Equanimity is the wisdom to know the transient nature of everything.

I will begin with the state of humankind in every period of history. Bold, I know. But please bear with me while I point out the underlying cause of our blindness. It is selfishness, our self-centered desire.

We dig in and take a position for or against on whatever may be the subject of the day thinking and believing that whatever is happening is intransient. For or against is rooted in self-centered desire. A mental position and attitude that refuses to collaborate.
Sound familiar?
An intransigent position is rooted in delusion (ignorance of reality). And…self-interest.
Now more to the point.
I was struck by Dr. Cox Richardson’s quote from William English Walling, a journalist writing about a mob incident in Springfield, Illinois in 1908. It came after the lynching of two Black men by a White mob. The White citizens were outraged that the Black citizens had forgotten “their place.” Walling heard the White citizens exclaim more than once this incredulous comparison:
“Why, they, (the Black citizens), came to think they were as good as we are!”
Leaves one speechless!
The opposite of such a declaration is just as shocking and just as poisonous. It is the mind that compares and measures oneself in negative terms:
“Why, does anyone… come to think they are not as good as others!”
The reason is conditioning. Each one of us is conditioned right from the start of our life. And many of us remain in a conditioned state until the body and mind departs. Conditioning is the habit of training and measuring the results of training according to the specific conditioning that occurs. It is also bound to making comparisions from one child to another, from one family to another and so on.
Such comparisons strike a familiar chord heard round the world. Worth repeating and repeating as it sounds the alarm of how much the world operates from measuring difference.
From high profile to everyday encounters.
Most, if not all of us, have had the disrespect to think we are better than someone else. And many, if not all of us, have believed ourselves as being less valuable or less worthy than others. Much of this comes from our conditioning.
We, humankind, tend to measure. And we tend to measure ourselves as either better than or worse than some imaginary, constructed other.
This tendency is based on descriptive words that we have been conditioned to believe. In short order, we not only believe the conditioning but we identify ourself as the conditoning. We measure everything according to our mental conditioning in termos better than or worse than.
Living life in endless loops of comparison is the equivalence of living on a roller coaster and never getting off. It is a precarious and harmful approach to life.
Sometimes we are on top and sometimes we are on the bottom. A precarious place to live. Have you ever asked yourself:
Why do I compare myself to anyone else? And…why do I say the things I say to myself?
We think comparison protects our rights to get, to have, to keep and to fight off the other who threatens these rights.
But our strong-arm measurement is a fabrication of mental instability.

We 21st century adventurers use heavy, old, mental structures that keep us stagnant. We protect the mind from change and continue in our familiar mind state, whatever that may be. We stay chained to the old identity by our mental bias about others and ourselves. The reason we do ourselves this injustivce is our attachment to our conditioning.

Time and again we make this error. The error of comparative judgement which we are conditioned to believe in and live by.

Advertising propaganda continuously lures us to get the best, have the best  andkeep whatever we have gathered to be our property.

If we look back to 1908, Walling found this tendency in full working order.

Sad, but true.
The world and the world leaders have over time lived with jealous and envious mental structures which we tend to call progress, competition and get it while you can.
Telling a nation that it is the greatest is…I have no words to explain it. Is it a mental trap that we are told we are the best?
Why don’t we just tell the truth?
The truth is that everyone one of us are subject to all the vagaries of life. We are not better than or less than the “other.” The “other” being someone we see as different from the mental conditioning in our mind.
Life is not a race against the other! It is not a race at all although we call it the “rat” race. We are more likely to feel trapped when we compare ourselves to anyone.
There was a time when we were taught that it is how you play the game that matters, not whether you win or lose. But it appears to have changed to:
It does not matter how you play the game; it is all about winning no matter what.
Have we forgotten that our existence challenges us to face aging, sickness and death which comes to us and the other. Life for even the oldest among us is short in duration. Has our self-interest and all the propaganda about competition and being the “best,” “first,” “greatest” made us forget this truth?

We need to stop measuring ourselves and the other according to the competition in the world. This requires acceptance, to receive our life with an attitude of calm-abiding without the specious judgement of ourselves and the other.This acceptance is equanimity.

It is a calm-abiding, a tranquil state of mind that turns away from thinking, and believing we are the “best” or the “worst.” The attitude of mind is all acceptance. It is an attitude of knowing that we humans are not in charge and that everything here is transient. There is nothing to get, to have, to keep. Nothing.


The first story is of a woman who murdered her ex-husband and his new wife. This is a woman who felt abused and abandoned by her former husband. He left her for another woman. A tough blow and a blow that broke the camel’s back. For she took a gun, broke into the house of the new pair, then shot and killed them both.
Later, when on trial, the woman defended herself by saying she was startled and said something about the gun going off and that she could not stop it from firing. She was found guilty and went to prison.
Jealousy, the sense of feeling threatened and fearful of losing one’s position, was certainly at play. It may also be true that envy, a painful sense of wanting a possession that someone else had also incited her actions.
A calm abiding mind state was unavailable to her. Her self-centered rage was at the forefront.

The next story is about a professor who dabbled in a spiritual Buddhist practice. She called it a hobby. Her attitude, however,  changed when she found herself pointing a loaded revolver at her husband, a man who was cheating on her. And she, much like the first woman,  was about to kill them.

With pointed gun she released the safety on the revolver to shoot both of them, but the sound of the gun made a “click.” Just one click and this woman woke up to what she was about to do in a state of rage. She STOPPED.
The “click” awakened her and she STOPPED.
It was at that point she no longer thought of her spiritual practice as a hobby. It became for her, dead serious. She turned to a deep, spiritual practice.


Equanimity is the antidote to our up and down mind state. A transcendent wisdom that brings poise. The mind is composed and undisturbed. It is a mind of appreciateion and all-acceptance for what shows up in life.
Most often we are not poised or stable with experience but rather disturbed by it. We fall victim to what shows up in our mind. We correct what we think are the wrongs in our lives and seek praise for what we think are the rights. We blame the external world of circumstances, and we blame ourselves.
Whether we think it or say it, this disturbing measuring causes harm. No manner of rational thought can nullify or validate the effect it has on the mind of the one who thinks and believes they have the right to mete out a selfish, self-righteous, self-glorifying or self-important judgement upon others or on themselves.
The direction of the measure does not make a difference.
Vanity is vanity.

Excessive pride and excessive worthlessness are both self-centered and both limit our capacity to know our true nature.

It is best to stop the measuring altogether. STOP!

Clear it off from the brain pan. When we think we are better than, less than and judge another we are caught in our self-ego of “I” “ME” and “MINE.”
Our attachment to our conditioned mind states is a serious roadblock. It is where we find a fortress of self-centeredness. “I” wants to be right! “ME” wants to remain in this fabricated stronghold.
Much like the second story, we must STOP thinking our practice is a hobby and instead make a commitment of renunciation to STOP measuring and comparing ourselves to anyone. Instead, we turn our energy towards setting ourselves free from our identification with our conditioned mind. We study ourselves without measuring ourselves with anyone else and head towards forgetting the self altogether. Then, we head for liberation.

Humming Bird

Author: Fly

Old Moon

Zen Contemplative of the Order of Hsu Yun

ZATMA  is not a blog.

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See notes below.
• Envy is “the painful feeling of wanting what someone else has, like attributes or possessions.” i.e., Wanting to be young again, rich and so forth
• If you’re jealous, you feel “threatened, protective, or fearful of losing one’s position or situation to someone else.” Feel threatened.
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