SECURE – DEEP DIVE
Watch the video below to learn how Dr. George Pranksy, author of The Relationship Handbook, explains how insecurity is at the core of every thought of envy and jealous feeling.
Now let's hear what Dr. Nicole Beasley has to say about releasing the ego from the eye of comparison.
Can you paint the picture of a person who's really struggling with envy? What does the person who's really stuck in the throes of envy, what kind of feelings are they experiencing…what kind of actions do they take? For instance, do you see those folks go on crazy binge diets…What have you kind of seen throughout the years?
Dr. George Pranksy Well it starts with a feeling of insecurity. So if you took envy and you dug down and you got a deeper view of it, you would see just generalized insecurity. So the person has lost their emotional bearings. They feel a little insecure.
Well then they're thinking goes to trying to get relief from that insecurity and relief from feeling like life isn't as good enough or they are not as good of a person as they should be.
They go from there to try to get relief, and as a coping mechanism they imagine how things would be better. So they imagine, “Well if I was my neighbor who has more money than I do, who has a more beautiful wife than I do…he seems happier than if I do…If I was my neighbor, I would be happy. I wouldn't be feeling this way.”
And that gives people temporary relief because they are imagining a happy thought see?
And people are always experience their thinking in real time. Whatever they are thinking right now, they feel that thinking via their senses. Human consciousness does it. It brings each thought to life.
And this thought is a pleasant thought of “Gee wouldn't it be great to be my neighbor?” so from that, they get a good feeling.
That's why I call it a coping mechanism Amy, because they're trying to replace the bad feeling of an insecurity with a nicer thought.
But then, as they continue to think about their neighbor and think about how much better it would be to be their neighbor and as they think about how many things about their neighbors life are better than theirs, invariably they think more about how bad their life is….and how deprived their life is and…how bad it is by comparison.
And unwittingly, they end up feeling worse than they did before they thought about “how nice it would be to be their neighbor” you see?
So even though the person really thinks they are onto something here because they had a temporary shot of good feeling, “Oh yeah I love that fantasy of my neighbor's life.”
Then when they continue to think in that vein from their own feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and feeling sorry for themselves and dissatisfaction.
When they start to think in those directions, those feelings come back to them and they start feeling worse and worse more dissatisfied, more deprived by comparison, more upset about their plight. They might even feel resentment towards their neighbor, for the neighbor flaunting this nicer life to them.
That to me is how jealousy generally plays out. Of course, each person is a little different but you'd find in every person it starts out with, “I'm feeling insecure. I'm having some negative feeling about my life and about myself.” Then in everybody that has those thoughts, their tendency is to go to the coping mechanism of, “Well let me think for a minute about someone who has got a really nice life, maybe that will make me feel good too.”
And they do that. And then that turns into “Well that only makes me feel worse about my whole life.” That's kind of a cycle that people get into.
Roughly what percentage of clients deal with persistent issues of comparison?
Dr. Nicole Beasley: The way I would like to approach that is, it's just a culturally normative experience. To make it less of a psychological problem and more of a cultural or as I would call, a spiritual problem, which is that the ego is very much invested in us seeing ourselves through the eyes of comparison.
That's just the nature of the ego. I don't mean the Freudian word ego, I mean the spiritual idea of the ego. So most people will see themselves and the way they look at themselves is through the eyes of comparison.
I don't see that as a psychological problem that's like a pathology. I see that as a normal struggle that people have that is definitely a problem.
So if we look at that in just sort of a normative way, kids start school and they get grades or join teams, someone wins someone loses. We're just put in this way. There's just this way of thinking about the self that's always in comparison to the other.
And at least in Western culture that's just what were passed. So in a Buddhist sense it's just conditioned mind, how the ego is set up.
So, comparison is a pretty normal experience, but what is the actual cause of envy?
Nicole: The cause of envy is following thought.
The cause of everything is following thought.
So without following thought, we have no experience at all.
So I experience envy because I live in the illusion of the ego. It creates this idea of another person's life. It makes it all beautiful and I suffer because I live in the illusion that over there is beautiful and over here is lacking.
And waking up out of that is the process of awakening or coming home or so many different words: self-compassion, self- love, self-realization.
So thinking is the cause of suffering.
Well I'm sure at this point readers may be saying, “Okay this all sounds great but how do I get over my envy George? What do I do?
George: Well there's really only one solution to getting beyond or releasing a negative experience.
And that is to release the thought. Because the negative experience is completely determined and defined and sourced by whatever thinking is happening at the time.
And getting over that thought…releasing that thought…dropping that thought….having the thought pass…whatever you want to call it…ultimately that's what changes from having that bad experience to having a nicer feeling.
Because below it all, human beings by nature are light-hearted, joyful loving. That's their nature.
That's why all young kids, two to three years old –you know they're pretty consistently that way — they run every where because they can't wait to get to where they're going…and where they're going it's pretty indiscriminate who knows? They could go over to pick up a rock and play with it.
So people by nature are joyful and loving.
Even though that's a natural state, it's the homeostasis, it's our home, it's our true identity…every human being through their free will has the power to override that and feel the way their thinking gets them feeling.
So they can override that with a thought of envy or a ever thought of jealousy or thought of resentment or anger in any moment and when they do that, they will feel that thought instead of feeling the natural state of wellbeing.
Now the reason I'm bringing this up, is because you don't have to think a good thought in order to feel better.
You don't have to think a better thought. As soon as that troublesome painful thought leaves your mind, automatically — without any effort on your part — a natural positive thought love and joy and tranquility, all those positive feelings, will automatically come to mind.
It's built into the system. So you don't have to replace it, you don't have to rethink it, you just have to allow the natural thing to happen.
Now this is very fortunate because it would be a lot of effort for us to have to manufacture these positive thoughts on our own.
It wouldn't be that big a deal…but it would be some effort it. It would be “I gotta get a positive one then and replace the negative one.” But the negative ones are kind of man-made ones. They are the ones that we through our free will — through our innocence — bring these thoughts to mind and feel bad as a result.
When they leave, automatically you're gonna feel more wellbeing and feel better.
Now the other fortunate thing — boy is this fortune — thought is by nature transient. So it's hard for people to hold a thought in their head…for five minutes. It's a little bit of an effort. That's why they get stressed by their negative thinking, they are innocently holding it in their minds.
So human beings really shouldn't be concerned about negative thoughts because they are transient and they are bound to come and go.
But first of all, people don't understand that.
Second of all, there's something that holds negative thoughts in place that makes it very difficult for us to let go of a thought or drop a thought and that is crucial to this discussion….absolutely crucial….
and that is to the extent that a thought looks real….like it represents reality….that it has an objective existence independent of our thinking.
That when a thought looks real to a human being, myself included, we have trouble letting go of the thought, de-emphasizing the thought, moving away from the thought because it seems to important to us…to respect that thought and deal with that thought…because it looks real.
If I were dealing with something here and to ignore it, given that we think it's real, would be the very definition of denial. You'd be you denying something and pretending it wasn't real and important, when you think it is real and important.
Conversely, as soon as a human being sees an experience as thought.
The only reason I'm feeling this envy is because I'm thinking envious thoughts about my neighbor. The only reason.
But for those thoughts, I would not be feeling envious.
I would be feeling loving, joyful. I'd be feeling wellbeing. I'd have peace of mind.
But I'm thinking those thoughts…and I don't mean to…I didn't get up this morning and say, “I think I am going to bum myself out with these thoughts.” I just fell into these thoughts, if you will.
But, I'm thinking these thoughts and because I'm thinking these thoughts right now. Right now, I am feeling those painful feelings of envy, those painful feelings of insecurity, those painful feelings of jealousy…whatever they are.
Now the slightest suspicion that all that's happening is me thinking those thoughts right now. The slightest suspicion of that, will move those thoughts out in a direction, out of your mind, out of your attention, out of your head.
So the antidote to painful thoughts is what I'm gonna call thought recognition.
That you recognize it for what it is and what it is is a transient thought.
And you recognize the link between a transient thought and an experience that is very gripping or very painful or just any experience.
If you can see the link between the always, consistent, inextricable link between what you think and the experience you're having, how you feel.
If you see that link at all, you'll notice that your thoughts aren't impacting you the way they were before.
Now I'm gonna give an analogy that will help with this.
You go to the movie. In the movie, they have sadness, they have terror, they have anger, jealousy, a whole range of emotions…euphoria, enthusiasm and as a moviegoer — if you're really into the movie– you go through all those experiences.
So if someone monitored your brain, like a PET scan, and they didn't know you're in the movies, they'd say, “Oh look at this poor person. They are feeling angry now, they must be having an argument with someone. Now they're feeling jealous. They must be in some situation that looks superior to their own. Now they are feeling really depressed. Something bad must have happened…
They would just think that all these circumstances caused you to have all these emotions, that would be the normal way of looking at it.
Someone that understands the role of thought would realize, that as they are sitting in the theater, they are thinking the thoughts that are going on in the movie. So they are thinking the jealousy, they are thinking the betrayal or thinking this…
…and they are having representative feelings that are a complete reflection of those thoughts. A one-to-one mirror of those thoughts. They are like the mirror image of those thoughts.
So they are going through all this pain and suffering and these highs and lows sitting there in the theater. But yet there's a way in which we know even though we're in the throes of a deep experience that it's not a permanent thing. It is not anything we have to concern ourselves with, it's just something we're going through because we're watching the movie.
As soon as the movie is over, we go out of the theater and go home — and maybe we think about it a little bit and some of the feelings come back — but it's not really a contextual issue in our life. It's just a transitory issue in our life.
Now when you start to see that thought is identical to going to a movie, that your thinking has special effects that we call consciousness.
So it's like a movie: your thinking is like the script and the special effects is like consciousness because the special effects is tied to your senses and every thought that you have, a full spectrum of sensory experience accompanies that thought.
So if you're thinking jealous thoughts or envious thoughts, you will feel the full spectrum of sensory experience about what it is to feel jealous and feel envious.
Now, if interjected into that you realize “Wow, this is just my thinking. That's the only thing. But for my thinking, I wouldn't be feeling this way. My thinking is the author of these thoughts. My thinking is the author of these thoughts. That's all what's happening. This is freestanding, if I weren't thinking this I'd be feeling different.”
And that's the only way that people can find fluidity in their experiences and people can get over or get past painful experiences. They just begin to see them as just thought or their thinking just changes.
Maybe they're in the midst of a painful experience and suddenly they remember that the meter is running out, you know? So they forget about the thought and run out to the car to put money into the meter.
So people can just change their thinking or they can recognize that their thinking is the only thing that's gone wrong. There's nothing independent of that real in the world that has an objective existence that accounts for the way they feel. It's just that they're thinking that at that moment. That tells the whole story of why they're experiencing that.
That's a very long, detailed answer to your question.
Well the first thing I heard when you were speaking, is that you weren't talking about the law of attraction or positive psychology when you were defining thought…
Well, I want to say this about thought. What you were saying about law of attraction and all that. The law of attraction, positive thinking, and reframing has under it the assumption that you and I are responsible for managing our thinking.
So we have to make it happen. If we're going to have a positive thought and a positive experience. Again, that we have to make that happen. If we have a bad experience, we have to make it happen that we have a good one.
Now, I'm suggesting that thought is way too quick for us to manage it.
It just comes into our heads and by then, it's too late already to manage thought. That's the bad news, it's too late already to manage thought.
But the good news is, we don't have to manage it. Because the answer isn't in managing it. It's understanding it for what it is.
The same way that the answer to not having to bring a gun with you when you go to a war movie for protection…is that you understand the movie for what it is.
A movie is just a bunch of projections on a screen. It's made up. It's got special effects and when you see understand the nature of how the mind works, thought is made up as well.
We make up our own thinking and then it's brought to life by consciousness and made to look real. When you understand the nature of it, it's not gonna scare you and make you feel like you have to manage it or have a coping mechanism.
Because as soon as you understand it for what it is, you'll see how fluid it is. It's transient. It comes and goes.
At the root of all feeling of jealousy is a false assumption that you are “not enough”.
Negative experience is completely determined and defined and sourced by whatever thinking is happening at the time. So the only one solution to getting beyond or releasing a negative experience is to release the thought.
Behind it all, human beings by nature are light-hearted, joyful, and loving.
As soon as a negative thought leaves your mind, automatically — without any effort on your part — a natural positive thought love and joy and tranquility, all those positive feelings, will automatically come to mind.