As a kid, my father’s working class pride was as tangible as the black danish rye in my lunch box. the underlying message seemed to be that our family was a nudge up from any other family. our family’s life style superior, our car the best car, it’s tires the right choice. meanwhile at home my dad was of course the one, the one who had it going on for real, the rest of us welcome in our attempts to level the score. as my limbs grew longer so did a thread of arrogance and snobbery and a warped type of self confidence, competitiveness and pride as variations to the theme. the balance, the fine line between self esteem and arrogance, got lost in my teens.
Through my adult years I have wrestled with arrogance. Most of my life I didn’t consider it of much importance, just a minor side kick with little obtrusion to my overall picture. I have since had a change of heart. arrogance has a life of it’s own. It is an entitlement which is unfortunate and misguided. it allows me to disregard my wife, disrespect my piers, ignore my students and I often need a review mirror to even notice. Whereas when I am graced with a sense of humility and approaches accordingly I consider your point, I find empathy for the man on the street, I live with patience. Through arrogance I have pushed people away that I love, I have cut connections and separated myself from you (and you and you and you) on more occasions than I can count. I have hurt people that way and I have hurt myself. Needless to say, I have committed to weed out its seed.
In (my) arrogance lies a quint essential separation between human and human. the arrogant paradigm is one of disregard, disrespect, lack of care, an elitist’s void of compassion. your needs lesser than mine, your philosophy below mine, your arguments insufficient. at arrogance’s bottom line you are less than I and I know better than you. it is not a pretty face. I pass these judgements along as I walk through my day to friends, people not known to me, cities, dogs, vegetables, ideologies, everything.
I got a few quirks that keeps me sane in this madness: first and foremost my wife, my family and some close friends who love me and forgive my trespasses when I fail. and I got yoga – a daily sadhana which doesn’t allow me to hold on to much and certainly not an inner swell of king superiority. the daily asana practice keeps nudging into my every sharp corner with a slow-paced sustain and as the wave rounds the rock, sadhana mills my breach. with a little help from my friends and teachers I now and then find the aptitude of mindfulness before I fall, of cleaning out as the dirt starts stacking, suspend before the build-up to adjust my means and manner.