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“In Dharma, we become heroic when we betray our harmfulness.
For instance, when we abstain from indulging in anger, arrogance, and impatience.
Or when we don’t give in to unhealthy eating habits, excessive drinking, or drug use.
We’re heroic when we don’t succumb to sexual urges that lead to unwholesome consequences.
Heroism also rises when we forego opportunities to play the victim to manipulate or humiliate others when they make mistakes.
This practice isn’t easy because betraying our harmfulness isn’t in our nature. Quite the opposite. For humans, it is easier to continue being ill. This is because going against our nature always feels unpleasant.
Hence, those who do dare to be sane are rare. They are extraordinary because the norm is to remain unchanged. They are willing to endure the unpleasantness of improving themselves and thus they are heroic.
How to be heroic
To begin, we have to become mindful of our ill habits. But we can’t just decide this. An awareness of our ill ways comes from external help. We need assistance from those who were already brave enough to see their ill habits.
As clingers to pleasant sensations, we have unconsciously built complicated mechanisms to avoid seeing our true nature. Unless a very traumatic event forces us to see our harmfulness, an external guide will be the only way to discern it.
These guides know all kinds of self-deception because they have been self-deceivers too.
Addicts don’t fool recovered addicts. Liars don’t fool ex-liars. So the first heroic step is to approach people who have mastered self-honesty and ask them to help you see your ill habits.
It takes guts. Very few dare to ask for help even when in the lowest moments of their lives.
To be heroic you need to build up self-honesty
After that first decision, the next heroic step is to begin being honest. Everyone says they’re already self-honest but that’s not true. It’s impossible.
How can we be honest about aspects of our personality that we aren’t even aware of?”