If we spend some time to hear our own voice, I wouldn’t be surprised that we always say or think of things like: If I were the one doing this, the results would be much better. If I were the one who organises this program, the program would be more successful. If I were the one designing this, it would be more attractive. On and on and on… we look at what others do and how others live and in our mind, the ego always says, “I am the the best! I am the strongest! I am the most powerful! I am the most popular!”
Because our mind is full of this egoistic attitude, we don’t have space for others and our emotions go wild. We become out of control. I wouldn’t say that you might become crazy, but I think it’s close to this. Burning emotions as a result of “I am always the best! No one else is better than me,” will eventually bring you to do, say and think insensible things. I would call this “emotional intoxication” or “I am the best” sickness.
It is very easy for us to fall into this self-intoxicating idea of “I am the best”, especially when we are surrounded by friends and companies who would only tell us what we love to hear. Of course, everyone, including myself, loves to hear nice things and encouraging comments of everything that we do. Whenever this happens, I always ask myself, “Am I that good?” because I don’t want to be carried away and become sick with “I am the best” syndrome.
So over the years, I have developed a pair of “hard ears”. I listen to everyone’s side of stories and try not to judge, since everyone to some extent would always think that “I am correct. I am the best. Others are wrong”. I have met thousands and thousands of people telling different things from their points of views. Even my dogs and my pets do the same thing, they complain about the other pets, because they think that they are the cleanest, the smartest and the best. When you have “I am the best” syndrome, this tells that you have a long way to go, you need to bring more practice to your heart and to make yourself more understanding.
Just a silly joke that I have always wanted to share in a polite way, but never have a chance to say anything. For example, we are a group of friends doing big business in someone’s toilet and making a big mess. The owner of the house and of course the toilet comes and makes a big fuss, saying that we have to clean up our mess. You wouldn’t want to clean up others’ “business”, so you would be looking high and low for your own “business”, hoping that you won’t end up cleaning up others’ “business”, because your “business” is cleaner and more acceptable than others’ “business”. Isn’t this the way we always look at others? Others are less clean, less acceptable and less appropriate, compared to us. We are always better, if not the best.
The world is in a mess because of our individual “I am the best” attitude, collectively this “I am the best” attitude brings a lot of chaos and a lot of pain to many corners of the world. Because “I am the best”, I have to take over others’ countries, so wars happen. Because “I need the natural resources more than any one”, so I abuse others’ nature by taking away their forests, their gold, etc etc. This is the problem with “I am the best.” From individual disputes to international issues, to my understanding, they are all caused by “I am the best”. Even among religions, Buddhist lineages, we are not in harmony. We have to constantly prove that we are the best, in the process of this, we sacrifice our own understanding and our own enlightenment.
So what is the point of thinking “I am the best” and losing our own direction and our path, because we will not give ourselves any room for improvement. “Best” means “the end”. I think if we genuinely take a step back and look at ourselves, we would see that it is okay not to be the best, be the second best or the third best or even be the last, this sense of humility will give us a lot of room for improving ourselves and a lot of space to accept all sorts of situations. Isn’t this the reason why we are on the spiritual path? But again, I am not saying you should not be trying your best. “Trying my best” and “I am the best” are two very different things altogether. “Trying my best” means that you are making an effort to do well, “I am the best” means other than yourself, everyone else doesn’t exist. Both are completely different. This is something you have to understand