Letting Go of Your Personal Importance
The Toltecs teach that believing that your dream is the only correct perspective of the universe can only lead to suffering. This understanding has been presented in several different ways in this book; now it is time to learn more about how to change that old way of thinking. Whenever you are fighting to be right, it means you are forgetting that you and all other people are dreaming. The mistaken view that your beliefs and opinions are true for any-one outside of your own dreaming mind is called “personal importance.”
In order to be completely free, the Toltecs teach that you must let go of your personal importance. This is not easy when you are emotionally charged and absolutely convinced that you are an expert about how the universe “should” operate! Many of the tools of transformation described in this chapter are designed to help you through this difficult transition out of an old way of dreaming.
Ptolemy and the Center of the Universe
Two thousand years ago, a Greek astronomer named Ptolemy studied the heavens and taught that the Earth and the humans on it were the center of the universe. He created mathematical formulas and observations that supported his theories, which were widely accepted and taught for nearly 1,500 years.
Make a list of ways you are used to thinking of yourself as the center of your universe. Make notes about any personal theories or strategies you might have created to convince yourself and others about how and why they should orbit around you. Example: Are you a talker or a listener? Do you argue?
Over time, the believers in Ptolemy's theories had more and more difficulty explaining the celestial phenomena they were observing that did not fit the model of the Earth as the center of the universe. They struggled to create theories and mathematics that would continue to support their ideas. The Catholic Church agreed with Ptolemy, and threatened anyone who challenged the accepted doctrine.
After scientists struggled for centuries to make this model work, Copernicus came along in the 1500s and disagreed. Copernicus believed that the sun was the center of the universe, and the Earth was orbiting the sun. He proposed that his model would explain in a much simpler way the daily rotation of the stars and planets. The Catholic Church and scientists of the time liked believing that they were in the center of the universe, and for a long time refused to accept this new theory.
The Warrior Releases Personal Importance
When a child is little, he is like Ptolemy's Earth. Everything orbits around him, and he truly is the center of his universe. In the beginning, his parents agree, and give him all of their attention. The child learns to believe that everything is happening to him for his benefit, or against him to frustrate or hurt him. The “center of the universe” attitude is the beginning of personal importance in the human. As the child gets older, he experiences confusion and conflict when he tries to keep his theory alive, and those around him have contradictory new ideas about the location of the center of their universe.
As a spiritual warrior, you can give yourself the gift of understanding that you are one celestial body orbiting in an infinite and unfathomable universe of other celestial bodies. You are not the center of the universe. You are no more or less important than any other aspect of creation.
If I am just an insignificant speck drifting in the universe, what's the purpose of life?
There is no point to life, except that you are alive, conscious, and here. From that understanding, choose your purpose and be passionate about it. There is nothing you have to do, and nothing to risk by doing it all.
The good news is that when you let go of your perspective of personal importance, you will not have to work so hard to defend and justify your point of view. You will not have to make up strange formulas, as Ptolemy did, to explain why you are victimized or not responsible for your actions.