Today, I was in a discussion with a group of friends; we were discussing chapter no. 12 in Jack Kornfield’s book, “The Wise Heart”. This chapter mentioned different types of personality that one could possibly have. My friends categorised me as being in the “grasping” and “deluded” type. Before entering the discussion room, I did think of myself to be at least in the “deluded” category.
Deluded. Well, it’s not like I’m insane or crazy (although I do believe that we’re all insane and crazy to a certain degree). According to the author (and extracting fragments from the passage), “the deluded or confused temperament is constructed around uncertainty and confusion”, “one who shuffle along, and who act in an indecisive and uneven manner”, “eat messily, dropping bits with mind astray”, and “inattentive drivers, drifting over the road”. I can so totally relate myself to those statements! I am indecisive when I have to choose between multiple options and can’t make up my mind. When I eat, I usually drop some food on the table or they will somehow jump out of my plate or bowl. Even when I cook, the food will fly out of the pan and land the stove or wall, and ironically, even when I drink, I could spill the water or choke on it. When I first started driving, I wasn’t one of them who are very alert to read every sign and see what everyone is doing on the road. Sometimes, I’d almost hit people crossing the road because they almost come out of nowhere. Even at the traffic lights, I’d sometimes forget that green light for me also means green light for pedestrians at junctions. I remember there was once, when I was driving on the Harbour Bridge, I looked to my left and was talking to my passenger without knowing that while doing that, I’ve actually driven the car to the opposite lane! I’m glad that my guardian angels saved me from causing harm to others and myself.
Who Are You?
One of the scenarios illustrated by the author goes like this. “Imagine you’ve been asked by a good friend to visit her recently purchased and newly furnished house for the first time…do you tend to see first what you like about the house…and dwell on those features?…do you linger, finding the things that you enjoy, imagining how you might build on them, fix the glitches and make each room even better?” What would your answer be: yes or no? My answer was yes. The ‘yes’ answer actually matches with a “grasping” temperament. This temperament was explained as being “constructed around desire.” It was also mentioned in the book that those with this temperament “like to sleep comfortably, wake up slowly, stretch, and relax”. I know that I don’t like to jump off the bed, and like to laze around before finally getting up. Other traits I thought would match is the fact that I like to have nice food – nice-looking and taste nice, of course. When I was kid at friends’ birthday parties (back then, party foods were: noodles, curry, chicken wings, crab sticks, etc.) I would arrange my food nicely on my plate, never mixing up the entrée and mains. Even now, as an adult, when I go for buffets, I would make sure that my plates are nicely arranged for different courses (of course, there’s the occasional savoury to dessert, and back to savoury again). Now, I’ve learnt to mix my food up and just eat all it without complaining (salads, rice, noodles, curries, and fruits all in one bowl on top of each other). However, only in the monastery or during retreats! When I have the chance, I’ll plate up my food and take photos of it. It is a crazy obsession.
Well, I don’t think it’s an entirely horrible personality that I have. I do appreciate all the foods that I get to eat and I try my very best to finish whatever I’ve put on the plate or have ordered to eat. The author did write about transformations and how we can transform our ‘negative’ traits for the better. What a relief! I hope that I can and will practice the better end of my grasping and deluded personality. Meanwhile, I just hope that all my family and friends will be patient with me and still like me (for I know that I am nice – and I do treat people nice and try not to take them for granted, although I can be mean too).
The question is, who are you? Do you know who you are?