Oakville Zen Meditation

#352 Our Inner prosecutor Jun. 20 21

If we leave our inner prosecutor that I will call Mrs./Mr. Negativity, unrecognized and unchecked, it creates a pattern of negative emotional roller coaster that can undermine our well-being and destroy our serenity. This prosecutor will accuse you of what we did /didn’t, should do/don’t with many negative feelings as consequence. 

These negative feelings are like arrows penetrating your heart and mind.

When self-criticism becomes severe it is affecting our life and even spiritual practice.

We don’t realize that we have fallen into a persuasive negative pattern of thinking about ourselves as defective or broken

How can we subdue our Inner prosecutor?

We never rent and watch the same painful movie 200 times. 

And yet we allow our Mrs./ Mr. Negativity to play painful episodes from the past and present over and over non-stop, almost in a masochistic fashion.

No one, a child, a pet, or a plant, can thrive under that pattern of negative attack.

And yet we allow our inner prosecutor to attack us in this way, repeatedly.

We need to tell her/he that, yes, we are not perfect but it is OK as I will describe soon.

This is a tricky balance: obviously we need to practice proper insight in order to correct our flaws and weaknesses and to prevent mistakes but at the same time we have to learn to accept them.

The Buddha divided all his thoughts into two classes, those that led to serenity and those that led away from it.

The prosecutor relies upon an idea of a negative self—a small self—that is imperfect and must be fixed all the time. This is the source of negative energy and distorted picture of our genuine self. Zen is quite clear about not giving our precious energy to inflictive ongoing thoughts.

If you recognize your prosecutor and stop feeding its mental negative energy, its power will weaken.

How to proceed effectively?

Through a specific mindfulness meditation practice called Metta meaning Loving-Kindness.

We can meditate as the Buddha did, practicing full compassion for all living beings including ourselves regarding flaws, mistake and wrong behavior of the past and present time.

Again, it does not preclude search for correction but it will prevent ongoing negative self-image that many are trapped within.

When our minds become quieter, when we are resting in this very moment, there is no past or future, there is no comparing, no right, no wrong, no bad, no good.

Again, the practice mindfulness- based loving kindness to ourselves does not mean being narcissist. It means looking at our negativity using acceptance and acceptance brings non- emotional feelings allowing proper and pragmatic understanding of our flaws and mistakes. Such non-emotional state should help in not only correcting them but also moving one step further towards serenity.   

Thank you.