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Overcompensation Is Self-Deception

By Scott Kiloby.

Sometimes the core deficiency story is so painful that we conceal it from others and ourselves. We act as if the opposite of the deficiency story were true. The mind overcompensates in an effort for us not to feel the painful emotions that lie at the core of the deficiency story.

When we overcompensate, what’s actually going on is self-deception. We convince ourselves that we’re more worthy, special, important, knowledgeable, or spiritual than others, and we hide behind this façade. Others then appear in the mirror of relationship as less worthy, less special, less important, less knowledgeable, or less spiritual.

When we’re truly free of the core belief I’m deficient, we find no reason to overcompensate. We feel little need to identify with the stories I’m good or I’m worthy, or to define others as bad or unworthy. When we’re free of the belief in separation and deficiency, we naturally radiate that freedom, which may make us seem confident but not arrogant. There’s nothing to brag about, because we’re no longer trying to convince anyone of anything.

When overcompensation is present, there are two ways for you to uncover it and see through it while doing the inquiries:

    1. Overcompensating means keeping painful emotions buried by telling yourself that you’re better than others in some way. But those emotions usually arise along with painful memories. So if you want to uncover and see through overcompensation, remember a time when you felt deficient. Sit with that memory until painful emotions arise. Then ask yourself, “What are these painful emotions saying about me?”
    2. When you’re doing the Panorama Inquiry, imagine others in your life in a circle around you, and notice how you define them as somehow less important than you. Then imagine that there’s no one and nothing in the circle around you. In that moment, you won’t be using the mirror of relationship to define yourself in relation to other people, and this shift will tend to reveal that you—by yourself, in the absence of others who are supposedly less important—do not exist as someone who is more important. That’s because everything is in relationship—depending on its context for meaning—and so identities like “I’m more important” begin to fall apart when you have no one with whom to compare yourself.

From The Unfindable Inquiry: One Simple Tool to Overcome Feelings of Unworthiness and Find Inner Peace

The Unfindable Inquiry is available on amazon.com

The Panorama Inquiry for Seeking

By Scott Kiloby.  

  1. Imagine yourself sitting in the middle of a room, with all the other people and things in your life placed around you in a circle.
  2. Scan around the whole circle.
  3. As you look at each person or thing, notice how it appears to reflect back to you the idea that you are deficient in some way.

In a way, your life is already designed as a circle. All the people, situations, and events you encounter are all around you, feeding you information about who you are. Imagining this circle puts everything and everyone around you into focus. It allows you to see how each person and thing is mirroring back to you some version of the story I am deficient.

Seeking in vain outside the self for what the self seems to lack is an impulse ingrained into the very fabric of the story of self. This impulse is based on one fundamental assumption: I am separate and deficient. We can spend our whole lives believing this basic assumption about ourselves. Until it is questioned, it tends to continue operating, driving much of what we do and how we act toward others.

When the basic assumption of separation and deficiency is undermined and seen through, fruitless seeking naturally relaxes, and we experience a stable sense of completeness with life as it is in the present moment. We can enjoy relationships, create things, express ourselves, follow our interests, and enjoy life in every way. We find that we can still move and fully operate in the world, but now without the belief that something is missing at a fundamental level.

Seeking is happening in our lives in so many ways that it can make our heads spin when we begin to look more closely at it. The Panorama Inquiry works well with useless seeking because it places all the people and things in our lives in a circle around us. By creating the circle, we can see that we are seeking in just about every direction.

Notice that when you rest in the moment, without emphasizing any thought, there is nothing to seek. There’s nowhere to go. Here you are, in the present moment. Your thoughts have relaxed, and you’re at peace. Even as you relax thoughts, you may notice that the energy in your body feels restless. Let that restless energy be as it is. Let it arise and fall without going back into the story of needing to seek something in the future, or from someone else. As the energy is allowed to relax, the mind relaxes with it more and more.

It’s worth repeating that these inquiries are not designed to create another avenue for fruitless seeking. They aren’t designed to get you something that you believe you lack. They’re here to help you see through the self that lacks. That seeing through is always a present seeing. The inquiry brings you right back to where you already are, resting in the present moment. There’s a stable well-being and contentment in presence. That sense of stable well-being and contentment is not based on getting to some later point, or getting something from someone else.

From The Unfindable Inquiry: One Simple Tool to Overcome Feelings of Unworthiness and Find Inner Peace

The Unfindable Inquiry is available on amazon.com