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Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:43 am
by Lola76
Hi. I'm a student of Eckhart and he teaches that competitive drives are of the ego and that the ego should be minimized. I'm not a very competitive person, except maybe with myself as I'm always trying to get better. But I've been exposed recently to a group of people who are very competitive in a back biting immature way. Of course, I know this is wrong. I found out they are all former players of team sports and this lead me to think that this history is part of their obvious ego problems.

Then I look at others around me who seem physically fit and successful, with somewhat fewer ego problems, and they also have sports back grounds, so I am confused. I mean, I know that the bright side of sports is that it can teach team work, how to deal with adversity, and discipline, but it can also teach egotism in the form of stiff competition/ sense of lack and separation, feelings of superiority/ inferiority, as well unhealthy complexes.

Sometimes I wonder, though, if I've missed out on learning the good things sports can teach. I have very mixed feelings about competition/ sports/ ego and their roles in enlightenment. Would it be a bad thing if I allowed myself to get competitive sometimes in order to achieve something I want to achieve as long as I don't go overboard with it? And what would "overboard" really mean anyway?

I'm very interested to know what you all think!
Thank You.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:59 am
by kiki
Would it be a bad thing if I allowed myself to get competitive sometimes in order to achieve something I want to achieve as long as I don't go overboard with it? And what would "overboard" really mean anyway?
Be as competitive as you feel drawn to be, that's not really the issue. The issue is deriving your sense of self from it. Is your sense of identity affected by that competition? If yes, then it can be problematic.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:03 am
by karmarider
We have to be grateful to Eckhart Tolle for teaching us about the ego and pain-body. The awareness of the movement of the ego and the resistance of the pain-body can be helpful.

But it's also good to understand that the ego doesn't really exist--it's just thoughts and emotions and memories about the self. There is nothing inherently wrong with the ego; what makes it troublesome is the basic fear which drives it.

Yes, you might find the ego's movement in sports as you might find it all other human endeavors. That doesn't make sports bad. In short, if you enjoy sports and competition and taking care of your body--there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Enjoy it.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:16 am
by Lola76
kiki wrote:
Would it be a bad thing if I allowed myself to get competitive sometimes in order to achieve something I want to achieve as long as I don't go overboard with it? And what would "overboard" really mean anyway?
Be as competitive as you feel drawn to be, that's not really the issue. The issue is deriving your sense of self from it. Is your sense of identity affected by that competition? If yes, then it can be problematic.

Thank you very much for your response! My sense of identity would be affected by competition as I have a deep sense that it is wrong. So I guess that answers the question. But in the future if I find myself being drawn to being competitive with others, I will make sure that I'm not basing my sense of self/ identity on it. If I can be competitive with a healthy sense of detachment- that might be a good gauge. But to me competition is fueled by emotion, so I don't know how detached I could be. I'll figure it out.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:21 am
by Lola76
karmarider wrote:We have to be grateful to Eckhart Tolle for teaching us about the ego and pain-body. The awareness of the movement of the ego and the resistance of the pain-body can be helpful.

But it's also good to understand that the ego doesn't really exist--it's just thoughts and emotions and memories about the self. There is nothing inherently wrong with the ego; what makes it troublesome is the basic fear which drives it.

Yes, you might find the ego's movement in sports as you might find it all other human endeavors. That doesn't make sports bad. In short, if you enjoy sports and competition and taking care of your body--there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Enjoy it.

Thank you for your response! I agree- I don't think the ego is inherently wrong either. But when it's bad it's really bad. And some environments are more ego-friendly than others, right? Sports and competition in particular. But, I think as long as I am true to myself and stay conscious, I should be okay being more competitive with others. I say "others" because I'm already quite competitive with myself.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:48 am
by Webwanderer
You might also consider if attraction to the competition is to bring out the best in yourself, to be better than others, or to become the center of attention. In any case it's not necessarily wrong. An honest consideration of our motives can be quite beneficial in gaining more clarity in consciousness. So it is with most challenges in life.

WW

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:26 am
by Lola76
Webwanderer wrote:You might also consider if attraction to the competition is to bring out the best in yourself, to be better than others, or to become the center of attention. In any case it's not necessarily wrong. An honest consideration of our motives can be quite beneficial in gaining more clarity in consciousness. So it is with most challenges in life.

WW
Well, I don't love to be the center of attention, but I do sometimes want to be better than others if they've upset me somehow. And I very much wish to bring out the best in myself. So, these are very good considerations, WW. Thank you!

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:28 pm
by Blenderhead
This is from Tao Te Ching :)

The best athlete
wants his opponent at his best.
The best general
enters the mind of his enemy.
The best businessman
serves the communal good.
The best leader
follows the will of the people.

All of the embody
the virtue of non-competition.
Not that they don't love to compete,
but they do it in the spirit of play.
In this they are like children
and in harmony with the Tao.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:33 am
by Lola76
I'm not sure about "the spirit of play". A general entering the mind of his enemy doesn't seem like he's playing to me. An athlete competing against his rival is hoping to enhance his EGO.
But, I suppose in the sense that we should all follow our natures, as the Tao states, it's okay to be competitive if that's what's in our true natures.

Thanks for sharing this! I will keep this in mind because I am interested in the Tao Te Ching.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:44 am
by Blenderhead
You could also watch "Peaceful Warrior". This movie is about sports and spirituality. Most of the gymnasts in the movie only compete because they want recognition from others - their motives are clearly egoic. But it's possible to compete without ego, which one of the gymnasts learn. The movie is recommended by Eckhart Tolle and it's very good.

Thanks for an interesting question :)

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:32 am
by Lola76
Thank You for all the good info! I will look "Peaceful Warrior" up. I think this is an important issue at this point in time and with society being so competitive. :)

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:48 am
by DavidB
Be as competitive as you feel drawn to be, that's not really the issue. The issue is deriving your sense of self from it. Is your sense of identity affected by that competition? If yes, then it can be problematic
I agree with the quote above and add only that being competitive is fine, so long as your state of being isn't dependent upon any particular outcome. If you win, great, if you lose, then that is ok too.


And yeah, Peaceful Warrior is a really cool movie. Loved it. :)

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:57 pm
by kiki
I also agree about the movie Peaceful Warrior - great movie.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:01 pm
by Lola76
I watched Peaceful Warrior last night. I LOVED it! Thank you so much for recommending it. I actually shed some tears because my SOUL recognized that living FOR THE MOMENT is the WAY. I know this, but like so many others, my ego doesn't want to let me do that out of fear of what? Maybe what I may learn- who knows. But today I was more awake than I've been in a long time and watching that movie helped me do that.

Re: Are competitive sports unenlightened?

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:11 pm
by Blenderhead
Nice :D You're welcome, friend 8)