First Degree of Illumination – Competition

This is the second in a series of posts, Seven Degrees of Illumination.

Level One – Competition

I am in a competition with everything and everyone – even myself. Nothing can simply “be” – all must be as I say it must be. I acknowledge my own leadership, beauty, wisdom, anger, etc., by expressing or seeing it in and through others, compared to my imagination of “me.”

“They” are beautiful. “They” are angry. “They” are making me unhappy. Compared to MY ideal. I even compete with my ideal – trying to satisfy others’ conception of what is perfect or most suitable. Always striving to stay within the boundaries of what is right, justifiable, or at least proper.

This stage is based on the underlying belief that I am separate from my environment and that I must compete and win against others in order to survive.

This stage pits “me” against “you”, “us” against “them.” Duality.

When I see something in another, I set up a competition that runs something like, “They are more (or less) [some attribute] than I am.” This competition arouses all kinds of nefarious thoughts and deeds, among which may include…

  • “I wouldn’t do that IF I were you…”
  • “I’m better/worse than you…”
  • “It’s your fault…”
  • “Damn you!”
  • Labeling and name-dropping
  • Sarcasm
  • One-up-manship and “know-it-all-ism”
  • Placating and back-handed compliments – “Aren’t you just the cutest little thing?” “You’re smarter than you look.”
  • “Don’t send a boy to do a man’s work!”
  • “What’s the matter with you?!”
  • “You can do better!”
  • “Don’t look at me, I’m not the problem!”
  • “Give it to me, I’ll show you how it’s done!”
  • Giving unsolicited advice
  • Road rage
  • Domestic violence
  • Racial discrimination
  • Hierarchy clashes – governments, religions, philosophies, etc.
  • Power level competitions – parent vs child, boss vs worker, management vs labor, teacher vs student, etc.
  • Value judgments like “good vs bad” “right vs wrong”

This is the expectation/disappointment stage of blame. It is also the stage of justifying our rationale; I reason it’s your fault that I feel as I do – [with some “good” reason why]

This is the stage of rightness and validation. Validation is defined as “to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to” ( In an attempt to validate my value and the rightness of my views, I enroll others who appear to agree with me. I refer to authority to back me. I form a logic bubble inside which it appears that everyone agrees with me – so I MUST BE RIGHT. Usually this produces a sense of safety.

I project my feelings out and away from myself because I’m afraid to own them – afraid they will hurt. Expecting someone else to own my feelings can be frustrating and stressful and so my world is filled with stress, dissatisfaction, and disappointment.

In this stage it can be a challenge to see myself for who I really am because I am so busy needing THEM to fulfill MY expectations – needing THEM to make ME happy. And because THEY cannot possibly always fulfill MY expectations, I am often unhappy. And it’s THEIR FAULT.

It requires massive amounts of personal life-force energy to compete in this arena. Every breath is a battle against the elements, every step a fight against gravity, every thought a struggle against another thought (push-pull, speed up – slow down, yes-no, etc.). Life itself is a fight against dying. All this competing is tiring over time, a rat-race that inevitably ends in death. Fear of awakening rules this game and may be the greatest contributor to the effects of aging.

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