This is just one of a thousand examples that we confront every day of things that are meant to rattle our cage. Did you get your flu shot yet? Sowing the seeds of fear to gain some illusory sense of control in the face of someone else’s fear and feeling out of control; now, there’s a system that works well. Harrumph.
When we confront the seeds of fear on a personal level – when we are bullied – the underlying ethos is something more subtle that speaks quite pointedly to an overall lack of sophistication and emotional intelligence on the part of the bully. This failing leads, subsequently, to that overarching need for, and exercise of, control that the bully, often much to our chagrin, plays out.
All of which, then, begs the question, “Who’s more afraid – the bullied or the bully?” It’s the bully, of course, because the last gasp of anyone with a limited skill set – social, emotional, physical, or otherwise — is to lash out.
We are all driven, at some level, by ego. Even the most adept of spiritual masters cannot be said to operate in a wholly altruistic manner. Take, for instance, the bodhisattva. Here is a being whose sole intent is to forgo the culmination of their own enlightenment and remain on the Wheel of Life until all other beings attain enlightenment – a wholly egoless act, no? Not so much – there is investment (get everyone enlightened), no matter how altruistic and so there is ego (“I’ll do it!”), no matter how good the intent.