When we consider otherness –the way beings
are different from us– we can feel either insecurity,
“How does she compare with me?”; or contempt,
“You’re not as good as me”; or fear and intimidation,
“You’re better or stronger than me”. Or we can feel
adoration/attraction, “I want to be bonded to you”.
These immediate assumptions are called “conceit”:
that is, we conceive of people as worse, better
or the same as us. The effect is that the mind’s
responsiveness gets stuck. Caught in the conceit
of self-view, the heart doesn’t extend its boundaries
of appreciation and concern. We take each other
for granted as “my wife”, “my boss”, “my teacher”.
And that fixing of them, freezes our sensitivity.
In that state, the heart easily tips over into
complaining about the other not being the way
they “should be” (or rather the way I want them to be),
and so the heart becomes a breeding ground for ill-will.
Ajahn Sucitto, Parami: Ways to Cross Life’s Floods