People find a tremendous sense of positioning through holding views. In my own practice I found it quite easy to give up things, even to be quite austere, but then I’d develop critical views about everyone else. I hadn’t relinquished that conceit, that way of positioning myself by judging others.
So rather than going into debates about who is right and who is wrong, which is the right meditation practice for me and so on, it’s good to put down the text-book and consider: what does it feel like to look for, or hold a view? What does it feel like when I look at someone from behind the fence of a view? And what are the results?
I have found that having views about other people is conducive to having views about myself. Views that one has about other people are actually far more tolerant than views one has about oneself. If one makes judgements about other people, then my experience is that one does the same to oneself.
The critical mind is then in a judgmental mode: there’s no happiness, there’s no gladness, there’s no love, there’s no trust. I am either trying to appease that factor of the mind that holds the view, live up to the view I have of myself, or trying to get a better view of myself. So meditation is not an easeful open experience. It is a performance to become and sustain what my view-thinking mind says I should be.
This is a miserable experience.
This reflection by Ajahn Sucitto is from the book, Kalyana, (pdf) pp.15-16.