Question: I have frequent struggles to be myself around others, especially when I feel someone is superior to me. What can I do to help regain myself in this situation?
Answer: Try to see the difference between what you actually are in the moment (around others) versus what the thoughts and feelings are telling you that you ought to be. As this grows clearer, through your practice of placing mindfulness before self-protection, you will begin to taste that the fear you feel trying to protect you is what you are trying to protect yourself from.
Question: Being around groups of people seems to put me into some kind of negative trance. I become an uptight collection of ego, shame, anger, and fear that forgets everything I have learned. Would you please address the issue of what I can do that might help?
Answer: Your comment shows you are beginning to come awake to yourself. Stay in the middle of the battle. It is never the people we are around that cause us negative reactions. These reactions arise out of what we secretly want from people. As your inner conflict becomes increasingly conscious to you, you will have to choose whether or not to continue being "you" or to give yourself up in order to learn the lessons in these relationships, inner and outer, that await you.
Question: When I manage to remember my higher aim in life, other people are quick to take advantage of what they evidently see as my weakness. Should this be happening?
Answer: This may sound strange at first, but let anyone who wants to take advantage of your wish to awaken take whatever they will. This doesn't mean to turn your money or property, etc. over to sharks. But it does mean not to be afraid of letting everyone in the world see what you think they think is your weakness. The issue has nothing to do with others, but with our perception of ourselves. Dare to be no one. Only when you realize that you already are no one (and yet more than you know) will the fear of others taking advantage of you disappear. After all, what can anyone else take from you? God has seen to it that everyone everywhere receives the reward of his own nature moment to moment to moment. What this means is that anyone who wishes to harm you has first harmed himself. And believe me, you can't make it any tougher on this person than he has already made it on himself.