Friday, October 19, 2018

You Be You, and I'll Be Me

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

When we’re unaware of our true reason for being here, especially if we’re prone to getting carried away by our emotions, we can tend to involve ourselves in situations that aren’t exactly ours to be involved in.

This doesn’t mean that our actions will inevitably cause trouble. Maybe or maybe not.

This is more along the lines of unwittingly being a kind of haphazard justice warrior; this is to say, we seek to change everything because we’re not sure where we specifically belong.

Below are 3 situations and some key points within each. These should serve well to put this concept in a proper context and help you to better navigate through your own similar experiences.

Situation 1: Lack of Emotional Control

I once went to a Neil Diamond concert. The next day I began reading the local newspaper’s review of the concert but stopped about halfway through.

Being a writer and having gone to the concert, I fell into a minor rage because the reviewer’s writing ability and presentation of information seemed to me so poor.

What the hell is wrong with this guy? Did he even go to the concert? Did he ever pass second-grade Language Arts class? You don’t say this! You don’t write like that! How does this idiot have a job?

I immediately decided to write to the place that carried the review about how disturbed I was by it. I went to my computer, I opened Word, and I just sat there. Nothing happened. I soon realized that I blew things way out of proportion.

Even if it were so that I had decided to take a poll and the vast majority of people had agreed with me that the reviewer’s writing ability sucked and he’d done no justice to the concert, the truth is that such would be quite irrelevant because the judgments would be mere opinions. (…And you know what they say about opinions…[If you insist... "Opinions are like assholes: we've all got 'em, and they both stink."])

The thing is, to do what I’d reactively intended to do was not in my place. I don’t mean this in the sense that if I’d written the message and the reviewer had read it then he might have felt really crappy. The reviewer’s quality of writing certainly hadn’t brought a smile to my face, though I’d not meant harm to the guy; my anger-driven need to write a letter was more about the company/editor/whoever for publishing what I perceived to be such a load of garbage.

As I sat at my computer, blank, I realized how I had nothing to say because my only backing was my intense negative emotion: it was a “force wall” that demanded action yet inhibited all flow.

And when the energy subsided some time later, I still had nothing to say. It seemed to me that any effort would be an enormous waste of time and more energy.

The best thing I could do in this situation was to ask myself, What is the programming that got triggered within me that caused such a strong reaction?

Key Points
In the emotionally-suppressive atmosphere that is an embedded aspect of our culture, emotional expression doesn't always come easy, and when it does, sometimes it comes too easy and with less-than-wonderful implications.

It’s therefore not uncommon for our emotions to get the best of us. They can carry us away by fueling aberrant thoughts, skewing our perception, and propelling us into misguided behaviors.

We would thus do well when we experience a burst of emotion to take a pause and simply be with it; to look at it, feel it, and ask what it’s really about.

Emotion is just grand when we express it healthily, but when expressed contrarily we can potentially and unnecessarily put ourselves and others through a lot of hurt.

Situation 2: False Responsibility

Several years ago, the city I live in privatized the water.

Within a very short period of time, our tap water had become quite hard. To this day, the water continues to harden at an incredible rate.

Wherever there’s a tiny drop of water left to dry, a mineral deposit is left behind. Wherever surfaces experience frequent wet-dry cycles, the rate of mineral build-up is ridiculous. When making tea, for example, the water must be boiled quickly and poured immediately or else there will be a layer of minerals floating atop the tea. Similarly, I’m sure to always dump out the old teapot water before boiling more, and I vinegar-clean the teapot every week or two.

On several occasions, I’ve wanted to send a letter to city council urging them to do something about this issue. I still haven’t done this and don’t think I will.

As much as over-mineralization is bad for health, bad for plumbing, and looks ugly wherever water has a chance to dry, I’ve increasingly felt that it’s not in my place to say anything.

I suspect that the reason for this is that I’m not here to play an activist-type role; I’m not here to get into politics or law or social or infrastructure change or anything like that.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m here to rip down The Old so that The New can have life. But my role is more about directly helping individuals (and thus the collective) to heal their bodies, to change their minds, to feel their emotions, and to awaken to their true spiritual natures.

So yes, for now I have to drink lousy water (and hardness is hardly the worst of it). But playing the role I’ve come here to play is the best thing I can do.

Key Points
There’s only so much that any of us can do and only so much that we’re meant to do.

We have each come here with a unique purpose, and it is in finding and living these respective purposes that we best serve ourselves and others.

By all means, a given individual could be, say, a passionate traveling hula hoop salesman by day and a writer of activism letters to congress by night. There’s no reason to get stuck thinking that reaching beyond our primary purpose is flawed.

It’s just that we would do well to be clear within regarding any tasks we engage in: positive change is halted when we force movement, but it becomes much more probable when we do what comes to us naturally.

Situation 3: Parent-Pleasing

There is a trap that all of us fall into in one way or another… well, more like one way or thirty others… or four-hundred.

This is the trap of parent-pleasing.

With variations from person to person, we may enroll at a parent approved-college, get a parent-approved job, buy a parent-approved car, marry a parent-approved spouse, follow a parent-approved religion, and so on. (Mind you, the approval doesn’t have to be overt.)

Most of the time we believe we’re doing these things for ourselves, but if we’d take the time to look within, we’d find that we’re doing them for approval, for validation, for love.

And although we may push the feeling off for a whole lifetime, there does come with this behavior a sense of wrongness as though something isn’t in resonance.

Maybe we procrastinate and become easily exhausted once starting our activities. Maybe we feel like we’re forcing ourselves into a certain lifestyle. Maybe we have to work ever-harder in order to feel “satisfied.” Maybe we express resentment toward those who have what we want because we're subconsciously afraid to give the same to ourselves for fear of parental disapproval.

Whatever the case may be, rather than doing what is ours to do, we do what our parents (and in the wider scope, “authority”) want us to do.

Key Points
We’re all born into this disease of society, and the only way out is for us to heed the signs that life presents and then make the effort to release our parental attachments.

We’re not here to live our parents’ lives. We’re not here to make our parents happy or to satisfy them. We can’t.

Happiness and satisfaction come from within, and the reason our parents are neither happy nor satisfied, and thus making expectations for us, is because they’re under the same spell that we are. They’re living their lives in an effort to please their own parents (even if they’ve long since passed).

Just as their parents had made expectations of them and had enforced their ways using various means of withholding love, so do our parents do the same to us.

But this can’t go on. We have to break the cycle.

We have to break the cycle, and we can do this by recognizing the cycle is there to begin with, resolving the broken programming, and then doing what we’ve truly come here to do.

You Be You, and I’ll Be Me

Interestingly, the idea offered here is as obvious and simple as it is difficult to integrate and enact.

Yet this is the ultimate task set before each of us: to be ourselves.

My hat (if I were wearing one) is off to anyone who can do this.

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