February 16, 2012

The Problem with Problems Is Having to Solve Them

There is a story told of a mother whose son would not come home from playing until late in the evening. She became so fearful and frustrated with his disobedience, that she decided to trick him into behaving.

She told him that there were monsters outside that only came out after dark. This seemed to do the trick as his fear kept him from ever testing the night again. As he grew older though, he became more and more afraid and eventually housebound. This troubled his mother. So she told him another lie about a magic medal she found that would protect him from monsters. He put the medal around his neck, never removing it and once again was able to leave the house and rejoin the world.

Willa Cather in her novel, O Pioneers, wrote, "There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before."

Why repeat? Because even our most creative thinking is generated within a limited context of familiar experiences, beliefs and expectations. Our base understanding of the story--our recognition and validation of what we are seeing, its possibilities, probabilities and even the tolerable degree of mystery we're able to entertain--keeps us from seeing beyond or through the box of the story itself.

"Your reasoning is excellent--It's only your basic assumptions that are wrong." ... Ashleigh Brilliant

In the mother's story, her son needs to be protected from her projected fears. In the son's story there are no such fears, so the mother sees that she needs to enlist her son in her fear. Without this, there seems no solution. She tells him a white lie. Since he can't believe in her nameless fears, she will name one for him--monsters in the night. And now her story works until she realizes that her lie is creating another problem--more fear in her son than she intended. SO INSTEAD OF INQUIRING INTO THE VALIDITY OF THE WHOLE STORY, she adapts to the story's needs. Imaginary magic that keeps away imaginary monsters. Can you begin to see the movements of politics, religion and relationships here?

This is the story of my ego, that is, who I am pretending to be. I am the Observer of how Full, Universal Wholeness appears fragmently expressed through my perception of the thoughts I have chosen to identify as and therefore project my existence as. By so doing, me, my world and my life can be minimized, rationalized and managed upon a small stage that I hope to understand and control.

I play all the roles--the mother, the son, the monsters and the magic--but to keep playing and working through all the problems, I have to stay on script, otherwise I and those playing with me, might find ourselves off stage, in the audience, or even out of the theater into spontaneously, irrepressible reality.

Believing me to be my mind or ego, I cling to this small platform of life, world and identity that I compulsively attempt to manage, control and be self-responsible for. I block out the whole, unlimited, Universe so that I can narrowly focus on what my mentally-formed psyche needs to support itself.

In this psychic fishbowl, my intention is linearly, I want what I want when I want it. MY STORIES GIVE ME AND MY LIFE ITS MEANING. They serve as my reality and drive my busyness. In this fishbowl (which BTW, is affirmed and shared by a world community doing the same), I motivate by frightening myself into doing or not doing something, with thoughts about what I want or don't want to happen to me. So driven, I will either simply act on what seems obviously familiar or attempt a surface inquire with reasoning or creative thinking that taps THE SAME RESTRICTED THOUGHT POSSIBILITIES THAT SUPPORT MY PRIME DIRECTIVE: STABILIZING THE FISHBOWL WITHIN WHICH I CAN REMAIN SAFELY SMALL. Nothing new, outside of the box comes from within the box.

So does this story turn out well? Of course it does, because even the most horrific story has no power to change the harmonious nature of the Universe it is told within.

Yes, innocently caught within the power of my mind to bring dramas to seeming life, I identified with the story of who I think I should be, deceiving myself into betraying myself. Yes, I unconsciously gave myself false information so as to make love look like fear so that I could continue to play the part I imagined best followed the story line. Yes, I had to, because the story seemed real and believing it real, I like everyone who visits this existence, gave it my best shot at playing it.

And yes, now I begin to see the flaws in the story and my efforts to conceal this from myself. I see now that irrational fear has no bounds, because it is held to no accountability through sane inquiry. The magic I gave myself to protect myself from nothing that exists, only sustains the increase of my irrational, baseless fear of that boogeyman.

"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." ... Rumi

Now is our time for asking the questions that we don't have the answers for, the ones that can allow our stories to be the adventures that the simplest wisdom of children imagine them as. Instead of asking what will calm or adjust me to my fears? Or what is the right or wrong thing to do? Or how can I make up for this?

Try these questions, no matter what is happening and especially when what is happening seems to really matter. You needn't concern yourself with the answers, they aren't necessary. Just ask the questions. The fact that your ego resists your asking these questions without reasonable expectation for an answer, might give you pause to wonder how powerful these questions are. Lies don't need to have a truth applied to them to free you. Just seeing them clearly is enough to release you from their threat.

Q. Do I know that my magic or medication I'm treating situations with, is even working anymore?

Q. Can I be certain that there really are any monsters or anything wrong with my way at all?

Q. Do I know that what I think needs to happen, needs to happen or that what you or I need to do needs to be done?

Q. Is it possible I might be right as rain just as I am now? And maybe you too?

And ...

Q. Can I be certain that it's not possible or even probable, that the drama I have been living, is simply my ego's last, grand performance, a virtuoso characterization of who I pretended to be within the mystery of my awakening in gratitude to the Love I Have Always Been and now am able to see and feel.

Bravo as the Universe thunders in standing ovation.

Dale


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