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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Realizing Something is Critically Wrong/Awareness

I stumbled onto this you tube video clip. There is a little profanity in it but I don't see it as particularly gratuitous.

Three years ago, I felt just like Joe Rogan of Fear Factor fame. The reason I am posting this here is that Mr. Rogan is describing myself and the world I was mired in. He knows there is something wrong. He just can't describe it precisely and he doesn't know how to fix it. Mr. Rogan- welcome. You have just discovered the insanity of the planet. Our inability to evolve. You have described many of the things I have written about here. I'm sorry, I couldn't get the video completely centered...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do Some People Simply Enjoy Being Negative? The Shame and Guilt Cycle

A lot of us have met negative people or in some cases- are negative people. Often, we rush to judge these folks thinking that we are somehow more knowledgeable or capable than others and so we judge them quickly.

Sometimes we "assume" that there are people who enjoy being negative. They seem superficially, to actually thrive in negativity. The question then is, "do some people enjoy negativity?"

While often it may appear so, I think that making that assumption is incorrect. Let me explain.

When I started this blog I wrote a piece about Plato's, "Allegory of the Cave." A place where inhabitants of the cave, bound and fixed, viewed shadows on the cave wall. Thus the cave inhabitants believed those shapes were true representations of creatures in the cave. They assumed various projections and shadows were true only to find out upon their release- that in fact their captors were projecting shapes and images onto the cave wall.

Those projections could have been true. But in this metaphor they were not.

When you meet one of these people, someone you believe to be negative, what you are really viewing is a superficial snapshot or a shadow- that they cast. And while that shadow may appear negative initially, we simply can't assume or reach a conclusion about who they are. We have no conclusive information even though we may think we do.

I have a friend who I have repeated contact with. He absolutely lights up whenever he is involved in a conversation wherein somebody else is under attack. He is the first one to wade in and criticize another person's behavior. Gossip. He seems to enjoy this. Why?

Initially, I didn't know why. I was viewing that shadow that he cast. It might have been easy to just label him as negative and avoid him, but I did not. For over a year, I have had the opportunity to listen to him many times. I have queried him a few more. The pieces began to fall into place. Instead of seeing that shadow that he casts, I began to gain true understanding about who he is and why he is. This guy is no spring chicken either- he has been walking on rare earth for nearly 8 decades. In fact, I may understand pieces of him better than he understands himself.

I'd like to introduce the guilt, shame, and criticism cycle here.

As a child, this man was subjected to a lot of guilt, shame, and criticism. This was the path that his parents chose in their misguided belief that this was how you raise children. So it was that this boy was called lazy, stubborn, stupid. He was beat on a few times, kicked out of the house. He acquired a belief system that this is how people behave. Not knowing how to cope with all the shame and guilt he felt, he turned to booze. Alcohol was his solution- his coping mechanism. He got married- had children of his own and what do you suppose happened?

He did the very same thing to his wife and children. He treated them the only way he knew how. He criticized them, shamed them, injected the same damage that he had learned as a child. His wife divorced him (he never remarried, interestingly) and his kids hate him. Most of the people I know don't like him either. He did manage to quit drinking many years ago.

This man is still unconscious to the extent that he continues to judge others. He loves to criticize others- it makes him feel better about himself. He has never uncovered that belief system or examined it- even though it is clearly damaging and useless.

I don't think he actually enjoys this- even though it appears that he does. I think that he simply doesn't know how to live any other way. And because he projects this criticism on others- he isolates himself. People refuse to speak with him. They don't want a dose of black medicine from him. Being isolated and lonely cannot be enjoyable. At the very worst my friend is just unconscious. He doesn't understand and probably can't understand why others are more sociable, have more friends.

So I cut this guy a lot of slack. I understand the shame and guilt piece. I understand unconsciousness. And because I do, I get along well with this guy. He's still unconscious and he still takes cheap shots at me once in awhile- I just don't defend myself. I don't need to. I refuse to swallow that poison or utter any retaliatory or diminishing remarks. I must bore him to death. Sometimes he looks at me like I am deaf or perhaps he thinks I am just dense or stupid- which is fine.

I am giggling as I write this. I will see him tomorrow. He doesn't mess with me too much anymore- very often I will watch as he criticizes others. They tend to swallow his poison and thus set off one of those insane "one up and diminishing" word wars. In the end it is he who suffers and truthfully, I don't believe anyone could enjoy that too much.

Just a shadow. A little reminder of what it was like. Thanks, Plato.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Outer Purpose

Several years ago, just as I had entered my foray into public writing, I had a commenter tell me that the only reason I wrote was because of my ego. I have never forgotten that comment, I suppose because it is partially or perhaps largely true.

I love to write. And as much as I love to write, I want to help the planet. A planet that desperately thinks it doesn't need help. Or if it does- they think you are the one that needs help. Here then is a link to a pulitzer prize winning author's article about political activist, Glenn Beck.

I am certain that Kathleen Parker loves to write. The problem with Kathleen's writing is that her unconscious ego is doing it. Smearing other people to make yourself feel better, or to sell copy, is hardly writing with an aware and conscious mind. In fact, it is a perfect example of what happens when unconscious ego finds nothing wrong with attacking others. But I'm not here to beat up Kathleen Parker- she is just one of thousands of writers I have read which have created similar content. The collective insanity of the planet that thinks it's ok, perhaps even useful, to write something like this.

I want to take you back to my opening premise. I have a problem. It is the collective insanity of our society. A society driven by fear, greed, and ego. But in order to identify the root problem, I have to use my flawed ego to identify egos just as flawed as my own. How am I going to do that? Am I simply going to say, my ego is healthier or more correct than yours, Kathleen Parker? (Just take my word for it.) So the harsh reality, that piece of acceptance we must all share- is that it simply isn't possible to write anything without some form of ego involved.

So if I accept that I cannot eliminate ego from my writing, then I must do three things. I must love what I do, I must be responsible with the content that I write, and I must seek to help, teach, or perhaps even love others- rather than damage them.

Eckhardt Tolle talks about this awakening in a "New Earth." Wherein we all have an inner or primary purpose which is pure- the conscious identification of ego and that false sense of self that hurts and damages others because it thinks it needs to do so for survival. Once you have achieved an acceptable level of inner awareness, (inner purpose) then you move onto that which is your outer purpose. For Tolle, he is an author and spiritual teacher. Kathleen Parker is a writer.

This then becomes the conundrum. To point out the flawed and unconscious ego driven behavior of others, am I not in fact claiming superior ego and awareness for myself? Yes, as a matter of fact I am. I simply can't escape that. That Tolle, so masterfully wrote a "New Earth" without specifically attacking or diminishing others (and thus turning them off) is the real brains behind that writing. To expose the universal flaws in all human beings and to get some of us to pay attention and actually engage in the practice of awakening is a miracle. That book was worth its weight in gold to me.

My awareness simply won't allow me to continue to behave in a diminishing way anymore. And I have to accept the fact that the world around me will continue to behave as they always have. Kathleen Parker or Glenn Beck. Real emotional freedom means letting people be just as insane as they want to be and being ok with that- even as they would diminish me. I have to focus on being emotionally free- I just try to help those that are making the same effort that I am. It's not a perfect process and it's not like we have had millions of folks paving the way for us- but examining others' and using that same examination on ourselves helps us create a path toward more spiritually correct behavior. And as I write, with that outer purpose that is a part of me, I want to convey the possibilities of a sane and rational world. A world where you don't have to be right, or argue, or fight. Or kill each other. Or write scathing copy about your perceived adversaries.