Haiku – beyond thoughts

calm young woman with shadows on face

Photo by Anderson Martins on Pexels.com

~
You are not your thoughts
Discover what’s beyond them
Find Your Middle Ground

~

One of the biggest steps towards awakening is to realize that we are not our thoughts. When we sit quietly we begin to notice that our thoughts come and go. We are not the thoughts themselves, so we can come to witness them, our beliefs and the stories we create about the world, our ourselves.

As long as we believe that what we think and believe is the truth, we will stay in an unawakened state. In yoga this is called Avidya, or ignorance.

This is especially hard right now, with all the conflicting stories, beliefs and versions of the truth that we are being exposed to.

Taking time to pause before reacting to whatever you are reading or watching is key. This is when you can step back and see if this is true or not. It may be contrary to what you believe, and therefore you think it is wrong. Or it may be exactly what you think, and it becomes the truth.

Be discerning rather than judging right or wrong.

This is a time to become a witness to our thoughts and stories, and our own susceptibility and gullibility as human beings.

Namaste

* The Wise Woman and the Precious Stone

This is a story from an unknown author that I came across in a lovely collection of poems, prayers and stories to end a yoga class called Soul To Soul by John Mundahl.

precious stone

Once a wise woman was traveling in the mountains and found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveller who was hungry and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveller saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveller left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking” he said, “I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back to you with hope that you will give me something more precious. Give me what have within you that enabled you to give me this stone.”

Sometimes its not the wealth we have, but what’s inside us that others need.

This is dedicated to all of you who bring wisdom and light to the world and those around you every day. Never forget that what you have inside is what others are drawn to.

Namaste

* Is Your Soul Yearning for Less Drama?

snow white charactersAre you tired of all the drama and want it to end?  Most of us get to a point where enough is enough and we yearn for peace.

This is a long post today. If you are longing for the drama to end in the highs and lows of your life, then I hope you will find some helpful insights here.

Drama is so fascinating to me. We seem to be bombarded with it in the media and the blogging world, we see it around us at work and on the playing field, and we live it out in our own relationships. I was brought up to minimize drama … and later on found a whole new appreciation of drama when I married into an Italian American family….lol

Drama arises from conflict.

Conflict is a fact of everyday life, whether we like it or not. Its simply a condition in which people’s concerns appear to be incompatible with with an other’s. How we deal with it is an other story.

In fact it IS often a story!once upon a time

As human beings this happens … and what we do about it, is to create our own stories. We learn about this conflict drama early on in life in stories and fairy tales we are told. 

In classic tales, we encounter three types of characters: the victim (often portrayed as a damsel in distress or an innocent youth); the villain (a witch, giant or dragon); and the hero (the white knight or prince). Because we experience our own conflicts as stories, we unconsciously adopt these roles. Most often we see ourselves as the victim – innocent and powerless. The central character in the drama. Sometimes we play the hero in order to right a wrong. And occasionally we may slip into the role of the villain, venting our anger or frustration on another person. Together, these roles form a Drama Triangle”.

I think most of us can all relate to this … can you?

Of course, each person in the conflict has their own story. And this is where it starts to get complicated!

Our adversaries will see us as the villain and paint themselves as the victim, we in turn will defend ourselves and see ourselves as the hero. The drama will continue until a time when we can step back and observe what is going on. As long as we are in the drama, we will keep the conflict and going.

As the Victim

princess leia star warsWe experience conflict as an attack on our esteem or persona. We may see our values threatened or fear someone will take something from us and we feel victimized. When we feel victimized we need a villain to blame.

The victim role includes a sense of powerlessness. We may withdraw and wait for something to change or for someone to rescue us. Some of us will suffer in silence, while others with vent our frustration and blame.

The reward of victimhood is a significant amount of attention in the form of sympathy. We may also be lucky in attracting a hero to “right the wrong” for us.

Alternatively we can play the guilt card and hope that the other person starts to feel bad at inflicting pain on us and behaves differently. In this feeling of powerlessness, we also absolve ourselves of responsibility. We justify inaction by saying it isn’t our fault and the other person has to change. Powerlessness erodes our self esteem and leads to more resentment and frustration. By playing the victim we trade personal power for sympathy and ironically increase the stress and negativity we seek to avoid.

On a more positive note, the victim role reflects our goodness, sensitivity and compassion. The victim/princess rarely seeks revenge and facilitates reconciliation. These qualities are essential to escape the drama and adopt a cooperative approach.

As the Herofairy tale hero and dragon

Although we initially experience conflict as a victim, we often shift to hero mode to protect ourselves, defend our interests, and even the score.

The role represents courage and action, taking a stand and risking discomfort or judgment.

There is a darker side to the hero role however. That is the fine line between righteousness and self-righteousness. What we may see as clever, others may see as manipulative. What we see as taking charge, others may experience as controlling.

We can justify our own aggressive behavior by saying “they had it coming.” Based on actions alone, the hero is simply a self righteous villain. Some of us may appoint ourselves as heroes in the conflict of others. Though our intentions may be noble, this approach reinforces the helplessness of the victim and further entrenches the other person in the villain role.

As the Villain

rebecca as victim

Wait a minute, none of us want to be the villain! Right? We have labeled the villain as “bad”….. However, most villains come from a fear filled place. They will do anything not to become a victim again! We see villains in other people, but it is much harder to recognize how we take on this role ourselves. Most villains want to see themselves as a victim or hero in the story.

Villains traditionally capture and control the victim for their own purposes. This role can also represent the shadow or dark side of us that is mean spirited and vindictive. This dark side also includes the part of us that is mistrustful, controlling and manipulative. The villain acts aggressively, attacking and hurting others to get what they want. When we experience someone controlling us, we quickly cast them as the villain in our conflict story.

The behaviors of the villain are similar to those of the hero, distinguished only by how we judge them.

Internationally – and from US history – the same acts of violence against an existing power are seen by other ideologies as the selfless acts of freedom fighters. It depends on whose side you are on. One person’s justice is the another’s revenge. The villain gets a bad rap, but some qualities include patience, creativity and ingenuity (though we would probably call that behavior manipulative or sneaky).

Our conflicts become populated by a constantly changing cast of victims, villains and heroes:

  • The 3 characters in this story form a drama triangle.
  • There cannot be a victim without a villain.
  • Before we can become heroes we must have a wrong to right, and a foe to vanquish.
  • A hero needs someone to rescue (and that someone might be ourselves.)
  • If you see yourself as a victim or a hero, then you automatically create a villain and conflict.
  • When you see someone as a villain, they in turn will feel victimized by you – and see you as the villain.
  • Behaviors you see as self defense become attacks in their minds. And the walls of judgment and justification are buttressed on both sides.

Beyond the Drama

To eliminate villains from our conflict, we must be prepared to give up being a victim, and the sympathy and security this role appears to give us.

We also need to relinquish the mantel of being a hero, and the self righteousness that comes with that role.

We must also be prepared to see how we may have hurt others and have become unintentional villains!

The Drama Triangle produces a winner or loser approach, and we will battle ferociously to avoid defeat and claim the moral high ground (of the victim and hero). However, in the Drama Triangle there is no real winner. To end the conflict, we need to shift our perspective and our approach.

For the drama to end, we must recognize the role we have been playing, address the real issue and step out of the drama.

When we recognize the Drama Triangle we have choices:

1. To continue in our role and not take responsibly to do what we can to  work towards resolution.

2. To shift our perspective to one of  listening to understand what is really going on. Becoming the observer of the drama rather than a player.

3. To embrace that we are all human beings who want to be recognized, accepted and loved. What are the fundamental needs of each player? How do they each see the situation? How can we help them in getting their needs met?

4. Even if we have been cast the villain of this particular drama, then we can apply our patience and creativity to find strategies to solve the problem, rather than to blame and exact revenge.

5. If we are the victim, we need to let go of the sympathy from others and to no longer expect someone else to rescue us. Its time to turn our attention to what we can do for ourselves to get the help and resources we need.

Drama lives in our every day “ego” and media driven lives. Its a place of “me” “mine” and “I’. It’s a way of living that is about  “me” versus “them”. “Them” versus “us”. When we come to an understanding that we are human beings who share fundamental needs and values, that we are connected, rather than separated … then we can let go of  the drama and conflict.

Living in our own drama triangles prevent us from connecting with ourselves and living from our Middle Ground.

Take a moment to ask yourself if you are having difficulty finding your Middle Ground and being present – and consider if  you are engaged in a drama triangle in your own life …..

Where there is drama there cannot be true peace.