It ain't about "being nice"--more pragmatic than that. Posted by John -- 2 on April 26, 1999 at 15:45:08:
In Reply to: Doormat to Judge...interesting combination! posted by Sally on April 25, 1999 at 03:01:54:
The awareness game isn't about "being nice," Sally. It's about being
awake, seeing what's obvious, and being able to make choices based on
what you see and understand.
A week ago, you were pointing out that "they know not what they do." A
week later, are we forgetting that all our respective "Xs" (i.e.
regarding all the people that we are most intimately involved with)
really know not what they do? They go around being asleep and have no
idea they have an ego and a personality. And whatever they do that is
wounding, they can't imagine doing anything different, because, as
they'd be quick to tell you, "That's just *me*!"
And, of course, we awareness students--although beginning to wake up
more often to our own process and recognize our own egos and
personalities in activity--are also subject to walking around in sleep
most of the day. And in all these unmindful hours, we are completely
susceptible to acting-out our own egos and personalities *without even
knowing it*! Let's be honest with ourselves, kiddees. Our egos can run
all of our lives, including mine, the coach's, for goodness sake! So
we need to be *realistic* and work with what we've really got to work
with as best we can.
If we can wake up some of the time, and we can recognize what ego and
personality *are* from our study, we can begin doing something about it,
like a warrior can do--be awake in the present and make other choices.
The "I see," "I hear you," move is simply to not have a lot of angry
talk in your face and ears from other people. It isn't about being
"nice." It's about being smart enough to know that people can't help
themselves when they are putting a lot of ugly words into our space.
They happen to be conditioned to do it that way. "I see" can stop them
short because they don't know how to handle it when they are "looking
for an argument" and they don't get one.
We have a right to be free. God knows, it's hard enough to figure out
how to do it! We have a right to choose to be with others and to NOT
be with others. That's why "I don't love you," is a basic, honest, non-
manipulative communication in certain times and places, just like "I
love you," when one is aware enough to know what is true. (See that
list in the wheelbook in the Playground.) We have a right to say "no."
We have a right to "reject." And even if we are in a highly complicated
situation where we don't know what to do, we have a right to know that
our true answer is "No." "I am not your person." That doesn't put any
blame or judgment on the other person for being a sleeping human with
personality patterns that we can't seem to be happy around. It simply
acknowledges some truth that one may find within one's own being . . .
if that is so.
We have to make our own choices of the people we hang around with in
intimate relationships. I quite understand that people hang around
together for a lot of complex reasons--and think they are "without
choices." In a somewhat idealistic sense, I suppose, I am thinking here
of the kind of relationship where the two people are sweet to each other
because it comes to them naturally to be that way together. They are
"in love." But gradually, as personality takes its place in their
lives, other forces take command of the nature of their relationship.
Either two people in relationship will join hands to recover the loving
companionship that brought them together in the first place . . . or
they won't. Either your feet are on the floor . . . or they aren't.
In an estranged relationship, when one reaches out to the other and the
other can't, or doesn't want to respond, that seems to forego the
possibilities that they will bond again. One can't do more than to
reach out to the other, or try to meet the other half-way. But if
either, or both of them, have to keep biting each other (out of habitual
personality), then *relationship* and *companionship* are just stymied.
For these are states that can only exist when they are entered into *
voluntarily* on both sides. One either has it in them, or they don't.
So . . . as long as one or the other is trying to get the other to
change, or to care for them when they don't happen to feel that way in
the moment, that very manipulation prohibits the peaceful space which is
a prerequisite for companionship, communication, and love to happen.
(I hope that's clear.)
Betsy (Welcome back, Betsy!) gives a good example of this, which I'll
get to in awhile. When the other is saying "Change to be who I want you
to be," or words to that effect, it just puts a damper on things. One
wishes to find the inspiration within them to relate with other people
voluntarily. Being "pressured" to be other than who we are just doesn't
seem to work when it comes to intimate relationships. Perhaps we might
say that we get into personal relationships in the first place so that
we can both get to be who we really are and have companionship together.
The awareness game, as you will see when the new textbook is posted in
Kindergarten, places as much weight in personal authenticity as it
places in peace and harmony. It is a game that is played for getting to
be who you really are while at the same time playing for harmony with
others. That is, the game is to achieve a balance of the two.
Of course, when I am speaking of "who we really are," I am referring to
our essential strengths and qualities, our essence--and not to the added
on personalities that manipulate our way through life. If we can learn
to speak up for who we really are, and what we really like, this is
information by which we can find our way through to companionship. It's
not about being "nice." It's about being real, being authentic. It's
about asserting one's being in such a way that one can "get to be
authentic" with other people.
But each other person that we encounter has their own ego and
personality. This isn't about changing them. It is about waking up and
seeing them, and knowing who we are, and using non-manipulative
communications to seek for what we like and love. Not everyone will
take you up on this. They, too, have a right to be free. But when they
do take you up on it, you have companionship and all the "more" that
goes with that.
Another thing: not attacking other people is not a strategy that is
adopted in order to be "nice" to people. When one person attacks
another person, that brings a reaction, and the other person, in some
fashion, whether aggressively or passively, attacks back. This is "the
personality war." So not attacking other people is a strategy designed
to cut down on the automatic knee-jerk-reaction get-backs that are going
to come our way, if we attack them.
And I mustn't leave out the reciprocal situation that may come up in
life with a given person, where the problem is not so much about how to
not attack the other, but how to speak up and be more assertive than
they are usually conditioned to be with the other.
That reminds me of Pauline's problem with the "trees" that the neighbor
planted, so as not to have to see her house. Perhaps--I hope--they will
take a few years to before they grow to a size where they block the sun
in her upstairs study. I wouldn't recommend sneaking over there and
uprooting them, of course. That would only get the Mistress of the
Manor to attack back--maybe hire somebody with a front-loader to bring
in mature trees that are grown tall already.
[Incidentally, I took your articulate postings on this matter out of
Classroom Talk, Pauline, because they contained the names of the people
involved. I wasn't thinking ahead when I egged you on about details--
and, no blame!!! It was my mistake. I only realized afterwards, that
I'd like for us all to use nicknames for people we talk about in class
from now on--if that's okay with you Students. This is just for the
sake of the privacy of people who are not members of this class.
Anyway, I down-loaded that clear account that you gave of the matter, so
I can edit out the names in the parts that I'll use for comments when I
get to that a little later on. And I'm glad you responded in detail, as
Let me just say here that, when we are being attacked by another person,
it's a good idea to not attack them back unless you "have to." There
are situations where we have to attack back--and I'll get into that in a
later discussion about the war in Yugoslavia, and the biggest mistake
that Dictators like Milocevic make of keeping on pushing and pushing
until they have to be stopped. At least it hasn't gotten that bad so
far, in your yard.
A good place to start with problems like yours, Pauline (because the
attackers are likely to go on acting-out their automatic personalities
anyway), is to see if we can figure out some way that we can handle the
whole situation *from our own side*! Why should we not fight back as a
preferential alternative? I'd say because the misery of day to day
existence when one is being at war is not worth it, if we can be smart
enough to "disappear the situation" by things that we can do entirely on
In your situation, Pauline, since you are faced with bad vibes on that
side of your house anyway, maybe, in the time it takes for those trees
to grow up there to where they block the sun from your upstairs study,
you can find another good place in your house to put your study. Or, is
it possible to go ahead and "brick that window up" and cut a new window
into the roof to catch the overhead passage of the sun? These ideas
may not be appropriate (may be silly, in fact). I'm not there on the
ground. You have to size it up on your own. I'm only saying it might
be worthwhile to see if there is some way to "ta'i chi" the whole
conflict entirely, for the sake of living in one's own harmony and peace
without any further bother about the matter. As Sally wondered, why
bother with the assholes, unless we have to.
This isn't an appropriate strategy in all situations, of course--for
instance not for those whose job is going out looking for and fighting
injustices. And it may not be appropriate for you, Pauline. Yet it can
be an exercise in taking command of one's own life and not being subject
to the sleeping whims of strangers *any longer than necessary*. At
least, it's worth remembering that "being assertive" can include
asserting to be cleverly yielding. (Does that make sense?) Anyway,
I'll come back to this situation along the way, when you are back from
your meditation retreat.
>I am tired of being a doormat,but if and when I assert myself "in mindfulness" than I am once again at the mercy of the "scoreboard". I have tired of game-playing! If this is a journey of "enlightenment" then why the hell do I have to even deal with these assholes!
Indeed! Except that they keep popping up. :-) The scoreboard, when it
is noticed, only reminds us of tensions that are present in our relating
with others. The "game," in this context, is simply in seeing what's
really going on. But, part of the game is realizing that *we're all
assholes*, so to speak. We all have egos and personalities. This goes
on and on without change. One thing we *can* learn to change in it,
however, is our own contributions to such personality wars. If we can
learn to recognize these, and wake up on it, we can let many things pass
without re-acting-out on them. We must search for any ways that we *
can* change the mix. On the other hand, rarely, we must stand and
fight. (I understand that spiritual systems developed the martial arts
because monks and nuns in monasteries were being picked on by warlords.)
Sometimes, when no longer confronted with being attacked by us (whether
aggressively or passively attacked), the other person has a chance to
see how nice it could be to relate with our essential being, instead of
going on attacking us. There will be some lag time before they catch
on to this (because they are so used to you being "hell-on-wheels,"
too). For awhile, it sounded from previous postings like you were
seeing some results in this, Sally. Maybe this was a good sign of
"peaceful possibilities" in the situation. Again, I'm not there "on the
ground," so to speak, so you have to study it out. Maybe the conditions
of life got you distracted and you went back to attacking again. If so,
level with the other person about it, and say that you're still working
on that. If not, and the other person just doesn't have it in them to
be sweet to you, even when you are being authentic Sally in her true
self and essence, then . . . what can I say?
We can't make other people love us, no matter how loveable we may be.
Being "nice" won't achieve this. We, ourselves, can't respond when
others try to make us love them. When people can vibrate together in
harmony, this can be experienced in mindfulness. When they can't . . .
they can go to therapy together, although often one of them won't.
Sometimes a talented therapist can listen to all that they have to say,
and look at what they do together from the sidelines and see avenues for
mutual changes that will work.
In unworkable situations, one can at least endeavor to seek arrangements
that cause the people involved the least amount of pain and suffering
possible, including separation if that is necessary. Sometimes the
other party won't, or can't even cooperate in this. Sometimes they
will be hell-bent to make you suffer. It isn't realistic, in my view,
to say that "all relationships ought to be able to work out." When
relationships reach a point where the parties relate with each other
mainly by trying to hurt each other into changing to be who each one
wants the other one to be, that is no longer a relationship, but an
entanglement. Sometimes, when it's like this, people have got to give
themselves "a new deal" in life . . . or go on and on living in a
personality war that is just about as bad as the people in the Balkans
are now living through, and, rarely, just as dangerous.
>Guess that is my "Rebel" but I really do think that some people are hopeless . . . ...he's 'killing me'.!!!!
No, that doesn't have to be your Rebel. It can be your Artist. When
"the beauty of it" is so spoiled that there isn't any beauty in it for
you any more, that can be your Artist, your essential true self, your
soul. It's when you are "throwing bombs" that it's your Rebel. You
have a right to choose for beauty in your life in every way that you
>Am I letting, or chosing this option? I think not!!!! Help,and I'm not kidding! Glad to see that you are back Betsy.... Pissed in Las Vegas.
First of all, I'm touched by the respect you show here for your
classmate Betsy in the midst of these moments of such distress. I'm
sure we are all in your corner.
Sounds like you may be pretty scared, as well as angry. You've
regained your strength and courage after upset times like this before,
Sally. To set the record straight, psychopaths are shrewd, calculating
people who've got it all figured out how they're going to manipulate for
what they want without any shame or conscience. That hardly seems to
fit your situation, which seems more to be about a complicated
entanglement affecting a number of suffering people that you don't know
yet what to do with.
Having aggressive fantasies, for instance, doesn't mean a person is a
"psycho." Whenever any of us are attacked by other people we are likely
to have aggressive fantasies towards them. I don't think you are
choosing this option you are in, either, frankly. (Except as Jeff
pointed out that whatever we do do including "no choice" is our choice.)
But for awhile, at least, you seem to be stuck in it. Is the problem
that you don't yet know of other options that you *can* choose from?
When I've been in that situation in the course of my life, I've sat down
for an hour and talked it over with a therapist to get feed-back and
ideas. That's often worked for me, because it gets my own creative
process stimulated from an outside source. Of course, I'm a big fan of
psychotherapists because--although long retired from doing that--I was
one once. It isn't everybody's cup of tea. Yet the answers,
ultimately, *do* lie within.
I understand that your situation is "more than the usual enigma that
comes along." If you can't see a single change that you can make that
will transform the whole situation from your own point of view, look for
as many little changes as you can find that you *can* make.
Archived 15 Jun 99