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Monday, January 16, 2012

More on the Fight that Didn't Go Anywhere

Dear A.B.,

Thanks so much for sharing this little story of triumph over the primal mind!  You could have acted from your Primal Mind, but chose to move from  your Higher Mind. 

When coming from the Primal Mind, even a little discord over a spoonful of sugar can lead us to feel our "status" is being threatened, & a threat to our status could lead to being kicked out of the tribe, which could leave our very survival in peril! To our Primal Mind, this whole sugary discussion could feel rather deadly, yes?

Instead, you questioned & challenged your thoughts...thoughts that were bouncing around in your head like so much popcorn in a popper, and refused to latch on to the negative, venegeful, self-preservation-geared ones. You embraced the thoughts that helped you move with peace, love & dignity.

I suppose that as far as being "right" or connecting with truth is concerned, maybe Ultimate truth can only be perceived & experienced directly, immediately, not conceptualized & put in a box? Since you were awake & open to what was happening, you experienced Ultimate truth through really looking at & seeing the deeper meaning of the sugar episode.  What a wonderful example of being present to your life! 

I also see in this story that our attempts at control are futile.  Life is living us, really.  The sugar episode, while perhaps rather unpleasant at first, makes me wonder if we need to trust that life is offering us what we need, moment to moment, even through unpleasant experiences. Living with an insistence that life must bend to our will, we strive to keep "unpleasantness" at bay. Alternatively, we may be view ourselves as being "above" such trivia, & remain aloof from the lessons ordinary experience can teach us.

But if we just watch & listen, see, experience, & take it in, we open to the fluidity of experience  & even when something "dreadful" is happening like an ugly marital dispute,  we can say "this too," & recognize that it's all of a piece, it all belongs.

Thanks again for the illuminating story.

Sincerely, G

Dear G,
I told the story to someone the other day who immediately could match it with one of her own. She had asked her husband to help her put some Christmas glasses away. He agreed but proceeded to put them in the box without, as she was annoyed to observe,  the same care and effort that she thought necessary. When she upbraided him for his inadequacy, he just got mad and even more haphazard in his efforts.

"You asked me to help, and I'm helping!!"

He was insistant on doing it "his way."

I suggested that instead of getting mad and telling him "forget it" or criticizing his efforts, another option would be to realize that she had made him defensive (men are notoriously sensitive to criticism) and  the line of least resistance would be to straighten out the mess he made, after the fact, without saying anything. What was the big crime anyway? Was it worth a big upset?

And the other thing to think about is this. What is it, exactly, that you win when you “win” these dumb little interactions. And what is it that you lose if you simply let them go on by.Do you prove that you are the one who is right, and therefore, the other has to be wrong? Is this really what our sense of marital justice is dependent upon? We always have to make the assessment of who is right? This is a really good example of the old cliché, would you rather be right or be loved.

 A. B.

Dear A. B.

 I don’t need respect from my husband, thank you very much. I already respect myself.

So, the only real refuge & sanctuary is found within. We are responsible for going within to soothe ourselves. Waiting for someone else to calm us, soothe us, or somehow bolster us & make everything okay is an unreasonable demand.

You've noted how we can slip into the nasty habit of looking at our relationships & other people as vehicles for getting our needs met, for getting something or another. You've said that it is more important to love than to be loved.  I see these notions come to life in your story too.
Thank you. Yes. Seems there is much we can "win" or gain from letting them go by.  We can only "lose" or suffer, if we resist. Your unvarnished description of this slice of your life has provided much food for thought.

 Reminds me too of how I get caught up in the trance of "I want this ...I don't want that! This shouldn't be happening! What happened to lasting, unchanging serenity within my hearth & home?"  But life persists in not being fixed & static.  It's always in flux & fluid.  A difficult state of affairs for one who wants everything to be "all nice, all the time."  Guess the key is to accept whatever is, &  even embrace it, since a fixed state of bliss, or maybe better stated, our belief about what we think bliss is, is not in the cards for any of us. In every life, the sugar must hit the fan, & maybe real Nirvana is being able to let it fly rather than contain it. A lesson in surrender!

I was right there with you in your kitchen!  I could imagine how I'd be feeling, the thoughts that would unravel in my head, & they weren't pretty.  Loved  your self-inquiry & insights.


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