Monday, August 29, 2011

My Mom, Truth & Bullshit Flags

Yesterday I had a meeting with my mom about life. We do this. I try to schedule in advance but sometimes we’ll do it on the fly. These meetings are really important to me. My mom has the ability to make me feel totally safe in her presence and I know that no matter how farfetched my thoughts are, she will sincerely listen. I seriously can’t tell you how much I value you this, especially since many of my thought patterns are nothing short of insane.

We talk about what I call the important stuff. You know, things like how we can grow, what we are trying to learn, how we can be kind to ourselves and others, how we can remember how special and needed we are, and so on. This is my favorite stuff to talk about. But my mind is intense, always pumping out too many ideas and there’s often not enough room for proper processing. Mom helps me process. She takes my chaotic net of thoughts and often lights up the parts that need more of my focus. She helps me clear the clutter.

This particular meeting was mostly about the emotional brain and why mine wants to prove to other people that it’s smart and protect itself. I’ve been concerned about this topic lately. I don’t want to be that girl who wags her finger at you while she tells you “the Truth”. That’s crap. Well, at least I think that’s crap. Anybody who tells you “the Truth” is what my family calls F.O.S. (or full of shit). So, if I know this, why in the world do I still occasionally think that my truth is better another person’s?  And why do I often go so far to protect it?

At my core, I really do believe that everyone has to discover their own truth. I wouldn’t dare listen to somebody else’s without first questioning the hell out of it, analyzing it, and probably rebelling against it. My first inclination is always to throw the bullshit flag when someone tells me what to do, how to live, or that they have “figured it all out”. Yet, after my intense intellectual and spiritual search over the years, I still occasionally think that people should listen to me, because somewhere in that chaotic mind, it thinks it may be somehow intellectually superior.

Can I just bullshit flag myself right here? BULLSHIT. Now, when I am not completely identified with this ego-based, linear-thinking, delusional aspect of my mind, I can clearly and calmly say that’s bullshit.

I am not intellectually or spiritually superior to anyone else and more importantly it’s NOT my job to take my seemingly vast amounts of knowledge (that my mind sometimes actually believes it owns) and spew it out to the masses. Seriously, no one cares. Yet, sometimes it seems so important.

My mom listened to my rambling for a few minutes about how I don’t want to be this way and how strong the emotional mind is when it’s triggered and she responded with something simple and profound: (I’m paraphrasing) “Whatever consciousness shift humans experience next will not create a new world where everyone agrees on everything. Instead, it will be a world where we won’t care that we don’t agree. That is what has to change. Acceptance of each other is sort of our only hope.”

As soon as she said this, we both realized it was a lightbulb moment. Of course! Never in this tangible human form will we ever ALL agree on any one thing. Peace doesn’t come because we all finally decide to have the exact same idea of God and because we all decide to live this new sort-of monotoned, drone-like, white-robed spiritual way of life. Peace comes when we can all raise our freakflags without fear of being berated, judged, or attacked. Peace is when this little group over here thinks one thing and this other little group over here thinks this other thing and nobody gives two shits. Peace is a state where there is no need for control, judgment, blame, superiority, or inferiority. In fact, peace means there is no dichotomous thinking at all. Peace moves beyond dichotomy because dichotomy lives in the mind and peace lives beyond the mind. So if this is the ultimate goal, why not start practicing now!? If everybody has a different path to the “Truth” then arguments about what is “right” and what is “wrong” are worthless. What is important and really worth something is love, acceptance, and compassion.

How much love can I give to this person who doesn’t live their life the way I live mine? 
How much love can I give to this person who doesn’t believe in the same ideas that I believe in? 

Can you imagine what would happen in our world if every person just started practicing asking questions like this? What would happen if we gave love and compassion to everyone equally, including rapists and murderers and sociopaths and drug addicts? What if that was our M.O. as a species? How cool would it be to know that lovingkindness from the heart was our most valued tool for any problem?

I read about this tribe awhile back and they live this way: Every time somebody in the tribe  does something violent, disrespectful, or hateful to someone, the tribe joins together in a circle. Then guess what they do? They don’t shame her. They don’t gang up on her. They don’t judge her and lock her up or isolate her. They all give her their attention and love, because they see her actions coming from a place of ignorance and confusion. They give the person who is literally the hardest to love, the most intense love for as long as it takes for that person to work out what they need to work out, and they do it as a community.

I think this is possible for us on a bigger scale.

It's not going to be an overnight thing of course. Anything worth while takes quite a while, but (and I’ve probably said it before) I really can’t think of anything else worth working on and practicing more.

Ultimately, I want to be humbled. When people meet me I want them to remember how kind and compassionate I was toward them and how intensely I listened to their views, even if they were views I disagreed with. I’d like people to feel comfortable enough to open up to me without fear of being judged or shamed or guilted. And I want to be aware enough in the present moment that I can choose peace as the priority over everything else. I know this is a tall order but I’m willing to practice relentlessly. And I’m going to screw up. I’m going to get too emotionally involved in an argument with someone again. And I’m going to say unkind words to someone again. And I’m going to judge someone to the point of shame again. And I’m going to condescendingly make fun of someone again. I’m just being honest.

But I can keep trying.
We can keep trying.

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