Monday, September 5, 2011

Bust Bust Bust It Up

One of my all-time favorite bumper stickers reads:

"I'm pretty sure when Jesus said love thy enemy, he didn't mean go bomb the shit out of them."

Humans make up reasons and justifications all the time for judging, attacking, or killing "the enemy". We do it everyday and we don't even give it a second thought. If somebody cuts us off in line or in traffic, we often demonize that person. If one of our customers at work gives us a bad attitude, we might forevermore define her as the most craptastic person alive. If someone in our class or workplace speaks an intensely different opinion than ours, it's not so farfetched for us to entertain the thought of him being completely wiped from the planet. People think this stuff. We think this stuff. 

It seems to me that more often than not, our first reactions are to perpetuate this us/them mentality.

Why do we do this? 

I've got a theory: Too much head. Not enough heart.

Humans are pretty cool and all with their jazzy little gifts, talents, and brains but it looks like we took all that mental intelligence crap a little too far. We're so accustomed to and addicted to our mental hoo-haw that we forget that:

Nothing really matters except how tapped in we are to the unconditional love we have within our hearts.

We are here to feel love and then give that love in a cycle, not to think up how to make more money than other people, or how to greedily own more material things, or how to prove to other beings that they are wrong and we are right. Yet, we have now allowed this mentality to be literally embedded in the framework of our world. It has sadly become the status quo.

I want to bust up the status quo, and I really do mean bust. Let's shatter it to pieces. My man Seth Godin says in his new book Linchpin that, "You can either fit in or stand out. Not both." Well, from my point of view, if you are "fitting in" then you have surrendered to the status quo, you have hidden your freak-flag away for nobody in the world to see, you have given up your chance to speak up, and to make change. And come on people, let's not forget: we really need some change. I mean it's not even overdue. It's like overoveroveroverdue.

This past week, "loving the enemy" was the theme for me. Only, it wasn't any enemy that I could perceive outside of myself. Nobody pissed me off. I didn't have a run in with a bigot or somebody who abhors gay people. Nope.

My "enemy" was me. 

See, I sort of feel like a contradiction a lot of the time (and I'm sure many of you can relate). There are two Fen's that live in there. One is this gregarious, kindhearted, humorous, confident, and connecting being. Let's call her Jay. And the other couldn't be more opposite. She's meek, melancholy, cautious, stifled, guarded, and afraid. Let's call her Michelle. Well, as somebody who is relentless in putting in my best effort as a status-quo-buster, you can imagine how Michelle could cause some real serious annoyances. I mean come on! How in the world can Jay kick soo much ass one night only to have Michelle drop a bomb on the whole thing the next?

For some reason, Michelle has been visiting lately. Probably because I have been facing a lot of my fears. So, in a bit of a panic, I tried to shoo Michelle away. I got mad at her. How could she? I mean all the work I have put into trying to be emotionally open, loving, and free and she just takes away all of my progress in an instant. Not cool.

As you can imagine, the more upset I got with her, the more she came to visit. After a few of those visits, she turned into an enemy. But then I realized (after another amazing chat with my mom) that Michelle just needs some love and me being angry with her doesn't do anything for either of us. Michelle and I had to have a talk.

There is a Buddhist based technique for tapping into compassion that encourages us to speak to the parts of ourselves that we are angry with, feel shameful of, or that we resent, with the voice of a loving mother. The mother archetype is always quite helpful in any compassion exercise. It can be used on any person or identity that you recognize as some form of an enemy. First you think if you were Michelle (or whoever your current perceived enemy is) how would you want to be treated? How would you want to be talked to? You make your best effort to put yourself in her shoes. And then you see that "enemy" as your child. (I have used this technique before and it often helps to actually visualize the subject as a small child). And finally, you give love to that child and you tell it that you accept it as it is, not as you want it to be, and that you realize the reason it acts the way it does is because it needs so much love.

You change the way you talk to yourself. You change the way you talk to the people who you have the most difficulty with. You don't shame them, guilt them, or demonize them. You just intensely visualize that you are their loving mother. Sounds difficult (and it is), but I assure you it is not impossible. 

When people would say "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" I always thought that meant keep them close so you don't get screwed over. And perhaps that's what it's original meaning was. It was a way to keep tabs on the enemy's agenda so as not to get taken advantage of. However now, I'd like to think of that saying as sort of a prescription for a more compassionate life. Keep your enemies closest, from a place of compassion because if you can do that, then you have figured out how to truly tap into your heart. If we can be kind and loving to the darkest, most seemingly unattractive parts of ourselves, I think that's something worth talking about. And that is most definitely busting up the status quo.

"The word 'impossible' is becoming less prominent in men's vocabulary."- Paramahansa Yogananda

1 comment:

  1. This is something we all need to work on! ME too!!