Beliefs and Motes
I continue to amaze myself as stuff drops into my lap to use for Into the Centre. The latest comes from an Audible Book Dar and I have been listening to whilst driving. The book is Tom Robbins' Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates. Not sure how I missed reading Robbins before, but I’m hooked, as I love a good turn of phrase. Plus, I love the underlying philosophy.
At one point, Switters, the protagonist, is talking with a nun and goes off on a segue on what's wrong with the world. He declares that all of the problems are the result of the "killer B's." He begins a list, which goes on for some length - bombs, beheadings, bloodshed, etc. His point, however, is this - the two banes of existence are Belief and Belonging.
I seldom if ever see clients with true mental illnesses. What I do see are multitudes who are caught in a crisis of meaning - whose beliefs and need to belong have led them far down a path of inauthenticity and false bonding. As opposed to the elegant application of flexible "understandings for the day," coupled with free-flowing bondings based upon depth rather than duration.
Switters is quite aware of the connection between belief and belonging. We've discussed this at length in Into the Centre - using the analogy of socialization as the key element. The socialization process is all about teaching people "the rules" - and the rules are all about fitting in to the tribe. There's this sense that belief and belonging lead to behaving.
What I'm seeing more and more of is fear. Some of the fear is sociological - based upon the nightly news. Much more can be attributed to an internal sense of both dread and deadness. "There must be something wrong with me. I'm following all the rules, being a good person and I'm unhappy and sick and tired and lost. This is not how it's supposed to be." The fear part is, "I'm going to die unfulfilled." And the truth of it is, this is so. Unless you are willing to let go of the beliefs, the behaviours and the belonging. No wonder it's scary.
Not that I'm saying we are best served being "all by ourselves." That the people I choose to be in relationship with know me and provide me with feedback keeps me honest. I'm suggesting that I don't have to continue in relationships (or beliefs or behaviours) that do not serve me. As opposed to running around trying to make others happy, making others safe. As we've said, that's not possible.
I continue to amaze myself with the cross-generational interference I see. Parents who continue to manipulate their grown children, trying to get them to behave, to follow the rules, to be the perfect family. This despite the fact that the grown children have lives of their own. Or the grown children trying to get mom and dad to behave differently, to treat them differently, despite the fact that they've been treated this way all their lives. Or spouses desperately trying to manipulate their partner into behaving. Guilting, blaming, cajoling, or playing the "I have your best interests at heart" game.
As opposed to letting go. Loosening our grip on the rules, the regulations, the rigidities we have all been subjected to. All of which begins with an understanding that nothing is "real," nothing is "true" for all time and in all places. Beliefs, behaviours, belonging - social conventions - nothing real, nothing true, about any of it.
On the other hand, I see the rare person (and they are rare) who, having been stuck for decades, suddenly decides to drop the drama and to become simple. To simply let go. To simply begin living life in the moment. To choose behaviours and beliefs based upon utility rather than on habit, coercion or fear. This letting go of the "should-be's" is initially traumatic - then suddenly freeing.
The other thing that crossed my desk this week was a line in an e-zine I subscribe to, for writers. The lovely line was a mistype that is just perfect. The author likes to go on at length about the deeds of her offspring - paragraph after paragraph of "family news" before we get to the writing stuff. I usually skip past it and get to the meat of the matter. For some odd reason, my eye got hooked.
Anyway, she was writing about a trip to the beach with her kids, and about how they were building sand castles. Complete with a moat. Except what she wrote was that the kids had built a "giant mote."
I about snorted coffee out my nose.
I suspect that "mote" is not a common word any more. It's Old English, and means "speck," or "a tiny amount of anything." So, according to her expression, we get a "huge speck." Or, perhaps a giant mote is "making a mountain out of a molehill." I got a picture of two kids with tiny shovels, digging miniscule holes in the sand and screaming "look at the size of that one!" (Apparently, even in childhood, size matters… J ) Drama, drama everywhere, and no one notices its "moteness."
We train 'em young, we do. As if anything short of dying is irreversible. As if making things big and important actually has relevance. As if making myself important means I actually am important, as opposed to a caricature of a real human being. As if "my drama is bigger than yours" is a "good thing."
One of the joys in my life is how good I'm getting at noticing when I'm being dramatic, and making "giant motes." Ram Dass called losing the drama "Nobody Special Training." Which flies in the face of our cultural beliefs, behaviours and belonging-ness.
Rather than building giant motes, or even giant moats, perhaps we should simply learn to doff our pretences, drop the shit we're shovelling, and have a roll in the sand. Maybe, from a rules and roles perspective, it's all about nothing. Maybe instead of digging a hole, I can "dig" being whole.
In the end, life is about passion, not behaving. It's about relating, not belonging. And it's about who I am and how I choose to interact with the world - not about blindly following the beliefs that mommy and daddy and society taught me.
And it's about remembering that it's all a "giant mote."