Withholds and Beyond
Part 5 –
Welcome back to identity, control, intention central!
Again, we are talking about how we can deeply be with one another in a way that really respects each other when we are feeling intense emotions and feel deeply hurt by the other person we are talking with.
How is it that we can have those kinds of conversations and have them be something that deepens relationships and ourselves, which is a rare thing in this world?
So far, we’ve talked a lot about intention. Behind everything is intention.
In terms of relationship, our intentions are either to control or to relate.
We are either saying, not saying, inferring – so as to control the situation – i.e. make it predictable in such a way that I know I can survive it. And that is usually unconscious. We are going to get into the relating part more later on.
Control = survival of identity/whatever the being considers itself to be.
And I want to just acknowledge here that we each have a lot of identities, so naturally there is some simplification going on in this discussion of identity.
The basic gist of it is pretty simple. In psychology, they say all the time that the self is a representation but they conveniently don’t ask the question: what is it that identifies with that representation?
I think that they don’t ask this because they don’t have any notion of presence or being. So they just don’t answer that question. But once the being becomes identified with an image in our survival based mind, then activity of the mind becomes all about the survival of that image. See, the mind doesn’t care what you say you are – its only job is to survive it. So if on a deep level you think you are a loser – then it becomes the mind’s job to ensure the survival of that consideration.
It’s like what one of my friends likes to say: “the problem is that we are mostly meat.”
We do have a lot of animal in us, then we have this little thing up there called the cerebral cortex that has this little gap between stimulus and response. And, often times, when we’ve been hurt or injured or violated or had a lot of pain – especially in the younger parts of our lives – one of the ways that our mind manages that chaos is by making maps and conceptualizations. So, in places where we were deeply hurt, in places/moments where we were genuinely unresourceful, we have all kinds of generalizations that we created. In those situations, when we were young and hurting – how does the mind survive that? Well, it starts to manage that enormous chaos by putting it all into boxes – making concepts. And the younger we were, the more generalized those concepts will be – the more black and white, all or nothing – the more distorted they will be to reality. Because, in reality everything is in constant flux, there is no identity out there. So, you could say that the places where we are the most human are the places where we are the most flexible, open – the most receptive. Being solid in our sense of self allows us to be receptive, open, and compassionate – when we can have conviction and passion.
But, the more rigid our maps are of ourselves, the less our ability to respond to the unfolding (of life). It will not be a response, but an attempt to control it…so that, THAT (fill in the blank for yourself) will never happen again.
So then we go and say – “well, I want to be successful at this _____ (again fill in the blank for yourself)”. So we venture out there and a lot of times what happens is that when we go to be successful, everything in us that is inconsistent with us being able to handle that kind of success will come up – all of our negative self images, our hopelessness, our self-sabotaging, all that stuff. So in terms of coaching, this is vital stuff. We can pretty much bank on the fact that the path of realizing ourselves is oftentimes the path of unfolding those places – not as barriers, but as openings to open up those old maps and see them for the distortions that they are – to feel through them and-rewrite them to be more in touch with reality. It’s just so vital in terms of when we really want to be ourselves, that the moment we go on that adventure that we discover everything we’ve taken ourselves to be that is inconsistent with our nature.
So, once we consider ourselves to be some concept or point of view, what will the mind do to keep that alive? Anything.
What have you considered yourself to be?
What are you guaranteed to be upset by?
What is it like for you when you’re not seen in the way that you like to be seen? Not recognized for who you think you are?
This is where we start to get into the realm of the deepest type of pain we can experience. I think that, fundamentally, all egos are narcissistic – and narcissism is a fundamental forgetfulness of who you really are. It is a very delicate matter.
I want to talk about that a little bit more, to start to get to the root of why it is we get so hurt by words/what people say.
Let’s take a look at this. There are different parts of you. When we break it down, one of the things we all have are our narcissistic supplies. These are all the reasons you work so hard – whatever your deal is, if you’re a helper, or an over-worker – right? Present company included. This is a very delicate issue. Because I am not in touch with the living presence that I am, which is living value itself – my ontological presence isn’t rooted in that which breathes me – but rather, is a mental image (and remember, an image requires someone to see it in order to be), what happens in this case, in our lives, is that we spend our days running around making sure that all of our narcissistic supplies are met. And it comes in many guises – in the form of being helpful, being in service, doing good things, and working to put all those things into their proper place – geez, you ever wonder why you’re so tired at the end of the day?
Some of it has to do with that your managing the survival of this image.
Now, what happens when someone comes along and says – “hey, you’re _____ or _______”, which is the opposite of how you see/think of/know yourself?
An image is only an image in relationship to something else. So, if someone comes along and does not see you in the way you want to be seen, when someone does not recognize you, when they do not love you, or reflect back to you the consideration that you have considered yourself to be – if they do not co-consider that with you…
I think you can start to get why we get so PISSED and HURT.
It’s because what feels like our very identity is on the line. I want us to really get this. Most of our upsets are a function of – “you are not seeing me.” “You are not giving me the oxygen that I need.” Almaas has this great term, “the narcissism of everyday life.” He points to that this is really going on. I think we have a great deal of shame and humiliation around that this is the case. We hate it, we deny it, and if someone sees it we feel humiliated and ashamed so we will attack them and make them wrong. This is where we go into victim self-righteousness.
And, this is why you can say that people who are deeply wise or enlightened, why you can say that they are kind of unflappable – because their identity isn’t rooted in something that needs to be seen. Rather, they are rooted in an ontological fact. And to the degree that is true, then when someone attacks them it’s more like, “oh, this person is really hurting.” Or there is a sense that, “you must be really hurting, you’re judging me.” I’m sure that most of us, when we have really good moments, have been able to be like, “wow, you must be in a lot of pain because you’re judging me so much.”
And, the truth is, the only thing you can ever criticize me for is what I do, and there’s a distinction between what I do and who I am. We often don’t make that distinction. Instead we actually try to “do” our being and then get it validated and get that confirmation. And if we don’t get it, then we will isolate, we’ll withdraw, we’ll attack, or we’ll run over to the people who will give us that. And there’s a lot of shame about that. Have you ever noticed that your favorite people to beat up are very very narcissistic? We love to beat those people up. And I think that the reason why we love to beat them up is because we get to take out our own self-hatred about our own narcissism.