Recently, I had a situation arise where all my love and faith based ideology was put to the test and my inner insecurities were laid bare as a result.
What was most peculiar to me was that my actions appeared calm and rational throughout, or so I thought.
Side Note: As we grow more centered and relaxed, through daily meditation and a focus on being present, you may see an increase in cognitive ability (as outlined in this article). As I unfortunately found out the hard way this bonus, like all things, can become a tool for the ego to use in its defense of rigid mind patterns rather than as a tool for growth.
That said, this experience showed me that a feeling of focus can be misleading for those of us who struggle with a large sway of emotions in our lives as it appears to have us calm or “unaffected” and mistakenly giving credence to our awareness.
It turns out what was actually happening was what Tara Bennett-Goleman describes in her book Emotional Alchemy as a “schema attack”.
In her book she describes this type of reaction or behavior as maladaptive, and although these “scripts” may have served us well in our developmental years, they continue to plague our adult lives whenever they resurface.
Please be warned, the ego is adept and will change masks to suit any new surroundings as we continue to grow.
Some of you may now be asking; “How were you able to recognize it if it was so well hidden?”
A good question, and one I hope to answer in the form of two metaphors, after the outline of this incident, below.
Thank you and quick note: No people or pets were harmed in the making of this post
I feel blessed to have the people in my life who call me on my BS and I’m lucky that the schema surfaced through during with some of my most extroverted friends/family. So, I had plenty of data to go on as well.
I’m in no way proud of the events that unfolded and I’ve since asked for forgiveness from all those involved.
The reason for the title of this post is that throughout this ordeal I found myself asking over and over (which I feel is a very common question we ask ourselves);
“Why is everybody acting so crazy recently?!”.
As soon as I realized this, it hit me… as though I was solving a murder mystery.
I realized after the fact that each time the question surfaced I responded in such a way that left no room for awareness or reflection on my insecurities (which I’m sure is the point of this type of behavior).
Responses like these are what Tara describes as “reflexive and automatic”, something akin to jumping out of the way of a car that you notice at the last second.
We all have a “dark side” that can lead to seemingly malevolent and abhorrent behavior, but if self-love has taught me anything it’s that these interactions show us exactly why fear and doubt is so prevalent and add to the compassion we feel from growing to see them as part of the imperfect perfection we all are.
Why We Seem To Cling to Pain
There’s no one on earth who is completely free of some sort of “baggage”.
It’s the past we bring with us because it’s what we know ourselves as. It’s just a fact of life. We live based on building on top of what we already know.
However, the ego will have us believe we’re the only one with this much in an attempt to make sure we don’t do the one thing that helps us rid ourselves of it.
Which is compare it with other people’s and see it as the attachment to “things” as it is.
Now, let’s say we meet someone and we want to go on “vacation”, remember it’s baggage so it’s part of the package.
What we find is that it’s nearly impossible to find a hotel to fit everything just the way we need it for us to keep the baggage hidden and accommodate us AND this new person (oh and don’t forget this new person comes with their own baggage).
There’s three ways we tend to handle this situation;
- Blame the hotel (this is equivalent to blaming our circumstances);
In this mode we react with sheer outrage and view it as an insult, as though “the hotel” has saddled us with these tiny, unaccommodating rooms; “Don’t they know who I am!?”
- Blame the other person; (as described above, my “crazy” feeling was them not me)
In this mode we demand the other person “deal with their baggage” since it’s making our luggage feel oppressive; “How dare you bring your baggage, I need all my things!!”
- Compare and contrast what you each bring, combine where appropriate, and be open to giving and receiving feedback as to why some (or most) isn’t needed
The third option is love’s approach.
Sadly, this approach is rarely seen because we fear we don’t know who we are without our baggage. Thus, we simultaneously hate our past and cling to it for dear life.
Love is synonymous with faith and that means when you have self-love, you have self-faith.
Try to remember;
No matter what this world can dish out you were born fully capable to handle it.
In fact, you come out stronger as a result.
The Flat Tire
As with the baggage, none of us are riding on a full set of tires.
For simplification purposes let’s imagine our back right tire is blown completely out, no rubber at all.
Most of the time it’s fine, because when we drive we counterbalance it and it stays riding on the “good” tires.
Riding along, we try to ignore people who come up and honk their horns and try and flag us down to let us know anything is wrong, yelling stuff like;
“Yeah?! F you buddy, I’m in my lane. Mind your own business!”
Then we meet someone and they want a ride. Uh-oh! The added weight causes our balance to shift and now when we hit bumps we bottom out and we notice something is wrong. So, what’s different?
“Ohhh, It’s you!”, we find ourselves exclaiming. We’re forced to ask them to get out because everything was fine before they came along.
Then, it happens, something big enough that causes the other rear tire to go.
The world is blamed for being unsuitable for driving; we “shouldn’t” have to worry about paying attention or have to worry about changes in our environment.
We see it as “unfair” that we’re forced to stay home, while continuing to maintain “There’s nothing wrong, the car was running fine”
In order to keep our delusion in place we demand that all roads be covered in rubber so we can drive our car; “why should I have to put up with not driving, they’re not better than me!”
As crazy as that sounds, it’s the exact same as the first option in the baggage example.
In this state of mind we invest our time and resources in trying to convince others to see us as “right”, as we blame our inability to succeed on those who fail to understand our view of the world as the problem.
With just a little love that old car would be driving like new and would support anyone who comes along who may want to join us on our journey.
This way no one has to be afraid of shifting their weight or holding their breathe waiting for that other tire to blow.
I hope this was helpful, if anyone is still reading this at this point… thanks as always for your support and being with me on the journey.