Day 28 -The Futile Strategies...
I had no idea when I started this down time that I would be so all over the place. I swear I have been completely good with being single for the rest of my life and then ready to jump off the cliff of loneliness all inside of an hour. Ouchie.
Pema Chodron provides me daily guidance (she doesn't call me everyday - that would be fucking awesome but I mean through her books) to show me more effective ways to deal with myself.
In Buddhism, there are the three futile strategies: attacking, indulging and ignoring. These are the strategies that we humans employ to deal with the troubling habits of laziness, anger and self-pity (and many others).
Attacking is a good go to. Whenever we see ourselves doing something that we judge to be bad or wrong or lazy, we attack ourselves. Beat ourselves up as if that is going to somehow change us. We criticize ourselves for not going to the gym, eating cake, or failing to accomplish all the to dos on our endless to do list. We criticize ourselves for indulging in comfort. We sink deeply in the pools of shame and guilt.
Indulging is also a good go to. We make our habits our paths, our way, ourselves. We say things like:
“This is who I am”
“This is just how I am”
“I do not deserve _____________”
“I do deserve ________________”
We are forever feeling terrible for the way we are but somehow talk ourselves into justifying our actions, our indulgences.
Ignoring (or more popularly called denial these days) is an awesome way to deal with our dysfunction. In fact, I would go so far to say that as a society, it is as if we all signed some pact to deal with life by spacing out, going numb, or checking out. I will not turn this in to a tirade about devices but think about how much we all use our devices and technology to not be present... We use whatever we can to get away from the reality of our present: date, drink, smoke, eat, sex, shop. All deployed to distract us from ourselves. To distract us from how we are and who we are.
Mindfulness practice offers another way. Another strategy to deal with our neurosis: experience ourselves as we are. Sit with the feelings that lead us to want to deploy attacking, indulging or ignoring. Just sit there and allow the feelings to be. Fuck that is hard.
I have been sitting with all my feelings of worthlessness these past few days. How much my self worth is tied up with men and dating. It has totally sucked. I have been on the verge of tears for days. I need of a good cry but unable to get one going.
I have used attacking:
“I am worthless and unattractive and no one is ever going to want me”
“I deserve this new car I am looking at, these new clothes, these 22 pairs of new shoes”
“I am going to sit here on my device and play woody puzzle for hours because I can really think of nothing else to do.”
What I have been unable to avoid is the feeling and knowledge that I am exercising these well worn habits which only reinforce the feelings I was trying to avoid in the first place.
So while I have been strengthening the above three futile and unproductive strategies, I have also been watching myself. Watching what I am doing and being as compassionate as I can. I am seeing that I am doing all of this and I can see that it is not brining me peace or satisfaction or love. I have tried to be interested and curious about my habits:
Why I am doing what I am doing?
Is it serving my higher good and that of others?
What do I think I am going to accomplish?
Does my current behavior reflect who I really want to be?
Does my current action show me shutting down or waking up?
Am I closing to my life or opening to it?
I see it all for what it is. Nuerotic compulsion designed to keep me forever on the loop of seeking to gain ground. Silly really, there is no ground to be gained. Just this present moment to live this life I have been given. I can use every experience to wake up and be present. Or I can use all of my futile strategies to keep me sleep walking through my life. It is really up to me.
In this moment, I can see myself in a compassionate light. I can own all of my bullshit ways of dealing or not dealing with feelings, people and life. I can open my mind to all of this and express a true desire to increase my compassion and wisdom and to help others do the same. That seems like a pretty darn good use of the present moment...