Sunday, July 03, 2005

Me, me, me vs. Reality

This is where we get in trouble in relating to others. We want this, and we want that. They should appreciate us or love us more, they should pay attention to us, or leave us alone. They should be in a better mood, or be calmer. The me, me, me wants the partner to make my life sweeter and easier and more agreeable.

And yet, they have other ideas. They don’t like us today. They have a toothache. They have problems at work. Things are going on in their life and minds that aren’t revolving around us.

Or, even worse, sometimes, they are revolving around us, but in their own me, me, me way. So each partner is busy demanding: you should love me more, you should appreciate me more, you should listen to me more, you should admit you are wrong. Those four could cover the underlying territory of most arguments, with this being the basis of them all: you should treat me better. With, of course, the me, me, me defining what “better” is.

So, how to get out of this mess? Do the Work, write down the shoulds and shouldn’ts and ask four questions and turn them around. Each and every time we do this we can come to understand that just because the me, me, me has a program for the other person, that doesn’t mean that the other person is going to go along with it.

This is a back door to understanding what love is, since love wants the other person to be who they are, not who they “should” be according to our wishes and wants. We can move back to love, if we see the other person without the story, which is what question four ( Who or what would I be without attachment to the thought?) brings us to. So why not just say: love everyone for what they are?

Because most of us can’t do that yet. Byron Katie’s work, in its honesty that judging is what we do most often, lets us off the hook of being any better than we really are. And then the four questions begin to set us free from the bondage of going around demanding that our me, me, me program be enforced. And the turn around gives us all the work we might ever need to do on ourselves. No need to pay anyone to discover where we need to work: just take our judgments ( you should be more kind to me) and turn them around ( I should be more kind to you. I should be more kind to myself.)

This is a source of humor, the realization that so much of our sorrow comes from the me, me, me point of view. No need to berate ourselves for being selfish. It’s just the way the world has run itself into the ground for centuries. We don’t need to be pure. We don’t need to be pure love. We don’t need to automatically forgive. Something deeper than forgiveness comes out of the work. What comes is a realization that these others, about whom we were so agitated, were just being like us, lost in their own me, me, me land.

So we have the way into misery in our relating: see everything in term of me, me, me. And we have the way out: be honest about our demands, write them down, ask four questions and turn them around. The great relief is that the world is full of people we can treat we affection and enjoyment and kindness and all the other things we are busy demanding. This gives us practice in what we are preaching and shows us a way to act that surmounts the loneliness to which the me, me, me state of existence always condemns us. Want to be free? Look within, find the truth, smile at what our demanding is doing to us, and imagine and then practice, who would we be if we just say others for what they were?

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