Thanks to those people who took the time to comment after reading the Happiness 2.0 Report. Brian asked some questions that I think we all struggle with from time to time. I’m going to address the first one here and follow on with the second.
If I let go, is that the same as letting bad things happen?
Sometimes people ask this in the sense of I should be more active in helping people? Should I do more? Here’s my answer to that part of Brian’s question;
In the sense that I’m understanding your view of allowing, it’s looking at a situation, seeing something you believe is wrong and letting it go.
To want to control, or be responsible for, what anyone else does, even to judge another, is an attempt of the Ego to want to be in control. It’s the Ego saying
‘I’m right. I know more, am more important than this person and so I can put this right’.
The next step is, ‘Actually I should put this right. It’s my duty to’.
And then start the Crusades and wars. Or sometimes the charities that intend good things, but end up making people feel less independent and less able.
It is to believe in the illusion of perception, more than the invincibility, eternalness and indestructability of life. It is to value the transitory nature of material things, more than the true nature of life, which is freedom. It is to worry more about the stain on the bedroom wall than the development of the child.
To allow is a sign of trusting the intelligence of the universe. It is to know that I’m a part of this stream of life, no more or less worthy than any other part and we can all find our way through it, make our mistakes, see them play out and grow from the process.
To interfere, is to impose your view on the world. It is an attempt by the Ego to say. ‘No. I’m in charge here. This world must conform to my idea of right and wrong. Anything other than that is a threat to my wellbeing’.
When my Daughters were born, there used to be an advertising campaign for a washing powder that made an impact on my wife and I. The ads showed a child making a complete mess of her clothes. And when the Dad was nearly blowing his top, the Mum would say ‘Learning’ in a tone that reminded him that the dirt and mess was a small price to pay for their child to learn and grow.
What are we, but the children of life. To interfere, therefore is to attempt to become the Father. Which is another way of saying the Ego is trying to usurp God’s role.
The first step in life is to accept where you are. You look at your life or at the situation you are in and accept it is, what it is. This is the baseline. Everything from there is progress.
What the Ego wants to do, is to say. ‘No. No. That’s not how it should be. Put this here and that there. Then it will be right’.
But you can’t change everything around and so you run into brick walls and make everything a fight, a battle of wills.
To let go and allow is the greatest action we can take. It is to acknowledge your indestructability and eternalness and to trust in life.
However, having said that our vision and purpose in life will come mostly from fixing wrongs. It’s the wrongs that give us work to do.
Should we walk past a woman being raped or a child being beaten because we don’t want to impose our views on others?
In such a circumstance, I think there’s two elements. I’m going to use a personal example to relay them. The area where I most struggle with this idea is as a Parent.
On the one hand I don’t want to be controlling my kids, but on the other I have to, at some level, parent them. The way I look at it, there’s two elements to parenting.
First, there’s nurturing. There’s helping them to step up a level in growth. Letting them do tasks, so that they become more independent. Talking with them to help them think more expansively and at a more evolved level.
Then there’s damage limitation.
I don’t want them hit by a car, so I pull them back from the road. I don’t want them hurt by playing with a knife so I take it off them. If they have a tantrum in the supermarket I want to minimise the embarrassment and disruption. All this is damage control.
The more, I nurture my Daughter’s (and they accept) the better they will react to a given situation and so the less need for damage control.
Damage control won’t shape the child or mature them. They are in a frame of mind that’s so closed off that they just aren’t open to growth. So any action you take is really about limiting the damage or embrassment to you.
So in the same way, when you come across someone behaving in a way that you feel is wrong. You can let it go and wait for the situation to play itself out. Or you can step in to limit the damage.
Some people have the ability to do both at the same time.
For example, Jesus, when they were about to stone the Adultress. He didn’t jump in and tell them how wrong they were. He was able to evolve the crowd’s thinking, because he never made them his enemy, he just displayed a higher level of thinking to them.
Socrates was the master at this. His method of Socratic Questioning is an incredible way to evolve people’s thinking. I think it works because the intention behind it and the posture it takes, doesn’t conflict with the other person. There’s no level of accusation or judgment. He would just let the other person’s ideas play out until it became apparent that they were flawed. When people feel understood and given the opportunity to fully explore their idea, it enables them to see it more dimensionally.
False ideas are like fires. When you allow a fire to burn, it dies out if it lacks substance. When you meet fire with fire, you feed it and so prolong it. Once an idea is proven false then the other needs a better idea to replace it and so they upgrade their thinking. Much as when our cupboards are empty we need to shop for more food.
When you instead jump in to fix a situation, it becomes Ego vs Ego. And so people get closed off to opportunities to grow and relate. Instead they bash heads for the sake of being right. And that just makes for a soul destroying destructive experience.