Fun With…Deconstructing Facebook Memes

treat bad

Just for fun, I have started using the inquiry techniques from Byron Katie’s The Work on Facebook memes.  I had two come through my feed that are in direct opposition to each other, that inspired me to try this out.

The first says “If someone treats you bad, just remember there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other people.” The second one says “Never reject anybody in your life, because good people give us happiness and bad people give us experience.  Both are essential in life.”

Never Reject Anybody In Your Life, Because Good People Give Us Happiness And Bad People Give Us Experience. [QuotePix.com]

Is it True?

I am going to deconstruct the first one so this doesn’t take forever to read.  Is it true that if someone treats you badly, something is wrong with them, not you? Is it true that Normal people don’t go around destroying other people? My immediate psychological knowledge of mediation and doing investigations can surface proof that if someone treats you badly, there are many possible sources of why that is occurring.  My spiritual knowledge tells me that these types of things are co-created.  I also would be curious about what is normal, and how another can destroy me.

Can you absolutely know it is true?

Since I can argue against a few assumptions in the meme, I do not believe that this could ever absolutely be true.

How do you react, what happens when you believe this thought?

If I believed that something was wrong with other people, I would be less empathetic.  It would entrench me in separation. It would lead to ways I could judge others and justify it.  I would feel like a victim.  I would begin searching for normal people, who may be people who have the same woundedness as me or see the world with the same beliefs I do.  I would close off from other options.  I would feel defensive.

Who would I be without the thought?

Ironically, I would be a bit like the second meme.  I would be open to how this experience is happening for me instead of to me. I would be free.  I would know I have the opportunity to change my experience.

Turnarounds

Possible turnarounds of that thought could be:

  1. If (I feel like) someone treats me badly, something is wrong with me (my view of the situation).  How do I know this is true? When I have used curious questions to understand others or what they have done, I don’t experience it the same way.  When I have used non-violent communication, the situation has often turned out to be about needs.
  2. Others treating me badly is not in my control.  My problem is how I experience or view it.  How do I know this is true? I know that I cannot control others.  I have found techniques like not judging an experience as good or bad can completely change my emotional experience.
  3. Normal people DO go around destroying other people.  How do I know this is true? Normal is a word that can subtly be used to control how the world is supposed to be according to your world view.  As a leader, sometimes we make decisions that will mean people have to change, or they need to leave the organization – essentially destroying them. No matter what the specific circumstances are, two world views clashed – and that is common and therefore normal.  This sentence is inherently dangerous and controlling in some ways.

What happens when you do turnarounds?

For me, I find that eventually my beliefs are the source of my pain.  My thoughts are the source of pain.  If I view the world without my thoughts or beliefs as a point of reference, there is an openness, a peacefulness and an incredible freedom.

Can Facebook Be A Spiritual Practice?

Facebook-createLike many people, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.  I joined it 9 years ago, first as a place to share pictures of my new baby with my family, and over time my use of it has evolved into a forum for social interaction and sharing of ideas or events.

Many people can tell you how social media is a time waster, a sucking hole that takes away from the richness of our real lives and relationships.  It can be used to promote some of the worst qualities of our society.

My question is: can Facebook be a spiritual practice?

In a satsang I recently heard, Adyashanti spoke about personal identity and how we create separateness in a way that resonated for me.  The question of study was “Who are you if you do not reference any thoughts?”. When I contemplated that, my experience was briefly one of Being-ness.  I felt what it means to say I Am. My mind took over too quickly, but I was left with a sense of what it would mean to let go of separateness.  I feel a desire to return to that feeling, nurture it, expand it and never be in a space of separateness again.

Fast forward about 10 hours later while I am on Facebook: a former school mate posts a video that goes against many of my non-violent values and beliefs.  I delete the post.  I send out a Facebook question about how others handle it when someone posts something you are strongly against.  I engage in non-violent dialogue with others who think it is no big deal, or that there is nothing I can do about it.  I feel strongly that I have an ethical responsibility to do something and begin posting counter-stories all over my feed.  I begin posting memes with quotations like “The only thing evil needs to flourish is for good men to do nothing”. I contemplate deleting people from my Facebook account who do not share in my “vibration” and therefore are not attracted in to my current life.  I remind myself that there is a reason why we lose touch with people in life and feel satisfied that I have set up a strong boundary between me and everyone who is not me. Temporarily, I feel the happiness of the righteous.

Then I wondered what Adyashanti would say about what I had done.  I imagined he would note that I had created a great story to justify my differences with others. That story of differences was energized as far as possible for me to define a separation from others, justify it, and turn away from even being curious about if our differences were real. I could feel myself realizing that as much as I earnestly claim a desire for oneness and awakening, my energy and story had moved me in a different direction.

I do not beat myself up over that.  Doing so would be replacing one story with a new one.  I feel peace in the idea of releasing this pattern.  I feel peace in opening a new possibility for myself.  I celebrate that this whole thing has led me one step closer to letting go of an illusion keeping me from knowing awakening and oneness in me as a truth right now.

So, Facebook, I will contemplate how to incorporate you into my practice, and be a place of love every time I go on.

 

Don’t Ask Why

Spiritual Inquiry is a powerful spiritual practice and tool for insight. It is an essential element for moving past ego.
“Meditative self-inquiry is the art of asking a spiritually powerful question. And a question that is spiritually powerful always points us back to ourselves. Because the most important thing that leads to spiritual awakening is to discover who and what we are—to wake up from this dream state, this trance state of identification with ego. And for this awakening to occur, there needs to be some transformative energy that can flash into consciousness. It needs to be an energy that is actually powerful enough to awaken consciousness out of its trance of separateness into the truth of our being. Inquiry is an active engagement with our own experience that can cultivate this flash of spiritual insight.” – Yoga International

So we might ask questions like:  How shall I live, knowing I will die? What Do I love? What is life calling of me? Who am I? 

The question that may be least useful is the question Why: Why did that happen?  Why did I do that? Why am I like this?

The word Why invites a causal answer. In the physical world, it can be helpful to understand cause and effect. Why does the moon look different every week? Why do salmon swim upstream? When used as spiritual Inquiry,  it invites going to a story to explain how things occurred.  It leads to creating a personality to explain experience or worse, it leads to coming up with reasons to see yourself as flawed. The question Why creates instant separation from Source.  

A key aspect of good inquiry is it moves you away from head and into heart. The word Why is a head question. 
“When Inquiry is authentic, it brings you into the experience of here and now, bringing you to the full depth of it, pulling you into it. The question pulls you back into the mystery of your experience. “What am I?” takes you right back into the mystery. If your mind is honest, it knows it doesn’t have the answer. You ask, “What am I?” and instantly, there is silence. Your mind doesn’t know. And when it doesn’t know, there is an experience right here, right now, that is alive. You bump into nothingness inside—that no-thing, that absolute nothingness which your mind can’t know.” – Adyashanti 

Let the question Why be an indicator that you are not engaging in spiritual inquiry. Better yet, find your own powerful questions and share them here in the comments. 

Dancing in Starlight in a Capricorn Moon

“This is crazy,” I thought, as I left my bed. It was so late it was early, as Shakespeare said. I was answering some tug on my soul.  

I quietly went on my back deck,  careful not to let any of my pets slip past me. But unlike me, they were not crazy. They were still asleep. 

I stood listening to the wind in my poplar tree. I had been discussing it’s inevitable removal with an arborist today.  But tonight, it was alive with whispers. 

A soft rain fell. When I was under the tree, it protected me from being soaked. Instead, I was gently sprayed, as if I were standing on the ocean’s edge at night. 

“Come play,” whispered the tree. “Yes,” teased the raindrops, “Dance with us.”

“This is crazy,” I muttered a second time. I was recovering from a back injury. I needed sleep for work tomorrow.  I needed…

…to dance in the rain. I needed to feel the wind in all its wildness. I needed starlight.  I needed to answer the pull of the Capricorn moon. 

“I will pay for this tomorrow, ” my mind tried one last futile attempt to push me back to bed. 

“Maybe…or maybe I have paid for sensibility too long. Maybe it’s time to follow my soul when it longs for something. ”

And I sang softly. I sang to the coaxing tree and to the silken grass under my bare feet.  I sang to the moon and the stars. I sang my freedom and peace.

I used to  wake and sit alone in my living room at midnight feeling unfulfilled longings. No more. 

No, I Don’t Take This Man To Be My Husband 

“So, do you ever talk to him?”, she asked, after a full night of connection and conversation. She was a mutual friend of a former partner. 

I used to dread that question.  But now, the feeling it elicits is a happy grin. “No. It was fun while it lasted, but when vibrations change, you just have nothing left but love.”

She nodded. “I know. I have run into people that I have energy with and it can be anywhere in the world – a continent away from where they live and there we both are.”

I understand that. He and I (former guy) have lots of friends in common and similar enough interests that it is more noteworthy that we never run into each other. 

We spoke about the nature of relationship.  My daughter’s father and I used to have a line in our How Did You Meet story that went “…we just had everything in common.” Now, I would be hard pressed to list 5 things we have in common. 

“Mmm hmmm. I don’t see relationships as the knight in armour or even as happily ever after,” I said. “I pretty much am only committed for as long as there is growth. After that, I am not committed simply because it’s supposed to be a committed relationship.”

Yikes. Because that is actually true of me. 

I used to read stories of amazing loves and share them as a sort of wish list of what was missing for me. I would watch the ease and connection of some friends who have 30 year marriages – my siblings included. I would yearn for that.  I thought I did, at least.  

That type of relationship comes with a commitment to the relationship – not necessarily to the other person but to the relationship you have created. The third entity. 

In my desire to try to do that committed thing, I stayed with men. Pushed to try to fix it – meaning make him and the relationship conform to my needs.  

But I didn’t work on the relationship.  

If I had truly looked at the relationships I was in, I would have seen what friends and family all told me: I wasn’t happy and the men were not right for me.  

So, dear heart who may walk into my life one day, know this: I will love you fiercely. I will push you to the highest spiritual awareness I am capable of embodying.  We will laugh and have adventures. We will listen to the rain at night, stand in thunderstorms and have snow ball fights. 

But by no means will I disrespect you or me by marrying you. 

When I Let Co-Dependency Sneak In To My Romantic Life

We don’t start out co-dependent.  It isn’t a natural trait.  It is something we learn, and that is modeled to us.  It is a way we learn to survive and cope sometimes too. “The Codependent has adapted their behaviour in order to get their needs met in a setting where someone they cared about was unable or unwilling to take care of themselves and their own problems. After progressively taking on the care taking role the Codependent somehow forgets to look after their own needs and deal with their own problems. As a result even if they physically break free from the person who is dependent on them they take their Codependency forward into future relationships.” – Basics of Codependency

at least you are all comfortable: I started dating when I was 13.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had good filters back then.  I would begin dating someone, and fairly quickly, know that I did not feel like it was the right relationship.  I would feel icky when I was with them.  And so I would end the relationship.  Often, the man would hang on, or hang around.  I would begin to feel guilty.  Who was I to hurt this man? or the next? or the next? I dated many men for short periods of time.

Obviously something was wrong with me.  I was not good at commitment.  My standards were too high.  I was judgmental.  I needed to be more accepting, tolerant and open to love.

It did not occur to me that I was exercising good judgement.  That I was respecting myself.

These Modern Dames are the strong independent women who refuse to be a victim of anything. They hold their fate in their own hands. They refuse to be a Damsel in Distress or play off the victim card as a way to receive “equality” without the accountability of true equality.:

““There’s a side of him that’s so loving and caring. When he hugs me and doesn’t let go, and how we laugh…we’re so good together! And then, sometimes, he acts so strangely. He withdraws. Then he’s back…I don’t know what to do.”

We give so many chances to people who aren’t worthy of it.

We overlook problems and let things slide.

We make excuses for non-excusable behaviors.

We give a lot of bad things a pass because of the apparent good ones.

Why?

Because someone has a kind and affectionate side, too?

Because they tell you nice things and sometimes make you feel special?

We miss seeing the forest for the trees.

If a person has a loving side but also a jackass side, it should be a huge red flag for you. Their inconsistency should sound a massive alarm.

When dating someone, look at the bigger picture. You need to see the good and the bad—the complete deal you’re getting. Before that, decide what part of the deal is unacceptable to you and you won’t turn your head away from.

Not calling you, treating you with disrespect or neglecting you should definitely be on that list.” – Elephant Journal

Instead, I learned to accept being treated disrespectfully by people, and to find ways to explain away their behaviour.  I was proud of how tolerant and loving and accepting I had become. It was a sign of spiritual growth, wasn’t it?

And so, in three significant relationships, I allowed myself to be treated disrespectfully, felt the pain, and added to it by judging myself for not doing a better job at accepting him.

That is not to say that any of those men were bad people, or that I blame them.  Only I can be responsible for my boundaries.  Only I can be responsible for how I allow others to treat me, and how I respond in a relationship where my needs, wishes, and value are not respected. I know that each man might find a partner who does not find those behaviours that were problems for me to be concerning in a different relationship.  

What are my boundaries in relationship? I find myself echoing the same ones in the article.

“Boundary One:

I never play games

I am done with playing games, calculating who called who first, how many times, playing hot and cold, he wants me but he’s making me wait, he’s cool, one day he’s “all in” and the next one “out”…

I will not show interest in any man who doesn’t show genuine interest in me.

The moment I recognize he’s playing games, he’s out.

Boundary Two:

I will be treated with respect

I want a man who proves that he respects me as a person and as a woman. He respects my feelings and my needs. He listens and treats me with respect. Not only that; he also respects his word. He respects our agreements and values our time together. When he says he’ll be there, he’s there. Any sign of disrespect makes me nip the relationship in the bud.

Boundary Three:

I have zero tolerance for Casanova behavior or me being “the other woman.”

No, no, no and no. I will not look at you ogling other women, flirting on every corner, or having 30 different female friends who are all your “super-close friends” (but whose names you barely remember) and with whom you’re very physical, touchy and tender.

Yes, I want you to treat other women with respect too—but not with an “I’d like to bang you” respect. There’s a clear difference between the two, and we women see it.

Oh, and yes—you already have someone? It’s complicated? Please, throw my number away.”

I am incredibly valuable.  More importantly: my life is full and rich.  If you do not add to my life, I don’t need you.  I will not be in a relationship out of need.  I do not need you to complete me.  I have in my life only those who I want.

My Value Is Not In My Body

To you I sway like sweet waves of honey,and though the way my hips move to unheard music has you hypnotized,there’s more to me than curves to trace with your hands.

My value isn’t in the skin underneath your fingertips as you reach out to touch what tempts you.

Lingering there will not collect my worth, and you cannot kiss me enough to make it known to me.

I do not find value in your arms,

comfort, yes,

arousal

yesss

oh yes

but my space in your bed is not my worth.

Nor is my space in your heart.

Love me.

Please do.

Love me for my body

and the way it fits in the grooves of yours and the way we glide together into each parcel of space.

Love me for the familiar scent of my

skin when you

close in on my neck.

Love me for the heart that

is pressed to yours

and the love you know it has for you—

not because I have told you

but from the undeniable richness of

our colliding energy,

the way your bones know the elixir

of their own marrow.

Love that it is safe here

in Us

and our unwavering honesty—

never has anything we cannot see

or touch

been so true.

Love me for the way I tease your mind

with my thoughts,

and how our dueling perspectives

amplify our senses.

But know that no amount of

attraction will detail my worth.

That while you place value on me,

and I on you

this love is not an exchange.

I do not give you my body,

touch my lips to yours,

feel my bones quake

because to be held by you

makes me worth something.

Your approval

is flattering and

your agreement

fiercely connecting

but I am not validated by it.

I am worth just as much with any of that as with nothing at all;

you see,

my value,

is in my Self

and the purity of my being alive at all—just as yours

should be to you.

An Empowered Woman is a woman who is in tune with her Wild Soul and lives from her heart. She values her intuition and knows her medicine is a powerful force to be reckoned with. She rediscovers herself in her conscious reconnection to the Divine. She transforms from the inside out and is a light of hope helping inspire other women's creativity and spirituality. She lives in her uniqueness as a Modern Day GODDESS...:

Aging is Just Another Ego Structure

“That is just how it is when you get older…”

“Everything starts to fall apart once you hit 40.”

“You aren’t valued for your wisdom as you age – the younger staff get the opportunities.”

I have heard several spiritual teachers say the equivalent of “Aging is Optional”.  Wayne Dyer said it, and Christian Northrup teaches it. That is not to deny that the body changes.  We transition through many body changes: baby, toddler, child, teen, adult, pregnancy, etc.  The way we see aging significantly impacts the way we experience it.

In Chasing Enlightenment, Adyashanti talks about aging as a tool for moving us past the constructed self.  He suggests that at some point, usually between 40 and 60, we are no longer able to reconstruct the image of self we have spent most of our lives building.  We can’t sustain our career identity, as we may have hit the peak of positions we can attain.  We can’t sustain our illusion of invincibility, as our bodies change. Gradually, those things we have spent a life time putting in to place as Me are no longer true.

Many people are terrified of that.  They grasp at whatever is possible to hold on to a fragile ego identity that will inevitably fall away as death. The question is if you are willing to die to  your ego while you are alive, and live in that freedom.

Personally, I feel great relief in the knowledge that nature has designed life to assist us in letting go of ego structures and increase the opportunity for us to be fully Awake. I have been actively devoted to seeing the ways in which I create separation for a few years now, with varying success.  One noteworthy success is that, where as the knowing that I will die someday used to invoke terror, it now feels peaceful and beautiful. I know that I will come to be released fully from my mind and my ego.

I have never been one to fear getting older.  I don’t have a mental model of aging.  I have no expectations and no script to follow.  That is one blessing of having a young child at a time when many of my peers are grandparents and retirees.  My life is my own, not a pre-written script.

And that too is incredible freedom to be fully alive.