Are You a Cowardly Lyin’?
Doing what you are afraid of, so you can do what you want
What causes the ongoing persistence of any problem – like recurrent anger at expectations not being met – is trying to avoid certain sensations in your body.
The best instrument for avoiding life is a machine we call a Distracter Tractor—your very own MIND.
When you experience an experience it comes and goes. When you resist, it persists.
Your mind is often an instrument of resistance. You use your mind to try to walk away and forget feelings of hurt, anger, embarrassment, guilt, shame, etc. that give you a “bad feeling”. Your mind tells you if you let yourself experience what you don’t want to experience more, it will only get worse. So you jump to figuring feelings out rather than being with them.
Your mind likes to figure things out at a distance, and help you avoid discomfort.
Your mind is not always your best friend.
And there is an additional problem...
When you avoid going to completion with feelings, when you avoid experiencing the sensations in your body that you don’t like, (the ones that come from dealing directly with hurt by, or love of, or anger at, some other person), that avoidance itself causes you to keep re-creating the same troubles in other relationships.
So, for example, If you are a control freak, you try to prevent bad feelings happening again by making your children or employees or spouse behave. And you can bullshit yourself and others in dozens of other ways to avoid having certain physical experiences.
The cowardly mind comes up with distractions on a moment-to-moment basis because it predicts that if the experience goes to completion it will be worse for you. That is almost never true.
Inhibit your inhibitor!
The second yoga sutra by Patanjali, written almost 5000 years ago, defines the purpose of all Yoga (including all of the kinds of Yoga there are in the world):
“The objective of all Yoga is to bring about an inhibition of the modifications of the mind.” (Modifications of the mind are thoughts, categories, evaluations, comparisons, stories, meaning making, etc.) The sutra says to inhibit them. Not ignore them. Not stop them. Not overcome the mind. Not conquer it. Just stutter step the sonofabitch now and again! So reality can peep through in spite of the machinations of your mind!
Me and Pat both know, if you just inhibit the damned thing now and again for a while—it takes the “dys” right out of dysfunctional! You inhibit the inhibitor! It’s like a hiccup interrupting a hiccup as a mode of travel!
Inhibiting the inhibition takes you in seconds to letting sensations formerly interrupted to be there and for you to be with them while they increase, decrease, fade and go to completion! You go from piss to bliss! Shit to Shinola! Crap to Creativity!
We resist letting experiences go to completion because of the cowardly Lyin’ mind!
We want to avoid certain sensations. We try to get around and avoid looking at, talking to, dealing with people directly. We try to not feel what we are feeling. It is a kind of a dance. Step forward. Step back. Go around. Turn your back. Step away. Come around. Step forward. Turn away again.
So, what can we do about this sad state of affairs? I propose we change the dance to one step back and two steps forward.
You step back and deal with what you stepped over, and then take two steps forward. The new dance is called “Life is just sensational when life is just sensational!”
Noticing is More Important than Thinking
The more noticing is included in orienting ourselves to the world, the less the mind, (and reactivity stored in the mind) dominates and disorients the being.
So we ask people to go back and finish with what was left unfinished in past relationships. We know we are asking people to go right out and do what they most don’t want to do.
But there is a method to our madness. When you experience an experience, it comes and goes. When you avoid an experience it can hang around forever. And it keeps showing up again.
It is not anyone’s favorite thing to go back and talk to their mothers and fathers and step mothers and step fathers and former lovers and ex mates and any other person they cut off or shut off or avoided in their past.
And then if they tell the truth about what they avoided and what they lied about and what they ran away from completing, it gets worse. We ask them to sit there and have the experience that comes up for them again, just like it did when they ran away the first time. Only this time stick with it.
We ‘splain to them that this works better than what they have been trying, because their very avoidance of replicating these old timey experiences is the very source of having them show up again over and over in their lives. That is just the way our dumb assed cowardly minds work. Your mind is the source of cowardly lyin’!
Freud called making something happen by trying to avoid it a reaction formation, and although he didn’t know as much about it as we know today, he was on the right trail. He thought it was the analysis that brought about change. It wasn’t. It was the chance to re-experience avoided experiences.
What you think is your biggest problem could be your best resource if you have the courage to face it. We call this “completing what was incomplete.”
What Completion Does for You
Completing unfinished experiences of hurt, anger, sadness, unrequited love, guilt, and secrets and lies from the past is not done well in a therapist’s office. It is done in the real world. You find persons you were shortchanged by or whom you short changed, and go through a process of completion, which leads to forgiving them and yourself, and allows for a new beginning.
Completing what has been incomplete in your life clears the way for a different kind of future than would be predicted from your past.
Completion allows you to give up grudges and renew old relationships as well as make a new beginning with people in your current life.
You learn to forgive your enemies for your own benefit. You don’t keep causing bad things to happen by trying to avoid what happened in the past.
Rather than living over again your history of unfulfilled or only partially fulfilled relationships, you correct that history for the sake of a new kind of future.
You give up hopes and demands that those you are related to have to make you happy. And you give up obligating yourself to be the one responsible for their happiness. And all that is a good thing.
The way you take on being responsible for your own happiness is by sharing rather than avoiding.