Being right or being at peace

That old piece of wisdom that we can be right or be at peace is something I notice almost daily, if I pay attention.

Whenever there is stress, it is because I – at some level – insists on being right about something by taking a story as exclusively true. I take it as absolutely true, and discount and dismiss the truth in its reversals. And this prevents me from seeing the limited truth in all of those versions of the story, and the inherent neutrality in what the story refers to.

So exploring this in more detail, seeing that the original story has only a limited truth to it, and that its reversals have a limited truth to them as well, there is more of a peace with the situation. Releasing identification with one particular story about it, I am not at odds with it anymore. From being identified with and as the story and the particular perspective, I am now that which holds a wider range of stories and perspectives, honoring and recognizing the limited truth in each one.

Being at peace with it sounds a little passive perhaps, but the reality of it is anything but passive. It is a space that allows for a dynamic, juicy and engaged flow among perspectives, including the freedom to use any one of them as a guideline for my actions in the world – while also being free from taking it as an absolute truth.

There are many ways to work with this. We can use Voice Dialog or the Big Mind process to explore the different views and perspectives, getting familiar with each one, and befriending and owning each one. We can investigate our original belief through The Work, seeing the consequences of rigidly clinging to it, the freedom in releasing the grip on it, and the truth in its reversals. We can use different forms of journeying, such as Process Work, exploring and taking on the different roles and perspectives and their relationships. Or we can even simply be with our experience, wholeheartedly, which includes releasing our grip on the initial perspective and story.

For instance, there is/was a tendency for me to be annoyed about noise, for instance when people eat loudly or talk during a performance, movie or talk, or play loud music in the neighborhood. So here, I can be right by holding onto my stories that these people should behave differently, and all the supporting stories of how they are oblivious, disrespectful, loud obnoxious Americans, people are more conscious and respectful where I come from, and so on. And this brings tension and stress. I am at odds with life as it shows up.

Or I can try to be at peace with it, while also being right, which doesn’t work very well.

Or, I can be willing to let go of being right, in the sense of taking my initial stories about it as the final or most true truth, and arrive at a wider – and more juicy, fluid and alive – embrace of the different views, roles and perspectives involved.

I can investigate the beliefs that people should be quiet during a performance, that it is disrespectful to make noises in certain situations, and so on. Is it true? What happens when I hold onto that belief, and if it wasn’t there? What is the truth in its reversals?

I can explore the roles and views involved through Voice Dialog and the Big Mind process. What do they each have to say? How do I habitually relate to and treat each one of them? What are the gifts of each one? How would they like to be treated?

I can allow any experiences that come up for me around it, in a wholehearted and heartfelt way. This inevitably involves releasing my grip on any one role, position or perspective.

I can explore it through Process Work, taking on the role of the noise maker and explore what it has to say, what it wants me to see and wake up to, and what gifts and contributions it has for me. It may tell me loosen up, this is all part of life. When you narrow your focus and exclude these sounds by your shoulds, you exclude life. 

I can find myself and headless or as Big Mind, and see that everything arising is just phenomena, just another experience. It is part of the field of awakeness and form, inherently absent of any I with an Other.

After finding this wider embrace and more free flow among roles, perspectives and views, I find that there is often a shift from stress, to neutrality, to even enjoyment and appreciation of what initially appeared as a disturbance.

And instead of either suppressing my compulsion to either leave or ask people to be quiet, or doing it from annoyance, I can do either or neither from more clarity, and with a sense of connection.

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