There is an often unquestioned, and unnoticed, assumption that war is necessary to get things done. Not the type of wars we find in Iraq and other places, but the war within each of us, the war with reality.
There is a difference between our stories of what is and what should be, and the tension between these is what drives action. If this is all we know, or have noticed, then it can be difficult to image actions and engagement coming out of anything else.
Yet, when our attachment to even a single story is released, we come to see how life unfolds without war. An impulse comes up, and if there isn’t a good reason not to engage in it, we do it. All within a sense of ease, clarity, simplicity, intimacy with life.
A rambling initial draft…
Here is an often unquestioned, and unnoticed, assumption: War is necessary to get things done.
(War is here a somewhat dramatic way of pointing to what happens when there is a conflict between our stories of what is and should be. If we look closer, there is often a miniature war going on in these situations.)
It is also often a question that comes up for people doing The Work. If I let go of shoulds, won’t I lose motivation, passion and direction?
Whenever our stories of what is and should be conflict, there is a tension there. And when we act on that tension, there is a sense of stress, being driven, and maybe of being obsessive, compulsive, pushed, hunted, haunted. When I look a little closer at this for myself, I find that behind all of it is not only a sense of separation – to life, others, myself, my past or future, but also of fear.
What will happen to me if the is and the shoulds are not more closely aligned? How can I make it happen? What do I need to do? What if I make a wrong decision?
I also find that the shoulds, and the sensations they are anchored in, gives me a sense of something to push off from. I am being pushed by it, and also have something to push off from. This is one of the reasons why it seems effective.
(Any attachment to a story gives a sense of I and Other, right and wrong. It splits the world. And it is also attached to sensations, often amplified through physical tension.)
It seems effective, because things often do get done in this way, even if there is some stress involved.
But is it true that it won’t get done without these beliefs, these shoulds, this tension, this sense of having something to push off from?
When we are caught up in shoulds, there is often a sense of ambivalence and internal conflicts as well. We have shoulds pushing us towards a particular action, and also shoulds telling us why not to do it. This creates an additional tension, whether we act or not.
Without all of this, there is just a sense of simplicity and clarity. An impulse arises, and if we cannot find a good reason why not to do it, we act on it. As Byron Katie says, we get out of our own business.