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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Zen Answer to Drama

It creeps up on you. First it is subtle and then it is obvious. It can be shocking and all consuming. Having too many choices complicates things and before you know it, instead of being led by the child within you, the adult takes over and unintentionally life becomes a constant struggle. We all need to be reminded that being a kid at heart is living fearlessly, free of agendas and self-perpetuated dramas. Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to have so much drama in their lives? Whereas some people breeze through life, others seem to live from one crisis to another. Some people just seem to crave drama, create drama and look for drama. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I watch people carrying a load of life's unnecessary baggage around with them in search of the next drama. Let go. It's no that difficult. Zen philosophy emerged from Buddhism. This philosophy supports mindfulness and dharma practice. Dharma refers to understanding "self" and the way things are.

Zen followers find happiness in themselves rather than seeking it elsewhere. This personality will seek self knowledge in order to understand what makes them happy. They also realize that happiness is a state of mind. So they must cultivate the feeling by living in the moment, staying in the moment. They are peaceful and mindful of the ego's tendency to attract conflict which often evolves into a fight.

Think about why everything evolved into a fight, jockeying for position, status, wealth and power. Power isn't about how many people you are able to thwart should they step into your path. It isn't about participation in the battles others choose for us. It's about refusing to allow anyone to delegate the "rules" which attract even more conflict. There are no rules that say you must partake in... if you think about it. Who says that you have to retaliate against the people who stand there, arms folded, waiting for you to engage in a never-ending game of absurd one-upsmanship? Simply choose to walk around that person and go forward with a smile, with laughter. Seek the truth by listening to your inner self and your natural inclination to stay present, thus avoiding manipulation.

Manipulation and taking advantage of others goes hand in hand with the ego's quest for sympathy. The storyline goes like this— now that I have got you feeling sorry for me, of course you must rescue me! And I am in so much trouble and pain, you just have to take care of me! Not true. The sad part is, these people usually have low self-esteem and believe that they will not be noticed, complaining about their lot is their best perceived way of getting attention. Sadly it actually works the other way around— they end up creating a negative impression which often becomes a cycle, pulling everything into the abyss of negativity. If you are at peace within, these games will never find a home with you.

People will respect you more if they know that they can trust you to tell the truth. Do not try to cover up your mistakes, admit to them, apologize and move on. Gossip is yet another a relationship killer. Avoid saying things about people that you have not told the offending person directly. Be real. You will be easily found out if you are being fake. And besides, it is annoying to see two people embrace and be giddy in seeing each other only to walk away saying, “I can’t stand her.” What is that about? Who are these people trying to fool? It's absurd and petty and it should never find its way into your life. Do not be easily offended… Do your best to look past small inconsequential aspects of life. It isn't worth the effort. Keep in mind that nothing is a contest unless you are willing to make it into one.

Know who you can trust… If someone has broken your trust a few times, maybe this is a pattern for them. Maybe you need to use wisdom and discretion in deciding what you tell them the next time you talk. This is not an end all to avoiding all drama, but putting these actions into practice will help you start the drama removal process in your life. It takes practice and discipline. It is important to be able to admit your shortcomings to friends. If you happen to make a mistake or inadvertently hurt someone, be truthful about it all and ask them to forgive you.

And lastly, keep these simple truths in mind... impermanence, transition, detachment from the outcome. Everything is practice. Be the observer.

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