Last week we discussed 10 principles that would be quite effective for us to govern our skills base. Let's look at the final two.
NO BLAME, NO SHAME - Being human is not easy. We have been endowed with the most sophisticated information gathering and processing system on earth - the brain. The potential of this system, which is nearly unlimited, is extremely difficult to harness and direct. Especially when considering the fact that we are attempting to do it by trial and error with no manual! Frustration and discouragement are natural and inevitable outcomes of attempting this nearly impossible task. Our expectations about what we and others should be capable of are often unrealistic. Like giving the keys of a car to an eight year old and expecting him to drive without bumping into trees, light poles, and other cars. Consciousness is not an easy vehicle to steer even with years of practice! Mistaking this difficulty to be "abnormal" can lead us to the erroneous conclusion that something must be wrong or someone must be at fault. We are all a "work in progress" doing the best we can with the genetic tendencies we've been handed, and skills and experiences we currently possess. Seeing ourselves and others with less judgement and more compassion and understanding is very useful. When we let go of finding fault or feeling guilty it frees us up to see more options for improvement.
WE DO IT TO OURSELVES - Everyone experiences distress or an undesirable emotional state from time to time. With certain exceptions of course, most of the distress we experience is inadvertently self-induced. That is, we unintentionally bring it upon ourselves. This is not because we are bad, broken, stupid, or ill; but because being human is not easy. We all long for security (certainty or control) and we all want to avoid pain (physical or emotional). Unfortunately, in our attempt to do this we often develop mental or behavioral tendencies that are less than skillful. As a result, we suffer negative consequences such as interpersonal conflict, physical harm, or unpleasant emotions (guilt, shame, frustration, anger, resentment, fear, etc.) Why would we do this?
- We are unable to see our tendencies, or
- We can see them but we do not know how to change them, or
- We can see them, we do know how to change the, but we have not yet practiced enough to master alternatives.
This is actually good news. If the main reason we suffer is a result of our unskillful tendencies, then we have a recipe for success: 1) increase our ability to see how we inadvertently contribute to our own distress; 2) acquire the knowledge of how to do it differently; 3) patiently & persistently practice in order to develop the necessary skill.
Let's talk in-depth about all ten of these principles in tomorrows group!
Group will be held at 2p.m. PDT in the forum. We hope to see you there!