by Ross Bishop
Pretend that you are looking into two large rooms. The rooms appear identical – the same people, the same relationships, etc. But appearances can be deceiving. If you look carefully, there are important differences.
In Room One, everyone operates from ego, much as in our world today. Every relationship in this room is based upon uncertainty and anxiety: “Will they like me?” “Will they reject me?” “Am I good enough?” “If I take a risk will I be rejected?” People operate from ego in this room because it is not safe to risk being vulnerable. In other words, everything in Room One is based in some kind of fear.
As a result, power and manipulation are the dominant qualities found in this room. People judge and criticize to gain leverage in an unstable and inherently unfriendly environment. They create artificial hierarchies based upon wealth, power and position. They compete, not for accomplishment but to establish dominance. Money and position are important in Room One because they convey the imprimatur of “success.” In Room One, truth is consistently corrupted to serve the needs of power. If you extend these qualities out, you end up with the social dynamics one finds in a penitentiary.
The people in Room Two operate from the God Space. Relationships in Room Two are built upon compassion, respect, love for each other and acceptance. These qualities bring people together instead of driving wedges between them. In Room Two, people feel accepted and valuable, and that makes them want to contribute, simply because it makes life more enjoyable.
In Room One, family relationships are based in insecurity and fear. Because of their fears of being wounded, parents are not able to love their children freely and without reservation. Children cannot be granted the freedom to be who they really are because it threatens the parent’s already shaky sense of security. Therefore children are made to conform to their parent’s fears.
In relationships in Room One, partners are reluctant to truly commit. Instead they spar defensively from the fear of being hurt, rejected or perhaps even abandoned. As a result, relationships in Room One are shallow, pockmarked with problems and easily broken. People depend upon outside acceptance to determine whether or not they are acceptable or lovable. It isn’t that they do not care, they are afraid to allow their caring to be exposed because it makes them too vulnerable.
In Room Two, people know they are loved, and that frees them to be open and give love and compassion freely to each other. They can be in relationship without the fear and anxiety driven by the “holdbacks” that dominate relationships Room One.
People in Room Two live in the “now,” in the moment. They respond to what is really going on, whereas the people in Room One have been hurt and they fear a repetition of their past. Therefore they live in a past which is projected into the future. And since everyone in Room One operates from fear, the likelihood of their being hurt again is real.
I remember reading about a Honda assembly worker who would drive to work looking for Hondas with windshield wipers out of adjustment. He would stop to fix the maladjusted wipers. This man loved his work and he believed in his company! How rare that is on our world today! This is the spirit that Room Two generates.
In truth, it isn’t long before the two rooms take on dramatically different appearances. Where the people in Room Two are peaceful and content, people in Room One will be anxious and nervous. Fights and arguments constantly break out all over Room One. People lie, cheat and steal to get ahead and to “look better” than their competitors. Because there are conflicts in Room One, there will be a need for laws, law enforcement and a military. There is bruising competition and conflict in Room One that drives stress levels off the charts, therefore there is disease. In Room Two people work together and help each other. Work is done joyously and people are fulfilled.
The secret to being in Room One vs. Room Two is that the rooms are not places, they are states of mind. And, the wonderful thing about your state of mind is that you determine what it will be. Your state of mind is yours and yours alone to determine. In each moment you get to decide how you are going to relate to your life. You decide in which room you will reside for that moment.
Life often doesn’t feel that way. it pushes on us, bumps us, it sometimes even threatens us. It is difficult to hold center in the midst of all the commotion. But that is the challenge. It is what you came here to learn.
External events are real, but you decide how you will respond to them, and knowing that you have that power is a very important step toward enlightenment. You will always have feelings, but those are still your feelings. What you do with them is your choice. If you move beyond your feelings into the ego state and create emotion, then you have given control of your life over to your ego and chosen to live in Room One.
“Aren’t feelings natural?” people ask. Of course they are. But this is not true about emotion. Notice that feelings are contained within the self. You do something and I will have a feeling about it. I may chose to act on my feelings, but the point is, the act is still a choice – my choice.
If however when you act, I move into emotion, it is a different situation entirely. Emotions are based upon the fear involved in our connection and they exist to manipulate that connection.
What we call anger (which is really rage) exists to create distance between us. This thing we call love (which is really attachment) is created so that I will not feel alone. Emotions have an agenda, feelings just are.
If I truly love, what you do will not affect my love – even though I may not like what you are doing. If however, we are attached co-dependently, everything you do could threaten my security. Emotions are the way we lean on each other. Feelings are how we support one another.
Your state of mind is not determined by outside circumstances. Affected by them, of course, but linked to them, no. You can hold the God Space under even the most trying of circumstances. When they are lowering you into the pot of boiling oil, you can still hold the God Space. And, whether or not you are going to hold the God Space is completely your choice. It is the one thing in the universe that is yours alone to determine.
Other, people do not have to accept your love, but that is their choice (and their loss). The important thing is that you’ll feel better for doing it. If they choose to join you, that’s wonderful! It makes life that much better, but it doesn’t make life good. Only you do that. And, that is what determines the quality of your life experience. What happens doesn’t matter. How you react to what happens, matters a great deal.
I think that one of the most important books written in the 20th century is Viktor Frankl’s, Man’s Search For Meaning, in which he relates his WWII experiences living in Nazi concentration camps. I think this book should be required reading for everyone. I have reproduced a selection from Frankl’s book in the section following this article.
So, if the choice is always available, the question is what are you going to do with this moment? Life isn’t going to change much in the short term, so you can’t depend on life to determine your state of mind. The question always will be, how are you going to respond to life?
So why don’t we do it? Why do we continue to live in Room One, when the benefits of living in Room Two are so obvious? The answer is because, if you open up, you might get hurt, you might be rejected. And that fear simply destroys us. Some part of you believes that if you open up and make yourself vulnerable, you will be cast into the psychic abyss. Underneath all the words, the ideas and the concepts, is a little kid who believes that if she takes that risk, God is going to reject her (again).
There is so much more to say about this part, but there isn’t space here. I have addressed the subject and what to do about it at length in my books Healing The Shadow, Truth and Journey to Enlightenment. At the core is a large Misunderstanding that profoundly affects everything you do. We have found that the most effective way to address the Misunderstanding and its surrounding issues is the shamanic journey process.
Consider just this much – Are you really gaining anything by keeping yourself locked up in Room One? You’re still in pain and miserable much of the time. How much worse could it get? The fourteenth century Persian spiritual master, Abu Said ibn Abi Al Khair, defined the Islamic devotional practice known as Sufism by teaching:
What’s in your head – throw it away!
What’s in your hand – give it up!
Whatever happens – don’t turn away from it.
I am certain that there is something in your life at this moment that is begging for love and compassion. Perhaps it is a friend, a colleague, a partner or one of your children. And, I can also guarantee that some part of you could use love too! Take a moment, stop reading, go inside and give love to yourself. Then give it to the other people. Go ahead, close your eyes and do it right now. . .
Feels better doesn’t it? Whether or not you have changed the world, it makes you feel better, it makes your life better. And that is vitally important! The heck with the rest of the world! If it makes you feel better, do it! If they cannot go there with you, that’ s unfortunate, but don’t let that pull down your life!
After you have done that, then send love to the person you are angry with that you have been withholding your love from. . .
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