Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Meditation 3 - Discover the program in your head
And if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. (Mt. 5:40-41)
If you take a look at the way you have been put together and the way you function you will find that inside your head there is a whole program, a set of demands about how the world should be, how you should be and what you should want.
Who is responsible for the programming? Not you.
It isn't really you who decided even such basics as your wants and desires and so-called needs; your values, your tastes, your attitudes.
It was your parents, your society, your culture, your religion, your past experiences who fed the operating instructions into your computer.
Now, however old you are or wherever you go, your computer goes along with you and is active and operating at each conscious moment of the day, imperiously insisting that its demands be met by life, by people and by you.
If the demands are met, the computer allows you to be peaceful and happy. If they are not met, even though it be through no fault of yours, the computer generates negative emotions that cause you to suffer.
1. For instance, when other people don't live up to your computer's expectations, it torments you with frustration or anger or bitterness.
2. Another instance: when things are not under your control or the future is uncertain, your computer insists that you experience anxiety, tension, worry.
Then you expend a lot of energy coping with these negative emotions.
And you generally cope by expending more energy trying to rearrange the world around you so that the demands of your computer will be met.
If that happens you will be granted a measure of precarious peace; precarious because at any moment some trifle (a delayed train, a tape recorder that doesn't work, a letter that doesn't arrive - anything) is going to be out of conformity with your computer's programming and the computer will insist that you become upset again.
Is there a way out? Yes.
You are not going to be able to change your programming all that quickly, or perhaps ever. And you don't even need to.
1. Imagine you are in a situation or with a person that you find unpleasant and that you would ordinarily avoid.
2. Now observe how your computer instinctively becomes active, insisting that you avoid this situation or try to change it.
3. And if you stay on there and refuse to change the situation.
4. Observe how the computer insists that you experience irritation or anxiety or guilt or some other negative emotion.
5. Now keep looking at this unpleasant situation or person until you realize that:
A. It isn't they that are causing the negative emotions.
B. They are just going their way, being themselves, doing their thing whether right or wrong, good or bad.
C. It is your computer that, thanks to your programming, insists on your reacting with negative emotions.
You will see this better if you realize that someone with a different programming when faced with this same situation or person or even would react quite calmly, even happily. Don't stop till you have grasped this truth: the only reason why you too are not reacting calmly and happily is your computer that is stubbornly insisting that reality be reshaped to conform to its programming. Observe all of this from the outside so to speak and see the marvelous change that comes about in you.
Once you have understood this truth and thereby stopped your computer from generating negative emotions you may take any action you deem fit.
You may avoid the situation or the person; or you may try to change them; or you may insist on your rights or the rights of others being respected; you may even resort to the use of force.
But only after you have got rid of your emotional upsets, for then your action will spring from peace and love, not from the neurotic desire to appease your computer or to conform to its programming or to get rid of the negative emotions it generates.
Then you will understand how profound is the wisdom of the words: "If a man wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well. If a man in authority makes you go one mile, go with him two."
For it will have become evident to you that real oppression comes, not from people who fight you in court or from authority that subjects you to slave labor, but from your computer whose programming destroys your peace of mind the moment outside circumstances fail to conform to its demands. People have been known to be happy even in the oppressive atmosphere of a concentration camp!
It is from the oppression of your programming that you need to be liberated.
Only then will you experience that inner freedom from which alone all social revolution must arise for the powerful emotion the passion that arises in your heart at the sight of social evils and impels you to action, will have its origin in reality, not in your programming or your ego.