My mother, who is almost 90 years old, is in the process of moving to a retirement community. The process has been replete with stress, confusion, and conflict. Just this morning I became involved in a very confrontational discussion with her. What happened in this conversation provided me with a vivid example of how my own belief system contributes to my own suffering as well as hers’. I think the story is worth retelling. Even more importantly, it shows how our most intimate belief systems sustain the belief in an “I/me” that isn’t real in the first place.
My mother is taking only some of her possessions to her new home and therefore has to dispose of most of her larger items at some personal expense. Since my mother lives on social security, I thought that it would be helpful to sell some of these items on craigslist. By selling them, I would be helping those who could use her old furniture and lower her moving costs.
Well, we tried selling some of the furniture at very low cost and wound up selling none of it. So, after, a heated discussion, my mother agreed to give most of it away.
So this morning I called her because several people wanted to arrange a time to pick up some of the free furniture. She immediately went into a rage complaining that she was giving her stuff away for nothing and that she really couldn’t be bothered with all of the aggravation of greeting strangers and all of the other minor inconveniences of giving her possessions away.
I responded with anger. I accused her of always dumping her anger on me, as opposed to my brother, whose nature is far less confrontational than my own (please note). I also angrily brought to her attention that she had already agreed to give the furniture away for nothing, because it would save her money during the move. I reminded her that I was sacrificing much of my time to help her with the move, not to mention that I would need to be there for the move and for the removal of all the stuff she’s not taking. I was demanding recognition of my sacrifice, as well as all of the good things I was doing for her and all I got in response was her own anger and blame. From her perspective, I was a big part of the problem. I also noted that every time I make a suggestion she immediately rejects it, but if her favored niece makes the very same recommendation she commends her, to me, for the excellence of her suggestions. I then, of course, brought to her attention her hypocrisy and favoritism.
The conversation went on and on like this and it left me exhausted and feeling miserable about her, the move, and me.
So what can we take away from all of this from the perspective of Liberation from the Lie?
Liberation, as it is described in this book, is liberation from our habitual beliefs and conditioning. And that we we are free of all of our underlying beliefs, that even the sustained belief in an “I/me” diminishes greatly. In other words, the direct experience of liberation is the freedom to “be” in this present moment. The greatest challenge in the whole process of Self realization is seeing our own (in Yiddish) mishegas, our own bullshit, our own hypocrisy.
As I reflected on this very unpleasant conversation I made some, for me, astounding realizations.
The source of suffering is the belief in a “me” that isn’t real – it’s just a concept – a belief and this sticky belief is kept alive and well exactly in those circumstances that allow it play its role in exactly the way that role is defined by the ego. This belief is an energetic manifestation and it helped to create this painful interchange. It showed up in the form of “I am right and you are wrong – I deserve your accolades and all I ever get is your complaining – You are old and confused and you should listen to me because I am right – I am expert at finding evidence that shows that I am right and you are wrong – I need to be right (and I need to be the expert) because that’s who I am – (finally) – it is clear that I’ve always been smarter and more together than you and this conversation is just more evidence supporting that “fact”.
Through this conversation I expressed the full fear-self Eric in all his agonizing glory. Can you see this? My psychological self was imposing its hard-edged beliefs from itself to my mom and in the process contributed to making this an extremely painful conversation.
Now let’s make on bigger statement about this conversation.
To some extent, this same “expert” Eric writes this very blog. I regularly assert the correctness of my views. And when I pontificate about the leap of faith that takes us to the place free of All belief, that I am, perhaps, speaking from my own comfortable place of belief. That the person who participated in this difficult conversation is, to some large extent, the same person who writes this blog.
As I write in my book, we don’t transcend our Wound and fear-selves, but we do, to some extent, cease taking them as seriously or we stop believing that they define who we are. In this conversation, I regressed and I fully embraced my own fear-based belief system. It also shows that we tend to most often ‘back slide’ when we are relating to members of our own family, those people where the relations are most effected by old beliefs and many years of conditioning. This is, really, where “the rubber meets the road”.
This conversation also shows us a profound teaching, which is why I’m blogging about it. Conflict, old habits, repeated painful scenes are some of the best vehicles to see our fear-based selves in action. I wrote extensively about this in my book. But, sometimes, the author needs to return to kindergarten to re-take the course he didn’t do so well in the first time around.
Believe nothing you read. Do not believe me. Rather see what is unquestionably true in your own moment-to-moment experience rigorously free of all your beliefs, all of your need to be right – to be the authority. See that the “I” you think you are is really just a belief; a persona that needs to be seen and felt. And then explore whether that is true for yourself.