Rick and I were chatting while out on a walk. The discussion had something to do with human behaviour and a specific concept I was trying to explain. I remember nothing
about the topic or the content, but I do remember I was getting irritated.
wanted him to just listen, but apparently his assigned universal role that day was to keep poking holes in whatever was my point.
since my ego, on that particular day, didn't want to play along, and couldn't seem to ignore the pokes, and didn't think to change the topic, its only option left was to engage in a war in defence of itself.
After several irritating pokes followed by my increasingly irrational and impatient responses, my ego started to feel trapped. As the ego goes into fear mode, it loses considerable IQ points.
So, in a fog of confusion and desperation, and with no access to wisdom or clarity, all my ego could think to do, was to throw out a grenade.
I said something to the effect of... "Well, then you can say that about the holocaust!"
I think Rick responded with something in the
form of, "Well, you don't need to go to there."
I stopped responding. He stopped poking. The walk got quiet. LOL!
In this particular war, the poking did stop, so I guess my ego's grenade appeared to achieve at least one of its goals.
However, as with any war, there was some collateral damage. My ego was left with a few sores, and my body was left with some tension and adrenaline to dissipate. Perhaps Rick might
have had some of his own wounds to tend. I don't know.
When I reflect on the event, I see that I had some awareness of my internal
atmosphere building toward potential war... I could feel my growing irritation with each successive poke, accompanied by my ego's immediate and compelling need to respond in defence.
If instead, I had been in the feeling of a relaxed state of grace, the pokes wouldn't have felt like pokes at all, and I wouldn't have had any need to defend or engage in war.
But unfortunately, Grace didn't show up that day. "I" did. LOL!
After the walk turned quiet, there was the lingering tension within my mind and body, but there was also the beginnings (as keeps happening again and again and again), of humbling amusement...
I remembered that in the moment I was tossing my grenade, that there was a whisper of awareness that I was acting out a cliche... I was going to an "extreme" that I often see others
do, whether in conversations with friends or clients, or on the news, or in social media. Something that I thought I was mostly past doing.
awareness caught my ego's hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. But hey, once your hand's already in there, what do ya do? LOL! The grenade had already been lobbed.
This phenomena of throwing out extreme examples happens frequently when there are differences in views, especially when internal states of "low mood" and ego are at play.
Instead of genuinely listening and reflecting, and curiously enquiring with more nuanced examples, the uncomfortable ego projects outward to the extreme... Well what about Hitler?! Well what about
pedophiles?! Well what about murder?! Well what about the starving children? Well what about <insert extreme example here>?!
what is it that makes us think to grab for an extreme? Is it that it's handy and obvious? Is it that it's easier to go for cliches when our reduced state of IQ can't navigate nuance? I don't know, but it's interesting to reflect on.
Going to extremes (engaging in war) is just one of many symptoms of cognitive dissonance... that feeling you get when something doesn't match your view of reality, and
if your ego happens to get engaged, it moves into protection mode. You cover your ears and eyes, you stomp your feet, and you throw out grenades to make it go away.
But if I look deeper, and recall my own personal feeling of this particular experience, I think it goes right back to where I started... with the need to be heard.
I just wanted him to listen.
When I'm feeling the inevitable pendulum swing
of the human internal life, from feeling secure to feeling insecure, from feeling more connected to inner grounding to feeling less connected to inner grounding, it always includes moments and periods of the swing toward insecurity and disconnection and suffering.
And those feelings can come out in infinite forms.... irritability, lostness, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, stress, distress, anger, righteous
judgment, etc. You name it. We've all got our own unique go-to's of personal crazy.
When we're in that state of suffering, we can't
take anything in... we can't hear, we can't see, and our access to grace and wisdom and common sense completely disappears.
really need in that moment is someone to notice the thorn in our paw, and to approach us with understanding and care. To KNOW deeply within themselves that we're all always innately and fundamentally OK, but just temporarily lost and stuck and disconnected
With that true understanding of us that they are holding, they tap into a wisdom that shines a light in our darkness,
and helps guide us back home to sanity and safety.
With the grace of that light and space, we see our true self again, and we feel
it's unconditional acceptance and love. The pendulum finds its equilibrium.
Rick and I had a conversation about this post, and since
then have had a lot of laughs about it.
He was amused that he couldn't remember what we were talking about either. He reflected on how significant that was...
we can both remember the war, but not the reason for it.
He later remembered that before going to the holocaust extreme, I had said
something to the effect of, "Well, that's just spiritual bypassing!" and "Well, that may be true from that perspective but I'm talking about the REAL world!"
I burst out laughing.
My ego had been pulling out every cliche in the book! I know it wasn't at all funny
in the moments I was saying those words, but now being back to my better state of mind and connection to my grounding, it's quite hilarious.
Rick also shared that in hindsight, had he been more aware of me going off the rails, instead of engaging his army in demonstrating its military superiority, he might have realized that "stealthily exiting from engagement" was a better option.
In the end, we're both human pendulums, and so this won't be our last war, and likely won't be my ego's last reach for the extreme.
But how lovely every time we both get back to equilibrium and get to laugh at our adorable humanity.