We humans tend to view the world from the dualistic perspective of me here, you there. Perhaps a leftover from ancient survivability hard wiring, but time to shift gears. Separation is cutting you off from the richness of life.
At the quantum level we are all separated by space, including within our own bodies, but so then is the entire universe. That doesn’t mean we are separate. It is all comes down to perspective.
We hunker down in survival mode. Me here, you there. Our self-serving defacto axiom states when things go awry, someone/something has to be named at fault/blame… and it ain’t gonna be me!
Blame is really just a disguised self-protective red herring. Perhaps when you blame someone, underneath what you are really feeling is disappointment. Instead of acknowledging that and expressing that, you dump it on the other person under disgusted causation.
The first step in changing this reaction is get to the root of ‘what is’. Sometimes it’s hard to parse out the details, so let’s start with using the weather as an example. The sky doesn’t know you and what it does is completely out of your control.
On a sunny day, that is ‘what is’…sunny. You plan to go swimming after work with your friends. The sun shining aligns with your needs and you can’t wait for the work day to end. Fun is just around the corner.
Throughout the afternoon you notice some stray clouds setting in. Suddenly at 4:37 things drastically change. That once big blue sky is now a cascading disappointment. What started with a few rain drops hesitantly falling out of the sky is now a downpour. You gaze out the window. The fact it is raining, with no end in sight, finally sinks in.
You might be upset, disappointed, sad, or frustrated because the rain thwarted your plans. After a hectic work week, your need was to be outside with your friends around the pool. Clearly that is not going to happen.
Is the sky at fault? Are you going to blame the sky by raising your fists upwards and screaming out “I can’t believe you are doing this to me!”? Of course not.
You can choose to accept or resist. There are many objective (scientific) reasons for the surprise rain shower.
Filing the planned pool-squashing rain shower under ‘what is’ doesn’t end your fun options. You can pivot by making a request of your friends to do something else indoors. Your reaction and action is 100% in your control.
If you apply this ‘what is’ principal to everything out your control, you wouldn’t believe how much happier you’ll be.
Again, we humans tend to view the world from the perspective me/you. Test this theory next time you are stuck in rush hour traffic. Notice your mind and body reaction. It will probably go something like this: “I can’t believe there is so much traffic and it is ridiculous how bad everyone drives!”
Funny we talk about traffic but don’t include ourselves. The folks in the cars behind you are probably thinking the same thing– but this time it includes you. Our me/you separation perspective masks it. That way we can participate in blame game of ‘those dam drivers!’ instead of realizing we are all in it together.
Even when things are in our control, we try to outsource the blame or resort to blaming ourselves. Imagine another sunny day. You pour yourself a refreshing glass of iced tea to quench your thirst. Without much thoughtful consideration you place the glass on top of a just purchased book on the kitchen counter in order to check your phone. When you pick the glass back up you notice the condensation gathered around the bottom of the glass created a circular stain mark on the book.
Your fault investigators begin an investigation and start the blame campaign–– it might include the book publisher because they made a cheap cover that soaks in moisture easily. Ignoring basic condensation science when cold meets hot air you somehow fault the glass too. I am sure you could come up with a few more reasons like if the counter wasn’t so crowded by your spouse’s stuff, there would be room for the glass.
Depending on your personality, you might blame yourself internally instead of going the external route. A quick juggler move would be calling yourself an idiot, as you believe only an idiot would do something so recklessly insane.
While blaming others or yourself is always an option, it is fruitless. Commit now to getting to the core and practice a new well being.
If you truly examine it, you can probably find how you participated. Look at it like a row of dominoes. Go back to the point where you tipped yours. The stained ringed book was created by putting a sweating glass on it. That is ‘what is’. Non judgmentally note it.
Let’s look underneath if there are any other factors going on. It could be as simply as you weren’t paying attention. Maybe you were trying to multi-task a bit too much and a recommitment to mindfulness is in order. Or maybe your thoughts were preoccupied by a planned conversation with your spouse later that day and you hadn’t acknowledged how nervous you were.
The faster you get to the core, the faster you can actually do something about it and move forward. Going back the traffic scenario, what were your options besides making everybody else wrong? Accept the ‘what is’ that traffic was jammed and moving slow. Ask yourself if blaming the other drivers are really just disguised feelings attributed to something else. How did you participate being in this situation? (Perhaps you tried to jam too many things in at work and you left later then usual.)
The traffic is ‘what is’ and out of your control. Your response and any ensuing choices are within your control. You could simply accept it will take you 40 minutes longer to get home or choose to get off the highway and take side streets. How about going to a park to take a walk until traffic subsides or stopping at a bookstore for awhile?
The options are infinite. Blaming is a finite dead end keeping you stuck in your own proverbial traffic. Pick a lane and remember life’s highway is always wide and open.