Another blog post about the eastern concept of "Surrender."
There seems to be two extremes in human cultures, especially western culture. On the one hand we have people who are so completely self obsessed that -- even without knowing they are doing it -- they simply use others to get what they want or what they think they need. On the other hand are the people who give until it hurts, who do things for others, sacrificing themselves, their health, all for reasons which aren't precisely clear.
I'm sure its easy for all of us to identify people like that in our lives. The question is: can you identify yourself as fitting one category or the other, right here and right now?
Because we all tend to flip flop from one to the other depending on the state of our mind. Although some hang out in one or the other predominantly, many more just change roles according to the "needs" of the relationships they are currently experiencing.
It seems obvious to me that both of these extremes are unhealthy, but just in case anyone needs proof, or at least ideas of proof, let me describe more about what I've found inside my self.
Lets take a typical fifties or sixties Mom as the example of the giver who doesn't know how to draw a line. She does everything in her power to give everything she can to her husband and her children. According to the old western code, a woman's worth was measured by how well she was able to take care of (give to) her husband and children. If you look at some of the old ads from the fifties, the implication that a woman should fit this narrow role was insidiously present almost everywhere. Its also amazing that one of the ways that Lucile Ball got laughs was to turn that stigma on its head and make her out to be a "bad" wife to Ricky. Unfortunately, the show always ended with her crying in his arms, instead of her realizing that she didn't have to fit that mold.
Why does our culture support this "false ideal?" Because it enabled out species to survive, and even thrive for the last few millennium, perhaps even longer.
On the other hand, we have the selfish taker. These are even easier to spot. A typical fifties Dad, even the nice ones, had a huge expectation on others. There was always a cost to pay if the taker didn't get his needs met: generally "deserved anger" was the response and in many cases it was followed with "deserved violence." Ricky Riccardo was that way in real life, he actually beat Lucy on occasion. Sad, isn't it? Does it make you angry? That's a very good example of the selfish taker in you. Meditate on that for a while, its quite powerful.
These kinds of people (and this is not limited to gender) are examples of two unhealthy attitudes that are prevalent among our people in our various cultures.
As I have stated before, I consider these opposites unhealthy. In fact they are both selfish. Selfish givers control others with guilt and selfish takers control others with anger. A balance is often formed between the two and "pseudo health" is achieved in that balance, but its more like a cold war than nuclear disarmament.
Back in the fifties and some of the sixties (and probably much before then) one person in the relationship fell into the selfish giver category and the other fell into the selfish taker category. And generally it was split along gender lines. But that's just talking about regulated "mating" relationships. Love based friendships also generally follow this pattern, especially back then and if you watch kids (even today) you'll see them form relationships based on selfish giving and selfish taking. But the main difference between then and now, and this is the thing that is pissing off the baby boomers, is that today people flip flop as to which thing they do. They stop being selfish givers and flop to being selfish takers. "You're not the same person I married!" "I don't know who you are anymore!" Et cetera.
To the boomer, switching from selfish taker, to selfish giver is crazy. But I have a great explanation for it. It all started with the women selfish givers, because as Master Tolle often states, consciousness seems to start with them. They decided that it was unfair (read "unhealthy") to give and give and give and they decided to try to get what they perceived to be "better" from the selfish takers. What they did was figure out how to flop to be a selfish taker. Why did they do that and how did consciousness play a role in that? Deep down inside, we know that selfishness is unhealthy. These trailblazers, my Mother among them, misinterpreted the truth they felt in their hearts and sought the things in life that they felt made men happy.
But alas, it didn't work, and no one is really any happier, in fact I'd say on the whole getting all this "stuff" has made us much more unhappy.
But it is a really important step. First, it showed that some people were paying attention to the voice that says, "There's a better way." The Sixties were kinda like that, everyone heard the calling of the age of Aquarius, but unfortunately, didn't hear the message because they were having too much fun.
So women learned to become selfish takers and in order to love them and be loved back, many men learned to be selfish givers. I'm an example of that, generally a selfish giver.
Women, like my mother found out very quickly that selfish taking isn't the way to go either and often fell back into selfish giving, only selfishly taking once in a while for things that satisfied desires. The scope of desire is too big for me to contemplate yet, but maybe someday.
In the mean time, I learned to emulate my mother and in my first serious relationship found a selfish taker. It would have worked if I hadn't been sick, probably. But thankfully, reality intervened and I had to stop giving, and this drove the selfish taker away because she wouldn't allow herself to stop taking, she "thought" she needed it too much.
The question on your mind at this point is likely, "so what's the middle way? Where's the Zen?"
Thus we get back to the title of this piece. Between Capitulation (selfish giving) and Selfishness (selfish taking) lies surrender.
We have to choose to be healthy. When we give we must give wholly and without attachment or strings. When we take we must be thankful and feel no guilt.
We must never be angry with anyone. Anger is always unhealthy. It is never justified. It is always wrong. If you feel anger, its your own fault not someone else's.
To do these things, to find the Zen point, we have to become aware of our tendencies and see them for what they are. Only then can we do something about them and stop the million year cycle that has existed to keep the species alive and intelligent. This is why I urge people to pray, because it really does help if you are sincere and honest. Prayer begets consciousness and consciousness is the key to health.
Causes Brian McKee Supports
I support the cause of peace via peaceful means.