I’m listening to a Sadhguru youtube to start my day, as has been common practice lately. Through his words of wisdom, I’m experiencing a lovely sense of camaraderie as well as a sense of validation toward everything we’re doing and being at JBL.
So … in this video, he’s answering someone’s question about “video game addiction”. He’s going on about how we have all kinds of “de-addiction” programs out there, and how the problem isn’t the “thing” someone’s addicted to but about the compulsiveness around it.
Here’s something he doesn’t discuss but I think is of equal importance:
How we compulsively dim ourselves down. And how to wake up from that madness. Yes, it’s madness because it’s an attack against oneself. Recently I wrote a blog post about healing from narcissistic abuse (part I) and I’d like to make a bridge between narcissism and compulsiveness so I’ll sum up the article for you here:
Narcissists deliver 2 core types of abuse:
a) attacking someone with an invisibility cloak (watch the movie Gaslighting if you want more info) and
b) aiming looks/words/actions of contempt/hatred/disgust at someone.
When this is done to children, or to employees (someone under another person’s authority), it can be hurtful and debilitating. And the abusive behavior usually covered up by the narcissist looking good to others. So, usually, the only person who sees the abuse is the one who’s being attacked, which is a form of crazy-making and confusion.
This secrecy can perpetuate the abuse, long after the narky-nark is dead and gone. And then the victim becomes his or her worst perpetrator. Abusing themselves. In the same 2 ways. Especially if they’ve grown accustomed to their authentic self (feelings, needs, desires, expression) being experienced as small/invisible/redundant.
What does this look like, for everyday people? Many people dream about a more expansive vision of possibility for themselves and others. But they stop themselves. COMPULSIVELY. With either an invisibility cloak. Or with some sort of self-criticism.
The healing remedy is to become CONSCIOUS.
Here’s a fairy tale which can help you wake up, and launch yourself into a much better place where you CONSCIOUSLY and JOYFULLY make decisions about what you want and where you are heading.
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Yes, this is a real fairy tale. You might want to grab a cup of tea and relax before continuing to read.
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Once upon a time, a gorgeous, healthy stallion was born in a large meadow. Surrounding the meadow are fields of plenty… fields of grasses, fields of apples… and fields of purple thistles. Which horses LOOOVE to graze.
Well, this horse was raised by a master who wanted the horse to feel small and incapable. Because he wanted himself to feel big and powerful.
So he built a stable and a small fenced area for the horse and kept him there most of the time. This horse’s master didn’t care much about his horse’s feelings, desires or needs.
He trained his horse by covering the horse’s face with a dark cloak for much of the day, and by giving him mostly nasty looks when the cloak was off. When the horse would bump into things because he couldn’t see through the cloak, the master would call him names, like stupid. And clumsy.
Occasionally, he would give the horse a “happy, satisfied” look and a pat on the back, especially if someone else was around. The horse was lonely but he was fed and so he lived, with his master, in this meadow, unknowingly surrounded by fields of plenty.
One day, his master died. And the rains came. And the winds blew. And the sun shined. And the wooden fence crumbled. And dark cloak got holes. And finally one day, it fell off of the stallion’s long face.
And he looked around and saw the fields. But they didn’t look like fields of plenty.
They looked scary.
Especially when it was windy… the tall grasses danced about this way and that. The trees made funny noises. And the purple thistles looked really strange.
But every day, the horse got more curious. I mean, there was nothing else for him to do except stand there in the meadow. And he was also getting hungry.
Slowly… but surely… when it wasn’t windy… his curiosity (and his belly) got the best of him… and he began taking steps toward the field of grass. And nothing bad happened. So he moved closer… and he even got brave enough to take a bite.
And another bite. Wow. This grass was better than anything his master had ever given him.
As his taste buds experienced the joy they’d always been meant to enjoy, the stallion got bolder, and one day, he moved closer to the apple bushes and trees. Oh My Goodness! They were so yummy that he couldn’t stop eating them, and he got himself a nice whopping stomach ache, so he happily fell asleep in the orchard.
And the next day… lo and behold… he ventured into the field of purple thistles… and they tasted so good, he felt as though he’d gone to heaven.
He quickly grew accustomed to the sound of the wind through the leaves and apples falling from trees (one even bopped him on the head on its way down!). He felt more alive than ever before.
Once in a while, while he was grazing, he would see the old meadow out of the corner of his eye… and he would just keep walking… and grazing.. and then he would take another bite… and enjoy yet another purple thistle.
And maybe… just maybe… because of his past… he enjoyed the purple thistle even more.
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Well, sheesh! I didn’t intend to write a fairy tale today… but there you have it.
May your fields of plenty be filled with purple thistles.
And may you stand in the sun and wind and rain for long enough to let any cloaks be removed from your vision. And any old identities stripped from your sense of being and belonging, and knowing who you are.
You belong to the universe. You belong to the cosmos. Whoever and whatever culture conditioned you into limited identities, they’re not the end of your story. And they’re not who you are.
You can write a new story.
The world needs your magic… bring it on!
Update: This post turned into a 3 part series, and more.
Here’s the collection.