Topics covered also within this piece:  reality, truth, story, drama, tragedy, victim, and a number of other topics that need to be understood in order to have a good life.

This is an excerpt from an actual conversation (in two emails).  See also the links to the articles, in the box on the right.

Re: a Landmark question, etc
Tue, January 19, 2010 

B:  On a group call tonite, the seminar leader said    Life maybe it's not hard??? Could you help in clarifying?

K:  Saying that anything is "hard" is just a story, an interpretation. 

B:  So is my saying "it is hard getting over this anxiety problem", an interpretation?

K:  Yes. It is also an assessment, involving some reasoning, but all of the reasoning is based on stories.

In life, everything that occurs is actually neutral. 

What is is what is - that's the actual truth.  We can add to that, be surely "right" and "reasonable" about it, with plenty of "justifications" and "evidence", and hold that it has some "badness" to it, but that all is a "story", an interpretation about what is so.  (A story is something we make up about something.  An interpretation is something we make up about something, thus it is a story.)

The way we can tell that it is neutral is by the fact that the only thing that isn't interpretable in a scientific testing is "what actually happened", for that is "the truth" - all else is "not the truth", so therefore it has to be a madeup.  See: Truth - Know The Difference

B:  If different people can perceive different things and come to different conclusions, those must be not "actual" and must be just "made-ups".  

K:  True.  There all just more of a story, and a story that makes it seem hard, as it takes effort to push against fear and discomfort - that ironically you are adding.  To say "change is hard" is putting a story out there.  Change itself is just change.  It is easy.  But resisting and fighting oneself with conflicting beliefs does make it seem hard, but it is the resisting and fighting that is hard, not change.

You will benefit from reading: 

A Life (More) Worth Living
Frustration Tolerance Level
Why is life so difficult, so hard?

See other comments below.


Sent: Mon, January 18, 2010 
Subject: a Landmark question, etc

Inserts in blue are Keith's, often in rephrasing things.

B:  On a grp call tonite, seminar leader said    Life maybe it;s not hard??? Could you help in clarifying?

Also unrelated to above, I find my Little Girl gets ( I make myself) be irritated by filtering all this through beliefs that I created as a child and still choose to use, even though I know intellectually that there is a high chance they are not true  your being somewhat "light" (interpretation) re my problem

K:  Actually, it's about your story about how hard things are, together with your speaking as if something is permanent plus wired in, automatic, and thus determinate (unchangeably so).  I myself am "light" about it, because I don't believe it and I know what is going on is not a problem except for you making it into a problem and adding the drama and trauma to it all (as Fred says, accurately)  A quote from Converting From The Lower To The Higher Conversation - Example With Answer Following:

"Your “big lie” is that you speak of things as if they were permanent (which would be a new scientific discovery contradictory to everything learned so far).  That belief serves to bring you back to your old space." 

B: -- like somehow I am not serving myself by...

K:  Seeing the gravity in the situation - "seeing the gravity" is an interpretation, like interpreting something as hard.  The situation isn't grave, but I do recognize that your feelings are "terrible" and that you are actually experiencing them that way.  I want you to see that you don't have to choose those beliefs (you can replace them) that have you feeling that way.  The situation, in and of itself, is neutral, before adding what you add to it. 

What I am concerned about is that you are not serving yourself by being stuck in the story and drama of it all. 

The indicators of being stuck in a story is that the story is repeated and is used to justify something. 

Alot of this will diminish quite a bit when you do the second step in dealing with stories

The first step is to recognize that they are stories/beliefs. 

The second is to give up the right to ever repeat the story, i.e. don't repeat it, ever! 

As you stop repeating the story, you stop living in it and you stop reinforcing it (stop "giving it the power"). 

You have been asked to stop telling the stories and to make a rule only to tell them when they are new information that is necessary for analysis.  Yes, you may think I haven't gotten it or heard you - but to to assure yourself that I have gotten it, you can write it down in black and white and have me repeat it back to you (commonly used in relationship communication) - or can simply 'take the risk' by not bothering to try to make sure I've "gotten it" by just practicing right now not reinforcing the story and  not holding in place the drama that is created from telling the story (the drama you relive every time you tell the story, with the brain taking in that as if it were new information to run your life by...).

I have compassion for the actual feeling you have (being scared, etc.) and see that as a real experience of yours and I don't mean, at all, to minimize the feelings - I see how terrible that feels.  It is just that I do not agree that they happen "to you" and I do believe you are choosing to keep on believing false beliefs from childhood that are not serving you and that it is those beliefs that are making you feel bad. That is probably part of what Fred (the psychologist friend) bases his drama queen label on, as drama queens keep milking the story and the drama over and over, thinking it serves them in some beneficial way.   When they get straight about the costs and the false payoffs of this racket (perhaps using the form for resolving rackets) they stop doing the behavior of dramatizing, exaggerating, catastrophizing, etc., as they see there is mostly harm in doing those and no genuine payoffs.

B:  I was so used to manipulating my husband and parents with how bad my situation was, and then getting attention from them. Good observation of the dynamics.  We'll have to talk about manipulation and how you don't actually have such power, in reality...  ...  I DO get attention from you for sure but you have a way of not recognizing just how devastating this is interpretation -- somehow you make sure not to get sucked in. 

K:  Actually, I don't "make sure" or put any efforting into it.  I just see it in an objective light and I accept it. 

I don't "feel sorry" for you at all.  I do empathize and understand how bad it feels to have extreme anxiety, though. 

However, I know you are capable of accomplishing the goal of your being powerful and choosing to be happy. 

I see how you add all sorts of meaning (stories, and beliefs piled on beliefs) where there is something that you could experience with no problems.  Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements book) attempts, for instance, to have people follow the agreement of "don't take it personally", for "it isn't personal!" - and I hope you "get" that at a very high level as soon as possible, so that you can function well in any situation with any level of person. 

I am "for" you and "for" your dreams and your happiness and I accept you and am doing actions to benefit you, which is the definition of love (not THAT kind, the real kind:  Loving, Being Loved, Appreciation), ...and I'm "for" you giving up repeating the literal childhood beliefs that you hold onto.

B: .......not a criticism and in fact very healthy and uncodependent. 

But I am so used to sucking people into my drama (not recently) b/c I did/do feel so helpless re how to control the Hyperventilation and participate with other humans is a way that is fulfiling. 

It is interesting to note how the primitive brain (or the thinking of a child) believes that it has the power to suck anybody in in order to get some benefit.  There is no benefit to getting pity.  Of course, the interpretation of pity as love produces a believed payoff that sustains one at the level of eating cotton candy or the level of an illusion

The "feeling helpless" is actually your feeling anxious (which is a feeling, a subset of fearing) about controlling the Hyperventilation and socializing.  You can control pieces of each - to lump them together into one piece is not a good thinking practice and it is very misleading to keep telling yourself that, as if you are a victim of it and as if it is permanent and immutable (which the Buddha says is the source of all human suffering - it is time to give up that misperception and belief system). 

Just curious, do you think what I deal with is tragic ?

K:  I don't see social anxiety itself as tragic, just a bit of a drag.  The generalization from one piece of life to having all of life be not good is what creates the tragedy - the tragedy is in setting yourself up to not being happy.  Hyperventilation is not the tragedy.  Yes, it is unfortunate and a hindrance with ill effects, but it is not tragic per se.  It is largely stoppable, but with tradeoffs, of course. 

Your being forever isolated and therefore miserable is an unknowledgeable and untrue statement ( a "dramatization").    (See I'll Be Lonely And Miserable - A Cage Statement.)

B:  Am I off base to see it as tragic? 

K: Yes, though human.  No "badness" in that, it just doesn't work for your benefit.. 

B:  Am I really overdramatizing now that you see what goes on? 

K:  Yes, definitely.  I see that it is a pain in the butt and discouraging and the only tragedy is the misery you create in your own brain, which does not correspond with "reality out there" and which is not inevitable, as some people do think differently about it in their lives (it or the equivalent, like Jeff Bell in his OCD book, "When In Doubt, Make Belief"). 

B:  How does one be light about this condition? 

K:  The BuddhaKahuna says "Be light by getting rid of the false heaviness." (See Enlightenment")  Be "light" means not being anxious and dramatic about it, seeing that there is no actual danger - so the way to being light is to go through each  of your beliefs about it in one column and to put in a true, good-perspective type belief in the second column.  Bullshit, regardless of how bad it feels to focus on it and deal with, still needs to be dealt with one item at a time, as rapidly as possible... - and that is alot easier than dealing with the same BS over and over and over and over and over...

B:  As always, thank you for your commitment to me and for being such a rare breed.