Don’t Take Anything Personally
A different “take” on the second of The Four Agreements.
First, I have several times referred to living our life as making a movie. This movie is a virtual reality of what we experience internally as we move through our life. The word “take” is a very appropriate word to describe each experience that we record. A “take” is literally “a scene or sequence of sound or vision photographed or recorded continuously at one time”.
Definition of take
1. lay hold of (something) with one’s hands; reach for and hold.
Similar: lay hold of, take hold of, get hold of, get into one’s hands, grasp, grip, clasp, clutch, grab
2. remove (someone or something) from a particular place.
Similar: remove, pull, draw, withdraw, extract, fish, confiscate, take possession of
1. a scene or sequence of sound or vision photographed or recorded continuously at one time.
Similar: scene, sequence, filmed sequence, clip, part, segment
2. an amount of something gained or acquired from one source or in one session.
Similar: catch, haul, bag, yield, net, revenue, income, gain
Second, I wish to differentiate between “I” and “me”.
“I” exists separate from the physical body. It is a detached observer or witness for the body. It is non-judgmental and will step aside and allow the “me” to experience anything that it chooses and have an opportunity to learn any lessons that accompany the experience.
“Me” is the physical body. It has five senses that are recording devices that operate continuously. It sees itself as the center of everything and creates expectations, judgments, and labels so that everything will serve it’s purposes.
Now, if “me” would just record reality as it truly exists I would have a most wonderful true-to-life movie. But, no “me” wants to assign “anything” (a part or script) to everything it values in the “take”. Of what does “anything” consist? It consists of expectations, judgments, and labels.
The most direct assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels is the one that “me” gives to itself in the “take” .
The next assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels is the one that “me” gives to other humans in the “take” .
The last assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels is the one that other humans give to “me” in the “take”.
Now, this is just one “take”. In the next “take” “me” and the other humans may have a whole new assignment of expectations, judgments, and labels that everyone wants to change in the script!
Each other human is a “me” that wants to assign “anything” (a part or script) to everything they value in their “take”. Their movie is a virtual reality of what they experience internally as they move through their lives.
Are you beginning to see how chaotic this scene is becoming? We haven’t even gotten to the “personally” part yet!
Then we add “personally” (emotions and feelings) to the scene. Somewhere among the lines each “me” has decided that it needs to be in control and is responsible for everyone in the scene. Everyone wants to be a director. A plethora of negative emotions and feelings arises and conflict is the result. Sounds like a typical scene from the world I live in.
How do I get out of this dilemma? This is what the “I” is for. As a detached observer or witness for the body it allows me to review what is going on inside of my mind where the movie recording is taking place. It allows me to freeze the frames of my movie to understand what is causing the emotions and feelings in my interactions with myself and others. All of my suffering is caused by my accepting all of the expectations, judgments, and labels that I have placed on myself and my accepting all of the expectations, judgments, and labels that others have placed on me.
This becoming a detached observer or witness for the body is what mystics called “awakening”. Before I used this practice I was actually sleepwalking through life; not really understanding and just reacting to the expectations, judgments, and labels that I have accepted from myself and others.
This becoming a detached observer or witness for the body allows me to unlearn my errors.
“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” Antisthenes
“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” Henry David Thoreau
“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” Lao Tzu
“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” Bruce Lee
“The more you possess the more slavery you create around yourself. Freedom comes when you unlearn possessiveness.” Osho
“Do not store in your brain useless information. Unlearn whatever has been of no use to you. Then only can you fill your mind with great thoughts.” Sivananda