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Going Beyond the Roles We Play

--by Mack Paul (Jan 12, 2015)


We seem so very real. But our bodies are really not our own and we have no control over either their coming or going. We have roles that we play and try to convince ourselves that they are real. It is illuminating to watch this process in kids because with them, the process is very transparent. They try on identities like they are trying on t-shirts. When they find one they like, they identify with the narrative that supports it and then they split up into mutually antagonistic groups. Adults do the same thing but adult identities are covered up under thick layers of justification that appear reasonable.

Shakespeare had it right it when he said that "all the world's a stage and all the men and women are merely players." Roles are a good thing that give us structure and purpose. But when we really begin believing in the roles we play we become more and more willing to sacrifice ourselves and others to them.

Sports are a perfect example. They are popular melodramas that are absolutely meaningless and of no consequence whatsoever. We invest huge amounts of emotion in them involving a relatively mild form of human sacrifice. Thankfully, we don't drag people up on an altar to cut their throats and tear out their hearts any longer but we do dress them up in football uniforms and cheer as they beat their brains out. I saw a picture of Brazilian fans after their World Cup loss to Germany. Had I not known better I would have thought they were watching their children being torn apart by wild dogs.

The purpose of religion and spiritual practices is to see beyond our individual dramas to a greater, transcendent truth. Everyone who practices a religion understands this. Nevertheless, the practice of religion largely consists of bitter fighting over competing mythologies.

Mindfulness isn't about what we believe. It is the simple act of paying curious and non-judgmental attention to the present moment. The present moment sounds pretty good. We hear that and imagine a state of bliss. Then we spend a little time in the present we find that is mainly made up of one thought after another. We hate that and complain that we can't get the mind to stop. Minds don't stop. Minds think. We can only observe the endless stream of stories and witness our desire to believe them without actually believing them. That isn't so easy.

Mack Paul is an Oklahoma native. He began meditating to help cope with the stresses of his job teaching junior high special ed students. He retired in 2013 and now works as a special ed teaching assistant.

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On Oct 31, 2015 Richards Stone wrote:

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 Illuminati Church
JOIN THE MILLIONS WHO HAVE DISCOVERED THE LIGHT
We have seen many people online ask questions about the stories on the Illuminati. Most have asked how they can join, while others prefered to comprehend the phenomenon further. Today, I’ll take a gander at how to join this mysterious social order. Fear not for your war-stricken, poverty-ridden planet: help is on the way. The Illuminati’s path for humanity – our Universal Design – has spanned centuries to safeguard the human species from extinction. For the first time in history, the Illuminati has broken its silence with Illuminatiam: a testament of this planet’s future, wisdom previously available only to elite members, and your life’s guide to all that is ahead.Join the thousands of people from all walks of life who’ve committed themselves to the betterment of the human species as a whole – Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, and believers of all kinds. Illuminati introduces time-tested mental processes that many attribute to increasing wealth, overcoming hardships, and finding happiness.If you are interested call or whatsapp us on +2348115531558 or email at oyeyetemple@outlook.com, oyeyetemple@gmail.com

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1 reply: Frank | Post Your Reply
On Jan 16, 2015 david doane wrote:

 Amdee -- I find myself resisting your message.  I'm glad what you say works for you. 



On Jan 15, 2015 Sorry for venting wrote:

 Have you ever met a rabbit who turned out to be a snake?  
Today I greeted a deacon I have long avoided.  I wish I could share my story but suffice it to say like Christ, he wrongly crucified me.  Though I'd like to think I forgave him, I clearly haven't.
Moral of the story, no matter one's role in life, beneath it all, lies a person!
I do not weak out snakes ( much less trust them).



On Jan 14, 2015 Amdee wrote:

Mindfulness evolves truly only when we do our meditation with complete surrender to God; when daily at dawn, we start our meditation with a heart filled with love & devotion for God and pray in supplicant mood that, "My Lord, my beloved, I am yours, help me to become that what I ought to become; for the purpose I got this 'Human Birth.'" Then He opens all doors for us which only leads to Him.  We attract God with our higher traits like good character, humility, tolerance, surrender before each & everything, gratitude and undaunted faith. And when by efficiently using these qualities we pass all our toughest trials of life and genuinely play our part by our full cooperation then we become His favorite.  And then actually begins the real effect of mindfulness; then He supplies everything for our complete growth: unconditional love for Him as well as for His creatures, strength, confidence and eternal bliss. After achieving this state what we find is that the  See full.

Mindfulness evolves truly only when we do our meditation with complete surrender to God; when daily at dawn, we start our meditation with a heart filled with love & devotion for God and pray in supplicant mood that, "My Lord, my beloved, I am yours, help me to become that what I ought to become; for the purpose I got this 'Human Birth.'" Then He opens all doors for us which only leads to Him. 
We attract God with our higher traits like good character, humility, tolerance, surrender before each & everything, gratitude and undaunted faith. And when by efficiently using these qualities we pass all our toughest trials of life and genuinely play our part by our full cooperation then we become His favorite. 
And then actually begins the real effect of mindfulness; then He supplies everything for our complete growth: unconditional love for Him as well as for His creatures, strength, confidence and eternal bliss. After achieving this state what we find is that the moment our mind catches any gross thought from the environment, within few seconds our childlike heart melts all that in the divine bliss flowing endlessly I our heart; we find that our deep longing for God has developed an ceaseless connection with eternal bliss. 

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1 reply: Jo | Post Your Reply
On Jan 13, 2015 AJ wrote:

 I work in a school where we have an entire area dedicated to children who cannot/do not control their bodies.  They have positive and negative energies randomly coming out of them in the form of inappropriate behavior for a classroom.  Without an ability to properly be a student, these kids require a lot of time, effort, patience and creativity to support them in learning.  
Blessed be the one, who while in this world, can healthily and respectfully live it.  We were not made for this world or for this temporary body . . . But we do have "some hoops to jump through" to get to "our true home".



On Jan 13, 2015 Rick Brooks wrote:

Seems to me that separating the roles we play from our "real," authentic selves is not quite so easy as we'd like to think.  Yes, like everyone else, I act in ways that, consciously or not, are consistent with roles in which I find myself. But aren't those ways of being and doing as revealing of our true nature as everything else?  Isn't that what culture and norms are about? And are all such behaviors inherently less honest/less moral/less noble than "spiritual practice" that is also a role? I wonder if all the stuff that occupies my mind is so...what? Distracting? Untrue? Better to avoid than to honor?  Are we not the impermanent sum total of all we intend and appear to be and all the roles we have played in the whirl of nowness?  These kinds of questions can find clearer answers in certain circumstances rather than others.  When we ask ourselves "do I have to do this...even if I don't want to?" such doubt (or is it genuine, earnest inquiry?) may seem lot ea  See full.

Seems to me that separating the roles we play from our "real," authentic selves is not quite so easy as we'd like to think.  Yes, like everyone else, I act in ways that, consciously or not, are consistent with roles in which I find myself. But aren't those ways of being and doing as revealing of our true nature as everything else?  Isn't that what culture and norms are about? And are all such behaviors inherently less honest/less moral/less noble than "spiritual practice" that is also a role?

I wonder if all the stuff that occupies my mind is so...what? Distracting? Untrue? Better to avoid than to honor?  Are we not the impermanent sum total of all we intend and appear to be and all the roles we have played in the whirl of nowness?  These kinds of questions can find clearer answers in certain circumstances rather than others.  When we ask ourselves "do I have to do this...even if I don't want to?" such doubt (or is it genuine, earnest inquiry?) may seem lot easier to handle than attempting to adhere to a deep spiritual practice that may or may not allow us to vacate our minds.   And then what?  

No wonder we get addicted to drugs, sports, work, entertainment, stimulating tastes and experiences...all of which are associated with the roles we fall into, choose, or are willing to play.  So...what's worth knowing and doing?  And can that ever be outside of the drama of living one moment to the next and the next? 

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1 reply: Susan | Post Your Reply
On Jan 13, 2015 Syd wrote:

I have gradually lost touch with myself by subordinating myself to roles and social conventions, even seeing myself through someone else's eyes. The problem is I felt my role in life should fulfill me and in certain ways it did. Now with no role in life it creates this disillusionment about life. It makes me feel lost and I sometimes feel my mind spinning and drifting into this psychic pain. It seems rather than trying to deny my pain there seems to be this need to become my pain and this is gradually dissolving the pain. In my becoming my pain and living with serenity from within, I have noticed my mind starting to create this opening to quieter mind. My mind seems to be more clear and I feel myself becoming aware of the Supreme Being itself is my source and origin of a true identity. There is no concept or belief here and is beginning to be a direct experience of simply resting. It is like I am dropping a social consciousness, my role, and living behind my experience. I am beginning  See full.

I have gradually lost touch with myself by subordinating myself to roles and social conventions, even seeing myself through someone else's eyes. The problem is I felt my role in life should fulfill me and in certain ways it did. Now with no role in life it creates this disillusionment about life. It makes me feel lost and I sometimes feel my mind spinning and drifting into this psychic pain. It seems rather than trying to deny my pain there seems to be this need to become my pain and this is gradually dissolving the pain.

In my becoming my pain and living with serenity from within, I have noticed my mind starting to create this opening to quieter mind. My mind seems to be more clear and I feel myself becoming aware of the Supreme Being itself is my source and origin of a true identity. There is no concept or belief here and is beginning to be a direct experience of simply resting. It is like I am dropping a social consciousness, my role, and living behind my experience. I am beginning to just watch.

My mind being quieter and watching even within my emptiness with no role, seems paradoxical to me. I still experience myself as a personal being but I also experience my quieter mind beginning to center into Essence. It is like my projects and my preoccupations are being turned around by this quiet mind. There is no work, no role to participate in, and is like moving beyond my beliefs in a role. In my ego's perspective this is all wrong, yet my faith saying Essence will be felt, like the sun.

Writing this helped my quiet. It was like realizing my satisfaction is not found in a particular experience or a role. Rather, the quality is this awareness of Presence is what gives this quiet its satisfying quality. It is just a place to begin.  I want to say thanks to everyone because writing this is like a refreshing breeze.

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On Jan 13, 2015 debbie wrote:

 It takes many years for most of us to really see and acknowledge the roles we have played - the roles we have been encouraged to play and the roles we assume in order to avoid dealing with the challenges of life.  When this awareness comes to us, we can begin to learn the lessons that result from the challenges. And when those lessons are accepted, we can be our authentic and true spirit.



On Jan 12, 2015 Jaikishan Hirani wrote:
 We generally speak to designations, positions, status of the people. The way we speak to a person having Mercedes and another one riding a cycle rickshaw speaks the truth for itself. For example, when we go for an interview in a certain building, we speak to different people playing different roles. First we speak to a watchman, then to a receptionist, then a manager and then the director of the company. Our tone changes with every person we speak to. So what is our true identity? The universal truth is we all are a pure soul. Even our body is not ours. We say "this is my hand" we never say "this is me" showing our hand. So my body is rented for this birth while I AM A PURE SOUL. and if I speak to everyone as a pure soul there will be no fear, no ego, no attitude. We define our identity with our roles we play but the true identity of every individual is HE/SHE IS A PURE SOUL.
 

1 reply: Susan | Post Your Reply
On Jan 11, 2015 david doane wrote:

We each have many roles.  They're part of life.  We are more and more willing to sacrifice ourselves and others to the roles we believe in.  I can't take on a role without sacrificing some of me to the role.  How much of me gets sacrificed varies from role to role and depends on how much I invest in the role.  Some roles mean more to me than other roles.  Some roles are more dominating than other roles.  Other people get sacrificed to a role to the extent that the role gets in the way of me and others meeting as persons.  That's only a problem when me or the other want to meet as persons.  Many interactions in life are role specific and functional, not personal, and the persons aren't into meeting as persons.  The furnace repairman and I aren't there to meet as persons.  Roles like mother, doctor, priest, celebrity are very dominating, and many who take on those roles never take them off and lose themselves as persons.  Some  See full.

We each have many roles.  They're part of life.  We are more and more willing to sacrifice ourselves and others to the roles we believe in.  I can't take on a role without sacrificing some of me to the role.  How much of me gets sacrificed varies from role to role and depends on how much I invest in the role.  Some roles mean more to me than other roles.  Some roles are more dominating than other roles.  Other people get sacrificed to a role to the extent that the role gets in the way of me and others meeting as persons.  That's only a problem when me or the other want to meet as persons.  Many interactions in life are role specific and functional, not personal, and the persons aren't into meeting as persons.  The furnace repairman and I aren't there to meet as persons.  Roles like mother, doctor, priest, celebrity are very dominating, and many who take on those roles never take them off and lose themselves as persons.  Some roles, like dad, I'm meant to keep on particularly for my young children.  With them I have a job/role to fulfill -- I'm not there to be a whole person -- I can be a whole person with their mother.  Roles aren't necessarily bad.  They can be useful.  A role is a problem when I use it to hide behind.  I did that when I was a young teacher and I got called on it by some students, which woke me up.  I've pretty much given up hiding behind roles.  I've become mindful of the separation between me and the roles I play.  It's important that I have my roles and my roles don't have me.  Over time I've gotten more clear about that.

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On Jan 11, 2015 Abhishek wrote:

We are into a mass pretending joint-action, in that so much of what we do, say or share may not be 'us'. An immediate example is as I write this comment, am I really going to write whatever I want? I think not - there is a certain mindfulness about the space and who may read this and so on.... But that role also becomes the boundary and limits me from exploring what lies beyond (and in this case expressing what lies beyond)...... Like saying 'what the #&@%' if I feel that about a reading....I won't do that, because it is not the role I play in this space.... But its good once in a while to get tired of being wise or being correct or holding a role I guess.....and rest in just being.... How that will really look like....I wonder.....but to pull that off will need a collective 'undressing' of our roles.... Else, a variant of a Bollywood movie dialogue comes to me 'Jab tak ek role baat karega....ek role sunega' (Till you speak from a role, I will hear as a role) In our own ecosystem  See full.

We are into a mass pretending joint-action, in that so much of what we do, say or share may not be 'us'.

An immediate example is as I write this comment, am I really going to write whatever I want? I think not - there is a certain mindfulness about the space and who may read this and so on....

But that role also becomes the boundary and limits me from exploring what lies beyond (and in this case expressing what lies beyond)......

Like saying 'what the #&@%' if I feel that about a reading....I won't do that, because it is not the role I play in this space....

But its good once in a while to get tired of being wise or being correct or holding a role I guess.....and rest in just being....

How that will really look like....I wonder.....but to pull that off will need a collective 'undressing' of our roles....

Else, a variant of a Bollywood movie dialogue comes to me 'Jab tak ek role baat karega....ek role sunega' (Till you speak from a role, I will hear as a role)

In our own ecosystem too, I suspect, if we drop away our roles, we might encounter much more diversity of selves and views than we see....

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On Jan 9, 2015 navin sata wrote:

 saint relate this bodies as a rental house for short time on our journey of life eternal or physical ,mental.everything is given to us for this journey,eyes to see[with sunshine] ears to hear melodies of creation nature,crying of child when he dosent get toys, laughter when he is happy playing with toys.[we grown up do the same thing with material toys,just forms changed .] skin to feel loving touch of beloved]everything is given.we make mistake when we try to posses this is mine and not yours [me mine you tours is root cause of all this endless cycle] then we develop attachment to my body,my family, my house ,my city ,my country,my race religion etc.when my kids were  young to protect them from bad friends we all play this role.whatever good intention may be we forget life is ???. to enjoy any sport one must think end resault its a game.[to go see football game in cold cold weather like in greenbae is silly drama where fan and players are way far f  See full.

 saint relate this bodies as a rental house for short time on our journey of life eternal or physical ,mental.everything is given to us for this journey,eyes to see[with sunshine] ears to hear melodies of creation nature,crying of child when he dosent get toys, laughter when he is happy playing with toys.[we grown up do the same thing with material toys,just forms changed .] skin to feel loving touch of beloved]everything is given.we make mistake when we try to posses this is mine and not yours [me mine you tours is root cause of all this endless cycle] then we develop attachment to my body,my family, my house ,my city ,my country,my race religion etc.when my kids were  young to protect them from bad friends we all play this role.whatever good intention may be we forget life is ???. to enjoy any sport one must think end resault its a game.[to go see football game in cold cold weather like in greenbae is silly drama where fan and players are way far from reality .why not use that energy to help homeless in the world,help children everywhere in war torn world,of religious ignorant.god has given us goodbrain think on issues that mankind face today. always love n.n.c.

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1 reply: Always | Post Your Reply
On Jan 9, 2015 susan schaller wrote:

 "Religion" is related to "obligation." Both descended from the Latin word for "to bind."  Our roles and illusions of a separate self, the self construct known of our personality, separate us from our true connected Self, bound to all of LIFE.  This is so easy to say and so hard to reify. I keep practicing and failing to let go of my roles and my irrelevant past.  I saw my grown children over the holldays, and their adult status was a constant reminder to let go of the image of an everyday mother.  I am not that.  Each day I can re-make myself.  Each day I can strive to become the zero Gandhi aimed for, not empty, but a channel full of life and love.



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