The topic of manipulation arose yesterday as a friend was talking with me about the things manufacturers write on product boxes. The meaningless statement on a fiber bar box of “100% natural psyllium husk” caught his attention as a manipulative statement. To him manipulation was a negative or bad thing. As I expressed in my post yesterday I have a more neutral point of view about manipulation.
The interesting thing is that when we both went to look up the definition of manipulation we got strikingly different results. Here is a screen shot of what Google produced for me.
Screen shot when I searched for the definition of Manipulation
It certainly is more in line with my view of manipulation. This second screen shot is what came up for my friend on Google using the same search terms. This is certainly a trippy example of the power of attraction. What we think attracts the same to us.
Screen shot when my friend searched for the definition of Manipulation
- What if everything was just an interesting point of view?
- What do we create with our judgments?
- What would it take to move beyond judgment?
- What would our life/world be like if we were able to let go of form, structure, and definition?
Manipulation has always been an interesting concept to me. Twenty-four years ago I was accused by my partner as being unable to manipulate. He felt that manipulation was an important relationship skill that could lubricate the interactions between partners. Since that time I have thought a lot about the idea.
What I realized was that behind my inability to manipulate was the fear of influencing people. I acknowledged that I would hide my hurt, sadness and pain in order to not have people attend to me. I knew that sharing those emotions changed people and they often would act to take care of me. I was so opposed to manipulating and/or influencing people that I would try to suppress my normal reactions that I knew would provoke a response in them. For instance, many people are scared of angry people or of disappointing people and will do things they do not really want to do in order to avoid creating anger or disappointment in another. My response to this was to suppress my anger and/or disappointment.
The irony is that ultimately my fear of manipulation made me a manipulator. If I am pretending to be something that I am not in order to create a specific reaction in another person, then I am manipulating. It seemed I could not win. To hide my hurt was to manipulate people into not caring for me. To show my hurt would also manipulate them.
The bottom line was that no matter what I did I was having influence over people. I also became aware of how uncomfortable I was with my ability to indirectly influence people. I wanted to completely hide.
One of the things I aspire to is to be able to relax with what is. This includes accepting that my actions and thoughts influence others. What would it take for me to be okay with my awareness of how they are reacting to me? What would it take to let go of care-taking others by repressing, suppressing or changing me?
Tomorrow begins the Tibetan year of the fire monkey. I don’t usually pay much attention to holidays, but Namkhai Norbu’s annual Mandarava Drubchen Retreat begins and I am preparing to participate. I surprised myself last year by waking up every morning at 3 am for two weeks to join Chogyal Namkhai Norbu as he gave dzogchen teachings and led the practice of long life at Dzamlingar in Tenerife, Canary Islands. As I mentioned in Deconditioning Ground, this practice is important to me due to my connection with Padmasambhava and his Indian consort Mandarava.
This year feels much like last year. I do not feel completely committed and am curious if my motivation will increase and what will happen during the two weeks. Unlike last year though, I actually know a little bit more about the practice, have my necessary supplies, and, due to persistent study, I can do the mudra’s in the short version.
The beginning of the new year presents an opportunity. Instead of making resolutions, deciding what I should or should not do, and grasping to a practice, I am opening to what is possible. The Mandarava practice is all about receiving and receiving has been my theme in the past year. To encourage greater expansion I ask the following questions:
- What is possible beyond this that I haven’t even considered?
- What would it take to receive universal abundance with perfect ease?
- What energy, space and consciousness can me and my body be to operate beyond form and structure, definition, limitations, linearity, and significance for all eternity?
- How can I use this to my advantage?