last month

My life is unmanageable, but I think I know how things should be

My life is completely unmanageable. Completely out of control.

I can’t get a grip on it at all. The more I try, the more chaotic it becomes.

Now, what would a sane person do in this situation? Obviously, a sane person would cease trying to manage the unmanageable. A sane person would cease to attempt to get a grip when every attempt produces chaos.

Have I behaved in a sane way?

Not often. More often I have chosen a false position of self righteousness.

What does the term “self righteousness” mean? It refers to the false (wrong, dishonest, deceitful, incorrect) position of being someone right – someone in the right, someone with knowledge of what is right.

Self righteousness is a self proclaimed position. Nobody else can assign me to this position. Only I can do it.

And that is good news. Very good news. Because if nobody else can assign me to this wrong position, it is also true that nobody else is responsible for me maintaining this false position. It always was and always will be false. It does not matter how long I have seemingly maintained it.

In fact, I can instantly topple myself from this wrong and painful position of self righteousness. And miraculously, when I do so, I instantly discover boundless true peace.

But to do so, I must be honest. I must see clearly. I must choose to stop defending myself and my correctness and my goodness right now.

I can’t put it off until tomorrow or even for another minute. Not even for another second.

I must choose this honesty now. Only by choosing it right now do I discover the benefits of such honesty. It will never benefit me in the future. It only bestows its benefits right now.

But I must be empty-handed to receive the benefits. I must be naked. I can’t secretly hold on to anything and simultaneously expect to receive the benefits of true honesty.

If I am sincere in wanting to receive the benefits of honesty, I must let go of every attempt at self defense. Which means I must see every attempt at self defense.

When I see the attempts, I am seeing how I construct the false position. I am witnessing the wrong and PAINFUL behavior. (Which means, by the way, that I see exactly what I have compulsively done to produce great pain and suffering, and in that seeing of its falseness, I am instantly freed.)

From the wrong position of self righteousness, I am willfully blind to my wrong and painful behavior. From the false position all my problems are somebody else’s fault.

From the false position I sit in judgment. From the false position I know how things should be, how people should behave toward me, how life should present itself to me, how I should feel. From the false position, I wrongly believe that I know what my experience means.

The wrong position is heavily fortified. It must be, because it is a false position. It is false in the sense that it is a complete lie. It does not exist in reality. There is no false position. So to maintain the lie I must exert great effort continuously.

That continuous effort appears as judgment, and beneath that rage and fear.

From the false position I think things like “Why can’t people just do the right thing?” and “Why doesn’t anyone see how difficult it is for me?” and “What is wrong with life that I am not rewarded with more enjoyment?”

The wrong beliefs that emanate from the wrong position are countless. They continue for as long as I energize and fortify the wrong position.

The big lie…the BIG LIE of the false position is that once I sufficiently fortify my false position of self righteousness, it will become real…I will become real…and I will hold ultimate power to make everything and everyone comply with my whims so that I will never again feel fearful.

The even BIGGER LIE behind that BIG LIE is that peace is conditional and not right now.

So much effort, strain, work…all to maintain a big lie…all of which is exactly and only identical to pain and suffering.

This is honesty. This is clear seeing. This is truthful.

The truth that sets me free is the truth that exposes the lies. The truth that sets me free may be a truth that the false self of the false position perceives as unpleasant and/or uncomfortable.

The truth that sets me free is the clear seeing now that my life is unmanageable. And that underneath the calm, cool exterior is sheer terror and rage.

The society I grew up in told me not to look this way. The society I grew up in told me to go in the opposite direction. The society I grew up in wants to narcotize me with lies such as, “It’s not that bad” or “It will be okay” or “Look at all the ways you’re succeeding. Look at how much you have achieved” or “Just try harder”.

But the truth is that those lies serve only one purpose, which is to maintain the false position. And that false position is painful. Because it is false. It is a lie. It requires endless strain and effort to maintain…because it is a lie. It is not real.

When I’ve had enough pain and suffering, I am ripe for truth. I am ready for humility. I am ready to receive life as it is without the false buffer of the false position fortified with judgments and self-proclaimed intelligence and knowledge.

When I look sincerely, I see that my life truly is unmanageable. I cannot get a grip. I cannot and will not succeed. I don’t even know what success for this false self would be other than maintaining the false position.

And if that is the greatest success I can hope for, the only sane thing I can do is admit that my life is unmanageable.

This is such a radical act. This is not a light thing. This is not a whimsical thing. This is not something I can do once and then expect to get the fantasy outcome I had wrongly defined from the false position.

This is truly humbling…humiliating. This is about seeing that truly I cannot succeed. Every compulsion – and that is all that is happening is one compulsion after another – is only intended to prop up the false position.

Every compulsion springs from the lie that I know how things should be…and that way things should be is other than how they are.

But true honesty is to admit that I don’t even know what this is. I don’t even know the most basic things. Since I don’t know what this is or what this means…since I don’t even know who or what I am…truth is admitting that my compulsive behaviors are all defending a false position.

And that false position is deeply painful.

I am causing my own pain through all my compulsive efforts to maintain the false position.

This is something I can see now. This is something I can choose now.

My conditioned mind, my habitual, compulsive behaviors scream, “DO SOMETHING TO FIX THIS!”

And the truth is to see that I can’t fix this. I don’t even know what this is. I don’t know who or what I am. I don’t even have a position from which to sit in true judgment.

The truth is seeing that I am completely at the mercy of power outside of my false position. There is absolutely nothing I can do to protect myself. Again, I don’t even know who or what I am. So the notion that I can protect myself is absurd.

Truth is a gateway to true peace. There is a fee to pass through this gateway. The fee is everything.

From the perspective of my false position, “everything” is too great a fee.

From the perspective of sanity, “everything” is a relief.

Right now, in this moment, I choose unconditional surrender. Unconditional surrender of everything. Every thought, every feeling, every action, every belief, every image, every memory, every reaction, every hope…I surrender everything unconditionally.

If I try to add conditions such as “I’ll surrender this *if* I’ll get to have the feeling that I think I want”, I am back to maintaining the false position of self righteousness. Because that condition assumes (wrongly) that I know what my feelings are and what they mean and their value.

True unconditional surrender is simply telling the truth here now. Simply seeing the compulsions. Seeing the self deceit. Seeing the clinging, grasping, clawing, fighting. Seeing the rage. Seeing the terror.

My life is unmanageable. I cannot get a grip. I cannot succeed.

I don’t even know what this is.

Hallelujah. What sweet relief. I don’t have to maintain the false position. I don’t have to make even another ounce of effort to defend myself.

I am truly free.

Joey Lott

Joey Lott is the author of numerous books, including The Best Thing That Never Happened and The Little Book of Big Healing. He lives in southern Vermont with his wife and children.

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