I just learned my mother-in-law thinks I’m a pothead. While I have no issue with marijuana and actually think it is quite beneficial on many levels for many reasons, I do not smoke weed. Hearing of her preconceived notion that I indulge in all day sitting around, getting high, made me giggle to myself for a while. It also made me consider all of the ideas that other people may have of us that we are not even aware of. It’s laughable isn’t it? That we would judge other people or create stories for other people’s lives without even knowing them. Without even confirming, we allow our minds to create a role or establish a persona for people that we assume we know, and some that we don’t know at all.
I love the phrase that what other people think of you is none of your business. It sums it up well; what other people think really has nothing to do with who you really are. As soon as we concern ourselves with other peoples view of who we are, we automatically engage in a dance with ego. Quite frankly, we often apply stories and untruths to our own person, roles and conditioned beliefs of who we are to be, or who the world desires us to believe that we are. As we allow our ego to take center stage, we forfeit the beauty of the fascinating, explorative, creative life force within us, surging through every cell of who we really are, who we really be. We are life.
There’s a fine line between living out your humanity, and participating and being aware of your true beingness. As we let the ego fall away and simply observe it, our true selves emerge with passion and vitality. In order for us to rest, for presence to be felt with an abundance of peace and unfiltered joy, we learn that judging others, and judging ourselves, is only giving us a perceived truth, a false sense of reality.
So what does it look like to let go of stories? What does it look like to release rules, expectations, role-playing and conditioned assumptions of ourselves and others? How do we get to that field where there is no right and wrong, where we allow our mind, emotions, our ego in essence, to experience what they will and then release them so that our being, our soul, can be enjoying peace and presence?
My grandmother used to respond often to judgemental comments with, “Maybe you’re right” or “You could be right!”. I am now painfully aware of the genius behind this response. Without agreeing to someone else’s perception of truth, we can respond without conflict, without engaging in argument, without offending an ego that has yet to evolve. And more importantly, without feeding our own ego in its desire to defend itself.
A zen monk was asked by a student, “Master, what is the most important lesson to be learned in this life?” The monk replied, “Never argue with a foolish man.” The student reacted with, “That can’t be the most important lesson!”, to which the teacher responded with, “You May be right.”
Could your heightened awareness, your present consciousness, be the observer like the monk? The true you that has no judgement that needs to be heard, and is only interested in the experience of life, that you is the you without a story. The you that is witness to the dancers in this wild drama, the you that can dance without the drama.
So if you smoke a lot of weed, enjoy your pot, without labeling yourself a pothead. And if your mother in law thinks you’re a pothead, send her a splif for mother’s day, and hope that she can enjoy the afternoon long enough to stop judging you, or trying to make you in some way “wrong”, in her need to be “right”.