Excerpts - "Self Pity"
(*Audience participation is in parentheses--notations in brackets have been added for clarification )
[This teaching idea comes from my teacher through Donna Lancaster.
If you would like to receive her newsletter which reiterates our teacher's material, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, here is some material from our teacher that I didn't have.
By the way, she's written a book "The Short and the Tall of it" , A wonderful biography in which she includes many of the teaching ideas.]
[Since we encounter "self pity" not only with people around us, but also in ourselves, this transcription can be very enlightening and of great value……Marsha]
Pity is one of the most common things that people come talk to us about. The person is feeling very very "sorry for themselves". They will never use the words that they are "sorry for themselves. They will use words like depressed, "I'm very depressed", and that they've given up hope--they can't see any way out.
If at any time they get any inkling that you will agree with this……..in other words if they can sell you on "feeling sorry for them", you can no longer work with the person. Seemingly you can never recover your objective state anymore-you just lost it; and then only someone else can work with them. "Pity", once "one has it" is equated to-"you love me". And it gets all out of hand long about that time.
What they're really calling for is from the early childhood. When a woman has about 5 kids running around, under her feet; and as long as they are behaving fairly well, she sure lets them alone. She operates on the principle, "Let sleeping dogs lie." But if one of them gets hurt, she picks it up--cuddles it--kisses it's bumps--makes it all well, and sends the child on it's way. Consequently, in most people's minds, love is equated with pity. "If you will pity me, you love me" because really that's about all they had when they were kids. Consequently, they are constantly searching for pity; and they tell you some very pitiful stories. . If you "buy" into their "pity"--goodbye to that person because there's no use trying to work with them anymore. All they will do is hound you for more pity.
If you won't give any, you may get them up to where they can look at the thing for themselves; but, meanwhile, they are searching and clinging. When somebody tells you they are depressed, they're saying, "I'm feeling sorry for myself." When they say, "I'm completely worn out when I get up-I'm worn out when I go to bed"--it's pity they're hollering.
"Self-pity" is possibly the most dangerous luxury that anybody ever deals in.
(It's hard to educate yourself once you get in that mood.)
You like that one, don't you?
(I don't like it at all.)
Did you ever get in it?
(I've avoided that like the plague.)
And it's a good one to avoid--no matter what--no matter how; and this is one of the major things people will bring into you as the major symptom-depression.
(You'll get it too, when you invite someone to tell they're story…….)
………and you'd better listen to gobs of self-pity. You're going to hear a "roll of it" because they have been mistreated since the day they were born. "Everybody else has had it nice but I've had a mess." "I don't know why."
And that's where we can use that little story we know.
They say, "I just don't know why it has always been so bad for me."
And so I say, "Well, you know probably it's like that little story I heard." There was a man going down the street; and he was moaning like you and said, "Oh why did everything always go so bad for me." And there was a voice came out of heaven and it said, "Well, Joe, I don't know, but there's just something about you that just seems to bug me."
(laughter from the audience.)
That breaks it up right quick. Think that's maybe the way it might be?
Anyway, it will get them thinking a little bit.
(What's another way of handling it.)
I usually stop him in the middle of it and say, "Shall we call the governor and have him proclaim a feel sorry for you week; and then everybody in the state can help next week on this thing." And then we'll really get you felt down to the pity you really deserve. And they say, "You're a mean old man."
With feeling, you can say, "Well here, it looks to me like you can't do this up well enough; so I'm going to call the governor and have him issue proclamations that starting Tuesday everybody in the state feel sorry for you". And then maybe we can get it done, you suppose? We have a "feel sorry house of simpatico" for your use. You climb a very steep mountain and sittin' up on top is a little six-sided gazebo; and anybody, that wants to "feel sorry for themselves", must go up there and sit where everybody can watch them while they "feel sorry" for themselves. So that's the "feel sorry for" house.
If somebody "worries real bad" you can send them up there too; and let them sit while everybody watches them "worry". You know it helps to be watched while you're doing these things.
So there are all sorts of little things you can do; but what you basically do is that you bring to the attention of the person--in no uncertain terms--that you are not "buying" the action [playing the "victim" role] that they're trying to sell you.
(What is the self-pity a symptom of? Where do you go from there?)
Self-pity is resisting living, and Life comes along and says, "You have some experiences", and the person says, "I don't want to listen, so I'm going to bellow and cry over it instead of getting up and experiencing it.
And we sometimes use a little story that Life is a great schoolroom; and that they give you classes here; and when you get through the first grade, you're promoted but not until. So if you resist going through the first grade class for 25 years, why you still stay at the first grade. It's not like the public school system that sends you on through because of age. This one you don't pass. So if you are not free to experience this particular challenge, it will stay in front of you as long as you live or until you are free to experience it.
Once you freely experience this challenge, then you can move on and you'll never really have it anymore………….but there will be another one, and you'll see how you get along. So you go on to second grade and so forth. And sometimes you'll get people to really experiment with that and be really free to experience whatever it is they are "carrying on so" about-It's usually not having "their way" or somebody didn't get pleased when one wanted them pleased. They tried so hard-you know--worked their fingers to the bone over a hot stove for years, and he don't give me any appreciation. And as soon as they are really free to do something without expecting appreciation, we'll say, they don't have a problem anymore. People seem to appreciate.
(With the four dual basic urges, self-pity could be involved with all of them.)
Oh yeah, any of them that you're not getting, or escaping-a little pain and woe woe is "poor me". So it is the urge to get somebody to pick me up and "hold me in their arms"; or to escape into a non-world where there are no disturbances.
(Where could that be?)
Drugs, or with toxicity (like with fever) -sure they feel depressed; but that's always an acute condition. Chronically depressed is "self-pity", and it's much more severe then with toxicity. A person with chills and fever will feel depressed for a few minutes, but not near to the depth of the person who indulges in the "self-pity" bit. The side effect of several drugs is to produce a feeling of depression; and certain toxicity conditions create depression, but these are short-lived and over with in a little while. When it's chronic depressed, you're talking to "self-pity"-day in, day out. Course now, the person says, "I never feel sorry for myself, I don't expect anything". But then they say, "Woe woe, poor me, I can't even expect anything". So they can't open their mouth that they're not crying for "self-pity".
(That's one of those LP's)
That's one of those long play-and it plays every week and every month and every year, huh? Right on down the line.
(They say, it wouldn't have been so bad had they only married somebody else.)
Oh yes, and that they had a chance to. Then they would have had it like a "bed of rose pedals". And also, if they had just been born to somebody else because quite frequently one of their horrible expressions of agony is, "I don't see why I was ever born."
(That's like that……..couldn't hear response. Is there any way to keep from being born.)
(Isn't that Newton's law………)
Yes, that's Newton's second law of thermodynamics. Wherever there's and action there's an equal reaction.
(Isn't that stating exactly what the law of balance is?)
Yes, but the whole point is, you can originate an action. You see mechanics and living beings are not quite the same. A machine cannot originate a motion. A human being is in a different category because he can originate a motion resulting in a response to motions coming in from conditioned beings. In that case, an unconditioned being doesn't fit the law of physics. A human being that is in control of his unconscious, (in other words he's made his unconscious, conscious) can originate a motion and other things. It says for every action there is an equal reaction, but the conscious person can destroy an incoming motion and that is an equal amount of it, is it not? So you still got out of the law, but you also have to take a considerable different look at it when talking about living beings in the real world as opposed to the manmade or the mechanical world.
(Does destroying motion take energy?)
It definitely takes energy-same amount to destroy it.
(Can you get tired from destroying energy.)
Yeah, if you have someone calling you dirty names all day and you're destroying their motion and originating something else. Maybe you don't want to originate, you just want to destroy it. You'll find you'll become depleted in your energy level until you can rest.
(Like if you were in a prison and someone was always putting it on you all the time……)
…….and you were destroying the motion. Yes, you'll get worn out. You'll also get worn out if somebody comes up and throws static at you.
(Wouldn't you gain strength in destroying and originating a new motion you've chosen just like when you exercise?)
Yes, but when you first start out, you're pretty tired. After while, you got more energy available for that; but the balance will be maintained.
(What technique or what approach or what methodology do you use to chase down these "whys" and turn them off.)
Well, you just see that they're unanswerable questions. Once the mind recognizes they're unanswerable, we quit fiddling with them. It's when one keeps repeating them-again and again. Haven't you ever watched a little girl. They're always repeating them' and the "whys" keep being reinforced. It comes to the surface, "Do you think this is right?" The person just shoves the "why's" back in there, and here they come again. You can hear it--they're very active.
So we address the "self-pity", not the person, but the "self-pity" apart from the person-you might say we lay it out slightly slanting it so it looks almost comical. That begins to get us off of it. One needs a certain sense of humor; and be fully prepared to get slapped while you're doing it. People take great pride in their "pity". Nevertheless if you can ride it pretty hard and lay out the "pity party" in a different light, then the person gets off of it.
Another thing you can do is say, "Let's turn that off". Turn the "pity" bit off. It's not going to get you anywhere. Mama picked you up and kissed your bumps when you were two-years old, but you're not two-years old now. Now let's talk about what you can do about the situation instead of all these "why did this happen" and all this stuff. The past is not here, that's gone. Here it is right here and right now-What can we do about it.
If the house is afire, there's no use screaming, "How come it caught fire?" You can sit and philosophy about that-but the thing is what can we do to put the flames out-and what can we do to bring about a better state of affairs instead of sitting here feeling sorry because something happened to you way back down the road. You can usually get to it.
You see, people who indulge in "self-pity" get addicted to it, and they like the hormones that the body produces-so a person can very easily get addicted to "self-pity". We call it addiction. Once one sees one is "addicted to it" and "in bondage to it", they don't want to do that anymore. So they can begin to work out of it.
(When you have pain and you take a drug that………..)
……sedative to ease pain or make yourself insensitive to pain, all right?
(What happens to the toxic poison?)
From the drug?
(No, from the original one when one made something important and got anxious or angry.)
The body uses that previous mobilized energy it to kick the new drug out. The drug is an invasive product in the body, and the body uses the energy that it has previously mobilized to try and adapt with-sometimes it will use it to kick the drug out-to counteract it. It takes tremendous energy to neutralize the drug. X doesn't want any drugs in your body. So if you put any drugs in there, it's a foreign substance; and It immediately begins to form an antidote. That uses up a lot of mobilized and unreleased energy to do that. The old mobilized and unreleased energy from the "flight or fight" reaction, now gets rid of the new invader which is more terrible than the one that was already there.
(So the new drug can counteract the energy of the old adaptation?)
Yes, if you know when to quit. If you could know exactly the amount, it would be fine; but if you get too much, then you have the side effects from the drug left over.
Most people start taking drugs, and take them so many days, and then they begin to get side affects from them. In other words, one over compensates, and then there is a "let down" that leaves the body quite depleted of it's potential energy. And then it goes into other things. The person is very apt to think that another drug will fix that, and so they take another drug which further depletes the energy. Pretty soon you have a very depleted person walking around that's being medicated to the nth degree.
So the best idea is usually an extreme medium--and only in an emergency--and quit immediately. In this case, drugs can be very useful; but if they're overdone and habituated and given three times a day for six months, it depletes the body and creates an imbalance. You're more than apt to be out and see some people open their conveyances, and they might have 22 different kinds of pills they're taking a day. These people generally have their energy greatly depleted. They get a prescription from one doctor without telling him what they're taking from somewhere else. The doctor doesn't ask; and so he gives them another 2 kinds of pills. One day they're not feeling too good and they go to another doctor, and they don't tell him anything about the kinds they're already taking, and now they have another 4 or 5. Pretty soon they have as high as 15 or 20 kinds of pills, and stuff they're taking every day of the week. This is one of the aspects that you will find in a great number of people who are chronically ill, and if you do nothing for them but get all medication off of them-nothing else-just stop all medication, within two weeks they'll begin to feel like a different person. The great Americanisms is that they're greatly over drugged-over medicated. Practically everybody you run into is over-medicated.
[My mother was given the wrong medicine, and felt tired all the time. I suggested getting off all medication and she was scared to do that-so I left it alone-I might do that for myself, but I didn't feel qualified to advise her.]
(That's big business.)
It's very big business, right?
(I knew someone on the anti-coagulation drug with a cardiac condition. they spend $2.50 a day for drugs to keep living-as they supposed. This is really a load to get into.)
And, then, if they get a little scratch on them, they have to get a drug to get the blood to clot again because they're really in a pretty bad mess, huh? And then with that, there's usually some other side affects so they're taking several other kind of pills for the side affects--not even knowing that that's what they're taking them for. You will find there's some people that must have certain kinds of drugs, like insulin, or some other drug to get along, but the greatest number of people who start medication are greatly overmedicated, and continuously done. If you can do nothing for them except get them totally off the drugs, in many many cases, that's all that would be necessary to feeling great.
(I had an interesting experience. Last night I was really going through conflict trying to get to sleep. I had a bunch of not "I's" from A-side talking and a few from the B-side. They were running me through the mill. So finally I invited them out. I just said, "Come on out with it. Let's get this story out. Let's see what you got to say.")
Let's hear the whole story.
(So in my mind, they literally were right out there holding a debate. Only when I got them out there, they couldn't talk. They couldn't say a word.)
Right, you weren't resisting them, and they became mute..
(It's the funniest things I've ever experienced. I really tried to get them to tell a story and they wouldn't say anything-there was silence.)
So then the whole story was about resistance, wasn't it? As long as you resisted, why they were there for a great torment. As soon as you said, "I'm not going to resist you anymore-get up here and take the podium and let's hear you." Then there's no resistance and what happened?
(They couldn't say anything.)
So you see that the thing was your resistance anyway, wasn't it. So when we're free to have our conscience scream and holler-it shuts up.
(Sometimes I've tried to tell "Satan" [not "I's"] to get off my shoulder and go to hell. It'd be fine for a minute, then they'd slip back in, and I'd be going back and forth again. )
So you say come-on' here, let's hear your story, let's talk about it, and lo and behold, they're done, right?
(Remember when you were talking about where the not "I's" would sneak back into one's mind and keep the conflict going?)
Well, every once in a while when you start feeling sorry for yourself, we talk about these little red devils around here--to tell the little devils sittin' on your shoulder all to go back to hell where you belong-goodbye! And self-pity quits for a few minutes, but the person still gets back in it. And it's again like we say to 'em, "Well, we'll have the governor make a proclamation-in other words, come out, let's go "all out for self pity." Now, what happens-they don't say a word.
So resistance is our problem. We resist all conflict and struggle. Every person you ever talked to, or ever will talk to about "problems", it's always this little bit. It's the struggle, conflict and resistance. If you can understand that, you'll see where it applies in all sorts of things. You hear the struggle--the conflict--or the resistance in the person. This is the disintegrating factor in man; and if you get it out, all this disintegration stops. This is so simple, and we seem to try to complicate it. But the whole thing is that the only thing in him that disintegrates-is resistance, conflict and struggle.
So we sometimes use the statement, "Whenever I am free to experience whatever may arise in my way today, then I quit resisting--and all your problems disappear.
(If someone has this addiction to self-pity and they've had it for a long time, it's difficult……)
Not necessarily! It's not necessarily difficult because……well, it's just like everything else. Can you get to it? I wouldn't assume ahead of time that anything was difficult. Once I decide that, I'm going to make it a difficult case every time it comes up. Under no circumstance would I decide a generalization about any person.
I have seen some of the most tangled up people that, maybe in 45 minutes, have the whole thing undone and it stayed undone. I've seen others that seemingly didn't have much tangle that, for some reason or other, acted and hit the key, but they're still at it. I've had others that took several days or weeks to get something done. So the intensity of it, or the nature of it, is different every time for every person. I'm not prepared to make any generalization. I would recommend against anybody making a generalization because we get stuck on it--that's for your well being. Maybe she doesn't ever want to get over it-I don't know-I wouldn't say, but perhaps the next one that comes to you will get over "it" in five minutes-once you get the picture of man up and point out the conflict within.
Below are definitions from "The Place of Language in the Teachings."
Love - Understanding and accepting another as he is - agape
Pity - Identifying with another as a victim
Self-pity - Telling oneself that one is a victim. Emotional masturbation.
[from Marsha…….an observation…………My teacher often used a phrase which said, "spot it and you got it". It was meant that if you see something in someone you are judging, look for the same thing in yourself because it's hiding and doesn't want to be observed. In latter days, he dropped it; but I still remember it.
While talking to a relative, she was judging her older sister (in her 80's) because the sister said she never received an apology from her husband for the way he mistreated her through the years of their marriage before he died. I might add here that somewhere in the Science of Man (48 tapes), my teacher asks-if someone gives us an apology, does that end the hurt or do we keep on nursing it a bit?
My relative then said that she had never received an apology from her husband either. Since I knew the situation, I told her that I, in fact, knew that she had an apology because I had taken it in dictation on her ex-husband's deathbed--that it had been given to her, and that she had remarked about it to me. She promptly told me that she remembered nothing of the kind.
I've always had the belief or conclusion that anyone and everyone who is in conflict, struggle and resistance and misery wants to be out of it. This situation was a revelation to me because It seems to me that if she truly wanted to work out of "self pity" and all the adaptation and misery that goes with it, she would have asked me for a copy of the apology or gone to find the one she received.
What I observed (without criticism or judgment) is that my teacher's comment about apologies not ending the conflict seems to be an accurate description of what goes on within conditioned individuals. After working with this relative for 21 years and attempting to liberate her from the accounts she holds; I finally realized that my teacher's idea that we can't do another person's spiritual Work is a true statement. Only they can do it!
It also is another confirmation that the "not I's" within are persistent and unless we truly want to be out of the conflict, struggle, and resistance and all that goes with it in adaptation, we will be stuck in "self pity" until death finally relieves us of the load. I have often questioned the "martyr role"-what's so appealing about it?…………………………………………Marsha]