Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve our problems with the same thinking that we used to create them.” I wonder what he would say today? My guess is that he would be shouting aloud while pointing to the life-threatening problems our old thinking has produced. He might also recite his definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Here’s a simple proposition: think differently to produce different behaviors and achieve different results. The conscious mind — our most daunting saboteur — has something to say about this: “What, me change?”
We’ve all sung that tune. It’s arrogant: “This is what I believe and that’s that!” It’s disingenuous: “I could be wrong (fat chance!).” It’s dismissive: “What value could come from that?”
What would new thinking actually be like and what real world difference might such thinking make? If we now take Einstein’s radical proposal to heart, how will we begin?
escape the drama triangle
Many of us are well versed in the “drama triangle,” complete with its three rotating roles: victim, persecutor, and rescuer. This frames old thinking in a context that often casts us as helpless victims dependent on a someone else to save us.
Salvation comes in many forms. You can take your pick from charismatic leaders to relationships to money, and success, but there is always a price tag for deliverance: our freedom. We become indebted to what saves us, pitted against what threatens us, and resigned to our role as a victim.
This describes the human dilemma, where we struggle to survive. Life was never meant to be like this. Life was meant to be enjoyable and rewarding and meaningful. And, that’s exactly what life can become.
we can learn to think differently
We can retire from being victims. We can even give up our rescuer role — fixing problems as clever, independent individuals competing with each other. Instead, we can access the genius of whole intelligence and thrive together.
Who programs us to be victims? Parents, teachers, politicians, entertainers, hate radio egomaniacs, not to mention all those voices inside our own heads. Notice how the word “they” lands as you read this. It’s automatic to assign a persecutor role. That’s the Drama Triangle in action. We judge, fear, and blame ... automatically.
“They” means bad guys. But I didn’t suggest “they” were evil. They are as enslaved as the rest of us.
Challenge that knee jerk reaction into victimhood, which often begins with pointing a finger. Shun the other two substitute identities (perpetrator and rescuer) as well. This supports your shift into a new identity, connected within the whole of life.
Bowl or marble? What’s it going to be?
I am five, eating dinner with mother and two younger brothers.
“Mother,” I ask, “where did I come from?” She’s puzzled, annoyed.
“What? You were born in the Calgary General Hospital.”
I’m doubtful. “No, I mean, where did I really come from, before that?”
Mother is perplexed. “Eat your mashed potatoes.”
Let’s identify four specific components of our old thinking.
We are disconnected from the community of life by our belief in human exceptionalism. We believe without question that humans are the most intelligent species … we don’t even need God (except to justify our behavior)! Narcissism rules.
We are programmed into apathy, trained to fit in and behave, to become spectators in our own lives, which are shaped and controlled by others.
We are persuaded to forget we are creators and become consumers instead. Meaning drains from our lives. “Everyone must believe in something; I believe I’ll have another beer” is more than the slogan on a T-shirt, it’s an amnesiac’s mantra for the meaninglessness gobbling that fuels our dysfunctional economy.
We may grumble about wealth inequity but continue to support and invest in a system that depends on slave labor. The system seems to offer few viable options to impoverished hand-to-mouth struggle for an increasing majority.
These are not problems for the invisible puppet masters pulling our strings. Business-as-usual is not something that uncaring elected and corporate leaders wish to change. Why would we expect any change to start with them? Why would they tamper with what’s worked for centuries to keep the elite empowered and the rest of us enslaved?
The long-term price of modern feudalism may be a home planet unfit for human habitation but they don’t care. They are parasites getting while the getting’s good, eventually killing off their host.
Here’s another opportunity to gut check for judgment. Are you blaming or observing as you read these words? Feeling outrage is normal; what we do with that energy makes the difference between a visionary activist and just another complainer.
let’s un-spell for a moment
Instead of feeling anger towards “them,” consider pity. The characters I described are slaves to power and comfort. They’re whores, bought and paid for by people we’ve never heard of. They sit atop the food chain, sometimes carrying out their pillaging for profit under the guise of public service. They cannot be happy when they know they are just rich thieves.
What joy comes to them voluntarily?
You can pay for love but that isn’t real love and there’s no friendship involved. A thousand bucks can buy plenty but what happens when the money is gone? These shadow players don’t intend to find out.
There are many powerful, wealthy individuals who do good in the world; I’ve met scores of them and they inspire me. But there are also legions of narcissistic, lying deniers consciously manipulating to maintain excessive lifestyles at any cost, to others and to the environment.
We can’t fight them and win because it’s their game. They know the rules and how to break them. They have the money and the power to keep us out of their club.
We must think differently. For instance, rather than ignoring their influence or railing against them, we can realize, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” That includes me ... and you.
One way to escape the drama triangle is to forgive.
Forgiveness is not something victims do. It’s not always the domain of the rescuer either, because he or she is often demonizing someone else to justify their role and forgiveness is the last thing they would offer to a perpetrator of evil. However, forgiveness is the very thing that can un-spell us and collapse the drama triangle.
“What if?” Imagine, forgiving unconditionally. Is that even possible?
The Dali Lama forgives the Chinese, regardless of how they have hurt him and Tibet. Why? Because he is connected to universal intelligence. He is experiencing an adoring relationship with the Divine that overflows as an expression of unconditional love. The Dalai Lama is living what I call “The Transformational Lifestyle.”
In the human world of disconnection and cruelty, His Holiness remains steadfastly connected and loving. I have friends who know him personally and they assure me he’s the real deal. Well, we’re in this human family with the Dalia Lama. We are fruit on the same tree, each of us ripening at our own, perfect time. Embrace this possibility for yourself.
His Holiness knows the secret a slave would never consider: real freedom requires liberating one’s captors from the prison of our judgment. Scores of courageous prisoners have taught us this (Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mohammed Ali, etc.).
Let “them” be; we have bigger fish to fry, namely, learning how to think differently and focus our attention / intention to accelerate personal and global transformation.
Copyright 2016. Natural Wisdom LLC.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
Now or Never: A Quantum Map for Visionary Activists
by Will Wilkinson
Discover, learn, and master simple and powerful techniques for creating the future you prefer and healing past traumas, to improve the quality of your personal life and help create a thriving future for our great grandchildren.
About the Author
Will Wilkinson is a senior consultant with Luminary Communications in Ashland, Oregon. He has authored or co-authored seven previous books, conducted hundreds of interviews with leading edge change agents, and is growing an international network of visionary activists. Find out more at willtwilkinson.com/