hanging on for dear life

Today we ask that you pay attention to the drama in your life.

People love drama.  They love it in movies and books.  They enjoy melodrama, romance, action, crime, comedy.  And there is nothing wrong with enjoying fictional stories.  They can be beautiful, soul-stirring, laugh-out-loud.  They can illumine the essence of the human character and ego.  They can create transcendence.  It is good to laugh and cry and learn watching dramas.  

However, in real life, drama is a mixed bag.  Just like fictional characters, people experience terrible stress and suffering over their personal dramas.

As children, big dramas are often about getting the treat or the toy or how it’s not fair that your brother gets to do something and you don’t.  Children scream and throw tantrums over these things.

As teenagers, it’s all about boys and girls and couples and sex and popularity and school.  Teenagers suffer terribly over these things.

As young adults, the drama is about jobs, careers, and marriages.

Later the drama is all about money and success and parenthood.

Later the drama is all about impending old age, sickness, and death.

So humans suffer and suffer and suffer.  They are always suffering.

This is not to minimize serious issues in the world — poverty, oppression, abuse, violence, war.  This is focusing on “garden variety” life dramas.  

When you look at the dramas of little children throwing tantrums, can you see that it is all really over nothing?

When you look at the dramas of moody teenagers, can you see that it is all really over nothing?

Of course, you will argue that the dramas you are suffering over right now are very important!

But three year olds and thirteen year olds also believe that their dramas are very important!  Just ask them.

When people get sick, and death approaches, often they can perceive that they spent most of their lives being miserable over nothing all that important.  They wish they could be granted a second chance to really enjoy life.

Meditate on your future self.  At the moment of your death, do you really think whatever drama you are experiencing right now will seem all that important?

After you leave the physical body, even the drama of sickness and death will not seem all that important.

Enjoy drama on TV.  But in “real life,” as you suffer over your dramas, ask yourself:

“Is it really worth all this suffering I’m experiencing?”

In drama, as in gambling, there is something called “stakes.”  People like dramas with “high stakes” — where it is “life or death.”  Those are the most gripping dramas.

The problem is, in real life, people cannot differentiate between a “high stakes” drama and a “low stakes” drama.

“High stakes” means “life or death.”  “Low stakes” means “not all that important.”

Sometimes it takes a major health crisis, where it really is life or death, to show people that all their other dramas are far less consequential than they believed.  

From the spiritual perspective, even “life or death” is not such a big deal.

It is possible to look at a drama situation in your life, and consciously “lower the stakes” around it.  You recognize that it is not all that important, that it is not life or death.  This is an extremely useful skill.

If you understand this, then you will truly begin to enjoy your life.  Let the drama stay on the television.  Without drama, you will love life.  Your future self asks you to do this.

Let go of your dramas.  Especially the little ones, the garden variety ones.  Put things in perspective.