From the place where we are right
flowers will not grow
in the spring...
From a young age we are set upon the production line of life and a process of moulding and shaping begins. The aim of the production line is to assemble us or put us together in such a way that by the end of the process we will not be rejected as faulty but will instead receive the stamp of approval by our parents, society and peers. The production lines job is to ensure that we get this thing called life right; that we do it right and above all that in the end we turn out all right.
The production line fosters an attitude of ‘get it right and do it right in order to BE right’ that can haunt us all our lives. We can go through life for ever striving to find the right way to live; the right people to hang out with, the right school to attend, the right subjects to study; the right career to choose, the right person to marry, the right schooling system for our children; the right way to behave, the right diet to follow; the right way to spend our money; the right theology to believe in and the right way to practice religion.
Do you get the picture?
This inbuilt need to ‘get it right and do it right in order to BE right’ can be SO strong that we will do almost anything in order to preserve our image of ourselves as right. Quite simply we have to because, under the production line system, if we are found out to be wrong then there is no place for us other than the rejection pile which we are desperately seeking to avoid.
When we abide by the rules of the production line then in order for us to ‘get it right, do it right and ultimately BE right’ we have to make someone else out to be wrong.
The production line system depends on this for its survival. It thrives on us having the ability to compare and contrast people, events and circumstances and to file, filter and sort these into categories such as: better or worse, more or less, good or bad and of course right or wrong.
The only way that we as a species can do this, without it adversely affecting us in some way is if we adhere to a belief system that views our individual, personal existence as the sum total of who we are. When we see ourselves this way rather than as ONE part of the ONE living thing called LIFE then we are able to judge and label others without it having any (obvious) impact on ourselves.
The production line is geared up to strengthen the illusion of our separatism by feeding our fears and insecurities whereby ensuring our need to stay on the production line so that we can eventually be put right. While we are on the production line we become blind to anything other than this need to be right and this fuels a whole array of behaviours that under any other system would be less than desirable. These include:
This is NOT a sustainable way to live (as is evident in the number of wars and conflict situation that dominate our world.) Eventually the production line system will exhaust us (individually and collectively) one way or another – unless we can WAKE UP in time to do something about it.
Waking up involves realising that there is no need and there never has been a need for a system whose purpose is to shape and mould us into being better, more acceptable versions of ourselves. Waking up is about realising (making real) the fact that there was NEVER anything WRONG with us in the first place and therefore we never needed to be MADE RIGHT!
RUMI said ‘Beyond our ideas of right and wrong there is a field I’ll meet you there’
To get to this field we must step off the production line because the production line will not take us there. Stepping off the production line is akin to stepping off the treadmill at the gym and choosing instead to run free in the great outdoors, breathing fresh air and experiencing the natural world around us rather than the limited, artificial world of the gym.
How we answer the following questions will help determine how near we are to being able to live in the beautiful, freeing place that Rumi talked about.
Awakening is a process and how we respond to these questions will inevitably vary from one day to the next and even from one moment to another.
I used to think that I needed to stay off the production line FOR EVER in order to experience true joy in my life but now I find that the whole process of stepping off and then stepping back on again produces its own joy as I continue to discern the best way for me to step off and stay off completely. This is the true joy and challenge of living free.
I’d be interested to know your experiences of the production line. Please leave any comments in the boxes below. Thank you.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.