“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
– William Shakespeare
I have always grownup with the poetic meaning of the lines above, said by Shakespeare. I could have never thought that how true they can be not only in the light of stories we tell to others but also the stories we tell to ourselves.
Our life is the sequence of events and our responses to them. If it would have been so simple, then we would have never suffered from highs and lows in life. Rather life would have been only transactional in nature. Indeed, apart from the response we chose to an event in our life, we also attach to it, an Assumption or Interpretation or what I call as a STORY that is based on the perception of the event.
Who we are today is an accumulation of such stories that we have told to ourself in all these years. These interpretations and perceptions of the world has created the identity we live today. My friends, relatives and acquaintances know me as a person who has a dry-sarcastic sense of humour. I was wondering that when did I decide to be like this? I started investigating my past by looking at life like a film strip in a timeline. It first took me to my college days to see whether I held the traits of such personality. I found that I was in a state of developing this kind of humour with the company of people with similar personality. I went down further to my school life and discovered that during the age of around 12 years, I was a different person. Someone who would sit quietly and had not more than one or two friends. But there were my classmates who were very popular among the sections of classes and people loved their company as they always used to make fun and chill out in life. Perhaps at this point it Occurred to me that I need to be humorous and casual to make people like me and respect me. As I got into college I saw the similar pattern around me that validated the PERCEPTION for me that ‘to be successful and popular with people, you need a great sense of humour’. When I observed my personality at current age, I saw to have a sarcastic sense of humour because of How world and people occurred to me at the age of 12. My “View of the world” i.e. perception today was the one made by a 12-year-old boy. I was still living a story (perception) told by a 12-year boy to himself about how the world operates. Over the years all I have done is collected patterns to validate the story and have never looked beyond the patterns I held on to. Rather anything that didn’t comply to these patterns were discarded by my mind and anything resonating with these patterns strengthened by belief of the “Story” actually” being a “Reality”. The moment you see yourself as a field of awareness and that throughout the years you have made assumptions in life that are stored in you as memories, you will actually alter your state of existence and get closer to the real view of the world that operates as it is, without any interpretations and judgements.
You will see this evident when observing the behaviours of people around you. Once you understand the stories they have been telling to themselves and living them as realities, your perception about them and how they occur to you will completely change. Since the distinction between a story and a reality has not come in to their awareness and your every effort to change them will be face resistance. But since now your experience of them would have changed, hence the need to change them will simply disappear.
There is a friend of mine who appears to be very conscious of his self-image and being righteous all the times. It was getting very difficult for me to get through him, although I knew he is nice at heart. Then I did the same diagnosis for him and understood how his personality came up. He lost his father when he was around 13 years of age. He and his mother lived in a social setup that was very conservative in approach and hence at a very early stage in his life he created the world perception that ‘being or acting tough and strong is the way to survive in life so that others don’t take advantage of your situation’. Over the years he got validations for the story / perception he told to himself and became very self-conscious of looking right. This affected him to an extent that it became very difficult for him to trust others and has always been living in an internal fear of things going wrong. Even today when he is in his Thirties, he fights internally with the image he wants the world to see of a strong and right person vs a sensitive person and someone seeking pure affections. Due to this accumulated personality he has been denying the genuine affections coming his way, so as to not expose his created identity.
It is not in his awareness yet that he has been living a “world view” a “Story” of a 13-year-old boy. For him the world still operates the same way and over the years his mind has got programmed to identify with similar patterns and similar people in life.
I ask you that if you need to make an important decision of your life, then will you consult a 13-15-year-old child? Perhaps NO. But we are still living a life as per the story told to us by a child. It’s time that we now grow the child story to an Adult story by re-writing it with the better and mature view of the world.
Sending Love, Laughter and Joy…… Parth