We are all multi-faceted beings. There’s the part of me that’s active when I teach yoga, and another when I’m with my friends. There’s a kind me, an angry me, and so many others in the mix too. This matches my understanding of eastern philosophy, and also matches what I’ve learned from Debbie Ford’s book: “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”. Here’s a quote from her book: “It took a long time to understand that what is actually inside me are the thousands of qualities and traits that make up every human being and that beneath the surface of every human is this blueprint of all mankind.”
I like the metaphor of my embodiment as a bus, and all the facets of myself are characters on the bus. EVERYONE is on the bus, but some are more developed than others. Those facets that I have developed well can easily take the drivers seat when they are needed.
I have a scientist, diplomat, yogi, dancer, lover, poet, warrior, and may others on my bus. I would hate to be driving a bus that had only hippies and peaceniks on it. Part of living auspiciously is to develop the right compliment of characters on the bus. But remember we have EVERYONE on the bus.
Unfortunately there are some on my bus that I have let drive too often: the blamer, the fool, the angry man, and others who are racked with fear. They are on my bus, and always will be, but I know now that I don’t have to let them drive.
I have a cook on my bus. He has natural talent, but very little training. If I wanted to develop my cook, I would cook more, and I could go to a cooking school. Anyone could do similar things with any quality they wanted to develop.
Most of us living in the current age would do well to have a developed negotiator. Everyone has a negotiator, but some more developed than others. If I have an undeveloped negotiator, I might decide not to put them in the driver’s seat even if I am in a negotiation. Instead I let someone else drive the bus. If I put the wrong person in the driver’s seat, I might not end up where I wanted. This is not an auspicious way to live.
Sometimes there is no one in the driver’s seat.
Sometimes the bus will crash. Good thing I have a healer on board!
If I allow my undeveloped negotiator into the driver’s seat, it is an opportunity for him to learn. I can also read books and go to trainings, etc. We should know that we are whole and complete, but not fully developed in all our aspects. As divine beings, we can grow ANY facet of ourselves that we want to. I think it’s really a blessing that we have all possible facets within ourselves to help us adapt to the challenges that life gives us. Have you ever had a new set of challenges bring out latent qualities you never knew you had?
I have some characters on my bus who I sometimes think should never drive. For example, I will rarely if ever want my liar to drive. But if I was in Nazi Germany hiding Jews, I would cultivate my liar.
This brings up those sides of myself it’s difficult to face. Debbie Ford calls it the dark side. Sometimes the characters that reside within the dark side are very powerful. If I cannot admit that a particular character is there, then it can jump into the driver’s seat and I won’t even know it! I cannot admit I have this quality, so I cannot see when it acts, and then I’ll wonder how I made such a mess of my life. For me it is helpful to know that I have all possible qualities within myself. There is no shame in that; everyone else is that way too.
As Tantric philosopher Douglas Brooks says: “we are known by the choices we make”. The choice of who will drive the bus at any one time is ours and ours alone. We can choose compassion over anger. When something goes wrong in our lives, we can choose to see it as a challenge to make us stronger, rather than a weight dragging us down. The capacity to choose comes from the deepest eternal part of ourselves; I call it soul. Soul’s strength is shown through character, which is nothing other than our capacity to choose which facet of our being will be in control of our actions.
Isn’t “Character” an interesting word? If we have character, the bus of characters is under our control. The etymology of the word is “engraved mark”. The mark we leave on the world is determined by who we put into the drivers seat.
To live auspiciously, we need two things:
– The strength of character to be able to control who is driving and
– To have a good compliment of developed “characters” on our bus.
The true driver is soul, because that is who decides who will take the driver’s seat, and thus acts in the world.
Where do you want to drive anyway?