Saturday, March 9, 2013

Are You Helping Others?

File:Gone But Not Forgotten - John William Waterhouse.jpg
Credit: Gone but Not Forgotten
As I've cleaned up my diet, my thoughts and my life practices, I've thought considerably about the impact I have on the world right now and I can't help but think of what my legacy will be (propelling me to try even more to live a better life). I've studied Buddhism irregularly as a philosophy for many years. I find its intellectually rigorous concepts challenging and satisfying. I've tried to incorporate as many of the elements of Buddhism that work for me in my daily life and from it and raw foods I launched my growing spiritual practices. Because I find the philosophy so beautiful yet demanding I do not consider myself a Buddhist nor an aspiring Buddhist. However as a philosophy and a way of life, when I practice its concepts it makes me a better person.

Recently I've developed an interest in astrology. It took several viewings for me but Rick Levine's Quantum Astrology: Science, Spirit and Our Place in the Cycles of History finally makes sense to me. Through his analysis of planetary alignments over the centuries he clearly shows: "We begin to appreciate that single events do not happen by themselves. They always happen in a fabric of continuity connected to larger events of the past, to unknown events of the future and through astrology we get a different perspective of history." Furthermore he articulates: "So as we dip our toes in the quantum pond and watch these ripples move out astrology, more than anything else, reminds us that our future is not sealed in fate. In fact, it's sealed in every little action that we take every time we poke into that quantum pond. Every action we take has ripples and those ripples have ramifications that build and come back in the future in ways that today, we do not know."

As I've developed myself and worked at becoming a better person a natural inclination is, as the Buddhists have taught me, to help others. Over the course of time I've learned that sometimes when you help others you can actually hurt them. In my current dysfunctional work environment I see drama on a daily basis. It is so broken I've come to the conclusion that I don't know the solution to resolve its brokenness.  I've wanted to leave for months yet I held on because I've wanted to help these souls who seem so hurt, lost and angry. After more than a year of misery, I've come to some conclusions. Namely, it doesn't have to be this way.

To build the ladder out of this pit of misery I've harkened back to my undergraduate days studying communication models. The one I've learned so much from and reintroduced into my life is
(Google Images)
Stephan Karpman's Drama Triangle Model

I've added a few more commonly used adjectives to the roles written out in Wikipedia, but the Drama Triangle is constructed of the following:
  • The person who plays the role of a victim, martyr or vulnerable being
  • The person or villain who bullies, pressures, coerces, oppresses or persecutes the "victim"
  • The rescuer, hero, or enabler who intervenes, seemingly out of a desire to help the situation or the underdog.
Keep in mind these roles fluctuate in each person in varying circumstances although many people have a natural tendency toward one role. Do you see yourself in one of these? In other visual depictions of the triangle people rightly cite the central element of the Drama Triangle as denial. People who play out this dysfunctional communication pattern are often emotionally or egotistically vested in their roles and do not see the drama they are creating. Here is a short example of the process.

As I envision my legacy I would like it to be one without drama. Don't get me wrong, I love performing arts and I'm not excluding literature from my life--but I am stopping drama by refusing to play this dysfunctional game. The key ingredient in this game is the victim. If there are no victims, there is no drama. This can be a bitter pill for some to swallow. So be it. For me I reflect on the larger, spiritual perspective. Perhaps the person playing the "victim" is evening out karma or is here to learn a lesson these circumstances can provide. I can feel compassion for them and want to help, but I will not do so if it perpetuates drama.

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