Sermon by Diane Donovan-Vaughn 06/09/2017

I know that some of you have heard of the term “control drama” and have even worked on your control drama, maybe over and over. This term comes from The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. If you heard the term at a Vision seminar, then you are welcome or I am sorry because when Carol was writing Vision, I suggested she read the book’s definition of control drama for her Vision script.

Redfield said, “All humans, because of their upbringing, tend toward one of the four “control dramas”: intimidators steal energy from others by threat. Interrogators steal it by judging and questioning. Aloof people attract attention (and energy) to themselves by acting reserved or withdrawing. And poor me’s make us feel guilty and responsible for them.”

These tactics all sound a bit humiliating because once again, our issues can feel absolutely humiliating, just like the voices in our head if revealed could feel as well. The fact is that in this life, we foster beliefs that energy is limited. This limitation to getting needs met from the outside in makes us feel needy and competitive. Our whole country is based on a model of competition for limited resources. In families, we struggle to get our parents’ approval or disapproval to obtain a shot of energy from them. We compete the way we do and then as adults repeat it with others until one day, we look at what we are doing and then we STOP for a minute.

Another, older version of energy games we play can be found in the book Games People Play by Eric Berne. He describes three ego states as parent, adult and child and goes on to describe in depth the games or transactions that these ego states play with other ego states. For example if I speak to my spouse from my parent ego state, I might be unpleasantly surprised to find a child state answering me. One time I coached a woman to calmly ask her husband to unpack his clothes and put them away. I warned her that he could respond with a childish response. She wanted to punish him for leaving the clothes for so long. Asking nicely was already hard for her so I wanted her to be fully prepared that if she wants to parent him, he might turn into a child. When she finally made her request, he stuck out his tongue. Adult to adult is the goal. If you feel self-righteous, beware that your ego state is possibly a parent or a child, not an adult.

Let me simplify it for you. Berne said that you could tell you are in a game because you feel bad in some way. Don’t let the brain get slippery by saying you feel good because you are winning a game with another person, because you got the energy or attention someone else wants. The bad feeling exists because you are not separate from another person. The person who lost affects you and not in a good way.

Cooperation is a human quality that we learn to pool our energy for a common goal. The problem is still prevalent that that we may judge the contributions of others as less than or lacking in some way and you find yourself in competition in the blink of an eye.

Then you start to read The Art of Spiritual Peacemaking, A Course in Miracles and Quantum Physics and remember that there is no other person out there. You cannot get more by taking from another because basically you are just taking from yourself and promoting the idea that separation exists over and over. When you wake up to the idea that everything and everyone is connected energy, then you begin to experience an abundance of energy. In other words, the energy we so desperately seek, the validation and confirmation we want from others can be found inside our connection to all that is. Energy is not lacking. We are lost and blocking abundant energy from our view with the belief that it is somehow limited. We turn to one separated, lost human and play an ego game to obtain energy from them in some way. They fail and then we can blame either them or us. The mind will say that either “I am not enough” or “You are not enough.” Alone and separate, we are not enough.

The ego will hold others hostage to its endless belief that energy is lacking, asking for more and more energy from one who may be even more depleted than the one taking energy. This vicious cycle starts to change when you notice the lack themes in your energy, in your thoughts and in your actions. Notice if you think someone else is getting more attention than you are. Notice if you give someone more attention that others. Notice if you feel left out or if others avoid you. These are energy dramas. You might be seeking energy that creates a feeling in others that is absolutely mind numbingly draining. With mindfulness, you can begin to notice your beliefs about energy. You can catch your energy games and STOP. We are energy. We are not separate from energy and there is no lack of energy in the universe. The truth is that energy is free and available as soon as we notice it. Reality coalesces around our attention. Place your attention on abundant, fulfilling energy that is freely available and it will miraculously appear. It was not lost. You were. You cannot see abundance when lack commandeers your vision. Remove the belief that the only way to attain energy is through games played to get it from others. Turn your attention toward the real world of energy and it will rush in and fill you.

The selection for today from The Buddha is Still Teaching (Selected and Edited by Jack Kornfield) is titled “Practice Take the One Seat” adapted from the book A Path with Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield. This selection is a meditation.

“Let your body be seated comfortably in your chair or on your cushion. Take a posture that is stable, erect, and connected with the earth. Sit as the Buddha did on his night of enlightenment, with great dignity and centeredness, sensing your capacity to face anything that arises. Let your eyes close and let your attention turn to your breathing. Let your breath move freely through your body. Let each breath bring a calmness and an ease. As you breathe, sense your capacity to open in body, heart, and mind.

“Open your senses, your feelings, your thoughts with loving compassion. Become aware of what feels closed in your body, closed in your heart, closed in your mind. Breathe and make space. Let the space open so that anything may arise. Let the windows of your senses open. Be aware of whatever feelings, images, sounds, and stories show themselves. With kind attention, notice with interest and ease all that presents itself to you.

“Continue to feel your steadiness and connectedness to the earth, as if you had taken the one seat in the center of life and opened yourself to an awareness of its dance. As you sit, feel the benefit of balance and peace in your life. Sense your capacity to rest unshakable as the seasons of life change. See how all that arises will pass away. Reflect on how joys and sorrows, pleasant events and unpleasant events, individuals, nations, even civilizations, arise and pass away. Take the one seat of a Buddha and rest with a heart of equanimity and compassion in the center of it all.

“Sit this way, dignified and present, for as long as wish. After some time, still feeling centered and steady, open your eyes. Then let yourself stand up and take some steps, walking with the same centeredness and dignity. Practice sitting and walking in this fashion, sensing your ability to be open, alive, and present with all that arises on this earth.” Namaste.