What are we supposed to do with events that repeat themselves over and over again in our lives? For many of us, events do that, they repeat. We may not notice that the same exact thing is happening until it’s too late. For example, we may think we are dating someone completely new, only to find out that the person is exactly like the last person we dated, and that person was unendurably dark and unkind. Or else we may get a new job, thinking it was the old job or the old boss who was the cause of our dissatisfaction, only to find the exact same little dramas and intrigues and inward suffering and anxiety occurring all over again, with all new people and in an all new location. The outward appearances keep changing, but the inward feelings and experiences are the same. This sort of dynamic is what the film Groundhog Day was expressing—this cyclical recurrence of events that are ultimately felt as some sort of doom, or some sort of curse, something we cannot seem to shake off despite all our good intentions.
Sometimes the people who are closest to us in our lives are the generators and fixers who keep the cyclical doom in motion. Have you ever noticed that? How the very people who claim to love you the most are also the same people who want to keep you unconsciously locked in a kind of life-long co-dependent escapade? This is not the case for everyone, of course, but I think it’s common enough that some form of it will be recognizable to most people. As humans, we are creatures of habit, and that means we can form psychological and emotional habits as well. What often happens is that one person wants to grow and change but the other person does not and the person who does not want to change begins to employ an unconsciously manipulative tactic (which can very subtle since it’s unfolding on the level of unconscious apprehension) using an area of established weakness as a jumping off point. This entire affair is particularly onerous when it’s one of your parents doing the manipulating.
I’m writing from personal experience, of course. But I am certain that countless others have similar issues with the main people in their own lives. Our wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, our children and even aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, bosses, and best friends can become unconscious enemies of our growth and our freedom. It’s not that anyone necessarily means to do harm (although some people are mean-spirited and make no bones about it), it’s just that we become habituated to certain ways of being. When one person wants to bust out of the prison of familial complexes and habits, or out of other psychological structures that keep us entrapped in behaviors we no longer enjoy emulating, the ones who are not yet ready for that kind of shift and change become agitated and mobilize efforts (again, unconsciously) to keep the status quo in good order. Unfortunately, these efforts often involve psychological skulduggery and unkind manipulative tactics.
For me, it is imperative to bust out of the prison of family habits, especially when those habits are destructive and dark. It takes tremendous concentration, focus, and determination, though. I won’t lie to you about that. It takes continuous and persistent action. Because ultimately, all these events are taking place inwardly, inside our own souls, and it is only there, inside our own souls and using the images and thoughts and emotions we have around these issues as ammunition, that we can intercept and interrupt the process of cyclical doom.
The best way to alter the process is to start changing your day to day habits. Your habits are like life congealed. Take one thing you do everyday and do it a little differently. Then add one more new way of doing things to your day to day habits. Then start scanning your thoughts and see if you can take one repetitious and negative thought and start intercepting it every time it comes up again. Just work with that one thought. Talk to it like it’s a friend you are trying to convince and console. Tell it that that way of thinking is not the only way to see a certain issue. Tell it that it doesn’t have all the information and maybe other ways of seeing things are possible, too. Just loosening up that one repetitious negative thought will do wonders. Once you feel strong enough, you can move on to changing a few more habits, and then you can start to intercept a few more negative thoughts. Little by little, you chip away at the bricks and mortar of your prison of habits, your prison of cyclical repetitious doom, the very discomfort you inherited from your family and from your society (and from your old self!) that you no longer want to live with or blindly repeat.
Remember, just because we inherited something from our parents doesn’t mean we are trapped in it forever. I’m not speaking of genetics, although that, too, may be up for renewal in the future. I’m speaking of psychological and spiritual and emotional habits. We are not our parents, we are not our teachers, we are not our siblings. All of us are completely unique and each of us has a specific life pattern to live and we are not meant to wallow forever in unconscious and destructive family patterns.
A bit of courage, a strong desire to grow and manifest our true selves, and a feeling of compassion toward those who are not yet ready for this jump will help us to move forward without fear and without doubt. I saw a cool neon sign on a wall in a Berlin nightclub (from a movie) that read: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Change can be scary, yes, but the alternative—staying forever in the exact same patterns of destructive dysfunction—is downright terrifying! Growth is a kind of striving, it entails suffering and hard work. And facing the perennial truth of cyclical dooms active in our lives is part of the suffering which leads to knowledge which leads to growth.
So, then, as they say in Hawaii, Imua! Onward!