The Commentary Box
[Excerpt from FREE 'Commentary']
“And here she comes up on the left side. She’s had a bad season so she probably doesn't have it in her. Plus she’s been eating too much chocolate and so she’s not going to even fit in the dress she bought for the event this weekend. AND she’s going to it on her own so not only will she be not fitting into her dress, she will be standing like a lemon in a corner. What she should do now is to not eat and exercise all week. And be better at keeping husbands. Oh look now another chocolate bar. What a loser. She really should get a grip. And she missed the kids’ dentist appointment. What sort of crap mother is she? She should be better at stuff like that. Everyone else can do it. What an absolute loser…”
And on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.
That’s what the commentary on the inside of my head has been like. (Apart from the bit about coming up on the left side. I just put that in to show off my sports knowledge.)
And this commentary is relentless. Sometimes it ramps up so intensely it’s like the guy who does the Grand National. Hyped up, hysterical, barely comprehensible, not pausing for breath.
Now the interesting thing is that while this commentary has been having a field day slamming the loser, the ‘loser’ has just been doing what it does - breathing, moving, talking, working, tidying, picking kids up, cooking, reading, sleeping. It is doing the same whether the commentary thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread, or, like now, the scum of the earth.
There is life apparently happening. And there is a non-stop dramatic analysis of life happening.
There is the game. And there is the commentary on the game.
And that’s the design. It’s a great design. Many of us like listening to the commentary on a match. It is entertainment. Engaging. All those opinions and stories and stats, comparisons and head shaking, tutting and nodding in appreciation, all that leaping around and punching the air and outrage and ‘send him off’. All that drama and tension.
We watch and listen to the commentary in full knowledge that it does not change the game in any way. Reality.
But, in our lives, with our own commentary box, we are insane. We turn the whole thing upside down. We believe that the commentary is the game. We believe that listening to or changing or making the commentary wiser, more informed or more positive will make the game a different game. That it will somehow improve the actual play or secure a win for the right side or bring home the trophy.
And this is ridiculous. For so many reasons this is ridiculous.
The commentary in our minds, like the commentary on tv, is only ever an after-action description. It is post. It is always playing catch up.
It has no control or predictive powers. It cannot choose what is happening now. It cannot say what will happen in one second’s time let alone a year, let alone ten years.
Its view-point is necessarily, infinitesimally narrow, honing in on a few tiny microscopic details in an infinite ocean of details that could also have been noticed.
It is ridiculously distorted. Layer upon layer of beliefs, prejudices, fears, insecurities, expectations, judgements make seeing clearly, even this small slither, impossible.
It pulls in random, meaningless comparisons as benchmarks. Leaping into the past, into others lives. Making it all up as if it had power to remember and see.
Not one single word it says is true. Every single thing can be flipped to the opposite and be just as valid. Not one single word is true.
This commentary is not reality. Not even close.
And all the while, in reality, the game is just doing its thing.
So what is the outcome of seeing this?
Firstly, we realise that the commentary is not the key to life. That is never the place to put our attention. It can never be accurate, can never change the game in any way. We see it for what it is. Inconsequential drama.
Secondly, without the need to appease the commentators, there is no need to change the game. The game is happening as it happens. Pure breath-taking perfection. After all any thought or judgement of something wrong could only ever come from the guys in their commentary box with their narrow, distorted, unreliable opinions.
As we stop putting effort into changing the inconsequential and irrelevant or trying to change the unchangeable and the perfect, we are freed up. We see who we really are. We are not the commentators. We are not even the game.
We are the space in which it all takes place. All of it is who we are, all of it brought alive by us. We see the breath-taking magnificence of the whole thing. The way it fits. We see every shining, sparkling detail. Hear every note. Feel everything it is possible to feel. All of it is us. It is impossible for anything to be better than this. Impossible for anything to be better than who we are.
We realise this. And then we hear the commentary box start up…
Remembering who we are, we notice the innocent confused self-importance of the commentary box. Its sweet, crazy idea that it is running the show. Its search for home.
It can do what it wants, say what it wants. All of it comes from love. Can be received with love.
We remember who we are. Our vision expands. We see everything.