Basic Introduction to Stances
This is hard. The teaching is simple; the practice is difficult, but not impossible. All that is needed is desire and determination. If you have these then you’ll get results.
The first part of this work is to become more aware of your reactions to everyday events. Simply become more objective towards yourself. As though, like a dream, you are observing yourself interacting with others and the world.
The second part consists of ceasing to react blindly to various occurrences and simply remain unaffected. This is actually a very big thing to achieve. It is not easy to remain aloof, the subconscious wants us to continually react, that way we don’t question it and it remains in control.
So these are the two main aspects to this part of the Great Work. But in order for this to be understood properly it is necessary to know what is and what is not a stance. The aim is to find and maintain an internal balance.
Taking a stance means that this is lost. It seems, from my own experience that you can instinctively feel or know when you are imbalanced. A simple example is when you have a debate with someone about something and you are attached to your own opinion despite realising that the other person is correct. And, despite this you still assert that your own opinion is correct. This inability to accept that you’re wrong is (I believe) one example of a stance. Other, simpler examples include annoyance – at, for example, not receiving a birthday present or gratitude that you thought you deserved; or uncontrolled anger towards objects or people (showing you that you are not as far advanced as you thought (or wished!) you were).
Now it is important to point out that these emotions are not necessarily inherently wrong in themselves. What is ‘wrong’ – if you’re trying to follow DL that is – is if they remain unchecked and cause you to act in a manner that is logically unwise, inappropriate or imbalanced.
It is okay to feel cross, angry, happy, sad and so on, the teaching on stances accepts emotions, but they must be kept in line.
My own experiences of this teaching have opened up another example of the subconscious’ tyranny. That is that the subconscious tells me that if I do not react or take a stance (as I have always done) then I am losing my power/control over my environment. But this is both a major fallacy and possibly a major obstacle to continuing with the work. From my own personal observations the opposite is actually more likely to be true. Another example will illustrate:
Someone is rude to me, that is, they do not treat me, as I would like. So, in turn and in retaliation I am rude to them. They then either equal or up the stakes and are ruder to me. And so the situation moves from a minor to an exaggerated event, all because I (and the other person) took a stance. And the fact that the other person may have taken a stance is not a get out clause! That is why DL talks about responsibility.
Taking a stance is indeed an easy way to deal with people and life, but is it necessarily the best way? Just observe yourself and others a little and the answer will soon become evident.