The Puppet Masters
I feel the importance of our time now comes with the recognition of what speaks to us from within that we shut out, as in listening and experiencing what is there, we get to follow the inner voice of life, a voice that can guide new beginnings, relationships and deeper understanding of the wisdom we all have to share….
Looking back at my college days, I had always wanted to explain why we do what we do, but on a more subtle level. It was the reason why I studied psychology. But perhaps the true reason was because I wanted to understand myself. Unaware at the time, I found myself a slave to urges that were born out of this feeling of anxiety that overtook me. A feeling that held root in my inability to process on a more subtle level inside of my body this reality that made little sense. What always fascinated me was who was the puppet master in charge of my anxiety? Where did it come from and most importantly, what is the purpose of this master? We all have it, perhaps it’s just a matter of how much you pay attention. That’s how it is for me, as what lies beneath the surface is this living manifestation that takes hold of me in different ways throughout the day.
I remember a long time ago, I was in high school, and I was vacuuming the floor of my room. Prior to vacuuming, it was a rather long conversation I had with myself, as I did not truly want to vacuum, but there was this urge inside, as if something else within was directing me to do it, and that if I did vacuum I would feel better. At the same time, I knew that the urge to vacuum would eventually come up again in the future, and I would be stuck in another painful negotiation with myself. The conversation was important though, not so much because of the conversation, but because I was watching myself, as if part of me was becoming conscious, conscious of the insanity I was participating in. Insanity which at that time I was perhaps not old enough or mature enough to truly investigate or understand fully. It didn’t just stop with conversations about vacuuming; it extended into every aspect of my life, from how I obsessively organized my surroundings, to how I kept myself to a regimented schedule. Fact is, it was how I stayed in control, and when things started to fall apart, I felt it inside of me, and the only answer I had was to control.
After college I began to recognize that there was something going on inside of me that I wanted to understand on a deeper level. That’s when I took to reading more about who we are; philosophy, religion, and psychology. It was this task driven by the need to explain, to figure out who the puppets were inside of me and why were they there?
I had this recognition that there was more to who we are that lies beneath the surface, but there was this compulsion to explain which prevented me from actually experiencing what I felt was there. It took a long time for me to realize I was not going to understand the puppets until I left the mind, until I actually went beneath the surface to consciously explore my inner world. Now, I was going to have to try to drop my need to explain and instead reach what I always felt existed inside of me.
Carefully I moved inside my body with my attention, but the moment I did so, the puppet master started to tighten his grip. In my awareness of its presence and the pain it caused, I started to do things to try to tame it, to get rid of it. I could feel the urges compel me to fix my surrounding world, to create order; the same urge I was aware of when I was in high school. Now that I have turned my attention inwards I knew what I was dealing with. It’s as if the noise that was always there, that I unconsciously avoided all of these years started to get really loud. I was finally face to face with the puppet masters, the part of me that influenced my vacuuming, the part of me that caused me to obsessively organize my belongings.
I suppose that is how so many of us are, we have inner daemons we do not understand, that become our puppet masters, but we are unsure of how to deal with them, so we all react differently. We either fight them with hatred, or we cover them up and pretend nothing is wrong.
I kept trying, the urges were strong, in fact they screamed out to me. It was so painful, to sit there with my eyes closed, in silence, to fully face head on what was really in charge inside of me. I had to go about it in a rather meticulous and careful manner if I was going to get anywhere with the process. Just like when you’re trying to understand nature or the world around, there is a certain level of sensitivity that is needed depending on what level you want to reach.
Fact is if I was going to really get to know what these urges were inside, to experience where they took root, to understand why they were there, I was going to have to start to open up to them, to trust what they had to teach me. That was the hardest part, because we are so used to dealing with ourselves on the surface, through fixing our environment, but that all felt so temporary for me, like there was something greater going on inside of us that has significance to our growth, to our relationship with ourselves and the world around.
The puppet master never took a break. The moment I thought I mastered one issue another would pop up. In other words, I would think it was safe to go and explore my inner world, to research the depths of what was really going on, only to find my attention fixated on another issue. The issues all felt different inside my body, as if it was a process that constantly moved and evolved with me, like this prison I constructed and it was my job to deconstruct it, to see who the puppets really were, why they were there and what they were teaching me.
It hurt; I was painfully trapped somewhere in no man’s land, aware of this other possibility. All I know is the master was in control, at the same time, the path to insanity was to continue to follow his instructions. Somehow, I needed to show up for the lesson inside of me long enough to make strides, to attain deeper understanding.
Darkness surrounds me; I begin my descent inside through the caves of my inner world. I had to be careful and gentle, to feel what was truly there, to open myself to the relationship I had been protecting myself from for so long. The more I went inside the further I was able to go, and the more I was able to open, feel and experience the presence of who I truly was. It was a delicate dance, just like getting to know a creature of the wild or the sea, we have to acquire trust, to build a relationship. It was the same thing with my inner world; I had to learn to trust my soul, to allow its energy to move into my consciousness, my physical body. The process of moving inside to experience who I truly was brought this greater understanding of who the puppets were. The puppets started to have function, purpose, and to awaken as my soul came to life. My soul started to work with the ‘puppets,’ to create a new relationship that connected with the spiritual world of the Earth, and all living beings.
I experienced how the Earth’s spiritual world was bound to all living beings, as she holds each of us in her own way. When I looked at humanity, I saw how we do not notice the presence of this world; rather, we were in the shadows, unsure of where we were going. This put everything into perspective, as I realized how when I ignore the lesson my puppets have to share, I then contribute to the shadows. But there is purpose to the pain, as the puppets are there to teach me about who I truly am, and if I master my lesson, I get to share my greater purpose.
So many of us have good intentions, we want to make a difference in the world, to help each other. But without taking the inner journey, to dive deeper into the lesson we bear, to understand it more fully, we are quick to act and give advice. It is so easy to uphold our old ways inside of ourselves, all we have to do is feel it, how we respond to situations, how we feel day to day, as the old lives inside all of us in its own way. Deeper understanding is not reached because limitations of human language, or because of the mind’s inability to understand, rather it is simply because we have not explored ourselves. Inside all of us is a wealth of wisdom that holds bearing to our personal challenge, a challenge that can only be explored and understood by you, a challenge that is there for a reason, to teach you. That is where purpose lies, in the act of being conscious, in venturing inside the body to listen and pay close attention to what is going on. That process can teach you how to open your inner door to become an active participant with the surrounding world, as bearer of the teaching you are responsible for.
Written by Lief Hollowell