by Gary Zukav.
Imagine that you are the coach of a team in a game called “Life.”
You have numerous players, but only one of them can play at a time. The player that is on the court at the moment is always the one that represents you. Whatever that player does, it is as though you did it. If that player is elegant and graceful, you appear elegant and graceful. If that player is crude and selfish, you appear crude and selfish.
Each of your players is world-class. One is an expert at anger. Everything that happens angers her, and she is continually shouting, withdrawing, and blaming someone for something. She needs no warm-up. She is always ready to play at any moment, and whenever you call upon her, she brings her top-flight anger onto the court.
Another is jealous, and another seeks revenge. Your team roster is large.
Another player is patient, and nothing can distract him from his patience. No matter what, when you call him he brings limitless patience to the court.
Another is grateful. Whatever occurs, she is grateful for it. Another is content, another is caring, and others are kind, disdainful, impatient, overwhelmed, and anxious. Whenever you want to play contentment, caring, kindness, disdain, impatience, overwhelm, or anxiety, you can call upon them and know that they will bring that to the game flawlessly.
Your responsibility is to choose the player that you will put on the court at each moment. You can confer with others, but only you can make the final decision, and whatever you choose, you are responsible for the consequences. If you choose to play anger, you experience the consequences of anger; if you choose to play kindness, you experience the consequences of kindness; and so on. The consequences that your players create when they play are always significant, because each is the best at what she does.
You are always fielding the best jealousy, kindness, disdain, patience, vengefulness, or gratitude that you have. The court is never empty. One player is always on it, playing full out. All of your players are eager to play.
Your players will always do their very best, so when you play anger, for example, it will create the best consequences of anger possible—isolation, loneliness, shallow relationships, etc. You cannot stop experiencing the consequences that your players create for you, because one of them is always on the court.
However, the more closely you watch your players and notice what experiences they create, the more skill as a coach you develop. At first, for example, playing anger might be your favourite choice, but after a while—sometimes a long while—you begin to experiment with playing patience, or jealousy, or disdain, or gratitude, all the while noting the experiences that your choices create.
Everyone around you is also a coach. Like you, they are continually choosing which of their players to put on the court. Their players never appear on your court, and your players never appear on theirs. You see the players that they choose and they see the players that you choose, but the players that they choose go onto their courts and the players that you choose go onto yours. For example, a coach near you may play anger. This will be especially exciting to some of your players. The anger, resentment, and superiority on your bench will be eager to play and will present themselves to you as strongly as they can.
Until now we have assumed that you know all the players on your team, but incredibly, many coaches do not. Most know some of their players but not all of them. The players that you know about are always waiting for your call. Those that you do not know about will take advantage of your lack of awareness and step onto the court when they please. It is as though you temporarily become unaware of the game (this is called unconsciousness) but the game, nonetheless, continues. It is always going on whether or not you are aware of it. One of your players is always on the court, always playing his or her best, and always creating consequences for you.
That is why some people become angry so often, or jealous, or hold grudges, judge others or themselves, gossip, etc. They are not yet accomplished coaches. They are not aware when certain of their players enter the game. For example, when another coach chooses to play anger (or is not aware that her anger has stepped onto her court), your anger (if you are not aware of it) will step onto your court and begin to play. If contentment was playing when this happens, contentment will be sidelined and anger will take over the game.
The more of your players you know about, the more control you have over the game. When you know all your players and are familiar with exactly what they do (and the consequences they create), you can play the best game possible. You have at your command the entire spectrum of your capabilities.
However, in the process of getting to know all your players well, you may decide that you do not want to play some of them at all. In fact, you want to retire them from the team. If you find that the consequences some of your players create are always painful for you to experience, you will avoid playing them and begin to choose players that create different consequences. If you find that the consequences other players create are always joyful, you will play those players more and more.
Eventually, they will be the only players you send onto the court. No matter what other coaches play, you will choose players that create the consequences that you want to create.
About The Author: This extract was taken from “Spiritual Partnership” by Gary Zukav (Rider Books, £12.99)