Meeting The Monkey On Your Own Back

I have a friend. His name is Ubastard. I named him that because that's what he calls me when I let him. He lives in my head and is the monkey on my own back. I suspect I have befriended him by now and give him a comfy place to live in there, but I wish he would go away.

Ubastard has an amazing ability to bridge the gap between my mind and my emotions. Once he starts his dialogue with me, I can literally feel him connect the two. Since emotions are the body's reaction to the spinning of the mind, the little booger seems to have the amazing ability to start the processes of anxiety or a bit of depression at will. Ubastard!

I believe UB has live there since I was a kid but spent most of my own childhood just growing up himself. I don't remember all that many discussions with him when I was kid. I didn't even know his name was Ubastard until I went to Bible College. It wasn't really a seminary. The way the Bible was studied was to simply read it and weave it together in one complete incoherent whole. There was no study of the who, what, where, when, why and how's of scripture. I have had to do ALL that during my time as a Pastor and since. Let's face it, when you go to a denominational school, you get the denominational spin. I would have done better at Harvard Divinity School where one no doubt can freely admit to other perspectives on the topic. As a life long liberal Dutchman, I am sure I could have been persuaded to let go of guilt, shame and fear aspects of religion and enjoy the philosophical study of theology. But oh no, I had to affiliate with the literalists who feed Ubastard and inserted him in my mind when I was either deep in prayer or sleeping.

Anyway, at Bible College, one gets molded, shaped and eventually cloned into the very image of God, even though you don't. I remember sitting in first year Bible class which was a survey of the harmonious Gospels which later I came to see aren't. We heard a lot about the life and times of Jesus and his merry men, but a lot about sex as well. Ubastoring young people on the topic of sex in Bible College is a must. While I was wondering how the 12 could go so long without intimacy or sex, I was being assured that they had become Eunuch's for the Kingdom of God's sake. Ewwww. I did read where Peter had a mother-in-law, and thus a wife, but then she faded quickly out of the picture. For either one year, or three or ten, depending, these guys must have been serial killers at heart walking around in the desert and saying behold all the time. Guys who don't experience intimacy and sex do this I believe...and are very angry inside. I get curious when a pastor dwells on the evils of sex. But I spare you.

The should not's and must nots were endless. We were entertained with the professor prancing around the stage action queer as that was the in word then and we all were supposed to laugh and be men about it all. We tried to talk in deep masculine voices and not wear pink so as not to be confused with the enemy. Once, he counted slowly to four to illustrate to the women in the class just how quickly a man could aroused over their not dressing discretely. My buddies and I estimated he was more than two seconds off on the slow side and that what a girl wore had little to do with it. Add to all this weekly in class meme programming, weekends of Bible Study and Sermons, and Ubastard has acquired an endless supply of criticism to throw at me when I left him out of the picture.

Of course, we had to become perfect in all things. We had to think like Jesus thought and Act like God in all things. I once called someone a fool just as Jesus did from time to time, but got reamed out for being in danger of hell fire as Jesus taught would be the fate of those that called people fools. I'm confused!

I could have come up with the What would Jesus do thing years ago, but I was too busy feeling inadequate, fearful, guilty and shameful as was expected to think I could do what Jesus would do. Years later I came to wonder just what exactly Jesus was doing with Mary Magdalene who it seems ended up on the right hand of him in DaVinci's Last Supper. I can see where the part in the Gospel of Thomas with Peter chiding Jesus for kissing her too often on the lips, didn't make the NT cut of acceptable books. I believe he also asked Jesus why Jesus loved Mary more than the guys, but Jesus is said to have replied, Why does she love me more than you do Whoa...nice comeback!

I remember the couple that found themselves the first semester and got kicked out by the second. They married and I spent the next three years wondering how their sex lives were going. All the rest of us were in limbo over this and Ubastard was in full swing by now. ONE, TWO...doh I tried all I could to get to FOUR, but I was evidently a particularly perverted Dutchman. I found out later that the only ones allowed to break the rules of God, as layed down by the professor, were the kids of the Evangelists, faculty kids and those that grew up in the denomination and were only allowed to go to this particular school being programmed from their youth to do so. Actually they didn't have a Ubastard from all I can tell. There is no freedom like the freedom church kids have when they grew up soaking in something they had no intention of doing.

At any rate, Ubastard still lives and chatters too much in my mind. Some believe this is good as his purpose it to direct me to the straight, narrow, righteous and true. Some say God put Ubastard there as my monkey on my own back guide. But personally Ubastard, the Monkey on My Own Back is a creation of my mind to keep me less than authentic, under the control of the powers that be and kept in line with guilt, shame and fear, which a the trinity of worthless emotions if ever there was one.
Guilt, shame and fear are all imposed upon one in some way as a way to keep one weak, compliant and pliable, to the will of the tribe or church if you will. They all assume there is just one way to be as a human being and any stepping outside of the the organizational box produces these emotions to get you back in. Maybe back in is not where one really needs to go.

There are several ways to defeat Ubastard. One is to breathe through when his fear, shame and quilt shatter provokes anxiety which is projected fear into the future or the fear of future consequences for not getting back into Ubastards camp. Just breathe...slowly, from the tummy and breathe. I don't know why he does not like that, but he doesn't seem to thrive in deep slow breathing. Ubastard is more of an upper chest breather and does it quickly. Maybe opposites defang him. Maybe his way of making my body breathe sends my brain the chemicals he loves to bathe in, which of course is fear, quilt and shame. Slow breathing might send the message to my mind that all is well and that it can keep the fear, quilt and shame juice but feel free to send the love, joy and acceptance juice on down! I think that's how it works. That's one of the few times Ubastard calls me Ubastard, and leaves me alone for a time.

Of course meds can be helpful. Whoever created Ativan must work directly on the right hand of God. On occasions breathing won't cut it and Ubastard has the upper hand. So as not to have a completely worthless and anxiety ridden morning, I take it. I don't like to, but I do and it's my decision. I know when Ubastard is on the offensive, I need some keymasters to help out. It runs right to the favorite cell receptors for Ubastard's mix but blocks them so his keys are worthless and he can't get into my breathing, tummy or thought spinning cells. Ha! Locked out! Take that Ubastard! I'd like to think, in time and with skills of thought that this amazing biosuit I wear to transport my spirit and experience my world in a limited five sensed way, could take over and simply remove Ubastards keys once and for all.

There are hundreds of sites with wonderful information on defeating Ubastard the Monkey on your own back. I think I tolerate him because I am supposed to keep him around for my good, but he doensn't feel good and in both the short and long haul, doesn't serve me much good.

I have watched thousands apply the rules of Bible School to themselves all my life. Some do nicely but admit to a certain duplicity behind the scenes. Some claim no duplicity, but seem sad and unfulfilled. Some seem happy and and bouncy and I consider these the most dangerous of all. I always want to know what's really going on with them. Me thinks you gush too much in Jesus. I am often proved right down the road. Many are stuck in relationships that feel more like brother-sister stuff. Nothing much to look forward to. Nothing much left to say. And no creative intimacy or talk about how one really feels down deep inside. Certainly they are not going to explore anything the church would disapprove of, even if the minister was doing that himself.

Ubastard seems to govern just how much one allows themselves to speak about as well. Let's face it, it is no fun sharing when, in fact, one is supplying the one spoken to the bullets with which to shoot back at you. As a result, there are many quietly desperate human beings who neither speak their heart nor share their thoughts out of anxious fear , guilt for doing so or shame over what they feel they need in life, before it goes away. Human stuff really and Ubastard, the Monkey on One's Own Back, seems bent on keeping the human in line with a thousand soul sucking organizations, churches and denominations , that feed him endless shoulds, musts, should nots and must nots, but never free to find no need for them and seek an authentic self.

This is why Born Right the First Time is quite a dose of poison for Ubastard and I am pretty sure he simply can't handle the thought. It would take away his power of control and his litany of reasons one has qualified today as Ubastard. All I know is that it does not help and does not serve me personally in any meaningful way to strive for a perfection the book says we must and yet not know one single person on the planet to point to as having done well in that. Perfect people are scary people and duplistic beyond measure behind the scenes. Perfect people, with the perfect understanding of the perfect on set of perfect truths are perfectly scary and often make a big splat when they fall and join the human race. Ted Haggard, former head of the National Association of Evangelicals comes to mind as an example of struggling with Ubastard all one's life and never just being authentic. Of course being authentic often means you lose your job and high position in the minds of others who know Ubastard only too well themselves. Sometimes a church congregation is content to let a pastor be the sacrificial life of goodness and light, while they can tell Ubastard to go to hell anytime they wish. As long as the pastor type proves it can be done as expected, all is well. Let the pastor prove himself way too often in open conflict with Ubastard, and out you go. Scares the people that they might get caught next.

One hint to me is that all Ubastard seems to say to me is that you really aren't good enough as is. You need to be more like someone else, who I am not sure is who I really ought to be like or even need to go to the trouble of being like. I haven't found another human on the planet , save maybe the Dali Lama, who appeals to me as the kind of person I'd rather be. And I am also not so naive to think that wanting anyone else's dirty laundry is a good swap.

So here we are. A little piece of consciousness contained in our limited five sensed carbon based wetsuit for a short time of experiencing this world as best we can. It's all a wonder and I believe benevolent more than malevolent, though some people let Ubastard take over and loose themselves completely in becoming the sharped fanged nasty Monkey personified. No longer is UBastard the monkey on the back of a person...he is the person. The monkey ate the man.

I'm not advocating exterminating Ubastard completely. But I think there need to be some rules of engagement.

1. Ubastard shall not endlessly repeat one topic over and over. He will understand that I am usually way ahead of him and don't need to keep hearing it over and over.

2. Ubastard will not use fear of eternal punishment when a human life is less than a hair width's experience in the arena of billions of years of galactic, star and planetary evolution.

3. Ubastard will acknowledge that born right the first time has merit and never being good enough is a tool of control and results the unhelpful experiences of anxiety and depression in which nothing good gets done.

4. Ubastard is not allowed to only quote ancient texts of Taliban perspectives in his onslaught but is now assigned to read and understand Conversations with God by Neil Donald Walsch, The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. No bananas if he refuses to read and apply these books.

5. Ubastard is not allowed to disturb sleep time.

6. Ubastard is not allowed to quote only from the King James, New International, and the Bible for Modern Dudes in promoting guilt fear and shame.

7. If Mebastard finds Ubastard not to have done and understood the above mentioned assignments, let him be banished to the forest of guilt, shame and fear where he seems to thrive better anyhow and there are millions backs he can easily jump on....just not mine anymore.