My lawnmower repairman is an Australian guy who I enjoy for his attitude as much as his skill. One day when I arrived at his shop after closing time, I apologized for keeping him after hours. “That’s okay, mate,” he told me. “No dramas.”
No dramas. That’s one of the best affirmations I’ve ever heard. In America we say, “No problem.” “No dramas” is the next level ― one we might all do well to aspire to.
The notion of “drama” is built on multi-layered illusions. First, there are bad guys who are trying to get a good guy. This assumes the presence or reality of evil which has power over good. If a higher power is truly higher, this cannot be so. Either God is present and all powerful, or not. If evil is illusion, is the truth of good not stronger?
Next, drama assumes a victim position of the protagonist. Someone stronger is trying to hurt someone weaker, and the weaker one has to struggle to overcome the stronger evil. Surely you have come to recognize, at least at a possibility level, that you are not a victim; that there is a direct relationship between your thoughts and your creations; that you are the source of your experience, and no matter what errors you have made, at any given moment you can shift your thoughts and retool your destiny. Heaven does not have a cheap seat section for whiners.
Finally, a drama suggests doubt or tension about the outcome. Will the bad guys win, or can the underdog triumph? A Course in Miracles tells us that the word “challenge” is meaningless to a spiritual master, since “challenge” implies a doubt about the outcome. One of the Course’s lessons is “A happy outcome to all things is sure.”
Drama is not a fact; it is an interpretation. Two different people could look upon the same situation, and one could see a frightening drama, while the other sees a great opportunity. A shoe salesman was dispatched to Africa in the early 1900’s to open up a new territory for his company. A month later the home office received a telegram: “Disaster! Disaster! These people do not wear shoes. Bring me home immediately!”
Several months later another shoe company sent their rep to Africa. They, too, received a telegram: “Opportunity! Opportunity! These people do not wear shoes. Triple production immediately!”
Have you ever noticed that people who have a lot of dramas in their life always have a lot of drama? And people who have a moderate amount of dramas always have a moderate amount of drama? And those who have little drama always have little drama? Is this because of astrology, genetics, or fate? Or could each group be creating dramas ― or their absence ― by their thoughts, willingness, and interpretation of events?
Drama can be an addiction. Some people grow accustomed to a certain amount of drama, and if their drama level falls below a certain threshold, they find something to create a drama around, to bring their adrenaline level back up to speed. By contrast, people with few dramas seem to know how to backpeddle and cut back on drama if it exceeds their comfort level.
I do not mean to demean your difficulties or suggest that you adopt a Mr. Spock-like non-feeling nature. In our human adventure, we all face illusions instigated by fear. I am simply suggesting that you may increase your effectiveness and peace by questioning the reality of the dramas that distract you from your purpose or joy.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of the perennially popular book, The Power of Positive Thinking, suggests that successful people use a method we could all learn from: Respond to emergencies in a casual manner. Should you perceive an emergency, do what you need to do, but do it from a place of calm assurance that this will get handled. Don’t “fake it ‘til you make it.” Instead, “faith it ‘til you make it.”
In the 1980’s I joined several citizen diplomacy missions to the (then) Soviet Union. We were inspired by President Eisenhower’s statement that “One day the people of the world will want peace so much that the governments will have to get out of their way and give it to them.” We went to build bridges of trust and understanding with the Russian people. And it worked.
On one of our trips we had a banquet at our hotel, where we invited a few of our Soviet friends to join us. We had given some of them gifts of friendship. This was, however, verboten by the then-ominous KGB. A tense moment came when a KGB man infiltrated our gathering, chastised a young Russian man for accepting gifts, and removed the packages from his arms. To my amazement, a fellow in our group walked up to the KGB guy, took them back, and gave them back to the fellow. The KGB man backed off and walked away.
I saw this scenario as a phenomenal lesson in the confidence in outcome that sincere intention brings. When you know who you are and what you are here to do, you recognize that there is no power that can stop you. You do not have to fight anyone or anything. Just stand in truth, where drama has no claim over love, and dissipates into a greater ocean of well-being.
By Alan Cohen