Notes on Stances
The DL teaching on stances is centrifugal to the DL ‘system’. I call it a ‘system’ though to my knowledge no member of DL ever called it such, but the word seems to fit, so I’ll use it for the time being.
Everyday I take hundreds of stances, from the smallest slight annoyance at a noisy car driving past, to a raging fit of anger at something not working properly. Every day I fail to see that I am taking numerous stances. But looking at this from an alternative point of view (akin to asking a question backwards) what I do know is that I still have a long way to go. I fight a battle each moment of the day. Not allowing my subconscious to automatically rule me. I may win one battle by not taking a stance, but this tiny success may shortly be followed by a failure as something else annoys me in some manner.
I take annoyance as a stance, but happiness is one as well, so is joy, so is sadness, so is misery. Probably you name any emotion and that has the potentiality for becoming a stance. A stance upsets the balance and balance therefore has a very important position here. DL talked about balance quite a lot, thus emphasising (in their unemotional manner) the importance that balance has. It seems in fact, that you cannot understand stances unless you relate it to balance.
No-one can tell me what is the balanced position, but neither can I tell anyone else what is balanced for him or her. We have to find the balanced position ourself and that is something that seems (to me anyway) to be partly instinctual (though I think it is also tenuous aspect).
The current emphasis for my own work is when I drive. This for me is a big area of my life where I take stances and as I make a two-hour journey each day it would be a far better (and less stressful) trip for me if I could stop taking stances.
One thing I have going for me in this context is the knowledge that I can achieve a state where I drive without taking any stances, or where at least my stances are greatly reduced. I know this because, a good few years ago, I had managed to reach this level. But it was a fragile success because events turned out that, after a period of giving a friend a lift to college, I eventually copied his (subconscious) reactions and, before I knew it, I was once again a puppet to my subconscious (from which I have not yet recovered). This is a good example of seeing how others behave and choosing not to follow suit. My friend had no idea that his subconscious was constantly manipulating during the journey. In short, he had an excuse I did not. Also this is an example of DL being right for me as, to paraphrase the Adept: “becoming an adept adds to your responsibilities and lessons your excuses”. My friend had an excuse – he didn’t know any better. I did not have an excuse – I did know better, but still I fell back into my old ways, by copying his behaviour. Now this to me was an important lesson to learn, it showed that even if you do stop taking stances in a certain area of your life, you may still fall back to old behaviours unless you maintain your self-control.
Not taking a stance makes life a lot more pleasurable and a lot less stressful. Consider how much better you will feel when you do not allow petty things to upset you. Consider how much more people will warm to you when you do not allow other peoples behaviour to drive you to take a stance. Again, just as it has been said in DL: the teaching on stances seems difficult at first, but after a while you can really see the benefits.