the practical buddhist : essentials

quieting your inner drama queen


Yes, you’re a drama queen

But don’t take it personally or even negatively. I’m also a drama queen. The truth is, we’re all drama queens in some respect.

Some of us just take it new levels of existence

We whine about the weather or about how our iPhone isn’t as fast as it used to be.  We wonder about why the family next door really needs five cars when only two of the four are licensed drivers. And that dog that keeps barking at 2 a.m., what kind of owners must the poor thing belong to? Honestly…

You see, I can list a bunch of whiny examples just like that. I actually list it as a special skill on my resume.

Yes, we can make whining about trivial aspects of life rise to the level of fine art.

But that doesn’t help us

In fact, it hinders our progress in almost every way. If your goal is to awaken and view life and reality for what they are, your inner drama queen is a major hindrance. That’s because all that inner drama we’re addicted to occupies our mind and keeps it too busy to actually see.

Seeing is what the Buddha taught his students to pursue. He gave them (and us via the teachings handed down over the centuries) three practices to use to further their goal of awakening.

These practices were simple and straightforward and include meditation, mindfulness, and compassionate-kindness, the triad of Practical Buddhist practice.

What does help us is practice

Buddhism teaches that every sentient being possesses Buddha-nature. Buddha-nature is our potential to awaken. You have it and so do I and so does the owner of the dog that keeps you up in the middle of the night.

You, me, and the noisy dog owner also have an inner drama queen that is directly opposed to waking up. She wants to keep us occupied with various attachments to desires, cravings, and false needs. She wants to hog the limelight as it were.

But the three practices of Practical Buddhism, meditation, mindfulness, and compassionate-kindness have the power to silence our inner drama addict.

Quieting the queen

Quieting the queen occurs over time, with practice. As you engage in a daily meditation practice, your inner drama queen will still make herself known but she will quiet down quicker when faced with your calm, resolute, gentle practice of awareness and breathing.

When you first start meditating, I promise you that your inner drama queen will rage against the machine. She will do anything she can to distract you from just simply sitting and observing. She wants you, bad. 😉

She (actually your mind) will try to convince you that someone is calling your name, that you suddenly need to pee and distract you with all types of thoughts and ideas.

At first, you will follow the thoughts because that’s how our mind has always worked. So, for a while you’ll follow and then you’ll realize it. When you do realize it, don’t chastise yourself for failing…because it isn’t a failure.

Simply observe out loud, “hmmm. thinking…” and return your focus to your breath.

This will happen over and over again no matter how long you meditate. It still happens to me and I’m certain it happens to Zen Masters as well. I’m sure that even the Thich Nhan Hanh has his own inner drama queen, however tame she may be after so many years of practice. 🙂

Does the queen ever leave altogether? 

I’m asked this often and my response is aways…”thus far in my experience, no.” But that’s why we practice; to engage in the present moment and not in our mind’s needless inner drama.