Thich Nhat Hanh was once quoted saying, “When you understand the situation of the other person, when you understand the nature of suffering, anger will vanish, because it is transformed into compassion.”
I have been trying to remember that this week. When we are unhappy or not satisfied with an aspect of ourselves we can hurt another. Everyone suffers, we all suffer differently. It’s hard to remain spiritual when you misinterpret others, their words, actions or comments that you perceive as a slight. As I write this blog thousands of people are suffering around the world from earthquakes, war, disease and personal loss. It’s almost an embarrassment to admit that something like words can make you narrow your eyes and want to fight with a shoe in a ladies bathroom.
I know that I cannot take anything personally in life. I know that people try consciously and unconsciously to project their thoughts, beliefs and morals to make themselves feel better, but sometimes I just want to flip someone off. I try and picture the Dalai Lama or the Pope doing the same and somehow I just wonder if they have better restraint than I? Maybe, they just don’t frequent women’s restrooms.
Rumi the great Persian poet wrote one of my favorite lines, “Don't turn away. Keep looking at that bandaged place. That's where the light enters you.” Well, I think this week I have been hemorrhaging and if I look at that spot, I might just get blinded by the light. I have so much to be thankful for, I have so many wonderful things to meditate upon and instead I got hooked into my addiction of judgment.
I think I long to be liked and accepted, we all do. I have finally learned to like myself. Every now and then I have what my friend Gladys calls, “a blue funk.” It usually stems from me feeling that I am flawed and when someone pokes at my bandaged place I want to poke them in the eyes. In my rational brain I understand that we operate by cause and effect, we are like lab rats emotionally. I understand why people suffer, I understand why I suffer. I just hate to admit that I am also human and have not tamed my mind.
My shoe throwing, eye poking incident was rooted in me feeling a need to defend who I am and my actions. I never did throw the shoe or poke anyone in the eyes, it was a short lived thought thankfully. I am sure as time goes on with the show being on the air that I will be blogged about as being a fake, a charlatan, a moron and a crazed lunatic, conversely though I will have my friends telling me that I am a size two, amazing and all around groovy gal. It really shouldn’t matter though what other people think about me, good or bad. I know who I am better than anyone. I know what motivates me to react or not react. I know who I am and I like myself as is. I always tell people that other people’s opinions of me are none of my business, but it is difficult if you’re in a blue funk or a place of judgment.
My incident this last week started with another person not feeling sure of herself, and because of that I was seen as a threat. Her misplaced jealously poked my bandaged place and I reacted by having hurt feelings and allowed myself to feel victimized. In retrospect as I write this I am rolling my eyes at myself. I knew better, but I still took the bait. Jealousy is a toxic weed and should be eradicated before it chokes the life out of everything in its path.
One of my dear friends suffers from a huge lack of self worth and needs to feel the positive attention of others to gauge that he is moving in the right direction. Admiration and attention from others make him feel whole. The trap in this of course is that you allow others to tell you who you are. When we are telling ourselves who we are through the eyes of another we tread in dangerous waters. When we don’t receive what we need from others we have a tendency to become jealous and resentful when we see others getting what we want. I have often thought jealousy and an inability to have intimacy in relationships are often linked. Learning to trust is usually the antidote for jealousy.
Usually when we avoid intimacy it isn’t because of a parent or partner not loving us, it’s because we fundamentally feel that we are unlovable. We get it in our head that intimacy is unsafe for our fragile heart. When we get into that mode it’s hard to see that in order to be loved that we must first love ourselves. Jealousy creates a wall that oddly enough prevents us from what we crave more than anything. It is a primal emotion. It makes us feel inadequate, it causes feelings of shame, and we obsess then about what others think about us. Not having the approval of others when you live your life based upon that can be emotionally devastating.
When we don’t like ourselves we find comfort in deflating, criticizing and putting others down to feel better about our current circumstances. It’s easy to sit behind the anonymity of a computer screen to blast complete strangers, or write off people as lunatics. I am guilty of this myself as I had to contain myself from posting about Pat Robertson comments saying the people of Haiti were victims of a curse caused by slaves having a pact with the devil in 1791. I am sure he is a nice person and has done many amazing things for people. I know he loves his family and his family loves him. I know he believes in what he says. I personally just can’t stop thinking he needs a formal education and a clue.
People will think what they want as they will regardless of what I think or you think. You can only control the human body that you were born into. Soften your heart when someone insults you is what I learned this week. It’s easier than unbuckling a four inch heel anyway. Remember you have to generate enough self love not to crave the attention of others. When you are hurt, try not to hurt another and if you have to flip someone off do it with a smile.
It’s not easy to be a spiritual warrior. I know this. A great reference book to read is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. You might also enjoy the companion book with exercises to help you on your journey.