Have we all not been in this position at some point in our life? We have to tackle something on the edge of our desk that is so distasteful. We avoid it. We look at it. We try not to think about it. We can’t stop thinking about it. What about if it’s a person? That’s even worse. We pass them in the hallway and attempt not to make eye contact. Maybe we see them on a plane and glare them down with a stare. They are on “our list” we can never imagine having them in our home or connecting with them in any way. Peace you say you want is it? So this person you are willing to forgive yes? aha! That was a dirty, dirty trick hiding those brussel sprouts under cheese. I still won’t do it. I will never ever do it. You can’t make me do it.
“Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother, and thus forgives himself.” Course In Miracles. How is it possible to heal perception when the ego tells us they have wronged us. What they did was wrong. Even worse maybe what we did is wrong and now we are too embarrassed to admit it. So we attack them to hide our guilt. Is that even possible?
Consider this possibility. Some people we are the most aggravated with are those we simply can not control. Our ego wants to control them because it believes, with their cooperation, life would be better. For instance, they wronged us and if they made amends, if they recognized their mistake, then maybe we could forgive them. Maybe it’s an ex that we depend on for money, or a partner we want to keep the house and their figure in better order. Maybe it’s someone we want to emotionally connect with even though they have made it clear they have no intention of changing or meeting us half way. We all have experienced some form of this situation in our life. At time when we believe the other person would be so much better off if they just did what we wanted. Is it not this belief that’s really the source of our aggravation?
“I was walking by a mental ward and heard the inmates shouting, 13..13..13… I couldn’t see anything so I found a small hole in the fence where I could take a look to see what all the commotion was. I was promptly poked in the eye. As I walked away stunned I could hear them shouting 14…14…14…”
This little story is packed with wisdom. Mind our own affairs. Stay focused on our own inner work. Don’t allow myself to be drawn into someone else’s chaos. It is also a reminder that insanity likes to poke at others for sport. Do we allow their insane state to then ruin our day? Do we perceive we are the victim? What perception and meaning will we give their actions? What if we can’t avoid them. What if it’s a child, a spouse or a roommate. Here are four possibilities:
Let Go/Leave. We’ve talked about it, yelled about it, tried everything and we are utterly exhausted from all the bargains we’ve made and broken with ourselves. We are disgusted. Our ego has hung on with efforts of being nice, threatening, ignoring, avoiding, pleading, stone walling and the list goes on but we could not get them to do what our EGO wanted. We are furious with them even though it was really our ego refusing to let go. We suffer the most now because we realize our efforts were futile. Have hope. Is it possible we suffer only because we have finally broken through our denial? Perhaps we now recognize what was always there. This is a shift in perception. Past the pain is peace.
Stay and Endure. We keep our expectations they will change. We continue to suffer. Perhaps there will be moments of peace. We suffer again, as soon as they don’t live up to our expectation. Many people confuse endurance with acceptance.
Stay and Accept. Acceptance means we find a way to have peace with this person. We are not in denial of their state. We may not like some of their actions. Yet we have reached a place of inner peace. We have accepted that is how they show up for us. We consciously choose to stay. This is the highest place we can love someone from because we no longer make our happiness contingent upon their state of being. We have talked many times about how to accept in previous posts. The key is always to make a choice to accept them. We then retrain our minds to focus on a mantra that brings us peace.
Stay or Leave and Forgive. Forgiveness is not the same as acceptance. We may forgive someone but find their behavior so unacceptable that being with them is not an option. We want peace, but we have no intention of ever allowing them into our internal circle again. We forgive for ourselves. When we forgive we are relieved of the burden of mere thoughts about that person disrupting our serenity. To forgive is not to give a free pass to them. To forgive is to give a free pass to ourselves. There is also the combination of accept and forgive in which case we may stay.
Our egos scream I don’t want to, you can’t make me, I won’t do it! Those brussel sprouts seem like boulders. We want the person to change. We don’t want to give them a free pass because we think they are wrong. Yet we stay with them? Maybe we should all shout 15..15..15.. each time we poke ourselves in the eye like this!
Is it insane to stay in this cycle? Why would I choose this sort of condition for myself? How long have I been doing this? Why do I do this? Why do I hold rage when it changes nothing? Does rage really make me feel better? How long will I stay angry? Then what?
Today someone is in my mind that I do not want to forgive. I’m really hurt by what they did. They never apologized and now I’m supposed to play nice. My ego screams this is outrageous. So I’m faking it by chanting “God is my source. I cannot see this person apart from Him.” For my atheist friends “All energy is connected. I cannot see this person as apart from the universal flow”. My sane mind understand this. My ego wants to make them see the error of their ways, to punish them, to embarras them and even to harm them at times.
Sometimes the most we are willing to do is just avoid a person, place or thing because we have not healed ourself enough to trust our reaction. If we can’t avoid them silence may be better than rage. What matters is what we do in that silence. Are we raging internally? We would be wise to use that silence for a declaration as an example:
“I am a happy person. When I think about this it makes me mad. It is ok to be mad. It is ok to want an apology. It is ok to find facing this person distasteful. I can be kind because I am courageous. I can choose to be kind without ever making eye contact or saying a word. I will just visualize this person as a small child when I think of them. I will recognize this small child as frightened. The child made a mistake. It was wrong in my perception at the time. Now I’m willing to change my perception. The child was scared or just wanting to have fun. I went to the fence and got poked, but kept doing it. So I can forgive myself for being curious. I can forgive myself for wanting this person to love me in the way I wanted them to love me. Is this even about them anymore or is this really about me? I am going to figure this out so next time I will make a sane choice. I hope they get everything they deserve. I want to add love to the world. I want to feel love. I want to be love. I want to have peace. This child was a nursing infant at one time in their life. That is how I will choose to see them. Something changed. They went insane. I have been damaged at times in my life and others were kind and patient. Maybe it’s my turn to be kind and patient. If I remember how remarkable I am and see myself as a large and powerful being and them as a small child then how could I harm them? That would be doing to them what I perceive they did to me. Thoughts of vengeance bring me no relief.”